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Addiction AfflictionWilliam Stoehr
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Mike: Welcome everyone. This is Avoiding the Addiction Affliction, a series brought to you by Westwords Consulting. I'm your host, Mike McGowen.


Mike: We've talked here a lot about substance dependence and how families cope. I guess there's as many ways to cope as there are people. Our guest today found a creative, unique and inspiring way to share his hope for families, friends, and the loved ones of those who have succumbed to their drug.


Mike: At the age of 17, William Stoehr wanted to be an artist. Instead, he became an engineer who ultimately became president of National Geographic's Mapping Business. But 40 years later, he returned to his teenage dream and turned to art. We'll pick up the story from there. Welcome, William.


William: Thank you.


Mike: You know I'm gonna do something that a little bit different before we start our conversation. Many of you listen to this podcast while driving. This does not apply to you. But for those of you who are on an elliptical or sitting in a chair listening, I'm gonna ask you to pause the podcast.


Mike: Go to the end of the blurb or just pull up William's art at And that's william s t o e h r And look at the art. While we're having this discussion, I think it will add to the discussion. Well, William, we wanna talk specifically about your Art For Hope, Stigma and Survival. But you started, I wanna talk a little bit about your career first.


Mike: You were an artist in high school or liked it and then turned away from it.


William: Right. Yeah. And part of that, okay, so here's the high school story. So this is 1965 when I'm maybe thinking about college. And I, I really wanted to go to an art school, and when I was talking to my high school guidance counselor with my parents. He suggested that I go down to the local newspaper.


William: It was called the Burlington Standard Press, and I sit down with their illustrator who drew little illustrations for ads for the local stores. And I'm thinking, you know, I'm thinking William de Kooning in Jackson Pollock, and these guys are thinking illustrations for Elsie's Dress Shop.


Mike: [laugh]


William: And as it turned out, I couldn't really afford a regular art school and I really didn't know what was available at other schools.


William: So I just kind of sat back and didn't think much more about it. And one day my high school drafting teacher came up to me and he said, "So, Bill, are you thinking about college?" And I kind of shrugged my shoulders and he said, "Well, why don't you think about the place I went to?" It's called Stout State and it's in northern Wisconsin.


William: And so I applied, and before I know it, my dad was dropping me off at the dormitory and I was off on a different career in an industrial oriented program. And so I didn't even think about art. You know, I mean, when I say that I didn't think about creating it. So my wife and I, through our various jobs, have traveled a lot around the world and we were visiting all the great museums and always was admiring it and looking at it, but I just didn't get involved with it.


William: And so then when I turned 54, I said, you know, 55 is coming up here pretty quick, and that would give me a lot of time to have a second career, and why not do what I wanted to do as a teenager? So I turned in my resignation to the best job I ever had, and I said, I'm leaving in a year. And they said, well, how about two years?


William: And I said, okay. At 56 I embarked on an art career. And we were living half the year in the Virgin Islands, and so that's where I started painting. And so I was painting these very colorful paintings and dancing girls. [laugh] And they sold very well. And it just wasn't feeding my soul. So I started working in little symbols and dealing with some issues that maybe dealt with victimhood.


Mike: Mm-hmm.


William: And I was working those in and people were responding to that. And the problem was, is I was not really focused and specific. And one day this little voice in the back of my head asked me, "Bill, what good is your art? What are you really accomplishing?" And so I started thinking more about really focusing on something that dealt with a major issue.


William: And I was really starting to deal with issues of war and sexual abuse and addiction and a whole range of things. And then one day the voice came again and said, "What do you really know about all these things?" Well, it turns out I knew about addiction and I knew about being a witness to my sister's addiction, which had been going on for probably 40 years at that point.


William: Maybe, yeah, probably close to four, let's say 30 years. And I was a witness to that. And I was a witness to the stigma that was occurring not only in our family, but in the medical professionals that were dealing with her in the legal profession in our little town. With her friends and I said, "You know, this is really the place to start."


