I learned etching from Gary. He taught me, not only the techniques, but also the mental approach. Art, good art, is not something you just throw off. You come at it like a priest comes to church. You give it your all and you make it as good as you can. Expression is important, because without expression it is nothing. But technique is important, too: technique is the sum knowledge of all the other master artists who have gone before you. And if you're not willing to give it your all in either expression or technique, then get the hell out of here because you're wasting everybody else's time.
Gary and I swapped emails shortly before I came out here to Baghdad. He was pissed at me. He thought I was abandoning my art, my principles, for money. That was not the case, but Gary was never one to hold his feelings back, and I never expected anything less from him. And I always valued his thoughts.
The obituary says that Gary died choosing "scotch over chemotherapy and still beating the estimate by nearly four months." That's classic Gary. "The hell with the doctors, I'm going out the way I want."
If you're an artist, raise a glass to Gary. One of our own, one of our finest, has passed on.