Saturday, August 29, 2009

Race against the clock...getting new stuff cast in time for my first gallery show!

Manitou Galleries in Santa Fe are having a show for me on Nov 6.
Every month or so they team up a sculptor with a painter and have 2 person shows.

It's my first gallery show, so technically everything in it will be new work (since there's no 'last time' to compare it to).
But since my stuff has been in the gallery for a while I'm hoping to get a few new pieces finished in time.
If I had been a bit more on the ball they'd be further along the production process by now, but I'm nearly finished sculpting the last of the new bits.
Tomorrow I should finish a small 4.5" long turtle (bigger than my very tiny, and tiny turtles).
I have just finished sculpting the parts for a mid size bumper to bumper turtle sculpture perhaps about 18" long (my tiny one is 9", my large one is 40" long).
Since there will be wine served, I made a couple of bottle stoppers (turtle and rabbit).
The pink parts are waxes made from molds of my existing sculptures, which I am adapting to make bottle stoppers before Lee makes new molds on them.
And of course I just finished making a couple of tree frogs.

I'm lucky to be working with Lee Wilson, arguably one of the finest mold makers in the country, and he lives just round the corner.
He speedily punched out a bunch of waxes of my newly sculpted turtle shell so I could get busy as a mad wizard sinking them into the griddle to make my swimming turtles.

Here I've sat one of the turtles from my miniature bumper to bumper, and also one of my new size ones on the large base for an idea of scale.
Lee's helping me out by making molds, waxes, and doing metal finishing when the castings come back from the foundry.

Here's a couple of tree frogs Lee's currently making molds on. I'm sure I'll make a lot more, but for now I'm hoping to get these 2 produced in time.

It might seem that a couple of months is plenty of time, but everything has to be molded, waxes have to be made from the molds, they have to be sent to the foundry, invested in ceramic shell, cast in bronze, returned to Santa Fe, and metalworked before having patinas applied, and in the case of the mid size bumper to bumper, assembled on granite bases.
Actually they have to be delivered near the end of October to the gallery for them to work out the display. So less than 2 months.

Not sure it will happen in time, but I've got the best man for the job on my side (although sadly he's stuck with me, not exactly giving him bags of time to play with)!

My website, my Etsy store.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My treefrog

'My treefrog'. Sounds like a 4th grade essay title.
I'm getting to know my little critter, which is a golden treefrog from Asia.
I'm pretty excited about sculpting these (one's nearly done), since I've been nuts about frogs since I can remember.
All my essays were about frogs at school.
A tree frog was the first thing I made in pottery class (we were all supposed to make a mouse).

Funny that now I've started seriously sculpting I made mice ahead of tree frogs. I must have been trying to make amends.

My current frog's a her, since at 3" it's too big to be a boy, but I think of it as a 'he' for some reason.

Probably has something to do with how it eats.
Hardly ladylike.

Picture a demur, sophisticated lady sitting quietly in a restaurant. She suddenly notices a delicious plate of food being set down in front of someone, several tables away.

Now she's focused.
Her eyes glaze over, as if possessed. The conversation is merely white noise now, and with her eyes locked firmly on her target she slowly shifts position in her seat.
With slow, deliberate movements her legs are drawn up, she removes her shoes and grips the front edge of the seat with her toes.
Ever so slowly, her butt begins to rise...


In one explosive move she's propelled like a rocket, slamming through the plate of food at top speed, only to clang to a stop on her back against a piano in the corner which booms a discordant grunt upon impact.

She wipes the dust off the limp asparagus tips hanging from her mouth.
She gulps down her enormous mouthful.
Her head turns quickly, eyes again laser locked back across the room.
Ever so slowly, her butt begins to rise.

A nervous waiter twitches with a tray full of food...

My website, my Etsy store.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My secret weapon and favorite tool for creating sculpture...

A few months ago I answered the question 'What's the one tool you love above all others?' on a sculpture forum.

Here's my answer...

'My computer attached to the internet!
Great for finding reference of everything.
Living creatures, skeletons, anatomy, you name it.
I have a few choice books but you can't beat a computer.'

And here's one great example (click the pic)...

Digimorph is priceless for learning your way around skulls and skeletons.
It's kind of become my secret weapon.
I'm making some more turtles. A stand alone, and a mid sized 'Bumper to bumper'. And probably a new turtle piece or two beyond that.

Being able to spin around skulls and skeletons for an x-ray look inside just can't be topped. It's on a par with having the actual skeleton in your hands.
Better: It's like having a pair of x-ray specs that actually work.
And since the critters are all scanned intact, you don't have to second guess how accurately the skeleton has been re-assembled, since it's still inside the body in the first place.

My website.
My Etsy store.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sprightly down under 2

Here's some pics of Sprightly's most recent trip down under...
Click HERE for last year's antipodean adventure where Sprightly comes face to face with the Sydney opera house.No trip down under is complete without a visit to the house with the best satellite TV reception in the world...

My website here, my Etsy store here.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My favorite art criticism is simply 'wow'.

Any art with a great sense of style, character and accuracy gets my vote every time.

Drape that over a compelling idea and you’ve really got a winner.

I prefer naturalism, but not for its own sake. For me it has to be done well.

The good stuff in any genre is always harder to find (but easy to spot when you find it).

Since I have a great respect for craftsmanship in the arts I am more drawn to work that is stylishly and expertly executed, with great character and flair, and with naturalism as its starting point.

The work can have departed quite wildly in the final incarnation, but I like it better when the initial impulse to create it was inspired by a natural emotion or something else in nature I can relate to.

I usually prefer that to visual work which is attempting to communicate some intellectual notion or mental concept.

For the most part I think words are better at doing that.

Like philosophy for instance.

Which might explain why a critic’s interpretation of some art seems more important than the art itself. When the words speak, but the art doesn’t. And art that says nothing gives the critic more freedom to say what’s on his mind.

A worthy idea for a piece of art could be as simple as communicating an animal or person's character or personality. Of course it could be a good deal more complicated too.

I love it when a piece of art stops me in my tracks with a sense of awe and wonder.

When it seems obvious the artist was inspired, but also skillful enough to pull it off.

That's why my favorite art criticism is simply ‘wow’.