Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Security Guard

I sketched this security guard in graphite pencil at a university student center. When I told him I was an artist, he was glad to hold still for a while. The light was bouncing up from a table in front of him, which darkened the planes of his upper cheekbone, brow, and the top of his nose.

Guards and police officers make interesting subjects for the plein-air sketcher. If they have the time, they’re really nice about letting you draw them.


Steve said...

"If they have the time..."...Hmm...such as officers at international border crossings? I guess you could ask them to take their time while they interrogate you.

Unknown said...

that looks great!!!!

James Gurney said...

Steve, yeah, I know what you mean. Ronald Searle did some incredible portraits of Japanese military guards when he was a WW2 POW on the Malay peninsula. He had to do them covertly or from memory. If the sketches were found on him, it would have been instant death.

But most cops and guards I've met in the US and other countries (including guards at art museums) are really cool people. A lot of them get a little weary of people acting funny around them because of the uniform, and they like being approached as a regular person. A lot of them are really good artists, too, because they're observant by nature.

tayete said...

Nice sketch! But...isn't that ear a bit up?
I don't know if I'd had the nerve to ask a policeman about posing, but it's an interesting idea!

James Gurney said...

Tayete: Good eye...bad ear!

Steve said...

Jim, I was just teasing you about your Nov. 21 posting in which your encounter with a border crossing guard included this:

“Could you make this take as long as possible?” I asked. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to draw your portrait.

Thanks for the Ronald Searle information. I've admired his work for a variety of reasons. You've given me another significant one.

jeff said...

Wonderful drawing.

I like Ivor Hele's work.

Ivor Hele

jeff said...

I forgot to say that it reminds me of Ivor Hele, hence the link.

Will Kelly said...

Great sketch! I love the way the lighting is bouncing onto his face.

Dave H said...

Having spent a couple of decades "on the job" I found this interesting. I think most police officers become guarded by necessity. It's difficult to be "Officer Friendly" and appropriately cautious at the same time.
I never had anyone ask to draw me (we would have something to talk about) but I had several occasions where people wanted their picture taken with me. I always found that a little strange.
I only knew a few fellow artists on the job, but I was always amazed at how accomplished some of my co-workers were in all kinds of fields.
I'm not going to say anything about the ear.

Jeanne Frances Klaver said...

Goodness, this is excellent. I hope the guard got to see it!

Unknown said...

Great job!! Great, great, great!!

James Gurney said...

JFK, yes, he saw it and signed it, but I cropped off his name.

Thanks, everyone for your compliments and feedback.

Dave H, I always wondered what it's like from the officer's POV when you wear the uniform. How do people act different around you compared to the way they do when you're in your street clothes?

Jeff: thanks for the Ivor Hele link. Great stuff.

Dave H said...

Jim, people's reactions to the uniform vary from person to person and venue to venue.
The thing is a lot of people only see the uniform. Early in my career, a pastor at my church, who had taught me in Sunday School, stopped at a checkpoint I was assigned to. He looked right at me, said hello and quickly turned his eyes back to the car stopped in front of him. It wasn't until I called him by name that he realized it was me. I had many occasions where people would tell me what the last trooper that was at their house did, when I already knew because they were talking about me.
I never noticed a real difference in reactions from people that actually knew me, in or out uniform.
An eye tracking study would probably go hat - gun - uniform -face(maybe).