I have been busy putting together the framing for the ” 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” drawings exhibit in September, that I mentioned last time. See those drawings in my “Flatwork” pages on this site. I have been negotiating for a couple of possible commissions, which, because I don’t like to jinx these things, will blog about them later (soon, I hope)
Meanwhile, I have been developing ideas for some more small cast/fabricated sculptures with “the man in the suit” figure. So far, nothing has stuck, so I continue to ponder concepts, while working on our home and helping my wife, Ann, with her various furniture repairs for her antique business. More to come!
It looks like my “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” illustrations (which I refer to as “20KLUS”) will be on exhibit for the month of September at the Richland Public Library, located in Richland, Washington. This will be the first showing publically, other than on this web site, of the twelve digitally re mastered prints of the original mixed media drawings. It’s very appropriate to show these works in a library facility, since the art was inspired by the early illustrations of Jules Verne’s famous novel from the late 19th century. I have the Library Director and her staff to thank for the opportunity, and hope the exhibit will spark more interest in these pieces. I am also in the process of working up an exhibition of the original drawings, along with some of my sculptures, and will keep you all posted on that. You can view these illustrations on the “Flatwork” page of this site.
I have the “History Lesson” sculpture on exhibit in the Wenatchee Art on the Avenues public art exhibition this year. This sculpture will be on loan for the exhibit for two years. It is located in an exterior facing display case at the corner of Wenatchee Ave. and 1st. The case has a mirrored backing so viewers can see all the angles of the sculpture. I have exhibited in this event several years ago and am pleased to be included once again. This kind of exhibiting is a great way for sculptors to show off our work. Wenatchee is a beautiful area with a river front parkway that has a number of larger sculptures, some of which are permanent installations in the city’s collection. Come check it out! www.artontheavenues.org
I have been taking up one of my favorite hobbies lately, which is hiking cross-country out in the hills and shrub-steppe environment around eastern Washington State. While “out there,” I tend to feel very much at home and always soaking up whatever there is to see and experience; not just the visual beauty of that landscape, but also the emotions that arise in me, as I clamber around on the rocks and sand. The tenacity of the wild juniper trees that have grown for thousands of years in the dust and stone of this back country. I have watched them survive fire and storms and draught conditions for many years, and, although they have dwindled in numbers, the few remaining have more growth and berries on them this year than ever. Amazing what a little rain in the winter can do! They teach me lessons of survival and strength of character.
While critiquing some of my art, I am reminded of a book that helped shape my philosophy of art making and life, in general: “The Timeless Way of Building,” by Christopher Alexander. Like defining “art,” Alexander has attempted to define architectural designing as more of a spiritual philosophy than as the nuts and bolts of engineering or building itself. To quote him: “It is a process which brings order out of nothing but ourselves; it cannot be attained, but it will happen of its own accord, if we will only let it.” I suppose you could say that when creative people say they are looking for their muse, this is what they are referring to. That inspiration definitely has to come from within each of us.
While the absurdity of American politics goes on… and on… and on, let us not forget our collective humanity. If we lose that, we lose our creativity and any sense of beauty or stewardship in our world, whether it be in the realm of art & culture, environmental concerns, or on the educational fronts. It would seem that many of our country’s politicians have lost this humanity and the idea of working for the good of the collective population, rather than just for big money and a select few.
As an artist, and a community member, I choose to focus on the individual as a representative of the bigger whole: with all his or her eccentricities combined with a sense of larger purpose.
After the seemingly long winter darkness, we now are well into the light of spring! It is a reminder to me of the most fundamental definition of “sculpture,” which is: “the shaping of light and shadow.” Sculpture, like all art forms, is, of course, about much more than just a formal definition of its physical presence, but, at this time of year, with longer daylight, I am brought back to this very basic reality. Without the dynamics of light, we would not physically perceive spacial relationships , color, texture on the surfaces, etc. So; here’s to the light!
Although I blogged about this sculpture back in 2009, when I created the pedestal and re-sited the piece at the then newly rebuilt Richland Public Library, I paid a spring time visit to my old friend, “Dreamer,” the other day. I found that the library staff had moved the sculpture a bit so that: 1. people can actually walk around it (like they’re supposed to), and 2. viewers can see the piece well-lighted and not as just a silhouette against the window. So I took a few photos (above) and enjoyed viewing the piece with a fresh set of eyes. I am still pleased with, not only the marble sculpture itself, but also the stainless steel pedestal that sets off that white Colorado marble so well. The lighting is much better now that the sculpture isn’t right up against the window. So: thank you to Ann Roseberry, Library Director, and her library staff!
As I gaze on the landscape of eastern Washington, I recall “Cosmos” with Carl Sagan, and his description of earth from out in space as “the small blue dot,” which helped me gain perspective on how small our world is in the vastness of the cosmos. We humans live on this small delicate planet and need to act as good caretakers of it. With the backbone of the world so easily visible through the post ice age geology around here, I cannot help but be influenced by that landscape and the forces that shaped it into the living sculpture it is. Some of that influence has definitely played out in the content of my work as an artist over the years, including the recent series of pieces with the man in the suit. There are more coming, and I will share soon!
One of the mundane, but useful tasks for me is to edit my studio storage of: old molds, junk I haven’t used in 10 years or more, and even recycling older bronzes and steel pieces into new works. I guess it’s all part of shedding my old skin and reemerging into the world of spring, which, is right around the corner. The days are getting longer, and the bulbs are emerging through the frosty mornings. The picture here of the worker figure (a secondary casting of the piece I did years ago, located in downtown Kennewick, WA.) is a reminder of the labors of spring time and the following summer growing season, which I am looking forward to. Let’s hope it isn’t too hot for too long!