Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Today is a sad day. 

 November 21, 2023

 Today I have decided not to sculpt anymore, and to destroy all of the pieces I am working on and those in the studio that are finished but not cast.

This is not an easy decision, but one I have thought about for the last year. 

It started over a year ago when I was very sick and almost lost my life. Thankfully I had good doctors and survived, but my mind has never fully recovered. I am still fuzzy and can't concentrate more than a few hours a day, and have lost a fair bit of energy. At 73, they say this is my new normal. Plus when I contacted the foundries I have been working with for decades, I found the costs of casting my work more than doubled in the last few years. 

For those who don't know the process, the artist pays the foundry costs up front to make the molds and cast the work into bronze. The artist doesn't get paid until the work sells, so we have to front the costs for who knows how long. A lot of money out, none in. Work that was to cost $2500 from the foundry a few years ago was now almost $5000. I have seven pieces ready to be cast. 

With these two changes, my health and costs, I just can't do it anymore. I will try and concentrate on my paintings.

One last look at some of the pieces I am very proud of having created. It has been a pleasure and a great learning experience. Time to let my children go.

   - MT





Friday, November 25, 2022

The New Revolutionary War Sculpture Model

 So, when I first started this project in 2017 for the Oregon Revolutionary War Memorial, I created these figures as single images in relief against a red granite wall. Six figures for the six Patriot Soldiers in the war. The Minuteman, Continental Soldier, Militia Soldier, Oneida Warrior, Black Soldier and the Woman Patriot.

As I said in the previous blog, the memorial was cancelled. But I could not leave this project unfinished. My wife and I just got back from France, and there I saw all of these great sculptures created to honor the heroic men and women who fought and died in their Revolution. Very awe inspiring. I had to finish this in that style. 

Here then are my first creations, using  the sculptures I had already done as a base. Still lots of work to do, but I think this is a good start.

Check out my previous posts for a description of each figure and why I chose them.


Friday, November 18, 2022

Time To Catch Up

November 18, 2022

Since last we met, many things have changed.

First, The Oregon Revolutionary War Memorial project is dead. There was not the interest to raise the money to make it happen, nor the interest from people to fund it. Sad to see it go after I spent since 2017 working on it.  

Time to move on. 

I have had one of my new books published this year, Freedom Through Their Eyes. This was a four year project of finding and documenting my ancestors and my wife's ancestors who fought or aided in the Revolutionary War. I was able to find 11 ancestors, and their story is in this 500+ page book, available through Amazon.com. A labor of love that is completed ... at least for now.

On the art side, Nancy and I just spent a week in Barcelona, a week driving through the Normandy and Reims countryside, Monets house and gardens in Giverny, and the cliffs of Etretat that he loved so much, and two weeks in Paris. Very inspiring and rejuvenating trip. The result will be at least a dozen new paintings and a new Behind The Paint book. 

As you can see in the image above, I am also reworking the figures that I used in the ORWM. I am seeing if I can create an inspiring grouping of figures that will represent the quest for freedom during that period. 

Stay tuned as I see what happens.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

ReCasting the Woman Patriot

June 16, 2021

Now that I have the new Woman Patriot maquette done in clay. I have made a new mold and recast her. The clay original and the mold of the first Woman Patriot have been destroyed so there will be no more of her, just the new one. 

In the picture you see, even though I wear heavy rubber gloves when I work with the chemicals to cast the sculpture, the chemical mixture sometimes is more powerful than the gloves. It burned right through the gloves and I got burned. 

Not a chemical burn, but from the heat when the two parts are mixed. It took a bit longer to make the casting than I should have and the heat did a number on the gloves. I go through a couple of pairs a year.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Back to work as a writer ...

May 10, 2021

Working on my next book ... "Behind the Paint, National Parks"

I have written it, from my journal I keep during the trip and revised it several times. The latest draft seems almost there. I have scanned in most of my pen and ink sketches and drawings of the trip and am starting to place them in the manuscript. 

I have done several paintings from the sketches and my photos but I think I need to do about another six or so. I have some really nice ideas and reference, just need to sit down and sketch them out. Working on about 50 sketches so far that I can make into paintings.


Saturday, April 3, 2021

Working away, on the face and dress

 April 3, 2021

I was working away on the face, adding muscles, and age ... she is a bit too young still I think. When something about her wasn't right.

