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In 1956, one of Richard (Dick) Black's paintings appeared in the Saturday Evening Post.  This picture, which included several animals, was seen by someone in the  Department of Interior who commissioned him to paint "Smokey The Bear."

That same year Procter and Gamble asked him to submit a painting of a genie coming out of a  bottle.  The character that he created was chosen from twenty other entries as  the man who "gets rid of dirt and grime and grease in just a minute" - "Mr. Clean."

Although these are two of Dick's best-known creations, this Philadelphia native's life is one of strong family ties, hard work and numerous national and local awards.  He grew up during the depression, the youngest of six children, and lost his mother at the age of twelve.  After attending The University of Syracuse on a scholarship, as well as numerous art schools, he held several positions in Philadelphia including Assistant Art Director and Graphic Sketch Artist before enlisting in the military during World War II.  His unique artistic talent led him to Wright Field where he painted murals and airplanes in actual military maneuvers based on engineering drawings.  His work helped Congress better understand aircraft capabilities before awarding military contracts.

After an Honorable Discharge from the service in 1947 he worked at a Dayton, Ohio studio.  Since 1950, when he opened his own studio, he has free-lanced painting illustrations for many leading magazines and worked for national and local companies including Shell Oil, BankAmericard, NCR and Frigidaire.  He met his wife, Virginia, in high school and was married for over 59 years before she passed away.  He has three sons (a physician, a middle school teacher, and a successful entrepreneur) and seven grandchildren.

From 1967 to 1982 he taught art part-time at University of Dayton and has taught at Sinclair Community College since 1975.  In his home studio, surrounded by many of his landscapes and portraits, he enjoys working with a variety of mediums including watercolors, acrylics and oils.  Today he mostly paints portraits and is well-known for those he was commissioned to paint of 27 physicians at Grandview Hospital in Dayton.  He is a "Silver Pallette" member of the Dayton Society of Painters and Sculptors, Inc., a Signature member of the Mississippi Watercolor Society, and a member of the National Portrait Society and Western Ohio Watercolor Society.  In October 2004 he received the distinction of Doctorate of Philosophy and Fine Arts.

As he reflects on his life and accomplishments, he is especially thankful for his family and the opportunity he has had to work at what he truly loves...his art.

 

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