Born in 1957 and raised in New York city, Donald Hershman has an intensity about him that is embodied by his creative interests and expressions. "I have a lot of needs - just being a successful doctor wouldn't do it for me. It's not enough. It's almost a visceral thing. I've got to see a play, I've got to read a book, I have to write, I have to paint. It comes from some other place and it's like a need," he says.
An accomplished surgeon, Donald received his BA in premed with psychology from State University of New York at Buffalo, and trained in podiatry at California college of Podiatric Medicine in San Francisco before establishing his own private practice there in the early 1980s. As he was building his medical practice, Don was also evolving a body of artwork, exploring various media in the form of drawings and paintings, and finding his voice as an artist. While hosting a party in 1992, with many of his new artworks hanging in his home, Donald was invited by a guest, a curator at the Spectrum Gallery, to participate in a group show she was organizing. To his surprise, all of his pieces in that show sold, giving Donald the confidence and inspiration he needed to push on more seriously with his art.
Interestingly, Donald finds the same feeling of flow and satisfaction while painting that he experiences during surgery, only painting is less constrained by time frame and medical concerns. With both surgery and artwork, Donald makes all the necessary preparations to ensure things will go smoothly, and once he starts working finds himself in a Zen-like place where his hands and his mind work as one, seemingly without thought. It just flows.
Donald's artwork ranges from stylized portraits of people he knows, to still life paintings with flowers, to animal portraits and sometimes abstract work. He is invigorated by the whole process of setting up a still life or live model and creating joyful paintings and drawings, in which color, style and composition express his passion and humor vividly. With a solid sense of form and design, Don creates bright vignettes, capturing a true likeness while interpreting scenes with his own flair. Rather than simply reflecting what is in front of him, Donald is creating a place to go to - his paintings translating scenes, people and animals into new, more vivid dimensions.