That's when I go back to the ruler and check and recheck my measurements. They were spot on, but I noticed the dress wasn't right. Proportions? Size? The foam was off somehow.

So I quit with the face and started to fill in the dress. Proportions were right, but it looked wrong. So I added a bit here and took some off there and moved this to there and over to here. As it started to fill in and take shape, it was working. 

I have stopped on the dress now that I know it will fall correctly on her body, and will return to the head and face.

Monday, March 22, 2021

The ORWM is missing its true purpose, its true reason to exist.

March 19, 2021, 6:13 am

It has been a restless night. I have watched 2:00am come and go. I look at the ceiling as it hits 3:00, then 4, and five.

I am uneasy, unsettled, there is a feeling of something haunting me, pulling at me. In the back of my mind something is not right. No, something is missing. I have started to sculpt the Patriot Woman for the ORWM, but it doesn’t feel right.

Something important is missing.

Then it hits me. Like the proverbial ton of bricks. That aha moment.

The Memorial is not complete.

The Memorial is missing its true purpose, its true reason to exist. It talks a good talk, but it falls short on delivering its promise. And now I know what it has been missing from the very start.

From its first inception I have spent many hours walking through the Memorial in my mind. As I walked, I added walls, deleted them, moved them around to form a path to follow. I could see the story begin to evolve. From the very first rallying cry of the Join or Die symbol on the floor, I walk over the stars placed in the concrete and around the thirteen benches. I see the changes of thirteen separate colonies becoming states and uniting into one country.

I touch the cool red stone walls and feel and see the timeline of this young experiment, this young democracy this young Republic. I read the words engraved in the stone about the struggles of the people as England tries everything they can to tax them and punish them for their upstart ways. I see how the people rise up time after time, year after year fighting for their right to Freedom. I can see the blood, hear the noises of the battles and feel the resolve as I look into the eyes of the life size bronze sculptures.

The names inscribed along the bottom of the walls are more than just names, just Patriots, they are our fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh great grandparents, our people, our family. Because of them and what they endured we exist, and this country exists.

I reach the end of my journey, the raised dais and see and hear the flags waving in the breeze, my eyes fall to the last words inscribed on the wall.
E Pluribus Unum.  Out of many, one.

In my walk through the Memorial I have traveled through time and have witnessed the birth of our Nation. But I am not satisfied. Half filled, or half empty depending on how you look at it.

The Memorial is alive but it is missing its heart, its soul, its humanity, its HOPE for the future. I can read it, but I cannot feel it.

It is the sculptures. The hope is missing there.

The Woman Patriot is not right. Like the other sculptures she is alone on the end of a wall. The bronze plaque tells her story, the story of the struggle of those who stood up for what they believed in. But it lacks the “WHY”. The hope for a better life, for a better future for those to come. 


New with Kids

So today, after four years since I first put pencil to paper in the design of this ORWM, it will be complete. The family, the child, the future, the promise of hope. The reason for all of this.

The problem of course is I need the image to stop people and have them wonder why she is on the Memorial. To be curious long enough to stop and read the plaque that talks about her contributions and importance in the Revolution. The single figure does that.

If I add a child, say a babe in her arms, will people walk past her because she now is the stereotype woman of the period, dutiful wife staying at home having kids. No interest there.

Wrong message.

How about keeping the same stance, but adding a toddler at her feet? Better, but no. An older child maybe age 5 or 6 in front, half hidden, standing in the folds of her dress? No, too prominent, the child is what you see first and I don’t like just two figures in the design. How about two kids in the background peeking out from behind her, like she is protecting them? Better. I like the three figures forming a triangle. More powerful, stable, and just think of all the symbology people will read into it.

I like it, it works, especially if the first thing you see is the single woman figure and it stops you and as you look closer, you can see there are kids hiding behind her. She retains her stopping power, her character, her personality but another layer has been added to her. That of “she wolf”, the protector, the mother you do not want to mess with.

This panel if it works, is the heart and hope of the Memorial.

 Now to my sketchbook to make it work. Can I pull it off?

I sent this post to a friend and fellow Compatriot and asked his thoughts.His response ... What if you had her holding a book in her right hand a a symbolic reference to Mercy Otis Warren? — and a way of showing that the Revolution was also one of ideas.  Remember what John
Adams said: “The Revolution was in the minds of the people, and it was effected, from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years before a drop of blood was drawn at Lexington.” 

So, I added a book. Made sense to me. 

Say hello to the new Woman Patriot.