The Reason I am an Artist Today

The reason I am an artist today if because of Kingsley Calkins, head of the Art department during the ‘70’s

I hope someday to collect all his art work currently with his daughter in Seattle and bring it back to Michigan for a show of his works and the students he influenced.

I am a painter in water based media and began developing my skills during a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree program at Eastern Michigan University over 35 years ago. My work represents a love for nature and its organic materials. Working with watercolor’s unexpected and surprising results, my work is unique, spontaneous and full of life. My brush flows over the paper and creates motion, tension, and depth – building the many color layers like veils. This passion for the painting process was influenced by such abstract expressionist icons as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. My greatest influence was my long time mentor and confidante Kingsley Calkins. King was the Head of the Art Department at Eastern Michigan University from 1960-1979, and his lyrical and whimsical work had a strong effect on me. My watercolor paintings are an escape from day to day reality. Extraordinarily unique pieces, they create an exciting visual experience full of surprises and spontaneity. The intellectual side of the brain ensures that the painting has a balance of color, tone, depth, and tension, leaving the artistic side of the brain the freedom to let the watercolor media work its magic. The paintbrush becomes a musical instrument, dancing across the paper in my hand.

Rocky Pisto, Class of 1974