To understand where I have come from as a painter, it helps to know something about those who have had the greatest influence on my own career. From time to time, I’d like to talk about those giants. I’ll start with Tom Lea, a legendary Texas artist/author. Tom was a family friend in El Paso. As a teenager, I read his novel The Wonderful Country and copied many of his pen and ink chapter illustrations. When I graduated with a painting degree from Washington University in St. Louis, he graciously welcomed me to his studio to see my portfolio of school work. It gave me my first exposure to the workplace of a professional artist other than that of my commercial illustrator uncle in New York whom I visited the summer I graduated from high school. Tom knew the hard road I had ahead of me and went out of his way to help. He facilitated several portrait commissions, a contact with the King Ranch to make a mural proposal for a bank in Kingsville,Texas, and book illustration assignments with Little Brown & Company and The University of Texas Press. When I applied to graduate school, he wrote such a strong recommendation it probably resulted in my quick exit after a single quarter so I could eagerly get on with my own career. It’s scary to imagine where I’d be without Tom’s wonderful help early on.
Eldridge Hardie’s ART OF A LIFE IN SPORT: Chronicles and images of hunting and angling from the outdoors that inspire and inform my paintings along with thoughts and information about this wonderful journey of art and sport.