Over the past 6 years, I’ve taught graphic design courses, web development courses and computers. I’ve worked with all kinds of software and learned new programming languages. I’ve developed graphic design curriculum for the New Jersey Department of Education. I’ve worked with audio and video software to record and post lessons on YouTube for online students. And, I’ve taken thousands of photos.
But I haven’t painted.
So, when I received an email from Lauren at LVAC in May, asking if I wanted to display some of my paintings and photography, I took that as a sign from God that it was time to dig up the paints, pick up a brush and re-connect with that part of me.
I’ve painted in spurts since the early 90’s. Prior to this 6 year break, I had gone 14 years without painting. When I start up again, I do manage to somehow pick up where I left off. It’s like that old friend you haven’t seen for years, and it feels like virtually no time has passed when you talk.
I’ve always focused on people as subject matter when I paint. I feel it creates a narrative or adds emotion to the scene. It creates a connection. But, I also enjoy the beautiful scenery in an around where I live in Schnecksville and I enjoy capturing all of it–the fields, the skies, the covered bridges, the water in photos.
In my newest batch of paintings, I’ve tried to combine beautiful scenes I’ve captured with beautiful people (my wife Lisa), and my kids. Capturing beautiful landscapes with a camera comes easy, but painting them is another story. Really good landscape painters make it look easy, buts it’s extremely difficult. I never really learned landscape painting in college – it was all still-lifes and portraits. I utilize my knowledge of design, composition and color theory, but everything else, I’m still learning. I’m still a student, evolving (and hopefully growing) with each painting.
I’ve found that, surprisingly, my interest in programming has helped me bring more detail and discipline to my approach to painting. The analytical, problem-solving aspect is very much a necessary component in painting. Every brush stroke is a decision with a purpose and a consequence, just like writing code. There should be a reason for every dab of paint you apply to a canvas. Since, oil painting is permanent for the most part, the decisions you make are not necessarily undo-able (like with software). You are forced to either fix what’s not working or accept what you’ve created and move on.
To me, painting is as close as I can get to playing football again. It’s very exhaustive physically and emotionally. I think people often see painting as a relaxing activity or hobby. It’s not. It’s a battle. Each painting is a journey with highs and lows. I still get butterflies when I begin. And in the end, you present your results for everyone to see or judge, which can be just as scary. Either way, it feels good to be back in the game.
See more work by Richard Homa at www.homastudio.com.
my art history:
I drew a lot as a kid. I played baseball, football and powerlifted at Parkland in the mid 80’s where I was introduced to charcoal drawing and oil painting in an elective art class with John Antonik. In college, I played linebacker at Moravian for 4 years. I initially intended to be a math teacher and coach, but my advisor Rudy Ackerman, encouraged me to take some art classes, which led me to fine art and then design. I was a rare “art/jock” at Moravian. I had exposure to some excellent instructors including Dr. Ackerman, Dan Tereshko, Les Reker, Paul King and I also met a life-long friend in fellow art student Adam Lazarchak, who is in some of my paintings. My more recent painting subjects include my wife Lisa, her kids Macy and Chase, and my kids Zach, Jesse and Ally. Locations include Schnecksville, Cobbler Road, Belleview Road, Wehr’s Dam, Guth’s Covered Bridge, Lehigh Parkway and Ocean City, MD.
I’ve been teaching graphic design, web development and computer science classes at Warren County Community College in New Jersey for almost 20 years. I love learning and teaching programming. And apparently, I’m still a painter.
Richard’s collection will be on display at Lehigh Valley Arts Council (840 Hamilton Street, Suite 201, Allentown) until the end of August. Our hours of operation are 9am to 5pm. Free visitor parking is available behind the Butz Corporate Center, off 9th Street, behind Billy’s Diner.