On the way up Highway 101 yesterday, we decided on a whim to try and visit Ted Youngkin, our favorite art teacher, who taught us everything we know about perspective (and a lot more that we’ve forgotten). I think of him every time I do a drawing.
Jeanette and I met in Mr. Youngkin's class 27 years ago. He was tough and scary back then, only because he demanded so much from us, and wouldn't stand for anything less than our best. He has been retired from teaching for a long time now. We have exchanged many letters and photos over the years, and I know that beneath that scariness is a real love for his students, based on a desire to see them do well.
It wasn’t easy to find him. I have never had his phone number, and he’s not listed. He has no email or website. No one at Art Center seemed to be in touch with him anymore. I had his address on a scrap of paper, and a guy in a gas station in Solvang found the street on a tattered map. When we got there, it was a gated community.
I rang the house from the gate, and amazingly he answered. At first he thought someone was pranking him. A minute later he met us in his driveway and I handed him a copy of the new book.
He and Martha graciously invited us in. Incredibly, he is still working every day, creating complex drawings of architectural facades in Pilot pen and marker, based on his travels all around the world. He has recent sketchbooks full of drawings, not just of architecture, but also of people.
He asked to see Jeanette’s sketches, and looked through her sketchbook page by page. An hour went by in a moment, but we had to go.
As we drove on north on the coast highway, Jeanette said something that really struck me, and I think she’s exactly right: “Perspective is the basis for all drawings, even figure drawings.”