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Art Exhibit:

Robert Regis Dvorák:
California Artist, Teacher, and Traveler

By Diannek

Aloha, Robert!
Robert Dvorak on Molokai

I first met Robert a number of years ago when my daughter and I took a course from him entitled "The One Minute Drawing Class." Despite its title, the class lasted six hours. There were probably 75 students in attendance and Robert stood at the front wearing a microphone so we in the back of the room could hear him. He was energetic and amusing while he demonstrated drawing techniques and exercises specifically designed to encourage even the most apprehensive art student. The day went by quickly as we progressed through the program, completing a series of quick drawings that seemed to magically improve right before our eyes.

At one point late in the afternoon, Robert went up and down the rows of students preparing us for his last assignment. We were going to draw tennis shoes. Robert had a huge bag of shoes with him and he pulled them out and threw them to students who didn't happen to be wearing them. Each of us had our very own shoe sitting on the desk beside us to draw. It was at that point that I learned that just about anything in the world can become an interesting subject for a drawing.

Robert ended his one-minute drawing class with a tribute to his mother.   First he showed the students a line drawing he did of her hands, holding a coffee cup.  Then he reminded us that these were the hands that changed his diapers, that packed his lunches, washed his skinned knees and wiped his tears. We reviewed all our drawings, and Robert reminded us that our future creativity is in our own hands.

He closed the session with a short quote from Richard Bach's book, Illusions: "We're never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true."

Those tenis shoes!
"Tennis Shoes" from Dvorak's Drawing without Fear

In 1994 I decided I'd like to start painting again, so I signed up for Robert's Yosemite workshop. I had never been there before so I figured that even if the painting exercises were unsuccessful, the scenery would be pretty. I had painted watercolor years earlier and had remembered those painting days as frustrating and exasperating. Was I in for a surprise. I don't think I've ever been to a more inspirational setting in my life. The whole weekend became an unforgettable experience. And as I look at my sketchbook from that workshop I remember the joy I felt as I became reacquainted with watercolor painting, as well as experiencing the majesty of the park.
Beautiful Yosemite
"Half Dome - Yosemite"                 ©1999 RRD

Since then Dale and I have traveled to Molokai on Robert's watercolor workshops twice and each time I've come away with increased skill and more creativity. Robert begins each day with a few moments of meditation. We students sit quietly trying to erase all bad thoughts to prepare ourselves mentally for the full day of learning. We begin our lessons with a remarkable peace of mind. It seems to help because Robert's workshops are filled with interesting and challenging exercises from beginning to end. And the results are usually pleasing. I've taken a great many artist workshops in my continuing career as a perennial art student, but I always look forward to Robert's classes. He has a special way with students. I would call him an inspired teacher as well as an artist.
lovely small sketches

Here are a couple of sketches from Robert's sketchbook.  He carries it with him at all times.  About his sketchbooks he says: "These drawings and paintings may never be seen by anyone. Most likely they will never be sold.  I paint and draw for the pure enjoyment of creating."

Robert's official resume is impressive. He was a recipient of an American Academy in Rome Fellowship and has received numerous grants. He is primarily a watercolor painter, but he also works with great skill at life drawing and as a printmaker of etchings and woodcuts. In addition he has produced over twenty-two short experimental films, many have been featured in film festivals in the USA, Europe and Australia.   He has had numerous solo exhibits and his paintings, films, and prints are in many private and museum collections around the United States.

Robert has written and illustrated five books: Drawing Without Fear, The Magic of Drawing, Experimental Drawing, The Pocket Drawing Book and Productivity at the Workstation, and he has illustrated two guidebooks, Exploring Half Moon Bay and the San Mateo Coast and Monterey Peninsula Exploring, by Nancy and Neil Evans.

When he's not working in his studio in Pacifica, California, he's on the road, teaching college-level drawing and painting classes and workshops throughout California and Hawaii. Or he's off to Molokai, Yosemite or Greece on his annual watercolor workshops. It's a very full schedule.

Robert produces a periodic newsletter that contains drawing and painting tips, book reviews, a schedule of classes and workshops, including sign-up info.  He can be reached via email: dvorak@youcreate.com or his website www.youcreate.com

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