I began painting in college in the late sixties. I was a philosophy
major with a developing interest in art. My future bride, Gay Burrarge,
was an art student, and my mother, Helen, was an artist so I was
familiar with studios. Later I gave the Art Institute of Chicago
a brief try. (I exited during lunch on my first day). I spent a
year at the Oriental Institute in Middle Eastern Studies but eventually
gravitated back to painting. My last flirtation with art education
came at the Evanston Art Center. I studied with Paul Wieghardt for
a short period. He liked to inquire why I used such small brushes:
"Are you going to paint a portrait of the Queen?"
My work through the seventies fluctuated between abstraction
and figuration, often combining both elements.
Early figuration was simple and bold.
Abstraction was all about detail.
Initial influences were post impressionists such as Van Gogh, Cezanne,
Matisse and Dufy as well as more contemporary artists like Tobey
In 1968 Gay and I were married. We traveled to Europe
and spent several months in Tangier. Later that year my father,
Joseph Haroutunian, a theologian, died unexpectedly. This was a
pivotal year that confirmed my decision to become an artist.
In 1971 we moved from Chicago, via Boston, to Maine.
In 1976 a fire destroyed our house, my studio and almost all of
my early work. Gay, our 2 year old daughter Maya, and I were lucky
to escape alive.
An heroic lobster fisherman, Linden Perry, managed to drag several
charred paintings from the inferno.
The last several years of the decade were devoted
to work that focused on Cadillac Mountain,
located in Maine on Mt. Desert Island. An exhibition of this work
traveled to a number of venues from Florida to New Brunswick.