The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Drawing Salon at the Stanley promotes relaxation and focus

Iowa City-based painter and sculptor Robert Caputo gave participants a chance to unwind with a drawing session inspired by artwork in the Stanley Museum.
Aishani Kundu
Iowa City Artist Robert Caputo instructs a participant of the Drawing Salon at the Stanley Museum of Art on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023.

Upon making my way up to the second floor of the University of Iowa’s Stanley Museum of Art, I was guided to a station where various drawing tools were set up on a bench near a pottery display. I scanned the arrangement of pencils, stretchy rubber erasers, and blending stumps.

The Stanley’s monthly Drawing Salon, with this month’s session hosted by local artist Robert Caputo, provides a space for community members to practice creating different art forms. Each session from 2-3:30 p.m. focuses on one selected exhibition from the museum’s collection for participants to be inspired by their own artistic visions.

I grabbed a clipboard, a piece of paper, and a pencil before walking toward the exhibits. Almost immediately, I was greeted by Caputo who encouraged me and the other salon participants to take inspiration from the surrounding exhibits before putting pen to paper.

Caputo shared that his goal was to give participants a chance to “view the museum at a more leisurely pace.”

Participants were encouraged to take folding stools with them so they could take a seat to draw anything that caught their eye. Having no idea what to expect, I thanked Caputo for the tools and surveyed the floor.

The first painting I wanted to sketch was called “Sperrende Kräfte,” which is German for “Locking Powers.” Painted by late artist Hannah Höch, the huge square canvas was composed of bold, opaque lines of paint that addressed the concept of color gradients.

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The eye-catching painting jumped around the color spectrum with its vibrant use of red, yellow, blue and orange. In it, three abstract, human-like faces seem to stare off in all directions; I chose to draw the face on the bottom left.

I mirrored the image as best I could with pencil, but I felt like the sketch couldn’t do the original piece justice unless recreated on a blank canvas.

When I was looking for my second piece of inspiration, I came across another participant, Alejandro Ruiz, a UI graduate student with a Master of Fine Arts in Spanish creative writing.

“[I] just wanted to get myself out of my routine and shake things up a bit,” Ruiz said. He further explained that his experience at the drawing salon was a “mix of both meditation and pushing himself out of his comfort zone.”

Ruiz’s favorite painting in the Stanley’s collection was “Schee und Sonne” — “Snow and Sun” in English — by late painter Gabriele Münter. It featured a person clad in heavy clothes walking past an array of snow-capped houses.

Even though my time at the Stanley was short, I had a total of four sketches on my clipboard by the time the museum closed for the night.

Through this activity, I relearned that if I focused on something I genuinely enjoyed, time never seemed to matter. It was as if the stress from classes was lifted off my shoulders, if only for that specific moment.

The next two drawing salons with Caputo will be held on Nov. 19 and Dec. 17 at the Stanley from 2-3:30 p.m.

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About the Contributors
Isabelle Lubguban
Isabelle Lubguban, Arts Reporter
Isabelle Lubguban is a third-year student at the University of Iowa. She is majoring in English with a concentration of Creative Writing. This is her first year at the Daily Iowan as an Arts Reporter, and she enjoys doing photo and video editing in her free time.
Aishani Kundu
Aishani Kundu, Photojournalist
Aishani Kundu is a freshman at the University of Iowa majoring in Psychology.