Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sculpture and Architectural Restoration

Everyone thinks of the arts as wild and free.
Everyone except artists, who know better. All of the arts require skills (work) and process (work).

Architectural restoration is technical sculpture.
It isn't about making anything up, rather it's how close can you get your object to match what was.
The pine cone roughed out. 

Here's the pine cone almost finished. Note the pencil center line and horizontal lines.
Paying attention to drawing and constantly referencing these can seem like a student exercise.
You know what? It's makes working faster and more concise.

Overall, it's got a good range of light to dark. Now to tighten it up and make every thing align.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sculpture and Architectural Restoration

Restoration sculpture is detective work, always looking for clues.
Instead of motives, I'm looking for forms, what did it originally like?
This light post capital has a Northwest theme., large pine cones with needles forming a swag.
The cast concrete that has worn down over time, exposing more and more aggregate. Other areas have been chipped and broken.

It would be pretty clear if I had the actual capital in front of me. Wouldn't that be nice?
Instead, working from photographs, I must not only interpret the object but also the image.
Thank god the photos are decent. Sometimes, I never know and must make an educated guess....

Does that black indicate a recess or is it because of form or mold, lichen, moss?
Is that highlight, that bright spot, the original plane? Or a break or bird poop?

  Restoration begins today.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sculpture and Wildlife Rehabilitation

People think of sculpture as art.
Shadows On Stone champions how diverse sculpture can be.
Art, yes, but sculpture is beautiful in how it solves real problems.

Here's working sculpture in the form of veterinary medicine and wildlife rehabilitation. Video by Keith Bubach.
Beauty and the Beak from Keith Bubach on Vimeo.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sculpture and Mark Tipple

Mark Tipple's beautiful photographs are of the ocean, but they're about Eros and Thanatos.
That's Beauty and Death, the quick line between summer play and survival.
Glass Slide #003 by Mark Tipple ©2012  Used with permission of the artist.
That's because Mark shoots the action beneath the waves on the Underwater Project. 

Dark Paradise by Mark Tipple ©2012  Used with permission of the artist.
The Underwater Project  captures the turbulence patterns of waves and swimmers tumbling within them.
Summer Storm by Mark Tipple ©2012  Used with permission of the artist.
Tipple sees his ocean photography as a call to arms, a merging of humanitarian concerns with the beauty of nature. “I realized that humanitarian concerns can’t be divorced from environmental ones – they’re one and the same.”

Click on the links to learn more about Mark Tipple's work or to purchase photos.
My sculpture series, the Nature of Water, is very different from Mark's photography. It is so good to find another artist committed to both the beauty of water and the critical for awareness of global water issues.  His work gives me a larger vision of what I want to accomplish with my new work.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sculpture and Paper Cuts

What happens when you take a flat graphic pattern and sandblast it on to stone?

It's fascinating how that image in stone becomes delicate.
Instead of a flat graphic pattern you see subtle nuances of texture and light.

Wild Rose by Patrick Gracewood ©2012
 Remember this wild rose papercut?
Peter Andrusko, master of all things stone, translated it into both positive and negative images on a 12 x 12 inch Pennsylvania blue stone tile.
This is the negative version with the image recessed.

This is the positive version with the image on the surface.
I'm delighted with both versions so I need your help.
Does one (positive) or the other (negative) read better for you?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sculpture and Proposals

 Sometimes an orientation meeting can be very Disorienting.
........As in realizing that my proposed sculpture won't work with the site.
All of the site orientation talk was of trees and nature, community and history,
the site felt more like this photo.

Yes, there are trees, but there's also a major highway, full of cars going fast.
Then there will be trolley trains, a narrow planting buffer, then a bike and pedestrian "trail".
Trail implies a walk in the woods. Think freeway for bikes and fast, able bodied walkers.

I'd proposed a tall, vertical carving. There's no vista in this section. No one is going to be looking up if it feels like that would endanger your life.

This site needs anchoring and a feeling of safety, a place to pause by stepping out of all the traffic.

Time for plan B.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sculpture and Writing

Winter by Patrick Gracewood ©2012
Here's what I wrote for this public art project. The art will be along a bike and walking trail. They wanted the cover letter to address my professional background and ideas:

Wild birds, both large and small, love the 360 degree view from a good perch at the top of a dead tree. They watch us as we see them. My proposal is to carve a figurative sculpture that becomes a living totem pole with the arrival of birds. The art becomes a metaphor of the daily interaction of people and nature along the Trolley Trail.

The nature of wood is an important aspect of my carvings, I emphasize the grain, textures and tool marks left from carving. The trunk often becomes an integrated pedestal in many of my wood sculptures. The figure grows out of the raw wood as if to say we are part of nature,  For this project, this approach would also serve the practical purpose of elevating the art out of easy reach of vandalism.

I’ve been a professional sculptor for over 30 years and have worked in wood even longer. Creating sculpture, everything from film sets to  historic architectural ornament, has given me a wide range of skills and an understanding of what makes sculpture effective in a public setting.

I collect wood carvings from many cultures, these inform my own sculpture with their meaning and craft. The images submitted show both my finished work and several study maquettes for larger work. It would be wonderful to share my love and knowledge of wood carving with the public with a sculpture designed and created for the Trolley Trail .

Winter by Patrick Gracewood ©2012. He's an old man with a lantern and a raven.
It was so nice to be able to just write it down, revise twice, and be done with the application.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sculpture and Writing

The little mother, detail, by Patrick Gracewood ©2012
Blogging just got me a $15,000 public art commission.

Did they discover my art by reading my blog?
Back story: I was editor for 2 and a half years of the monthly newsletter for the Pacific Northwest Sculptors. That's 30 eight page newletters. I researched and wrote almost every article. As soon as one was done, I started on the next month. It was exhausting, my own work suffered.

I did learn to write, and write regularly. Inspiration was not required, writing was. 
Funny, that's sort of like studio work, showing up daily is the important element of success.

After five people took on the job of producing the newsletter, I decided if I was going to work that hard, it would be promote my own sculpture. This blog Shadows On Stone began on my birthday in 2008.

666 posts later, I'm still committed to writing as if I'm sending you, dear reader, a postcard.
One or two pictures with as few words as possible while still saying exactly what I want you to know.
Writing the winning proposal took me 30 minutes plus six years of regularly writing.

That writing practice allowed my public art proposal to be 242 words. That's half a page to describe my art and what it offers the public. You've got to produce AND be able to edit ruthlessly.

They call it a practice for a reason. 

Daily, weekly, year in / year out you show up and do your work, in your studio and in your office................ and some times, you get lucky.