At the age of three Richard picked up a pencil and drew his family's living room couch, aka the "Deacon's Bench" (then the rocking chair). Once this experimentation sated his curiosity, he explored other creative activities and re-discovered fine art when he drew part of his dorm room in business college. After finding a business career unsatisfying, he went back to art college and graduated with an MA in painting and a MFA in sculpture, both from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
He categorizes his paintings as abstract impressionist. When starting a painting he has pictorial and thematic ideas he wants to convey and in the act of painting he improvises the corresponding painterly forms. He thinks his process is analogous to a jazz performer who creates variations of a melody while playing the instrument.
The most significant influence to his artistic development are the paintings of Jean-Paul Riopelle. Riopelle is a French-Canadian abstract impressionist who painted with brushes, sculptural impasto, sprayed lines of paint and, most importantly for Richard's development, paint applied with palette knives - Richard's preferred painting technique.
Richard started painting in 1984 and his first paintings were landscapes. Several of his exhibitions, Landscapes and Vistas (Pittsburgh 2005) and Terrains (Slippery Rock 2015), mirror his interest in the genre. In the show at Christine Frechard Gallery, he featured the paintings Rule of Thirds 19, Classical Landscape and Pittsburgh Landscape.
The Rule of Thirds is a 19th century compositional technique to sectionally divide land, sky and water. Rather than divide a canvas into parallel horizontal bands of land, sky and water, like a traditional landscape, he divides paintings vertically with well-defined areas of stripes and textures. Striped area(s) represent the sky or atmospheric conditions whilst the textured area(s) represent the earth and allude to the sky and water. Technically he paints his 'landscapes' alla prima, a wet-in-wet painting technique. Unlike a French Impressionist landscape, he does not paint plein air (out of doors), he paints in a studio. In all, he has been painting with a combination of strips and/or texture over a period of approximately 34 years.