As a youth I loved to hunt and fish more than anything. During that time the extent of my artistic endeavors consisted of filling my school notebooks with sketches of ducks. Then one day my father took me to one of the premier sporting goods stores, Abercrombie and Fitch, in New York City. As we stepped off the elevator onto the 4th floor my love of fish and wildlife melded with art as I viewed a display of some of the finest wildlife paintings in America.
The more-real-than-life paintings of ducks, geese, grouse and other wildlife that captured the thrill of the hunt better than any photograph held me spellbound. I couldn’t get enough. That day remains one of my favorite memories of growing up and, I believe, was one of the most influential days of my life.
However, with the exception of one paint-by-numbeirs kit I received as a Christmas present, it was not until my senior year at Vermont’s Middlebury College that I actually picked up a brush to try my hand at creating my own paintings. I was looking for an easy course to offset my more demanding classes as a biology major. Remembering that trip to Abercrombie and Fitch I decided to take a class called “Introduction to Oil Painting.” Soon I learned to relish the smell of turpentine as I surprised myself by painting images that actually looked a bit like what I was attempting to capture. Of all the classes I took in college, that was my favorite.
Upon graduation my mother gave me a set of oil paints and brushes that I retain to this day as art became a constant in my life -- always present in one medium or another. At times it is watercolors, soapstone sculpture or woodworking. Photography is a constant. Today oil painting is my chief artistic outlet, supplemented by photographic images I continue to take. On a website, www.corneliusstudio.com that I constructed and share with my wife, Karen, I’ve divided samples of my artwork into galleries containing the four areas in which I like to paint: Portraits, Studio, Abstract/Whimsey and Plein Air. The Portrait and Studio galleries include subjects mostly done from Karen's or my photography collections.
You can visit Don's website to view more of his work here.