William: So I really focused on addiction and then about the same time our family had now come to grips with how do we deal with this stigma? Can we talk about it? Maybe we weren't talking about it outside of the family, but the family was finally talking about. And trying to figure out how can we work with my sister to get her into care.


William: And we had an intervention. My parents and I took a course in, you know, how do you handle an intervention and what to expect and things of this sort. And so the first intervention was terrible. It didn't work. Second intervention.


Mike: Wait, wait. Stop a minute.


William: Yeah.


Mike: What, what do you mean it didn't work?


Mike: This is Emma you're talking about, right?


William: Yes, yes.


Mike: So what happened?


William: She just got up and left.


Mike: Really?


William: Yeah. And end of discussion. And so.


Mike: Did you even get through your stuff?


William: No, no.


Mike: So she walked in, walked out?


William: Yeah, she was very angry.


Mike: Mm-hmm.


William: And so then the second intervention, she agreed to go into a residential treatment program and as, and I think it was in Racine.


William: I don't recall right offhand. Well, she only lasted a few days. I went to visit her and shortly after that she left because her husband, who also was dealing with addiction brought in a, a bottle of vodka. [laugh]


Mike: There you, there you go.


William: [inaudible] into her. And so she was kicked outta the program. So then years went by and numerous discussions.


William: And one day I said, "I am not leaving your house." And I was living in Colorado at the time and I flew out and on the third day of this lengthy heart to heart where I was not gonna leave until she consented to going into treatment. She agreed and she decided to call up her doctor because she needed her doctor to recommend her to the facility she was going into.


William: So she called him up and I was sitting there as well as her husband. And the doctor said, "Oh, Emma, It's Sunday. I just got home from church with my family. Call me next week when the office is open." So she slammed the phone down and ran up into her room, slammed the door. The doctor only saw her as a long-term drunken addict.


William: An embarrassment to the family and the community with two kids in an empty refrigerator. Rather than the beautiful person she was.


Mike: Mm-hmm.


William: So I went up to her door and I knocked on the door and I said, and I don't know why I said this, she loved my art. And I said, "Emma, I promised to paint your portrait if you promised to go to rehab."


William: The door opened just a crack. And she said yes. She went into rehab and for five years she was, appeared to be sober. It was great. It was wonderful and delightful personality. Loved to garden, loved her grandkids. Then she had back surgery, and guess what they gave her for the pain? Guess what they gave to a known addict, an alcoholic.


William: And shortly thereafter, she was dead.


Mike: Did, did she, I, I'm guessing opioids, right?


William: Yes.


Mike: Did she tell them or did they know that?


William: First of all, I don't know how they couldn't have known that.


Mike: Yeah. Right.


William: But what they probably didn't know and still believed were that opiates were safe.


Mike: Mm-hmm.


William: And they weren't.


William: And so her daughter found her on the floor, dead. So at that point, I decided I was really gonna focus my work specifically on stigma, because everything started with stigma. Because I think if there wasn't a stigma from the medical profession, if there wasn't a stigma from her friends and our family, she'd probably still be alive and so stigma was the place to start.


William: And part of stigma. Getting rid of stigma is normalizing the discussion to get people to actively talk about it. And I see it all the time in my shows. I've done seven shows now that have dealt with stigma that have people talk, have panel discussions, have literature available for people, and people are, strangers are talking to each other and you know, they'll say my spouse, the mother of my children died, you know, x number of years ago.


William: And it's part of them understanding that they're not alone. So whether you're a victim, a witness, or a survivor, you understand that you are not alone and that there's other people just like you, and that there is help. And there is hope, art for hope. So the show, the art show, the way it's built is that people not only walk past the paintings on the wall, but they walk around all of these digital monitors that are in the middle of the floor on stands.


William: As if they were walking through a crowd of people, and what they realize is, is that these people could be their neighbors.


Mike: Mm-hmm.


