Meet David!

Dr. David Solzman is a professor emeritus (geography) at University of Illinois Chicago Circle, an art photographer – the man behind The Affectionate Eye, an author of a book The Chicago River, a talented piano player and a friend of ours. My husband has been friends with David for almost 40 years and I can claim half of that. Oh, we can tell you stories… but we won’t, not here! I will certainly not share the compliments I have received from David through the years, some of which now belong to the annals of family legends, they are that… umm… creative! A true Renaissance man David is, we have a wall in our place dedicated to his art. At the same time while being a person of such great renown he is not opposed to babysitting our cat when we are out of town.

On September 19th we went on a day long boat tour on Chicago River guided and narrated by David. We went out of the river mouth, south on Lake Michigan, up Calumet river, through Cal-Sag Channel, the Sanitary and Ship Canal, connecting to Chicago river again and completed the circle. How can anyone talk for 8 hours, not repeat himself even once, and keep it rivetingly interesting all the time? The amount of Chicago history that David brought to us during the ride was astounding. Here I caught him with his mouth closed for just a second.

#18 of 40. Graphite, Moleskine Cahier sketchbook.

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  1. Reply
    Beth Parker October 5, 2010

    Hi Alex! This is a wonderful portrait and a remarkable tribute to a fascinating friend. Nice post!

    • Reply
      Alex Zonis October 6, 2010

      Thank you, Beth! It was so much fun drawing David simply because of how wonderful person he is.

  2. Reply
    Casey October 5, 2010

    Wonderful, wonderful portrait!

  3. Reply
    Shelly October 5, 2010

    except when you got tired and cold, and just wanted your cat…

    • Reply
      Alex Zonis October 6, 2010

      Yes, it got a bit chilly there in the middle of the day. Weren’t you glad we took all these extra sweatshirts?…

  4. Reply
    lesliepaints October 5, 2010

    What a fun person! I sure wouldn’t mind learning more about Chicago. You are getting better at putting the soul of someone into their portraits. David looks like he could speak in this portrait.

    • Reply
      Alex Zonis October 6, 2010

      I am so glad you noticed that David appears like he is going to start talking again in the drawing! I noticed it too. This was indeed the case when I took the photo, but appeared in a drawing seemingly by itself. There was no intention on my part to make it so. How remarkable this is when the drawing and the personality in it can sometimes take over and become what it is outside the artist’s action. I’ve seen this happen before and it is always fascinating.

  5. Reply
    Carol King October 8, 2010

    I adore this man’s face. He looks warm and funny and smart. I can see why your husband has been friends with him for 40 years. He looks like he’s got 40 years of mischievousness inside him. His smile looks like the cat that swallowed the canary!

    • Reply
      Alex Zonis October 9, 2010

      You just made me very happy, Carol! You have described David perfectly. If you have gotten all that from my drawing, it means to me that I managed David’s personality in the portrait!

  6. Reply
    Carolyn (Mieszaniec) Rodriguez November 19, 2011

    Mischevious…? YES!! he was one of my Geography professors at UIC 1973-1977….the BEST classes ever!!! At that time he sported a full beard and untamed hair!! One day he would walk into class barefoot with a can of beer(!), the next day, he regally marched in with full doctoral PhD cap and gown! Such a unique individual!!!! and a true educator!!! He was well loved then as I know he is now!!

    • Reply
      Alex Zonis November 19, 2011

      Hi Carolyn! So good of you to leave your comment about David here. I guess you recognized him in the drawing – a good thing! I know about many of David’s shenanigans, but not about the ones you mentioned. We are going to have Thanksgiving dinner with him, and I am planning to tease him mercilessly about this :). Thank you for providing me with this material – priceless :D!

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