A.F. When did you start painting?
C.D. I did some painting as a teenager. I began painting regularly in 1970 as a student at Yuba College (Marysville, California) while in the Air Force.
A.F. What did you do from 1973 to 1977?
C.D. In 1973, after completing a B.A. degree in Psychology at Cal State, Chico, I came to Houston where my family lived. I worked at a bank for a short time and painted. I returned to Chico in 1975 entering the Masters Program in Painting.
A.F. You said you once thought of going to U.C. Davis for your M.A. Did you feel an affinity to your teachers there? Which of the Bay Area painters influenced you? Which do you feel close to?
C.D. I saw U.C. Davis as "the" art school when looking at graduate schools. They seemed to stress art with meaning. I felt an affinity but more strongly a curiosity about the faculty there. I followed the works of / was influenced by Wayne Thiebaud, J. Raffael, William Wiley, David Parks, Hassel Smith, Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, Clyfford Still. I was most perplexed by William Wiley and Clyfford Still.
A.F. Which artists have you admired or which have influenced your work?
C.D. Abstract Expressionists, particularly De Kooning, Gorky, Kline, Duchamp, Frank Stella, Rauschenberg, Ash Can Painters, Social Realists, Ingres, Delacroix, Rubens, Seurat.
A.F. Give a brief description of the genesis of the painting “Levitating Heart”.
C.D. “Levitating Heart” and “Green Heart” are both products of observations of heart surgery and the moral and technical considerations surrounding heart transplants and artificial hearts. I observed heart surgery with Kay Reul (then married to George Reul). She had been a painting student of mine at the University of Houston.
A.F. How did you come to settle in Houston?
C.D. I “re” settled in Houston to attend graduate school in 1977. I had earlier left Houston in 1967 to enter military service. My parents and four brothers were born in Texas. I am the only non-native in the family.
A.F. How do you relate to the Texas art scene?
C.D. I contend with the Texas art scene, sometimes at arms length, sometimes in full embrace.