William: They could be strangers, they could be friends, but they've all been touched in some way or likely to have been a victim or a witness or a survivor. You're not alone. There's help, there's hope.


William: That's the idea of the show.


Mike: You know, you've got a couple of great quotes in your catalog. I, you know, there's a quote from a woman named Julie and she says, "When kids are sick, normally people help the family. When people have an addiction, nobody's bringing you a casserole."


William: Right.


Mike: [laugh] It's so good.


William: It is. And it's, but think about it though. So if you are suffering from cancer or Parkinson's or, or some other disease, people are there to help. You know, they call you on the phone and say anything you need, if you need a ride anywhere, if you need someone to sit with you at the doctor's office, I'm there for you.


William: And they'll bring a casserole. But if you're an addict, somehow that's nasty to a lot of people and they don't wanna get involved. And that's the difference. And so if you normalize the discussion and you get people talking about it, and then people understand that is not a problem with your personality. [laugh]


Mike: Yep.


William: It's a disease. It's a disease of the brain, a disease just like cancer. And so you've gotta come to that realization. And that's a big part of getting rid of stigma.


Mike: Well, it's hard to help somebody, if you're not gonna talk about it, even as a family. If you're embarrassed about it and won't bring it up and avoid talking about it and shush everybody for talking about it, how are you ever gonna get to the point that you got with your sister?


William: Yeah.


Mike: Where she was willing to accept a shot at it.


William: Yes. Yeah. And she took that shot. And if it wouldn't have been for the medical profession and the drug companies, you know, she'd probably still be alive.


Mike: Mm-hmm.


William: Yeah. Yeah.


Mike: You know, you, those of you looking at the art these are big, right? These are huge.


William: Yeah.


Mike: Your paintings.


William: They're seven feet tall.


Mike: Yeah.


William: Yeah.


Mike: Is that the way you do your art or is that deliberate? Are you making a statement with making them that big?


William: Well, it didn't start off, well it kind of did, but, but not really. Okay. So here's how I started off. I decided to start painting faces because one of my art dealers said, you know, you're really good at faces. Why don't you start painting some faces?


William: So I painted some four foot paintings and then I thought, well, I'd go a little bit bigger, I'll go to five foot paintings. And then, you know, when I was that 16 year old kid wanting to be an artist, and if you think about who my heroes were, Jackson Pollock.


Mike: Mm-hmm.


William: He didn't work on four foot paintings [laugh] and Willem de Kooning didn't work on four. They worked on big paintings. So I thought, yep, that's what I'm gonna do. So I started doing these seven foot paintings and, and I loved it. But then an interesting thing happened. So first of all, I think size is.


William: It makes an impression on people and they go close to the painting and they kind of get caught in the environment and they're looking closely at the eyes and then they back away from it and they see a different painting.


Mike: Mmm.


William: And I, I want to have that happen. I want them to become very engaged with the paintings.


William: And so up close you see one thing, you back away, you see something else. Also, I work in some things into the paintings that fully engage you. I wanna engage you both mentally, but also physically. I want you to finish the painting. So most of my paintings will have eyes that feel real to you as you're looking at them.


William: And there might be another feature, like maybe the lips feel real on one, but the rest of the painting is left kind of abstract. And yet when people step away from the paintings and turn their back to it and you ask 'em about it, they say, "Oh yeah, that was pretty realistic painting." Why was it realistic?


William: It was because they finished it in their mind, in the image that they had of what a painting should look like. So when I keep them engaged in the eyes and then give them some realism around the rest of the painting, they finish it and the brain likes that. The brain likes a puzzle. It likes to finish paintings like that.


William: Well, as they're engaged with that painting, they're doing something else. There's an ambiguity about the painting because most of the paintings don't have much of an expression. It's pretty blank, and there's no background, and so there's nothing to give you any context. And the titles of the paintings give you no context other than the name of the person and a number. And the number refers to the number of paintings I've done of that particular person.


