Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sculpture and Glass Eyes

Fresh out of school, I modeled figures for the mannequin manufacturer Wolf and Vine/ Greneker.
Instead of creating one life sized figure a semester, I made a new one every other week. And got paid instead of a grade for it.

I loved that job.

At the time they were transitioning from using beautiful handmade glass eyes to cheaper cast plastic eyes. This video by Thomas Leech shows how glass eyes are made. The mannequins use a full sphere eyeball with a small post left on them so that you can position them in the fiberglass head.

The Glass Eye Maker from Tomas Leach on Vimeo.
Video by Thomas Leech on Vimeo

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sculpture and Home

It goes against the stereotype of the chaotic artist, but in order to create, my life needs to be pretty quiet. Dare I say it? Even boring.

Academy Award nominated filmaker, Courtney Hunt talks elequently about how her home in East Chatham, NY. preserves and fosters her creativity.

“My mind is a very busy place, so I need to be in a place that is not. 

I love the wide-open spaces here. They make me feel clear, as if I have more room to think. 

Right now I’m working on a project for Focus Features and sometimes I find myself sitting at the window, just watching. It’s like a movie: always in motion. A squirrel darts across the yard. The mail carrier passes. A rabbit emerges. And always, the change in seasons provides a constant show. 

We don’t watch a lot of TV here but during big rainstorms we’ve watched little tree frogs drop to the ground. And during snow storms, we’ve observed the white as it gathers, layer upon layer, all around us. This kind of quiet is hard to describe. As is a star-filled sky. The other night I was awakened by the sound of a hooting owl. This is not the city."

Interviewed by Bethany Lyttle from the NYTimes article, House Tour: East Chatham, NY. 3/24/2011.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Sculpture and David Bookbinder

It's a bitter cold and grey rainy day, so I'm seeking solace in the photographs of David J Bookbinder.

What I enjoy about Bookbinder's Flower Mandalas is the feeling of structure, of organized forms. The altered photos are not literal representations of a flower. Like a kalidescope, Bookbinder selects aspects and mirrors those to achieve a symmetry that fascinates the eyes.

All photographs © David Bookbinder
David's current subjects include both street and nature photography, but his main interest, both as a photographer and a psychotherapist, is in transformation. Each image captured by the digital sensor can be the start of a sequence of related photographs or a set of transformations from one image into many.

Bookbinder is a photographer,psychotherapist, and writer living in Beverly, Massachusetts.
His website is here.

All photographs © David Bookbinder

All photographs © David Bookbinder

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sculpture and Jason deCaires Taylor's Underwater Sculpture

Atlantis is real.
It's being built as fast as Jason deCaires can make art.

What's exciting is to see how his work is evolving,
not just from concrete life cast's into vibrant wildlife habitat,
but also into strong social commentary on how we are living
and the world we leave for our children.

That his gallery is underwater,
open only to divers and sea creatures makes it funnier and more disturbing. Visit his website

Here's an earlier post on his underwater sculpture

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sculpture and Cappella Romana

Rose papercut by Patrick Gracewood © Patrick Gracewood 2011
Cappella Romana gave a concert called Baroque Christmas in Russia and Ukraine last December.
The vocals were angelic. I closed my eyes through the entire concert to avoid distractions.
Their music is available here.

I finally finished the paper-cut the music inspired, above.
I made a quick sketch for a paper cut of roses on the only paper I had, the program.The church frowns on drawing in their prayer books......

Here's the drawing. The finished paper cut is at the top of this post.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sculpture and Fred Astaire

This Fred Astaire dance clip is still worth watching.
Watch it to see how many ways the set designer and performers change your perception of the shape of the stage.

Alastair Macaulay, NY Times dance critic writes about Fred Astaire's homage to African American dancer Bill Robinson.   From the 1936 film Swing Time.

That last section of Astair and the shadow performers had my head spinning.
How about you?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sculpture and the Romanesque

After visiting the nursing home, I stopped at
Fubonn, the largest Asian shopping mall in Oregon. I was in a mood to see something different.

Pick any country in south east Asia, if it's not the aisle you're in, it is one aisle over.

Couldn't find any almond cookies, the smell of fish overpowered trying to select incense. Over the sound system, Cher was braying out "If I could turn back time..."

I was transported. To the 70's.
As I left the store, I looked at the array of marble statuary outside.
There were really ugly marble horses the size of Shetland ponies. Ditto for dragons, and tigers. Then I saw this trio.

The "Family of God".

I've been looking at a lot of Romanesque art, trying to identify what makes it so quirky and appealing.

This group that would have been a big hit in Prague in 1200 AD.

Contemporary Vietnamese sculptors carving their version of a western European (Catholic)
image puts that quirky spin on all the features
and forms.

$750 with 20% off......... a bargain for "Romanesque" art?

If I bought it, I'd insist on getting the tag too. Family of God #25. There's something funny about seeing it in print. And on sale.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sculpture and The Portland Tribune

A photo of my St Francis sculpture made the front page.

(Let me qualify that: front page of the The Portland Tribune's Home and Garden Section, 3/10/2011.)

Barbara Blossom Ashmun, aka the Garden Muse, wrote about "Gardeners brimming with spring plans" after a visit to recent the Yard Garden Patio Show.

