My 'Why' Story

This photo captures what I call a Norman Rockwell moment. It’s me practicing my passion for en Plein air painting. Or open air painting. This particular day, my wife Bobbie, a close friend of ours Valerie, and I were on location near a Schaumberg Church and schoolyard one warm spring afternoon. In mid painting, the recess bell rang and dozens of curious children quickly swarmed our easels. As children often do, they started asking questions, great questions in fact. “What are you doing?” “Can I do that?” “How long did that take you?” But the best question by far, and to this day I struggle with answering is, “Why do you paint?” WOW! You could have knocked me over with a feather. My answer, at the moment, was something like… “To understand the light” or “to see better”. Bobbie, whose easel was set up just a few yards away, captured the moment. Oh for that curiosity and wonderment of a child, may we always have it with us, never take it for granted.

I’m also reminded of what The Coach, John Wooden said, “The person who know ‘how’ will always have a job. The person who knows ‘why’ will be his boss.” In art as in life, it’s best to know both.

The ‘how’ is easy. Isn't ‘why’ so much harder? So, what’s my ‘why’? Why art? Why now?

Art for me is a way of connecting things. As Steve Jobs so eloquently said, “Creativity is just connecting things”. My ‘why’, is to capture and connect to the moment; connecting people in shared experiences to this place and this time. Creating, connecting and experiencing life in all its fullest, and giving back in worship, to our Heavenly Creator, gratitude for all. All the while, leaving something of beauty behind that could last for centuries. These are just a few of my ‘Whys’.

After spending 35 years as an artist, designer, architectural illustrator and vice president of marketing for a world-wide engineering firm, I'm now creating a life being a husband to my artist/wife Bobbie Puttrich and full-time fine artist and instructor. My passion for teaching is second only to my love of painting. 


Media: At the 2017 Brush with Nature event held at Emily Oaks Nature Center, WGN TV's Sean Lewis interviewed me during the painting of my Milkweed Painting. Here's the two minute edited story.