For most of his life, Dr. Terry Rothstein says, he has enjoyed drawing as a hobby.
As an ophthalmologist, Dr. Rothstein’s career focuses on helping his patients have healthy eyes to see life happening. Outside of work, his hobby helps people to see things differently. His quirky, whimsical art depicts characters who are fun and playful, with vibrant colors, and would seemingly have jumped from the page of a fairytale book onto his paper.
His drawings, carefree and not marked by boundaries some artists confine themselves to, have been mostly for his personal enjoyment and expression, though he has shared some with family and friends over the years.
“I think that for most of my life I was the artist for the high school yearbook, and I did all the pictures. I’ve always liked to draw, and particularly I like to draw fantasy things. I call them my little people,” Dr. Rothstein said. “It’s just something I’ve enjoyed doing these many years.”
One friend finally took a small collection of his drawings and had a picture book made for Dr. Rothstein as a keepsake. The book is called “Dr. Rothstein’s Little People.”
“It was really nice of her,” Dr. Rothstein said.
Otherwise, his works have remained unseen by the general public, with few people in Parsons even being aware of his talents and his penchant for whimsical drawing.
Now his art is on display in downtown Chicago.
“My son, Andy, works for Morgan Stanley in Chicago, and he had a client that owns the Zolla/Lieberman Gallery. I didn’t even know Andy had one of my pictures and he took it over there and the man really liked it and asked me if he could put it in his gallery. I said, ‘Sure.’ So that’s how that happened,” Dr. Rothstein said.
The doctor said he drew the self-portrait only a couple of months before the exhibit opened in May. The untitled 17-inch by 14-inch colored pencil drawing is included in an exhibition of self-portraits called “FACE to FACE.” The portraits are done in various mediums and styles, from photographs to abstract paintings.
The exhibit, which runs through October, can be viewed online at http://www.zollaliebermangallery.com/face-to-face.html.
“Interestingly, when I was at the medical school at Northwestern I walked by there all the time and never much thought about it,” Dr. Rothstein said of the gallery. “Here it is so many years later and one of my little pictures ends up there.”
He said he has never really considered showing them elsewhere.
“I’ve just done them because I really like doing them. Over the years, I’ve just done lots of those. I think I’m working on a Santa Claus now,” he said. “I did one called ‘The Family Tree.’ I never really finished it but there are all these strange little characters all over the place. People would say, ‘tell me about your family,’ and I would so, ‘Oh here, I have a picture.’”