Sunday, September 22, 2013

New Works From our France & Italy Trip

Exciting times.

First, Nancy and I went to France and Italy in June to celebrate our 41st wedding anniversary and we spent our special day in Paris, what a magical city.

After 3 nights in Paris we took the bullet train to Avignon in the Provence region. We stayed there for 3 nights in a great B&B, rented a car and took day trips around the area in search of lavender fields. That’s why we came here in mid-late June, I wanted to see and paint the miles and miles of lavenders. Unfortunately, because of the cool and wet spring, the crop was late, 3-4 weeks late. Drove around the little villages and fields – took many photos and sketches and when I paint the areas, I will add the blooming lavenders. As a painter, I can add anything.

Nancy and I drove to Nice where we left the car, stayed the night and took the train the next morning to La Spezia, Italy and to Vernazza in the Cinque Terre. We spent three days there running around the five little towns on the trails and on the local train. A lot of fun really loved the towns and the whole area.

Then we rented a car and drove to Siena and spent 3 days there. We came to this area of Tuscany for the sunflower fields that were supposed to be in bloom. Again, 3-4 weeks too early because of the cold spring weather.

Nancy is typing up my daily journal and when she is done, I will post it here and you can read all about our adventures.

Since we’ve been home, I have completed 7 out of 10 paintings of our trip. I will unveil them at the Stormy Weather Arts Festival in Cannon Beach, Oregon on Friday, Nov. 1. Also, I have published my sketchbook and journal of our Italy trip in 2011. The book will be shown for the first time also at the show. People who purchased my paintings of that trip will receive a free book, because it shows sketches of the paintings and tells a bit about each one, the back-story. I have found that people love to hear the stories about their paintings and I think they will like this. The name of the book is “Behind the Paint – The First Chapter – Italy 2011.” It will be available in paperback on Amazon for $9.95.

The sketchbook/journal from our trip this summer will be published in the spring and given away free to those who purchase my new paintings. I have decided I will continue to do this with my travel series paintings. 2014 takes us to some of the National Parks in Utah.

Stay tuned in.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Water & Fire are Completed

I am getting ready to unveil two, maybe three completed clay's of this piece for the Spring Unveiling weekend May 3-5 in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Join me at Haystack Gallery on Friday, May 3 from 4-6 pm . 
Water and Fire are completed and Earth is half completed. 

Water -Final Clay
On the west, is the element of Water. I have tried to capture the qualities of Water: emotion, love, compassion by laying her down in a long, smooth textured, fluid pose, her hair winding under her and becoming the water gently flowing over and caressing the rocks beneath her. In the Greek and Christian beliefs she embodies the season of winter which I have depicted with her headband emblazoned with a snowflake. Water’s “tool” according to the Wicca and Christians is a cup which I have her holding and it has two dolphins which are her “animal” sign, and a water creature like her astrological sign of Pisces. Lastly, on her chest is her ancient “elemental symbol”, the triangle with the point down, or could it also be a chalice?

Fire - Final Clay
The opposite of Water on the eastern point of the compass is Fire. She is the opposite in every way. Fire is energy, passion, strength so I have her rising up as a warrior springing into action with her sword, her “tool” in the moment of attack. Her fiery personality is carried through with her spiked hair and active texture on her and the area engulfing her. Her headband carries the sun symbol, her season of summer. The elemental symbol is the triangle with the point up, the opposite of Water. Her sword handle carries the symbol of her astrological sign and “animal” Leo – the lion.

Earth - Under Construction
The south holds the element of Earth. Her qualities of order, stability and maturity are emphasized in a more curvaceous maternal body, seated on a globe holding court with her “tool”, a sturdy staff, and on the head of the staff is Taurus the bull, both astrology sign and “animal” symbol. Her headband prominently displays a leaf, as she is autumn. Proudly on her chest is the elemental symbol of a triangle- point down- and a line running through it.

Air - Under Construction
Out of the north, is the element - Air. Not only the opposite in direction of Earth, but in all other qualities. She is rising up in freedom, creativity and intellect, and carrying her message and intertwined in her flying hair, are birds her “animal”. She has a more youthful and open figure than Earth and on her headband is her season symbol of spring – a budding flower. The “tool” she carries is a light wand with the astrological symbol of Libra. Her elemental symbol, is the triangle with a line through it, but with the point up.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Classical Elements Sculpture Update

It has been awhile since I have blogged on this series, but I have been working on the four sculptures.

