I think my dad hoped I would become an architect and work with him and my grandfather in the family business, Peter Davidson & Sons General Contractors. They built many estates in Hope Ranch and Montecito, as well as schools, churches, and public administration buildings throughout Santa Barbara. In 1953 they completely restored the façade of the Santa Barbara Mission. Although I loved the smell of fresh wood and construction, I loved the smell of fresh oil paints and turpentine even better. I was inevitably drawn to fine art.
My interest in drawing and painting was sparked by my grandparents' collection of etchings by cowboy artist Edward Borein. My great-uncle had worked for him in his Santa Barbara studio and there were many fine examples of Borein’s work hanging on the walls of my grandparents’ living room. I was enthralled with his images of early California vaqueros, horses, cattle and ranch life. With pencil and paper I would spend entire afternoons making copies and offering them to my grandfather for his gentle but exacting critiques. Thus began my art training, before I even started elementary school. My art education continued at Santa Barbara City College, UC Santa Barbara and Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
Another influence on my art was my job at Santa Barbara City College working as the Geologic Illustrator for the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the early 1980’s. It was there that I gained an appreciation for the underlying structure of the local landscape and respect for the forces that built it. Like my father and his father before him, structure is important to me. I like my compositions, like buildings, to be rock-solid. One of my favorite SBCC teachers and good friend was artist Robert Frame. He used to tell his students, “Make sure you bake the cake before you frost it.” He meant that all the detail (frosting) in the world won’t hide a bad composition (under-baked cake). To this day I carefully work out my design and composition before I ever pick up a brush to paint. Maybe I turned out to be an architect after all, but an architect of paintings rather than buildings.