When I was a kid I was squirrelly and scared. I didn’t like school much and my parents were having marital problems back then. You could feel the tension in my house.
My mom was a saint while my dad was a very tough and sometimes harsh disciplinarian. I was a kid who came home from school and looked to see if his Father’s clothes were still in his closet. My Mom would get fed up from time to time and ask him to leave. At a young age I felt I had little to hold on to or any way to keep my fear and pain from eating away at me.
The one thing I did have was that I liked to draw. I liked to copy the art on record albums and design my own. I liked the art on Beatles albums. My mother pushed me in to art lessons at 7 years of age. I took lessons from a well known regionalist painter named Maleta Forsberg, who lived on our block.
Ms. Forsberg taught me shading and perspective. She taught me how to mix colors. She taught me how to make a picture. She gave me the sense that this practice and discipline were important and that I could make it my own. She was positive and calm. Her studio was like a magical world for me. I found that when I felt low I could escape into my art. My Mom gave me the push I needed and Maleta Forsberg taught and encouraged me. She saved me and gave me the path that I am still on today.
She lives in Lindsborg now and has for years. She’s still a successful artist. And she will attend my own opening next month at the Sandzen Museum in Lindsborg, where she will view the art of a man, who was once a scared little boy—a boy she saved.