William: So there's little or no context. So when there's no context of a painting that they're physically engaged with, what do they do? They apply a narrative, and a narrative becomes their narrative. So if they have been a victim, witness, or a survivor, they in their heads are telling a story about this painting, about what's going on. Or they're feeling an intense emotional response to that painting.


William: So I've fully engaged them in that painting. So, now third thing happens. Because there's an ambiguity about the painting and nothing is really for certain. What happens to many people is they look at the painting once they come back the next day and look at it again, and they have a different feeling about it.


William: They see something different. Now, let me give you a perfect example. I had a painting that was on the internet and I received an email from a woman and she said, "I saw this painting of yours. I love the painting." And she said, "You captured me exactly." You know, and, and a complete stranger. And she said, "And you understood how I feel and you know that I wanna die."


William: So then she said the next day, very next day, I got up. I opened up my computer, I looked at the painting again, and I saw hope in the woman's eyes, and I realized then that I too could have hope. And then she said, "You saved my life." Boom. So as an artist [laugh], that's, that's pretty incredible.


Mike: Wow.


William: But that, that's a perfect example of what I want to happen with a painting.


William: That you look at it, you complete it both physically, you complete it in your mind in terms of the narrative, and then you have feelings about it that might change during the course of your viewing of the painting.


Mike: I know how you found Emma, she's your sister. And how many paintings did you do of emma?


William: Well, here's what happened with Emma. First of all, Emma's not her true name because when I painted the first one, which is the one you see in the screen right now.


Mike: Mm-hmm.


William: It was soon after her death and. I couldn't bring myself to call it by her real name. So she became Emma. And then I did another Emma, and then I started doing some Emmas that didn't necessarily look like her, but Emma became the stand-in for people that have S.U.D. We have substance use disorder, have issues with this, or are a victim, witness, and a survivor. That's what Emma became. So she became the stand-in for that. So I've done I think five Emma's now, and then several other paintings that all fit together in the show and, you know, show as a complete exhibition.


William: One of the things I try to do is I look at the gallery or exhibition venue walls as my canvas, and so all my paintings fit together. The eyes are all in the same place. The heads are all the same size. They're all without context. And so you walk into this being almost assaulted by all of these faces.


William: And then as you go into individual one and then move to the next, it is like a progression. And, you know, it's about that emotional hit that you get when you come in there and boom, you're confronted by these paintings. Many of the paintings, in fact, there's one in particular, it's called "Emma two", so if anybody's online, they can look up "Emma two", and it's just this big black splotch with...


Mike: Mm-hmm.


William: Eyes on it. People break down and cry in front of that painting.


Mike: Mm-hmm.


William: And and they'll come to me later and they'll say, "This captured me exactly. You captured my depression" or "You captured this. This is how I feel." And this is what I'm trying to do with the art. I'm trying to reach people so that they think, they communicate, they know they're not alone.


William: And, and, and that's the idea of these shows.


Mike: Well as a family member who also has had family members with substance use disorder it also has that same impression, like, this is what I see. This is, it expresses my fears. As well.


William: Yeah.


Mike: That's not what you see on the outside.


Mike: Yeah. But it is what you think you're seeing on the inside. Can I ask you a as a non-artist?


William: Sure.


Mike: When I look at, they're so powerful, do you see the face before you paint it or does it come out as you're painting it and second, how do you know when you're done?


William: Sure. For I'm gonna answer the second question.


William: I'm never done, and here's the reason. Of all the paintings I've painted over the years, there are a couple paintings that I wouldn't touch because I think I'm maybe close to being done.


Mike: Mmm.


William: But my mental image of that painting as I'm painting it, and then after I've painted it, keeps changing and I keep looking to make changes to a painting to improve it.


William: Now understand I've destroyed some paintings by accident by trying to improve it.


Mike: [laugh]


William: So that happens, but that's the risk you take because the goal is not to put out a painting that's okay or a good painting. The goal is to put out a great painting, and I'm never gonna do that in my own mind because I keep upping the ante and so, That's why a painting's never done.


