Harry had just turned 106 at the time I saw his photograph featured in the life-section of the local newspaper. Even at that age, he was still full of gumption and had lived what in anyone’s book would be a full life: a merchant mariner, farmer, hogman, orphan.
When people learn that this artwork is from an original pencil drawing, the common response is, “What? It’s not a photograph?”
The greatest challenge for me, artistically, was capturing Harry’s beard. I did not want to use anything but a #2 pencil in this series. But how do you draw a white beard with a pencil? This was a problem. Harry was virtually complete for many months, except for a weird, blank swath of paper between his nose and coveralls. Finally, I remembered a technique that I had learned in a high-school art class. If you are working from another image, you utilize a pair of grids, scaled from the piece you’re working from to the new work you are creating. Harry’s newspaper picture was smaller than a credit card…so I used the technique! Little grid scaled to large grid. Shortly, I’d figured out how to “draw negative.”