Sebastian Arts Center helping artists draw on real sight with classes

SEBASTIAN – For the second week, a half-dozen artists took seats around a table laden with objects to draw. With pad of paper and pencil, they studied the latest composition – an apple, a wooden box, a wine goblet and a green-glass wine bottle.

“What am I doing wrong?” asked Kathleen Richter.

“You’re not doing anything wrong,” said instructor Richard Gillmor, president of the Sebastian River Art Club, which is hosting the free drawing classes to anyone from the public. “The perspective’s flat,” Richter countered.

“No, it’s not. You’re drawing what you see,” Gillmor replied.

Gillmor later explained that often, beginning artists have preconceived ideas of how things should look. Instead of drawing the shape they see, the brain cancels it out and overrides the reality.

“It’s interesting to see how the brain messes things up,” he said.

Walking around to each of the students, all but one of whom is a member of the Sebastian River Art Club, Gillmor paused at Carlo Ripaldi’s station.

“It looks like a beer glass,” Ripaldi said.

“You’re a beer drinker, aren’t you?” Gillmor asked, not disagreeing.

“I’m glad I’m not paying for this class!” Ripaldi said, eliciting chuckles from his classmates.

“He’s drawing from what he knows!” Terry Pate quipped.

The class, which meets every Tuesday for the next four weeks, had its first meeting on Jan. 11. Instead of a wine bottle, glass, apple and box to draw, the class met Alfred the Aloe Plant.

Janet Schiefer, the one student not a member of the art club, chided Gillmor for the plant, noting that the class got to draw a lot of “dead” Alfred.

Gillmor, at that last class, threatened to bring in Phil the Philodendron, another of his many named plants from home.

Next week’s class, Jan. 25, could prove to be quite different from the prior two. Gillmor told the class near the end of the two-hour session, that he was considering bringing butcher paper and have everyone draw squiggles on it. From the squiggles, the artists would have to draw animals.

The class meets from 10 a.m. to Noon at the Sebastian Arts Center, located at 1245 Main Street, just west of the Historic Sebastian School and City Hall.

For more information about the class or the organization, e-mail

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