He started drawing as a child back in Germany. As an adult he lived and worked in the Puget Sound area but traveled back east and up the coast to Alaska many times for his business. He traded with the Indians in Alaska and particularly enjoyed a place he called "Pleasant Bay".
He was at one point commissioned to do many paintings of boats for the Maritime Museum in Seattle. He also painted china but did it just for fun, didn't consider it much of an art.
Information provided by the artist's great-granddaughter Shelly Swanson