Sacramento-based artist Fred Ekman, who has essential tremor, began drafting and rendering as a teenager for his father’s architectural firm in Phoenix. “It didn’t pay well, but I had so much fun drawing and painting that it didn’t matter,” says Ekman. After completing undergraduate work in fine art and graduate work in education at Long Beach State College, he began a career in teaching and training. In 1964, Ekman, his wife, and two children left for Micronesia for a two-year teaching sabbatical. Ten years later, he returned to America with his family to teach, train and help others achieve their lifetime dreams. Now retired, he paints and travels.
“Many years ago, I felt it necessary to paint exactly on paper or canvas what I saw. Reporting accurately, that which existed in my line of sight, was critical to my success as a painter. Now, after years of studying under master teachers, I look for shapes in the landscape. I look for value differences and color temperatures in every scene. Each time I complete a drawing or painting, I realize how much I’ve learned from that experience. And, how much more I need to learn from my next attempt!” says Ekman. “I guess I’ll always be a life-long student of art. I couldn’t be having more fun!”
In spring 2012, the International Essential Tremor Foundation (IETF) hosted Art in the Garden, a fundraiser featuring original watercolors donated by Ekman. He donated works from his collection for a silent auction and fundraiser to support essential tremor research.