Born in 1958 in Glendale, California. Raised in Palo Alto, the youngest of five children of Joanna and Robert Gurney (a mechanical engineer). Earned a B.A. in Archaeology in 1979 with Phi Beta Kappa honors at the University of California at Berkeley. Studied painting at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where he met his wife-to-be Jeanette, also an artist. In 1984 they moved to the Hudson Valley of New York State, where they raised two sons, Daniel and Franklin.