William: In fact, I tell people, if you've bought one of my paintings and someone's ringing your doorbell and you look out there and it's me with a paintbrush in my hand, don't let me in the house.


Mike: [laugh]


William: So that's the answer to your last question. Now, the first question I really. I always know I'm gonna paint a face.


William: And I always know where the eyes are going to go, because I'll put a little X there and I'll put a line where I want the nose to go and a line where I want the mouth to go. And that's only that because I want them all to have the same look about them. That they have the, the same, they're laid out in the same fashion.


William: But after that, sometimes I just start with a silkscreen roller. A little roller. I might roll some paint on, start to see what happens. Sometimes I'll take paint, and this is more often how I work. I'll take a little bucket about the size of a coffee cup, and I put in a mixture of paint in there. When I say a mixture, I don't really mix paints.


William: And I'll tell you why in a moment, but let's say I put in some black paint. I add some water to it and I just pour it on the canvas and I watch where it goes. And so it's very in for artists to say that I have no idea what I'm doing or how when I start, but I just start now and I just let the accidents guide me.


William: Well, that's exactly what I do and I always say that I. If, if I'm dripping paint on there, I'll, so if you go back to, you know, Jackson Pollock, I'm dripping paint on there, or I'm pouring paint, I always say that drip may be random and look like an accident, but what I do with it is not, and so that's the idea.


William: So I'm continually looking at these things that are happening and I guide them, like I'll take, okay, so imagine a seven foot canvas on a flat table and I pour some paint on there. I'll grab the end of the canvas. It's stretched. And so that means it has an internal frame. So I'll grab the end and I'll start shifting it, moving it around, and I'll make that drip or that, that big glob or that big bunch of pour of watered down paint, move around the canvas.


William: So I'll guide it. And then I use acrylic paints that dry very rapidly, so I'll dry them or I'll take paper towels and I only use Bounty paper towels.


Mike: Well, the quicker picker upper.


William: Yeah, there you go. And they have a really nice pattern on them, and I'll start dabbing up the paint and creating some patterns.


William: Sometimes I'll let the paint dry, sometimes I'll let it stay liquid and I'll pour another color of paint in there and then watch how that literally snakes through the pool of paint that's there. And so I get all these nifty things. And then I'll start putting in features. So I'll start detailing the eyes.


William: I'll start detailing the nose and the lips and then I'll let the forehead and the cheeks stay like abstract paintings. So if you look at some of my paintings, you could go in there and you could cut out the forehead and frame it. So it's not the case in all of them, but that's one of the things I do.


William: So I'm continually trying to create multiple paintings, combining abstracts with realistic paintings all on the same canvas to make it interesting to the viewer and interesting to me as the artist creating it.


Mike: Well, you know, there's a, obviously there's a genius that I don't possess with this, but you know, as I'm behind William as we're talking right now, is his Emma 1 picture in case you're wondering, and as I look at all your paintings, you.


Mike: As an observer, you ascribe feelings to them?


William: Yes.


Mike: Like I could, I could say, boy, I see desperation. I see despair. I see doubt. Well, but if you look at it, it's pretty nondescript. So I'm putting my feelings about substance use on your picture of Emma 1.


William: Which is what I want to have happen. Exactly.


Mike: And so people see what they experienced.


William: Sure.


Mike: Or are experiencing.


William: Yeah. And so you project on it. You project your own history, your own emotions, your own feelings. And that's exactly what I wanna do. So as an artist, I try to give you the tools to be able to do that. So I don't try to create a photographic image, you know, I create an image that you complete and then you add the narrative to, and you will make it a better painting in your mind than I can ever make that painting.


William: And it's by me giving you the tools to do that.


Mike: You added on the bottom of Emma 1, there's the little tagline, "Dad called."


William: Yeah. Yeah, that and, and he called and told me she was dead. And so it's "Dad called Emma OD'ed. Her soul is at rest." Those are his exact words. Emma OD'ed, her soul is at rest.


