Drawing & Sketching

at ONEgeneration Senior Enrichment Center (OSEC)



Instructor: Robert Lee

Location: Flora Warren Art Center


Learn the fundamentals of drawing and improve your art skills with volunteer teacher Robert Lee in ONEgeneration’s Drawing and Sketching class. Robert majored in Visual Arts at UC San Diego and received his MFA at Cal State Los Angeles. He’s been teaching at ONEgeneration since February of 2016.

Students move at their own pace. Robert teaches the basics to beginners and gives more difficult assignments to those with more experience.

“I go step by step with my students if I see them struggling.” He said. “There’s no point if I don’t help them get better.”

People draw quietly with pencils/charcoal or colored pencils. However, there is also a group that socializes and share about their lives and art projects. Robert is always there to assist or discuss.  Robert gives his students drawings to copy either in their sketchbooks or on single sheets of paper. Drawings vary from a simple still life of a vase and book to a portrait of an African woman adorned with intricate beaded jewelry. When students become more advanced, Robert encourages them to bring in their own subject matter.

“At a certain point, it’s good for the students to start doing what they want to do. But they need to learn the basics first,” he said.

The students have great things to say about the class. They enjoy Robert’s stories about art and how he affably, yet seriously critiques their work.

“[The class is] relaxing. You refresh your artistic abilities. You become more patient, and form friendships in the class.” One student said.

Board-certified art therapist Barbara Bagan PhD. discusses the advantages of art classes for older adults on todaysgeriatricmedicine.com. She reports that Gene Cohen, MD PhD, director of the Center on Aging Health and Humanities at George Washington University in Washington D.C. and the first researcher to conduct a national longitudinal study on the quality of life, found that the arts have a positive effect on health and illness as we age.  Bagan claims the art therapy sessions she’s conducted for groups in the older population offer a wide range of benefits including: reducing depression and anxiety, improving cognition and self-esteem, and fostering a stronger sense of identity.

During class, Robert offers his students tips about mixing colors, discusses art history, art critics and art museums with the students. Music and modern women’s fashion find their way into the conversation. Even after the class has ended, some students stick around to talk about contemporary art with their teacher.

Students are encouraged to bring in their own pencils and erasers. Paper is provided if needed. The class is donation-based and all proceeds go to buying art supplies for the students.