I have a lot of favorite artists, but the one that is most often at the top of my list of influences is Rien Poortvliet. Many who have heard of him are likely most familiar with his work as an illustrator. His most popular book in the United States is Gnomes. The book that I treasure is his work on Noah's Ark, and if you ever get the chance to page through it, you might agree with me that his paintings do not seem to fit the usual "illustration" category. Not only finished paintings are shown, but also sketches and studies that let you see the world through his eyes as he studied and recorded on the page what he experienced.
Art has always been a part of my life, and I have worked in many different mediums.