The photo she used is of the Association of Northwest Landscape Designer's colorful booth. Designed by Andrew Babiracki of TerraPrima, its bright colors of oranges and purples make green foliage really stand out.

And at the center of booth and photo? My newest caving. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sculpture and US Imperialism

We were at the state capital dropping off a proposal when we noticed this 1986 sculpture by Robert McGee.

It's made with the best of intentions, honoring all who've served in the US military....but does it really mean what it is saying?

A US soldier with a rifle is standing atop the deserted world. A man, a gun, an empty planet under surveillance.

The large globe is perfunctorily modeled. Gobs of clay smeared randomly, lumpy mashed potatoes for the Himalayas.

No beauty of the seven seas is rendered. Instead grid lines of rational thought. There's not even attention paid to US war sites: Vietnam, Korea, etc

The pedestal allows water to pool around the base, and contributes to the unintentional illusion that the world sphere is deflating.

The sculpture is sited along a green walk, inviting reflection.

It made me think how important it is for sculptors to draw everything out - both forms AND ideas, before beginning modeling.

A good idea may not be the right idea.

Deflating world view.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sculpture and Corinthian Capitals (History)

From the book on Vitruvius by Thomas Smith. Thanks to Steve Shriver of art+works
Wikipedia: Roman writer Vitruvius  (c. 75 BCE — c. 15 BCE) related that the Corinthian order had been invented by Callimachus.

Callimachus was a Greek architect and sculptor who was inspired by the sight of a votive basket that had been left on the grave of a young girl. A few of her toys were in it, and a square tile had been placed over the basket, to protect them from the weather. An acanthus plant had grown through the woven basket, mixing its spiny, deeply cut leaves with the weave of the basket.

The rest is history... oddly the Corinthian capital was rarely used on Greek buildings. The Romans loved it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sculpture and Stone Art Blog

photo by Elle Andra-Warner as seen on Stone Art Blog

Following up the walker post of last friday, Sunny Weiler of Stone Art Blog has a great post that combines horticulture, history, botany, sculpture and the latest in Alzheimer's research all in one post!

It's called Snowdrops, Labyrinths and their effects on Alzheimer's. Take a quick trip to Ireland to see how ancient technologies match up with modern geriatric science.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sculpture and Walkers

The goal: Customize a standard grey hospital walker so that my 87 year old mother in law would notice it and use it.
Dorothy's walker wrapped in bright pink and red tape.
Dorothy loves pink so I bought bright pink survey tape and red duct tape and wrapped it. We took the walker to the nursing home and presented it to her.

Readers, she hated it.

"That's horrid that color! It's ugly." 
"It's shocking pink", I said. 
"It's shocking all right!"

This is a mighty strong opinion from a gracious Southern woman who can't remember that she fell and broke her hip five weeks ago. She couldn't tell you what happened five minutes ago if her life depended upon it.  But she knew she hated that color.

We all laughed about it as I stripped the tape off, returning the walker to institutional grey.

After leaving the nursing home, Mistah David redeemed my work and the evening by saying: "Isn't it interesting that her aesthetic sense is the last thing to go?"

The power of art....
Dorothy (in pink) and the offending walker (also in pink).

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sculpture and the Stylish Blogger Award

I have a confession to make.
I upload my posts to publish up to two months ahead.

Which is good, because behind the scenes there's been a lot to deal with:
two friends in three different hospitals in one weekend.

My 87 year old mother in law fell and broke her hip, so much of our attention  has been to help and reassure her through her surgery and recovery. Oh, and close down her apartment. Daily trips across town. But being with her helps put other things in perspective. Life really is about loving.

(Update: She's up and walking just 6 weeks after the Humpty Dumpty incident.)

 Mark Ruffnerian, of All Things Ruffnerian awarded me the Stylish Blogger Award while the above was happening.  A belated Thank you, Mark. That was a high point in a very long day.

The Stylish Blogger Award is to be accepted under condition of the following rules:

1) Thank and link back to the person who awarded you.

2) Share 7 things about yourself.

• Though I'm passionate about sculpture, in my next life I will paint portraits of the sky. Just color and nebulous forms. No canvas can possibly weigh as much as my sculpture does.

• I love the black and white of printmaking and paper cuts. There's something about seeing the world in black and white that changes my brain.  Trying to make art of a full color world in black and white, that implies all those wonderful shades of grey is a challenge.....

• My other high paying job is as a dancer and teacher of Contact Improvisation. 22 years and still being surprised daily by the form.

• I loath chain letters (esp. the kind that promise riches if you follow through and perdition if you don't)  Receiving and passing on the Stylish Blogger Award for me comes very close to chain letters.

•  Flowers are my drug of choice. I leveled a lawn so I could sit underneath my lily forest.

• I'm a life time gardener. The yard around my studio is becoming a sculpture garden to show my work and supply my habit. (see above.)

• I'm really creeped out by tatoos.  A waste of lovely skin in a such a conforming act of rebellion. More in future post.

• I draw constantly. It's hard to think without pen and paper.

3) Award 10 other bloggers.  I"m working on this, but now it's time to visit the nursing home.