'Bob,' pastel sketch

‘Bob,’ pastel sketch

My favorite art instructor is a local practitioner of figure drawing and landscape, Robert C Schick. He not only teaches adults at Community School of Music and Arts, but has his own work hanging in local galleries, important exhibits, and private homes.

While I have studied portraits with others (Cuong Nguyen, Ray Mendieta), Schick is the one whose presentations made me hungry to delve deeper into the mysteries of portraiture, and especially the pursuit of technical refinement. From him I caught the fever of expressing character by using anatomical detail. His commitment to giving art students an idea of the old European traditions in drawing the human head made him stand head and shoulders over others.

Why? I always knew my efforts would receive a balanced critique. . .including useful suggestions for where to go from there. So his extraordinary level of commitment gave me the idea to ask him to sit for a portrait for me. Without hesitation, he agreed. Now there’s a rare example of student-centered instruction.

First came my two-color sketch on paper. Very similar–but the result of another photo smiling–is the second, full-color effort. The first definitely helped me do the other more demanding approach.

“Not A Bob” was provisional title of this portrait at the Accent Arts framing shop later. One framer failed to recognize his friend and coworker in my drawing while another insisted he knew him. But when asked, to keep up the confusion, Bob himself denied all knowledge. I was in on this plot, but when I picked it up, caved in to say, “This really is a Bob.”