Ed is a man of many visions.
He is equally as comfortable painting a
landscape of the Sonoran Desert with its majestic
saguaro cacti piercing a storm tossed summer sky, a
Tarahumara Indian woman with a weathered face, set
against the backdrop of the Barrancas del Cobre of
northern Mexico or a classical image of the Blessed
Virgin Mary. No matter what the subject, he portrays it
with realistic depth and brilliance, attempting only to
bring it to life in a most exquisite manner. His
representational style draws together many techniques
dating back to the renaissance, masterful and
painstaking skills that have nearly vanished in an art
world that is often more consumed by commercialism.
“I have always been fascinated by art,”
says Ed. “From the age of five or six, I wanted to be a
painter. And I have studied for many years to understand
how the Old Masters achieved what they did. After
attending two fine art schools and starting a career as
an illustrator, I was still seeking more knowledge. I
continued to study on my own and then went into the
highly specialized field of restoration of oil
paintings. I realized that I liked to solve problems,
essentially doing detective work. If you have ever stood
in awe in front of a great painting and wondered how on
earth they created it then you can understand why
restoration work can be so challenging. I wanted to find
how they painted, as these old artists created works of
art that hardly seemed possible.”
Ed goes on to note, “Answers to the
mystery of how they painted came via my work in the
restoration and conservation of old paintings. Art
restoration is a highly specialized field that requires
several unrelated skills from its practitioners. Those
who excel in art restoration are combination scientist,
historian, artist and exceptionally talented craftsman
all rolled into one. The work also requires an
inordinate amount of ingenuity, skill and patience.”
Today he is well known nationwide for his
authentic representations of Native American tribes,
painstakingly researching their cultural complexities to
ensure that the detail in each of his compositions is
totally accurate. Ed goes on photographic expedition to
northeastern Montana to document the Cheyenne, Crow and
Blackfeet culture, just one example of his ongoing quest
to gather authentic material that ultimately becomes
part of his painting repertoire.
Ed’s studio calls to mind images of a
European master from the 16th or 17th
century. More like an atelier, replete with antique
furniture and rustic walnut wooden floors, it is one in
which many paintings and drawings sit on easels, as the
artist busies himself going from one to the other,
working simultaneously on several compositions. All that
are missing are apprentices, as was true in the
In part the number of works in progress
results form the Old World technique of glazing-the use
of thin layers of paint diluted with oil that are
applied in successive layers through the course of time.
Each layer must first dry before the next application,
and this is a labor and time intensive method that
precludes an artist from simply concentrating on one
composition at a time.
The art of glazing develops richness in
detail and color without the use of heavy applications
of paint, but because it is such a slow process, few
artists choose to use it at the present time.
Although Ed could take shortcuts and
create works that would please many collectors, he
believes strongly in his principles, devoting much time
and energy into producing works of enduring quality.
He notes that longevity is the test of
the legacy of an artist.
“Look around at the great museums and see
what stands the test of time. It is classical art, which
is something that people can relate to and understand.
It is a responsibility if you are going to execute
quality paintings. It requires a lot of study, work and
sensitivity. Every artist must try to accomplish his or
her highest level of excellence.
With a classical attention to
composition, meticulous attention to his use of light
and devotion to the Old World application of pigment,
Ed’s paintings will remain perpetually enchanting in the
mind and heart of his collectors. There is no doubt that
his paintings will earn their place in the contemporary
history of art.
- by Dr. Lew Deitch