William: And that you know, that, that, again, I mean that's pretty leading I guess when I said I don't a usually add leading things to paintings, but that one is, and it's powerful. You know, it's a powerful statement at the bottom of a powerful painting.


Mike: Well, and you mentioned this a little bit earlier, but, and again, as a non-artist, you are drawn to the eyes.


Mike: I suppose maybe that's the case in all the paintings, but even though the paintings are dark, William, there's light in the eyes.


William: Yeah.


Mike: There's always light in the eyes. And, and no matter how large your painting is, those little flecks of light, you're just drawn or I am.


William: Yeah.


Mike: Just drawn to them. Is that, is that your way of expressing hope.


William: Yeah, it's the start. Okay. So if you think about it, and I'm doing things in the eyes that make 'em feel like they're following you, that some people say they feel like they're moving or feel they have a lot of life. So if you were really to look at those eyes very closely, you would say, well, these don't look like textbook eyes out of a optometrist's textbook. [laugh]


William: You know, they just don't, but they feel real. And so what are the things that make them real? But first, why do I do it? You said it. In one way, you meant something different maybe, but you said, we're drawn to the eyes and of course I draw the eyes and so.


Mike: Yeah.


William: That is in our makeup and it, we are either hardwired to be drawn to eyes or we learnt it very early on.


William: And so a baby when they can see, looks to their mother right away.


Mike: Mm-hmm.


William: And so we're built that way. We're also built to look at faces. And so our brains are just gravitate to the eyes. And so if I can make some eyes that engage you, that starts the whole process. That gets you interested in the painting.


William: And I do some things physically as to how I do the eyes. So, for instance, almost all of the eyes have a little bit of orange in them. Now eyes typically don't have orange. And orange I also then put in a little bit of blue, and a lot of times you can't see the blue because it's so dark you think it's maybe black.


William: But here's an interesting thing. If you take blue and orange together, they're what they call complimentary colors, which means they're opposite on the color wheel. If you put those two colors in close proximity at the same value, which means they have the same what they what some people call luminosity, so that there's the same value of light or dark to them.


William: They tend to move. So you've seen these abstract paintings and in the sixties they called it a part.


Mike: Mm-hmm.


William: Where people would draw these lines that were look like they're wiggling, but they, you know, they're really not wiggling. And that is for the same reason they have used complimentary colors of the same value and your brain doesn't know how to deal with it.


William: Now the reason that is, is the value or the shading in a painting goes through into your eyes and to your brain via your rods. So there, we've all remember rods and cones in biology. So the rods are. Tend to be more rods around the outside of your eye in your eyeball, but around the outside, in the center is the cones and the cones see line and color. Well, it turns out you got the rods looking at the value. You got the cones looking at the opposite colors going into different places in our brain, and the brain doesn't know how to deal with it, and it makes it appear like it's moving. In my case, I don't want the eyes going like a wiggle picture like that.


Mike: Heh.


William: But, but I want them to, to have something mysterious about them. And that's what I'm doing. And almost every one of my paintings has that. And sometimes the highlights I put in aren't necessarily white. It might be a very light shade of yellow and maybe there's a little purple in that eye. But I also put in the, the white spots too.


William: And it just feels, makes them feel alive with those little highlights and then with what I'm doing with the colors. Yeah. [laugh]


Mike: Amazing. Where's the exhibition going? This one currently is in Denver. Right.


William: It's going to University of Wisconsin Stout.


Mike: Really?


William: Yep. Yep.


Mike: And you know, you, you know well cuz you went there.


Mike: For those of you listening in other parts of the world, there's a saying in Wisconsin, when in doubt, go to Stout.


William: Go to Stout. Yeah. [laugh]


Mike: [laugh] So, so that's where you ended up going.


William: Yeah. Yeah.


Mike: When is that gonna be at Stout?


William: Yeah, it's the, let's see, the opening is the 14th of September.


