my brother & the early years

First off, I have to thank my Mother and Father. They've been lovingly supportive and were incredibly tolerant of that noise that came from the basement.

Also my friend, colleague and brother Greg Morlan who's an amazing guitar player. This clip from the late 80's is a great example of his guitar work - "Insomnia Squad".

Music has always been a part of my life, from my father listening to Gene Krupa - (YouTube) and Chet Atkins - (YouTube) on his early 50's Blonde Maple Philco Hi-Fi to tuning in Gabber - (YouTube) and Glitch on Radio Centraal in my apartment in Antwerp, Belgium to thousands of mp3 files played randomly in the studio.

Music has always been an integral part of my studio environment.

From the late 70's, I've had an ongoing love of Ambient music with Brian Eno and Jon Hassell being favorites.

Lately Loscil and various mixes my daughter sends me from London, England have joined in with Erik Satie , Claude Debussy and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to become the background to which I paint.
(1957-1974)

1957 - was fascinated by the full moon coming through the window at the foot of my crib. This was the first time I experienced *wonder*.

My brother is born. The second time I experienced *wonder*.

1959 - watched my teenage girl cousins practice the latest dance craze using the handle of a refrigerator as their partner. Realized music has this power.

1961 - wanted to start playing the guitar. My parents were told my hands were too small by a guitar teacher.

1964 - won an award for a self portrait that traveled to various libraries and was told I'm going to be an *Artist* by my 3rd grade teacher. During class I'd carve little Easter Island Heads out of blackboard chalk using a straight pin.

Because of the Vietnam War, I'd play hide-and-seek and army (the same thing but with wooden guns) thinking that this is a valuable skill to know.

My parents woke my brother and I up to see "The Beatles" on "The Ed Sullivan Show".

1965 - started taking guitar lessons.

My parents bought me a 1959 Gretsch Anniversary Model Single 6124 (sunburst) with a 1963 Fender Princeton Amp. I still have the Gretsch, the Fender amp was stolen in 1976.

Started listening to "Rubber Soul" which began my love of The Beatles.

Started teaching my brother what I was learning in guitar lessons.

1966 - won first place for a window painting at a local mall on Halloween.

Saw a science show on TV about synthesizers and thought, "I want one of those!"

1967 - my mother bought me a copy of "Days of Future Passed" by The Moody Blues.

First heard "Are You Experienced" by Jimi Hendrix. This was when my brother and I started producing copious amounts of feedback in the basement with the Gretsch and Fender. My Dad once flipped the circuit breaker to the basement to get some peace.

My brother surpassed anything I could do on the guitar and could play a riff the first time he listened to it.

My family would watch the news on TV during dinner. The news would broadcast the deaths in the Vietnam War after the weather forecast with a splash screen reading, "4 Americans - 2301 Viet Cong died today".

Had a friend whose brother came back from Vietnam missing both legs and an arm and another friend whose brother had his arm almost blown off when a mortar-shell struck it.

As a 12 year old I became frightened of the Vietnam War.

1968 - Ken Scrivner and I listened to Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and (later) Uriah Heep until the grooves wore out.

My 7th grade teacher played "Switched-On Bach" in the classroom. My first introduction to what synthesizers could do other that make cool noises.

Started listening to "The White Album" by The Beatles. My brother and I were terrified, yet totally fascinated by "Revolution 9".

Fell in love with John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

1969 - played bass in a band called Stone Ash.

Our family went to the San Juan Islands in Washington where my brother and I explored tidal pools and watched the first man walk on the moon on a little black and white TV in the lobby of the hotel with 30 other people. I loved this place and decided that at sometime in the future, I will live in the San Juan Islands.

Took summer photography and film classes. Would draw caricatures of the science teacher on my desktop and leave them for the next class.

Got a 10 speed bicycle. In the summer I would ride north of Spokane to the Little Spokane River and swim all day.

1970 - took Commercial Arts.

Read "Siddhartha" by Hermann Hesse which had a deep effect on me.

Started to identify with the anti-war movement.


My brother joined The Beatles' fanclub and received in the mail "Electronic Sound" by George Harrison and "The Beatles' Christmas Album".

We both loved the Christmas Album. Electronic Sound was my first introduction to the multitude of sounds a synthesizer could produce. I was blown away and listened to it over and over.

This year my brother went off in the direction of Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and The Rolling Stones and I went off in the direction of Pink Floyd, Yes, Jethro Tull and Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

1971 - had my first experience with lithography, silkscreen, pastels, charcoals, watercolors, oils and acrylics on canvas or watercolor paper.

Shadle Park High School had an excellent Art Department, giving us access to a wide range of media.

After printing with a silkscreen, I washed the screen with turpentine and placed the screen under very hot water coming from the tap. A plume of turpentine steam hit me in the face. I ran outside and vomited several times.

Stopped painting or drawing from photographs.

1972 - won a National Scholastics Gold Key Award for a watercolor.

Jon Ericson turned me onto "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" by David Bowie.

My Vietnam "lotto-ball" was selected, the number was 84. This meant I was surely to be drafted and most likely go to the Vietnam War.

This became the last year of the draft.

Started to become aware of environmental issues.

1973 - was invited to Whitworth Community College for life drawing sessions.


painting on Mount Spokane - oil on canvas

Found that when I went out and painted in the outdoors it was a very enjoyable experience and the painting came out much more alive. Discovered how distance effects objects, removing detail, lightening contrast and creating less saturation.

Continued to learn that actual contact with the subject matter is very important. Would spend hours at the Spokane River painting.

Found that if I didn't have a preconceived idea about a work, it came out much more interesting.


pencil on paper

Had an exchange student from Switzerland in my class who painted abstracts. I had never seen abstracts before and started painting free-form paintings. Later I would find out that these paintings would have been called Abstract Expressionism.

Got turned onto and loved Pierre Bonnard.

Heard the term "Impressionism" for the first time. My first "ism".

Bruce, Rick and I drew and painted constantly, often handing in 30 - 40 pieces each at the end of a semester.

My art teacher gave me a book on "Modern Art", which I still have.

The Vietnam War more or less came to an end.

early 1974 - graduated from high school.

I'd like to thank my high school art teacher, Claudia Schwab (an excellent teacher). She understood that sometimes a teacher can get in the way.

mid 1974 - did charcoal portraits at Expo '74, an environmentally themed World's Fair hosted from May 4th to November 3rd, 1974 by Spokane, WA.

late 1974 - enrolled at Spokane Falls Community College for art classes. Didn't care much for what I was learning and went for two months. The only thing I remember about SFCC was they took role in the morning using your Social Security Number instead of your name. :/


friends and colleagues (1970-1974)
Jon Ericson
(Jon collected my work for decades)
Bruce Bollard
Rick Rice
Kennon Scrivner
karmaright 2021