Monday, December 31, 2012

Sculpture and Ritual

I'm busy building another bonfire sculpture for tonight. Too soon to show photos.
Enjoy turning the corner to become part of 2013!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sculpture and Ornaments

Sometimes (especially during the holidays!) done is better than perfect.

This metal golden Japanese fragment had been in a drawer far too long. 
So has this blue glass orb. Inspiration for a sculpture mash-up.

Lovely cap + beautiful blue sphere + large screw eye + Bondo = unique Christmas ornament.
Both objects now are happy together and will live with the Christmas things. 

The top was epoxied onto the glass, then Bondo filled the space, anchoring the large screw eye bolt.
Such satisfaction in restoring a semblance of order to the world.....and having fewer projects.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sculpture and Ritual

What is Art? Is it the object? Or is that an artifact?
Is Art really seeing and seeking relationships, and making them visible and meaningful to others?
Does Art = Connection?
"Shane at Sauvie's Island" by Patrick Gracewood ©2012
I feel like I've been operating in Shaman mode for the last couple of weeks since my friend's son's death. A painting seemed necessary for his memorial.

I'm not a painter, and a portrait needs to be right on. No time for excuses, just begin!
Luckily there was a 34" x 48" wooden frame and extra canvas in the studio.

Working from a blurry photo on the large portrait felt like a conjuring act, a dialog with the dead.
I'd known him from his early twenties. "Why, why, why this?" Alcohol drinks a man.
Early laying out of the painting.
Unlike clay, the paint moves over and past my drawing. Painting isn't about exactitude, it's about layering. Time was limited, so was my palette. Titanium white, paynes grey, umber, ocher, pthalo green, and sienna.

His mother came into the studio many times while I was painting. Sometimes it was too painful for her to stay, other times we'd just sit with tears and talk. One day I asked her to leave so I could concentrate.

Another day she gave valuable criticism, "His ears are too big! The hairline isn't right."
It's amazing that a blurry photo still has exactly the right information of just this person.
That was painful in a funny way as I tried to get my ego OUT of the picture and really see him.

Oh, and pay attention to brush strokes, how is the paint applied?
Painting is not easy. It just has to look that way.
The last brush strokes went on hours before people arrived. No time to get flowers, so I staged   studio plants, green and alive, around the easel, and hung clip lights from the rafters.

Next to a life time of photos, the painting gave focus to the room and the evening. The family gathered around the painting to remember and be photographed with their son, father, brother.....

Don't be afraid to offer your work in service to others. Art really is about making connections.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sculpture and Paper Cuts

A sincere Thank You and Happy Holidays to everyone who visits Shadows On Stone.
Mother and Child papercut by Patrick Gracewood ©2012
I created this congratulations paper cut for a new mother... in 1986.
So nice to be reminded (and like!) what I did so long ago.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sculpture and the Landfill Harmonic

Out of trash and love, the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra is changing lives.

" leaves nobody out. Even those from whom art has been stolen away by tyranny, by poverty, begin to make it again. If the arts did not exist, at every moment, someone would begin to create them, in song, out of dust and mud, and although the artifacts might be destroyed, the energy that creates them is not destroyed." from Art Objects by Jeanette Winterson.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sculpture and St Clare

It is so nice to be asked.

I'd submitted the St Francis sculpture for the Arts Council of Lake Oswego's outdoor sculpture exhibition, Gallery Without Walls. The committee was concerned that the relief is one sided.
(Who knew there were no more wall backed pedestals?)
They asked if I had a proposal to make it double sided.

St Clare by Patrick Gracewood ©2012

I've been wanting to make a companion carving for St Francis. 
The logical subject would be St Clare.*

Above is the drawing for the proposed relief.

* St Clare was one of the first followers of St Francis of Assisi. In the Middle Ages, when women were chattel, subject to men, Clare founded a monastic religious order for women and wrote their Rule of Life—the first monastic rule known to have been written by a woman. Monastic life was a way for women of the time to have control over their own lives.

There can be a lot of history in a small sculpture. Helping to raise a young girl has made me think and practice empowering girls and women. Growing your own food was vital in Clare's time and makes good sense now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sculpture and Life and Death

Art doesn't change a damn thing in this world.

Making art, though, requires you to give your full attention.      So does viewing art.
Weath by Patrick Gracewood ©2012
Careful awareness of minute details and their relationships to everything else can change the world.
Paying attention changes the world by allowing us to be present with what is, exactly as it is.
Vulnerable, willing to NOT have an answer, just living in our questions.

This practice teaches us to be kinder, less reactive, slower to judge and more willing to listen.

Art allows us our questions, our emotions, and sometimes give us new answers to old questions.

Like, "How do we live?"
My good friend's son died unexpectedly. He was 42 years old. I've known him since he was 20.

These cones are so many subtle shades of brown and grey, alike yet so different from each other. Slowly fitting one next to the other gave me a measure of peace and acceptance of this difficult situation. I needed a place to stop and hide from the pain. Making this wreath gave me a focus.

An unbroken circle -with a hole in the center.
A wreath seems a physical metaphor for these emotions. A hole in a whole.

The last thing I'm feeling is festive. But I can practice being present- for myself and those I love.
The cones that have been inside the studio the longest easily release their seeds all over the floor.
.... life begins again.

I used this square of plastic grass. coaxing each separate tuft into the spaces between cones.
(Use a chopstick!) A touch of artifice that makes the wreath snap with texture.
And not a touch of Christmas red.
On the mantle. 
"God bless us each and every one" cried Tiny Tim.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sculpture and Life

Sometimes art (loosely defined) is best functional. And timely.

Friends are expecting their second baby, she's due this Friday. (and arrived a healthy (9 lbs!)

With new baby and family visiting, it makes no sense to have an uncomfortable chair. This old wooden chair with a rock hard plywood seat had potential, once it was re-glued and upholstered.

Now it's welcoming and comfortable place to hold the baby.
It was the best gift I could think of........and wraps up the last of the rug recycle saga.

Had I known starting how difficult this pile rug would be to manipulate around the six points of back and arms, I would have found another material. Patience and pulling and both staples and upholstery tacks got it nailed down. That's life.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sculpture and the Trolley Trail

Toby J makes it look so easy.... So does the fast editing.

Artist Toby J works with chainsaws to create his public art sculpture for the new light rail line.
Toby carves a tree removed during light rail project construction to create one of the sculptures that will be located along the Trolley Trail in north Clackamas County.

Six artists, including yours truely,  are creating public art from removed trees. All of the pieces will be located on the multi-use trail, adjacent to the light rail line.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sculpture and Time

There's an arts organization in Portland that has a festival called TBA or Time Based Art.
There's lots of dance and theater, but no sculpture.

Sculpture is the ultimate Time Based Art. What other art form lasts thousands of years?
.....or seems to take a thousand years to master and complete a single work?
Portrait of the artist as a young tree.

Counting the rings, this tree was only 77 years old.

Wood carving is such an intimate art. It is working with a (once) living subject that changes over time. Getting to know and understand this being in my driveway is important because I'm going to be living with this project for the next two years.