Mike: Wow.


William: It'll be up there for a month.


William: And so I'm going to, I'm gonna be the artist taking over there. They call it the Furlong Gallery. And to those of you, this might surprise many of you, and it surprised me. Stout. University of Wisconsin Stout has the largest art program in the upper Midwest. They really focused on it. And by art that's not just fine arts, but it, it is dealing with a whole range of everything from things that you can do on the web and industrial design and a whole range of things.


William: But when it comes to art and design and this whole realm of it, Stout's got the largest school. So I'll be showing at the Furlong Gallery and then during the course of the week, not only will I be talking to, I'm gonna stay there a week. Not only will I be talking to art students, but I'm gonna be executive in residence, and that's because of my past career.


William: And so I'll be talking to faculty and students that are dealing with non-art related career paths. And so it's gonna be a very busy week and I'm really excited for it. So Stout's a great place. It was perfect for me.


Mike: Well, I will absolutely be up there and probably bring this with me and maybe talk to some of the folks who are viewing the art for their reaction.


William: Yeah. Okay, great.


Mike: And, and we'll, we'll get outta here on this one. William has always been painting large objects. When we're off the air. Oh, your first painting didn't have anything to do with faces.


William: Yeah. No, no, not at all. When I started painting, I was doing small maybe the size of my computer screen.


William: No, it's a laptop I'm looking at you on. So it's a fairly small screen and it was pretty bad. And, and then I tried some landscapes and those were really bad and they weren't any fun for me to do. Now having said that, you know, I have friends who do landscapes that are just mind boggling good with you know, they're just got a great feel about them.


William: And, but that just wasn't me. And so I started doing nudes and full figures. And the reason I did that is one of my, two of my art friends said to me, "If you really wanna be an artist, you gotta know how to draw the figure" and the reason, and first of all the human body is actually, is very hard to draw.


William: And one of the reasons is, is if you draw a landscape and you draw a tree and you get a limb wrong, no one knows it.


Mike: Mmm..


William: But if you get a limb wrong on a body, everyone knows it. And so it's great for hand-eye coordination. And so I started focusing on drawing the body and I got involved in some drawing groups where we would have models and the figure drawing was really good.


William: And since COVID started, I haven't done any more figure drawing just because I haven't gotten together with a group of artists and since then. But a lot of the art groups have not fired up again since COVID and COVID kind of put the kibosh on that. And, but prior to that, I was doing figures and I was always doing figures, but not showing them in exhibitions.


William: At the same time I was drawing the big faces. So I do it as practice and, and sometimes I'll do 'em with the opposite hand just to, because it forces me to see. When I use my right hand and I draw, sometimes I catch myself saying, well, I know how to draw that, and I'm maybe not even looking at the person I'm drawing.


William: And I draw in the ear and draw in the nose because I know how to do it. But if I do it with my opposite hand, my left hand, it's a little harder and I have to really look closely. So when I find myself doing that, I switch right over to my other hand. [laugh]


Mike: Come on now you're just showing off. [laugh] And of course, drawing figures is better than the, we were talking off the air.


Mike: One of the first things William painted was his Volkswagen Beetle, so.


William: Right. Yeah. [laugh] Oh, that's what you meant.


Mike: Yeah. No, no, no. That's great. This is better.


William: Yeah.


Mike: William, I will talk to you again in September, but I want to thank you for joining us today and for those of you in the Colorado area, cause we know there's listeners cuz we've had people on from there.


Mike: Please go see William's current exhibit. For those of you in the Midwest, that's September 14th at Stout. Which is up near Eau Claire. A Menominee is where Stout is, close to the cities. A doable drive from Chicago and Milwaukee. And the snow won't be falling quite yet in Stout.


William: That's right.


Mike: You never know. William, thanks for joining us.


Mike: For the rest of you, please join us next time. And until next time, stay safe. And I think William would say this too, have some conversations. Don't let stigma get in the way of making a difference.

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