This past weekend an attendee at the Illustration Master Class suggested I create a post reflecting upon the challenges of being a professional artist and engaged father – how does one split the time, energy and balance the guilt? (Coincidentally another friend was just asking me this same question a few days ago!)
A productive artist typically requires a tremendous amount of time sequestered in a studio, concepting and laboring on projects, producing promotional materials, and managing an integrated web of social events and communications. This schedule can leave few hours of precious time with a family of young children with growing needs, thus placing pressure to make what ever time spent to be that of high ‘quality’.
Rather than provide advice from unique career conditions, which likely could never apply to another artist’s lifestyle, I thought I would share with you the benefits and products of my family relationship – a display of the love of my children and wife through the paintings which they inspired. Although never fully ‘portraits’, these works are about my family and speak to the complex emotions of being a father and the experiences I could have never understood without raising children.
It is not easy being a father/husband and full time professional artist – traveling to events, conventions and seminars nearly every month and balancing time for the family around school and the weekends. But I am happy to be a father to two beautiful girls and now could not imagine a life without them in it.
Enjoy a peek into my family life…
Knowledge 48″ x 36″ Oil on Panel 2010
Generations 24″ x 36″ Oil on Panel 2012
Majesty of Space 48″ x 36″ Oil on Panel 2007
Progeny 60″ x 36″ Oil on Panel 2008
Search for Mother 48″ x 36″ Oil on Panel 2012
Naomi Giancola 24″ x 30″ Oil on Panel
A Father’s Love (Cecilia) 16″ x 20″ Oil on Panel 2003
Born in 1967 and raised in Colchester, Vermont, USA, art was always a hobby for Donato as a young man, he would steal away into the basement of his parents' home to work on drawings, create his own maps for the game Dungeons & Dragons, paint figurines, read comics, and construct model tanks and dinosaurs. His love of imaginative play dominated his childhood, both indoors and out. At the age of twenty Donato enrolled in his first formal art class, the beginning of his professional training. Immediately after graduating Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Painting from Syracuse University in 1992, Donato moved to New York City to immerse himself in the inspired and varied art scene. Formative years in the early nineties were spent as the studio assistant to the preeminent figure painter Vincent Desiderio, and long days of study in the museums of New York. It was then that his love and appreciation of classical figurative art took hold. He continues his training even now, visiting museums regularly, learning from and sometimes copying original paintings by Rembrandt or Rubens, attending life drawing sessions with illustrator friends and constantly challenges himself within each new project. Pilgrimages to major museums are his preferred reason to travel.
Donato has released a revised hard cover compilation of his works on the theme of J.R.R. Tolkien, Middle-Earth: Journeys in Myth and Legend from Dark Horse Comics.