My name is David Rourke. As an artist, I am mostly self-taught. For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked to draw and paint. Over the past ten years, I’ve worked at becoming as good an artist as I can, within the limitations of my other responsibilities. That’s included lots of practice, as well as two years of study with Dennis Cheaney at the New England Realist Art Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Dennis is a student of Ted Seth Jacobs, one of the great modern realist masters, and I have benefited greatly from his instruction. I currently work mainly in oil and egg tempera, as well as drawing with graphite. In my own work, I’m mostly interested in the nature of ordinary things, people, and places. I want my art to be unpretentious and simple, but not simplistic. We’ll see over time how well I achieve that.
Beyond making art, I freely admit that I am an art geek. I am very interested in most kinds of representational visual art. One of my main interests is Renaissance art, as well as the materials and methods of artists in various periods. I’m particularly fond of early Netherlandish art (Robert Campin, Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Hans Memling) and slightly later Italian art (Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Bellini, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Raphael Sanzio). I’m also a big fan of Albrecht Durer, Hans Holbein, and Diego Velazquez. I like some 19th century painters, such as James Whistler and John Waterhouse. I love the great illustrators such as Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, and J.C. Leyendecker, and some 20th century realists such as Pietro Annigoni and Andrew Wyeth.
Why this weblog?
Largely because it helps to keep me focused on things I want to focus on. I like to communicate about art. As someone with an interest in art materials and methods, I think I can be helpful to the many artists who don’t like to read and research the technical details of how to make paintings, but do want access to practical knowledge of how to best do their work.
What I do other than art
I live in Auburn, Massachusetts (in the United States) with my wife Kirsten, our son Brendan (born August 2006), and our cat Pasha. I was born and raised in Rhode Island and have also lived in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.
I am not a professional artist. I have a bachelor’s degree, majoring in psychology, from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master’s degree in psychology from Villanova University. I have worked in clinical treatment settings for the past 20 years. I’ve worked with adults and children who present with developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, psychiatric disorders, and behavioral problems. I now work for a small company called QBS Inc., providing consulting and training on difficult cases to schools, residential programs, rehabilitation facilities, and other places. It’s not the easiest kind of work to do, but every day it feels like I’m helping people who really need it, and that makes it worthwhile to me.
Aside from art, my other big hobby is the Society for Creative Anachronism, a Medieval re-creation group. Within the SCA, I participate in the full-contact sword-fighting martial art the organization has developed, and I teach Medieval and Renaissance painting methods.
I also like to read about history and art, as well as science fiction and mystery novels.