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Richard Obenchain was born in
Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1944. Because his father designed and built steel mills he spent his childhood moving among the industrial cities of the Northwestern states. He received a Bachelor of Architecture Degree from the University of Kansas in 1967.
His interest in art sprang back to his earliest memories. He first began painting in watercolor and oils in his early teens. His first formal training in art was at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, and although he has taken assorted art courses, mainly through the California University system, he considers himself a self-taught painter.
After college he spent four years in the Navy where, among other things, he served as navigator of the USS Kennebec, and as a U.S. advisor aboard Viet Namese riverboats. The Navy home ported him in the San Francisco Bay area, where he stayed upon completion of his military service. While living there he began a career in architecture, soon abandoned when he started his own business as an architectural illustrator, which allowed him the free time to develop his painting skills. In 1976 he moved to Santa Cruz, Ca. where he first began to network with other artists and to take himself seriously as a painter.
He has held a lifelong fascination with the tropics which began when his grandparents moved to Naples, Fl. in 1959.  While in the Navy he visited Hawaii for the first time. He was especially captivated by the Big Island and the town of Hilo. He vacationed in Hilo annually until moving there in 1988. Richard now lives in Bisbee, AZ., an arts community located in the Mule Mountains of S.E. Arizona. Richard maintains a home with a studio and gallery on a 62 acre ranch in the middle of the Mule Mountains.