CR Is My Best Life Model

March 8, 2017
CR in his armchair chatting with Dick. Tombow calligraphy brush pen and Pentel squeezy brush pen with water-soluble dye ink.


Dick always goes to see his parents on Saturday. I like to go on different days during the week so that they get lots of visits. Sometimes I go with Dick because I will cut CR’s hair, or I’ll go get Phyllis (she’s on a different floor) and bring her down, so they can start visiting right away.

This last Saturday after Phyl  wanted to go back to her room and nap Dick talked with his dad about engineering “stuff” and I listened and sketched.

CR knows he’s being sketched. He talks and sometimes moves his hands, but he’s really very still. He’s always been a very still person as long as I’ve known him. Being still, listening, and then making a point when he finally chooses to speak has always been his approach to conversation. It’s an intellectual power play. It gets people to take you seriously. As long as you have something worthwhile saying, and he always did.

But  now he’s even more invested in being still, because he knows I’m sketching him. And he’s just that little bit of vain, or rather brand sensitive (he’s still protecting his brand as “great thinker”) that he knows if he sits still the sketch will come out better. So he does. And he deliberately doesn’t look over at me once he takes the pose. If I’m right in front of him, staring right at him, he’ll look right through me. It is amazing how good a life model he is.

I believe it’s his way of thanking me for turning out to be such a helpful daughter-in-law. That, and he likes to be sketched.

On Saturday, when I finished he turned to me and said, “Let’s see it.”

He actually yelped in glee. He loved this one. “You’re leaving that here aren’t you?” He asked.

“It’s in my journal, but I’ll make you a print.”

“OK, but see that you do,” he replied.

We all laughed.

What CR doesn’t realize is that he’s helping me.

Dick looks just like his dad (a younger version). By drawing CR I actually get to practice EYEBROWS! It’s easier to sketch CR’s eyebrows because they aren’t bright neon yellow like Dick’s, but white and a bit of gray, melding perfectly with his snow white hair. There is just enough of a shift in the values between his eyebrows and Dick’s that even though they both have deep set eyes CR’s eyebrows are easier to sketch. Practice sketching CR’s eyebrows let’s me develop options for approaching Dick’s eyebrows.

I’m grateful to have such a great life model. We laugh quite a lot.

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