American painter David Hettinger began drawing around the age of 8. His subjects were T.V. and movie cowboys. At age 13 he was given a set of oil paints by Mike Spencer, a local artist who ran the barber shop across from St. Joe's School where Hettinger was a student. Formal art training began at the American Academy of Art in Chicago under Joseph vanden Brouck. Under Mr. Van, as he was called, Hettinger learned classical realism and the techniques of the Flemish, Dutch and Spanish Masters. After four years at the academy, Hettinger moved to New York City where he studied with David Leffel and Richard Schmid.
During his two years in Leffel's studio he painted still-life's and figures, always working from live models. He learned the importance of working from life from Schmid and Leffel and to this day attends life drawing sketch groups twice a week to keep his drawing skills fine tuned. Since beginning his career as a professional artist he has had 21 one-man shows in galleries across the country. He is a master signature member of Oil Painter of America. He has won awards for his landscapes, still-life's, and figurative paintings. His work has been reviewed in American Artist Magazine 1993, The Artist Magazine 2003 and International Artist 2004. Forty years of drawing and painting from life have enabled
Hettinger to work up concepts for paintings based on past experiences and life's observations. He often begins a painting without models or references, pulling a scene from a past memory. Models are hired for figurative paintings only after a concept is drawn out on canvas. Hettinger doesn't think of his figurative pieces as portraits or paintings of people but rather of relationships and moments in time. A child asking a question of an adult can inspire a painting. The idea of a peaceful summer afternoon being interrupted by a child wanting to do something or wanting to go somewhere brings a smile to Hettinger.
That smile inspires a painting that will bring Hettinger into a world of possibilities. He ponders the relationship between the child and the adult and the question the adult seems to have trouble answering. Bringing these concepts to life on a canvas are Hettinger's enjoyable challenges. Working up a design for the painting and working up colors for clothing and background are little puzzles to work out. Textures of subject matter and the painting surface are more challenges he accepts. Every painting for Hettinger is a present experience in which he is reliving a past experience. Even his still-life's hold personal memories for him. His mother was a gardener who loved to save plants from the summer by bringing them into the house over the winter. Window sills were filled with potted plants. Now his paintings are of those potted plants sitting on the window sill with a landscape out the window.