David Henckel draws elaborate designs and tries to find his foothold in Gresham.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Gresham's David Henckel first began drawing because he was bored, and now it has become one of his passions.David Henckel first dove into the world of art because he was bored, and doodling on a sketch pad provided a diversion.

That diversion soon became a passion.

"Becoming an artist was an accident," Henckel said. "But I've gotten better the more I have drawn."

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - One of Henckel's drawings was made using individual dots arrayed in a symmetrical pattern. Though the 67-year-old Gresham retiree never had any formal training or experience, as he continued to draw he developed his own techniques.

Henckel loves abstract patterns, combining oscillating geometric shapes that spread out from a center point, bound together by vivid colors and symmetry.

"Everybody does water color or acrylics, I use Sharpie markers," Henckel said. "A lot of people tell me my art resembles (Native American) patterns."

Henckel begins every painting with a blank page and no plan. He likes to let things unfold as he works. His first step is to find the center point of his design, where the rest of the drawing will emanate outwards from. Henckel uses rulers to ensure straight lines, and slowly a basic outline will emerge. He then uses his Sharpies to color in sections, and has tools to keep the lines crisp. Finally, he goes back over everything to provide a second-coating that allows the shapes and colors to pop of the page.

His small apartment is filled to the brim with his work, and he is running out of space to put the new pieces.

When he finishes a drawing he has a photographer take a photo of it and expand it onto a framed canvas, which Henckel then displays.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - David Henckel's drawings have different meanings for different people.

His designs have found their way onto T-shirts, canvas bags, greeting cards, calendars, puzzles, posters, coffee cups, metal ornaments and much more.

None of his drawings are named, though when his daughter comes to visit she loves to rattle off different descriptions for the work.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The walls in Henckel's apartment are covered in his work.Every person who looks at his art takes away a different impression. One may remind one viewer of a high school hallway hemmed by lockers, while another sees umbrellas held up against a rainy day.

While his work has been displayed in some local galleries, and he sells some pieces to his neighbors, Henckel has found it difficult to gain a footing as an artist.

"I am shocked by how difficult it has been to break in," he said. "I am looking for someone who can find me connections because right now everything is stuck on my kitchen table."

He's sold about 45 canvas bags and T-shirts, 25 cards and a few drawings. And though Henckel isn't making money on his work, he still loves to draw.

"I enjoy drawing as a stress relief, it relaxes me," he said. "I am planning on doing this until I'm 99."

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Henckel's designs appear on t-shirts, canvas bags, coffee mugs and many other items.

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