To see the latest images look on my web site at this studio link.

You might be surprised to find out the amount of research time that is involved in a piece like The Elements. Hours and hours of searching in books at a library, yes, I am old enough to remember how to do research in a brick and mortar environment using real books and the Dewey decimal system. Then of course there is the all powerful Internet.

The something unique I envisioned was to combine all four element figures into one sculpture, and to create each individual element image combining the beliefs from the ancient Greeks and Romans, Wicca, Babylonia, Hindu, Christianity, medieval alchemy and astrology. It has turned out to be a daunting task, but one that after years of thought and searching is coming together rather nicely. Here is the chart I made up to easily see all the important pieces.

Classical Elements
B= Babylonian, G= Greek, H/B= Hinduism & Buddhism, J= Japanese, T= Tibetan, A= Astrology, W= Wicca, C= Christian

Direction: North  (B,G,H/B,J,T,C)
Season: Spring (G,C,W)
Animal: Bird (W.C)
Elemental Symbol: (G)
Tool: Wand (W)
Qualities: Freedom, Creative, Intellect (G,A,W)
Astrology Signs: Libra, Gemini, Aquarius (A)

Direction: West (B,G,H/B,J,T,C)
Season: Winter (G,C)
Animal: Dolphin (W,C)
Elemental Symbol: (G)
Tool: Cup (W,C)
Qualities: Emotion, Love, Compassion (G,W)
Astrology Signs: Cancer, Scorpion, Pisces (A)

Direction: East (B,G,H/B,J,T,C)
Season: Summer (C,W,G)
Animal: Lion (A,C,W)
Elemental Symbol: (G)
Tool: Sword (W,C)
Qualities: Energy, Passion, Strength (G,A,W)
Astrology Signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius

Direction: South (B,G,H/B,J,T,C)
Season: Fall (G,C,W)
Animal: Bull (W,C)
Elemental Symbol: (G)
Tool: Staff (W)
Qualities: Mature, Stable, Order (G,W)
Astrology Signs: Virgo, Capricorn, Taurus (A)

I find it interesting the similarities between the religions/cultures and how beliefs are intertwined.

The next stage of the sculpture is developing the concept of the piece to where I can start creating and designing the figures. Since I am classically trained, I begin all my sculptures by drawing. Because this is a public forum with includes younger people, I will forgo showing you my initial sketches and just say that I have filled many pages with drawings of many, many figures.

Then I needed to do the metal armatures. This is where I deviated from my initial thoughts. I decided that I would sculpt each figure separately. This will allow me several options in the final piece. First is that if there is an interest in any one of the individual figures, I can easily cast them separately. Second they are supported by their own armatures for more total stability. Third is that by sculpting them separately I have more freedom moving them around each other to create and refine the final piece. Because even though I think I know what the piece will look like, in the end the clay tells me how it wants to look. Over the years I have found if I am smart I will listen to the clay, otherwise I end up not liking it and toss it, or I change it.

I am starting with the Water figure since she lies on the base that will become a rock or cliff that all of the other figures emerge from. That is why the foam base. For the stability of form and it is light weight. Covered with clay it makes sculpting the rock easier.

One of the important parts of the final piece as with all of my sculptures is that with all four figures combined, there is not a front or back to the sculpture. As a graphic designer, I feel that the piece should be seen from every angle, every view and the sculpture should stand as a well designed piece. So in this piece from every side you will be able to see the front of a figure.

And in the beginning there was aluminum wire, galvanized pipe and foam. I’m afraid I did not take beginning photos of Water when she was all wire. Like all of my sculptures I add a heart to the wire frame giving it a soul, then start with the head. The head sets the proportions of the body, 8 heads high, 2 heads wide at the hips and shoulders and 1+ heads wide at the waist, legs are 4 heads long, etc.

Once I have the head formed, I finish the face. To me finishing up the face first - adds a personality to the piece and the rest of the body flows from that.

Then I work on the forms of the body and I work from the inside out. First come the bones then I add the muscles, then the skin. That way it looks more real even though it is an impressionists view I want it to be believable. What is important are the proportions and how the muscles that carry the weight contract and are bulkier while those that don't are in a relax state and are smoother. These subtle changes add weight and movement to the piece. As an artist I'll take it one step farther and accentuate the tension or lack of it and the curves to move your eyes around and through the piece.

I decided that the alchemical sign for each figure will be a tattoo on their chest. 

And here are photos of the other elements as they are now:
   EARTH      AIR