This week’s Q & A feature is Sanibel artist and Hirdie-Girdie Art Gallery member Neil Glaser. Keep reading to find out why this architect-turned-painter took up the brush and why the Sanibel lighthouse is featured so prominently in many of his treelined landscapes!
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in small-town Ohio — really small-town Ohio. I couldn't wait to get out of that town, so I enrolled in Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in the country, where I studied architecture. We moved to Sanibel in 2000, although we've been coming to the Fort Myers area for many years.
What's your family like?
Wife of 49 years, Judy, three children — Amy, Susan and Michael, and four grandchildren.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be an artist?
Upon graduation from OSU, I couldn't wait to get out of Columbus. My wife Judy and I journeyed west to Seattle. After two years, we figured we'd seen it all, so we went back to Ohio — where else? We settled in Cleveland which was most definitely big enough. In Cleveland, I worked as an architect designing mostly commercial and institutional buildings. As an architect, I did a lot of sketching and drawing. I only became interested in painting when I got close to retirement and figured I needed something to do to keep out of trouble.
As an artist, how would you describe your style?
Because of my architectural background, I am a realistic painter. I enjoy painting landscapes because it feels good and it’s really hard to screw up a bunch of trees. I do like to include a human touch in my paintings — be it a boat, barn or solitary person on the beach.
Even though I'm often teased about only painting the Sanibel lighthouse, I'll continue to paint it because I like it and it covers up some of the trees I've screwed up.
How long have you been a member of Hirdie-Girdie?
This is my fourth year at the Hirdie-Girdie Gallery. It’s been a great experience to be associated with a group of very talented, award-winning artists. The member artists have become wonderful friends of mine.
When you're not painting stunning works of art, what do you do?
Besides the Hirdie-Girdie, I teach and display my work during the summer at Lakeside, Ohio, a Chatauqua community on Lake Erie.
I also enjoy playing tennis — not well, though I am a member of a Dunes tennis team.