Artist Douglas Francois Girard of Studio Girard says, "I had a very pleasant childhood and enjoyed exploring the landscape and viewing the varied wildlife that the continent offers but the grasslands and rolling hills of Africa never inspired me as did the mountains of the northern continents. I longed to be in northern forests looking out across a vista dominated by towering mountain peaks. These distant places of my imagination became symbols for me of a bygone era when mankind lived as one with nature in a time free of the clutter and distractions of our age.
When I was seventeen I flew to California to attend Chapman College. During this time I lived with my grandmother who shared her small one room apartment with me. My "studio" was in the small dining area. A year later I was accepted into Art Center College of Design where I was able to study with Burne Hogarth, Richard Bunkall, Dan McCaw and Steve Huston. I graduated with Distinction in Illustration. After graduation I taught art at a private art school, gave private painting lessons, illustrated book covers and painted over a hundred plein air paintings of California's various landscapes.
My studies of mythology increased my love for these faraway places I yearned for as a child. The ancient cultures considered hidden lakes, shady forests, pools of water and high mountain peaks as mystical places where they could feel closer to their gods. It was these places that I really wanted to get closer to. For time in memorial mankind must have stood in awe of nature at these places and been touched by the same spiritual feeling that I felt. This is the fountainhead of my inspiration.
In 1993 me and my wife decided to drive to Alaska. I felt I was losing myself in the contemporary art movements of Los Angeles and wanted to find a way of painting that was more true to myself. There I found a job as an art director for a local design company. This job, as well as new responsibilities of a husband and father, slowed my creativity down. Many a night after everyone was asleep I would find time to draw and paint before falling asleep with my head on the table. I made a promise to himself to always find the time every day to draw or paint. I even set up a French easel in my cubicle at work and painted during my lunch break.
When I finally moved to Alaska I found landscapes that truly inspired me. In the mountains of the Chugach and Talkeetna ranges, I found those cathedrals of stillness I had dreamed about."