"The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting" Vincent Van Gogh
Many people have been influential to me throughout my career, and I would like express my heartfelt thanks to each and every one. Where do I begin? My teachers throughout my educational years in Elementary and High School must have seen a spark some place, and they were very encouraging to me in my formative years. The instructors that I worked under at Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, gave me the formal and classical art education that is very hard to come by in today’s art world. I have had many friends, artists and others that have influenced me and continue to do so throughout my life.
So many people have given me so much, but the two people that gave me the most were my two parents, Harold and Mildred Backhaus. Bless their hearts, they have both since passed on. They were two people that loved life and shared their love of life with their four children. Farmers by trade they raised their family in a small community in Wisconsin.
My first introduction to anything having to do with art came from observing my Father sketching on a piece of scrap paper at the dinner table. He had no formal art training but had a natural eye for observing and mimicking what he saw with pencil on paper. As a youngster hardly big enough to see over the edge of the table, I grasped tight with my hands and stood on my tip toes to see as close as I could. At that moment I was as captivated and hooked for life.
I believe at that point I knew what I wanted to do with any spare time I had, and at that age, a little kid has a lot of spare time. I drew, drew and drew some more, and when I had ran out of pencils and paper, my parents found more. Holidays and Birthdays were celebrated with many gifts in the art category. If I wasn’t drawing, I was off exploring the great outdoors, one of my other great passions.
Those early years of exploration gave me the wanderlust spirit that I have today. I have a nomadic force that fits the perfect style of the outdoor painter. Today I love both my time at home in the studio and the time I have to explore the wonderful world. My days of education have not ended; today experience is the best teacher for me. I continue to learn every day. The day that the learning stops will be the day I stop.
My gratitude goes out to many; I have been blessed so many times over.