Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on May 23, 1976 · Page 140
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 140

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 23, 1976
Page 140
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Page 140 article text (OCR)

continued types," into the home office to learn how the rest of the agency operated. Lawrence reluctantly returned to Washington. For a year he served as Colby's spe- ' cial aide. "I knew then," he says, "that I'd never have another assignment like the one I had had. I had gotten too much recognition too soon. Ahead of me was a job as a junior officer in an embassy somewhere." . In 1968, Lawrence asked for a leave of absence to marry an Austrian-bom fashion photographer he had met on a skiing trip two years earlier. He also wanted to return to his alma mater, Princeton, to study anthropology. (He had graduated in 1960 with a BA in art history.) His studies were interrupted after a few months' when Paul Nitze, then Deputy Secretary of Defense under Robert McNamara, asked him to become his aide at the Pentagon. A phone caR to h* wife Qotddy, life as a Washington bureau- ,' crat became "senseless" to Lawrence. One December morning he went to a public telephone between a weapons display and the credit union in the Pentagon and dialed his wife. "I told her I'd decided to become an artist," he says. "We went out to lunch and talked some more about it All along srw'd been advising me to go ahead and try. So at the age of 30,1 began a new career." Lawrence attended art school for a few months, but "I left to work on my own," he says. "You can learn things about paper, preparing a' canvas and so forth from art school, but ifs all eyewash. It ends up clouding your development. The real work has to be done by yourself. " "What sustained me when I left the ; umbrella of the 'company' [CIA]," he continues, "was the desire to become an artist Ifs one thing to be dissatisfied . with your, job and another to have something else that you .realty want to do more. I wanted to be an artist." ' Lawrence works at home, often " dressed in a rugby shirt or lumberman's . wool jacket He occasionally takes time out to babysit for his son Gabriel, 6, and his daughter Rebecca, 3, to play tennis or attend a weekly yoga class with his wife. Thought and action He works as a free lance. Art directors from magazines and newspapers come to him with requests for illustrations, although sometimes he goes to them ' with ideas. He generally gets about $300 for a drawing that he'll think about for a week or so and draw in two or three days. Simultaneously, he starts on five A map of Vietnam on the troubled /ace of Lyndon Johnson makes this portrait one of Lawrence's most memorable. oil paintings -- "enough so I'll get scared and really go to work." Lawrence's political portraits differ from the issue-oriented editorial cartoons of, say, Herblock, OHphant or Bill Mauldin. They are more detached, more detailed and less slanted. They are abo less ferocious- and exaggerated than the caricatures of David Levine.. "Levine's work is marvelous," remarks Lawrence, "but he works by exploding parts of the face--enlarging a subject's nose or pulling out his jowls. My drawings don't destroy people's faces. They are more symbolic and less funny. I deal with the public function or image of a person. This image is more real to most people than any thing else. We tend to make mythological figures out of people in public life. I draw and make comments upon what everyone else sees." . Lawrence rarely meets the people he draws "I keep my distance on purpose," he says. "Meeting the subjects of my drawings would make me nervous." Lawrence does keep abreast of politics. He subscribes to lots of newspapers and magazines, dips and files photos and'stories to build up images of people he may want to draw. Women are tough Unfortunately, comments Lawrence, he is rarely asked to draw women. "I love to draw women, but the press doesn't write much about them," he says. "Drawing women is difficult There's something about a woman's face that you can't handle the way you would handle a man's face. There's a flair to a woman's face that doesn't exist in a man's. You can't become sidetracked in a bulbous nose. When you reduce a woman's face to line, you often make her look older and less beautiful. So to do a woman's face well, I think, you must become much more abstract." Meanwhile, he's doing all right, thank you, drawing mostly men. can listen f%, to all CB talk on ? your car radio for only WINEGARD GB MONITOR hear "Smokey" reports, trucker highway talk, road and weather conditions, emergency calls! NEW WINEGARD CB MONITOR converts your AM or AM-FM car radio to a CB Receiver, and lets you listen in on aU Citizens Band channels! UvmupyourlMaiiifi9Myou*iw,«har- · Requto* no Ueanaato operate. you we, (toy or right Fun and «·«- · No cornpHcated wiring. 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