Artist of the Month

Artist of the Month, Michael Dora

I first received an award for a drawing in a school contest. I was in the third grade. I decided right then to pursue art as a hobby, then perhaps later as a career.

After I entered college in 1964 as a committed southern California art major, I was immediately struck by 1) how little actual instruction was available, and 2) how student grades were affected by kissing up to the professors. My naiveté was being put to the test. And admittedly, my focus was on having fun, not on studying.

After my third semester of declining grades, I decided to drop out of college (before they could kick me out), and joined the army for three years. I put away my paints and brushes and abandoned the world of art for forty-three years. Then in 2009, for some reason I decided to sketch a portrait of my wife from a recent photo. To my surprise, I was a better artist than I had been in college.

It took me another couple of years to get my drawing techniques ironed out, but it became clear to me that I most enjoyed rendering high-contrast drawings from original photos. I look for images that have been subject to one or more strong sources of light which can result in drama and depth of field.

I’ve considered changing to other media and/or adding more color, but these days with so much attention being given to photography and digital expressions of art, I feel that as an old-fashioned graphite sketch artist I’m a member of a dying breed…and too old to learn new tricks.