I started painting later in life, but art has always been in my blood. Why else would I have been so traumatized when my kindergarten teacher forbade me from drawing, fearing that my art obsession might stunt my development in other areas? When I eventually snuck a piece of drawing paper from the art closet, I felt whole again.
After kindergarten, I sketched people at every opportunity. My career path, however, took a different direction. I got a Ph.D. in linguistics at Cornell, taught and did research in speech synthesis, and founded a speech technology company. After selling the company, I took some art classes and rekindled my childhood love of art. While I would have expected to gravitate toward drawing portraits, I quickly discovered an affinity for painting water, the focus of more than half my paintings. I am fascinated by water’s ever-changing interplay of colors, textures, and movements, and find oil paints to be the perfect medium for capturing its essence.
While I have founded another speech company, never again will my speech undertakings overshadow my art pursuits. I am intrigued by the similarities in how humans perceive the visual and auditory worlds around them. In both my passions, I strive to create the appropriate cues (contrasts, intensities, etc.) to effectively render my intent, be it in the form of a painting or a synthetic utterance. I see speech and art as synergistic endeavors and realize now that while I didn’t start painting until my fifties, I’ve actually been painting most of my adult life.
Here’s an interview I did in 2015 with our local Pegasys TV station in which I discuss my art and speech endeavors, and how these two passions of mine intersect. (Click on the image.)