Case Western Reserve University professor inspired by Cleveland Museum of Art to create sketches

Adds artist to career as actor, mime, playwright

CLEVELAND - It might be easy to miss this man, quietly working on a drawing pad as he studies a piece inside the Cleveland Museum of Art.

But those who happen to glance at the paper he's filling with graphite lines are transfixed by what they see: beautifully detailed drawings, replicas of the pieces Ron Wilson chooses to study.

After a decades-long career in the performing arts, this actor, mime, playwright and professor of theater at Case Western Reserve University, decided to get serious about learning to draw.

Wilson studied in France and other local workshops. As he works on a single piece, which can take 60 to 70 hours to complete, he says his "Senses are very open. It's not a meditation, but a place of concentration. So it's exhilarating, not exhausting, which is how I can sit for two to three hours at a stretch without a break." 

As he works, museum visitors often stop to look at his drawings and ask Wilson about his work.

"Sometimes you feel like you're an installation in the museum. You're engaged in the thing purely, with the work and the artist," Wilson said.

Wilson said the work feeds his soul in many ways, and that as he is drawing, he is trying to figure out how the original artist problem solved.

"How did he achieve this figure, or look? Or this draping fabric? It becomes a translation of their problem solving. And you do learn a lot about the artist as you work, because the artist is always revealing about themselves."

What Wilson reveals with his drawings is, apparently, a deeper well of artistic talent.

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