An Artist in the Making or an Artist for the Taking?

I remember having a love for drawing almost as far back as I can remember (probably as soon as age four). Mom and Dad, and everyone else, I guess, seemed to like what I could do in art class.

I created at night in my quiet basement bedroom, in which my Dad had built a nice little desk area. I’d combine my love of listening to music with my fascination for doodling and painting. I’d spend endless late-night hours immersed in the vast and intriguing world of art and imagination.

Mystic Moon over Frog Lagoon- ERS drawing

These art sessions allowed me ample time, early in my life, to develop a sense of inner-self, time to really think about things, to explore what was going on in my head. Despite the obvious fact that I’m a very social person, I found through art the value of having a very private side. I think it taught me the value of talking with oneself, something that’s as important as talking with others.

Those first inklings of artistic talent surprised and delighted me as much as they did others. I knew as much as my folks did that this was something I should develop. So I certainly got the encouragement I needed. And that was good. Creating art kept me quite preoccupied, and that was good too, especially for my parents. My sketch pad was an inexpensive and reliable baby-sitter and they knew it.

Ocean-Floor Trawler-Tron

Even in the first grade, I was getting requests from students and teachers to share my talent. “Could you draw a picture for the cover of my report on dinosaurs, Eric?” “Hey, Eric. we need some artwork for our classroom bulletin board, can you help us with that?” I liked doing projects like that, and developed confidence from the the recognition it earned me. And I guess a little pressure is good. It teaches you to set goals and crank out the work. But a lot of pressure a lot of the time ain’t good for nobody. Especially me. I like to relax every once in a while. It got to the point where it wasn’t fun anymore. The word spread that I was one of the best artists in the school, then the requests got out of hand. Even my enemies were trying to get my help. What nerve! Soon it seemed like I was always drawing for someone else, never for myself. At this point it hit me that perhaps I had something here. If so many people wanted my artwork, maybe I really did have a viable talent. Maybe there’s a future in this.

Time Tunnel -  Drawing - JPG

I figured it was time to “protect my products,” concentrate on what I wanted to draw, get selective about who I’d work with, and think about how I could use artwork to my advantage, and to the advantage of those I cared most about. It finally hit me that I had a valuable mineral in my own back yard, so I better stop letting anyone and everyone come over for weekly mining parties.

I learned the cruel, hard fact that people will take advantage of you when you have something that’s useful. Even if they mean well, it can strain your time and energy, so you have to draw the line (or in this case, not draw anything). Well, this decision didn’t sit well with some. The school nuns, especially, didn’t like my new-found discriminatory approach. “What do you mean, ‘NO’? We’d like your help with some artwork.” Well, sorry. I gotta start saying no to someone. I’m no longer everyone’s indentured artistic servant! I just took the “free” out of freelance.

The Laughing Guy-Schickler Drawing-HI-RES



Holy Cow!

There once was a work of art who was a cow. And a cow who was a work of art, a piece of work, a one-of-a-kind, you could say. This notorious creature wore all the colors of the rainbow. Her decorator, Alex Knuckles, a student from Mexico attending Colorado University, wrapped her in the vibrant colors and artistic style of his homeland. This cow was born to party, so it made perfect sense he named her “Moocho Fiesta” (“Big Party”).

She had the sense that she was from good stock. In fact, she was worth a barnyard full of pesos, and in America fetched a fistful of dollars.

She was one of many painted cows at the 2006 “Denver CowParade.”  Prior to the Denver CowParade in 2006, this charity fund raising program had visited more than 25 cities around the world, and raised more than $11 million for a variety of charitable organizations.

It helped create temporary public works of bovine art, which were then auctioned off to people who desperately needed some very unusual yard art.

Moocho was one of several dozen Denver cows at the glitzy charity auction event, and probably not the prettiest and most popular in the herd.  But her bidders were instantly enamored by her visual brilliance, even if her head was full of air. Even if she was dumb as a cow.

The purchase of Moocho was somewhat of a fluke.  Other bidders were apparently moooved by more appealing cows, so bidding was sparse on Moocho.  Adult beverages, the charitable spirit of the moment, and a loose arm raising a bidder’s number card quickly turned into a unexpected winning bid. “Moocho is yours!” came the auctioneer’s quick and direct declaration. And with that, a residential plot in the city was about to become a farm.

While the final bid was lower than that on other cows, it was still a hefty amount for a hand-painted, hollowed-out grazer. Besides, walking home, down city streets, towing a life-size cow replica was not part of the evening’s plan. But they made no beef about it and gladly paid the cattleman.

Once situated at her new residence, this color-branded bovine kept the neighbors entertained and was the centerpiece of front-yard gatherings in her tiny pasture in an East Denver neighborhood. On rare occasions, she was known to join in the happy-hour fun, balance a beer on her back, and a pretzel on her rack.

She kept the grass and ground cover neatly trimmed. And she never made a mess. She sought refuge in no barn during many a Denver winter, unwilling to hide her hide, preferring to brave the snow and cold, confident her colors would fend off frostbite.

But over time, Moocho grew tired of her sedentary, confined existence in one small city plot. She tried to ramble. She tried to escape several times. Her owners were forced to chain her up. A cow on a “leash?” I know… it’s sad, pathetic and some might say cruel.

But Moocho had the stamina of a bull, and wasn’t about to be confined. One day she broke her chain, and tried to launch off a large snowbank in the fenced-in back yard.  Cows tip; they don’t jump. It was an ugly landing.

After a few months chained up, Moocho finally came up with a very clever idea. She turned to a whole new strategy. After offering a full year of fresh milk as an incentive, she somehow convinced her owners to grant her the privilege of her getting own USDA-approved wheels. Kind of like when your kid gets roller skates.

It worked! After that, no yard was safe, and Moocho was free to take her big party just about anywhere.

Her former low-commotion days of hoofin’ it around a single yard were over. She was on a roll. She now coasted through life. Milked it for all she was worth. She wasn’t about to let anyone put her out to pasture. Moocho was gonna grab the bull by the horns and find whatever pasture she desired.


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© Eric Schickler Photography

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SolarAquaTerra Germoonincubus

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This piece of abstract art is called “SolarAquaTerra Germoonincubus”

It is an acrylic painting on burlap mounted on wood. I think the name conveys the meaning of the design. Except the last part of the name. That deserves an explanation for sure.

My design began in the center of the yellow “solar” circle. However, inside the circle are two corresponding faces–faces of the moon.  In the spirit of celestial companionship and procreation: a man-in-the-moon and a female-in-the-moon.  The profile was inspired by a necklace given to me by a high school girlfriend. It was a half-moon with a face on it. I still have it.

From the sun and moon flowed  various subterranean elements (volcanic, aquatic and mineral) then ground surfaces, and a sky.

Rounding off the earthly processional is a germinating plant, which springs forth from the ground.

This painting is interesting because it can be tilted in any of four directions and be viewed as four different works of art.