The Timeless Way

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.

"Steel & Stone" by Tom 1979, Bellingham, WA.
“Steel & Stone” by Tom 1979, Bellingham, WA.

Politics

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.

New figure in the works
New figure in the works
Another view of new figure by Tom
Another view of new figure by Tom

The Light

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!

Detail of "Moving" by Tom
Detail of “Moving” by Tom

Spring Visitation

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!

"Dreamer" at the Richland Public Library
“Dreamer” at the Richland Public Library
"Dreamer" the other side
“Dreamer” the other side

“The Small Blue Dot”

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!

Detail of "History Lesson" by Tom
Detail of “History Lesson” by Tom

Spring Cleaning?

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!

"Laborer" by Tom in our garden next to the studio
“Laborer” by Tom in our garden next to the studio

Up and Running

With the help of the Fat Cow team (my hosting agency), I have the web site up and running again. There are still a few tweeks to finalize the shape of the site, but,meanwhile, let’s move on. I am currently working on creating another series of sculptures with the Man in the Suit. I have a long way to go before I know just how these pieces will look, but I am in the process of molding the plaster original of the figure and sketching out ideas. I have other irons in the fire, as usual, including my on-going search for commissions, both public and private, as well as some possible exhibiting opportunities, and I will keep you informed about those. I’m including a photo here:

Latest version of man in suit with clay dam for mold making to begin.
Latest version of man in suit with clay dam for mold making to begin.

Web Site Troubles

Hello out there, and particularly to those of you who follow my blogging efforts. I apologize for the current condition of the web site. We have been having troubles, including some security issues, most of which have been resolved. That’s the good news. I will be working to reinstate my portfolio of artwork for each of the pages over the next week, so please be patient. There will be more news and great stuff to look at soon. I was born before computer technology and I am learning as I go to maintain the site, and, thus, it takes me a while to get it all done, but I will prevail!

It IS all relative!
It IS all relative!

It’s All Relative

As I bid you all a Happy New Year, I have to say that It is all relative! After going through several major design changes, the sculpture I created a few years ago entitled “It’s All Relative,” has settled into its final form, and less is truly more. The piece began as a slightly larger than life sized figurative sculpture, combining cast bronze with welded stainless steel in a very complicated vertical form. A while back, I dispensed with the stainless steel part of the design and, thus, reduced the size to about 1/3rd of its original mass. This past week, I decided to simplify the sculpture, and boil it down to its most important features that really makes the statement I wanted all along. Now the sculpture is quite small at about 14 inches in height, without the base, and as a whole, has a much stronger design presence.
Who says, we don’t keep learning? I think I’ll make that my New Year’s resolution: to keep developing and continue trusting my intuition. Happy New Year!

"It's All Relative" 2015
“It’s All Relative” 2015

The “Man in the Suit” Series

On the physical aspects of this series of small sculptures, we have the repetition of various components: an apple, bricks, rocks, and, of course, the man in the suit, himself. Some of these small forms are found objects, and others have been modeled-usually in plaster-by me. The balance of the overall design is asymmetrical, and each of the sculptures has quite a lot of implied movement in it.
On the more psychological side of things; each sculpture stands on its own in narrating a story. As a result, each has a different title, and, within its design, has differing pictorial and textual elements. These bits of narrative information stem from my interests in such themes as: global climate change, urban planning, and ancient cultures. With such seemingly serious content, I like to balance all that out with a sense of humor. Humor in the style of the human figure, as well as the use of silly items, like a croquette ball to represent the cosmos, or some other organic system.

Detail of "Water Troubles"
Detail of “Water Troubles”