Thursday, December 9, 2010

Potency of Place

green house

I came across this abandoned farmhouse in Point Reyes, Ca. This incredibly beautiful area is bordered on 3 sides by the sea and Tomales Bay and is now a national park. Coast Miwok Indians lived here for Milllennia, and then in the 1850's immigrant dairy farmers arrived by boat from Switzerland, Denmark and the Portuguese Azores turning this area into one of the most productive dairy regions in California. Most of these farms are no longer operating but many of the buildings and barns of this time are still there. Although the houses and barns are empty now I can easily imagine those who struggled to make a new life in such a windswept remote landscape.

The older daughter is getting her hair cut on the porch whining to be done already, to be let free to go out into the fields of flowering clover, wild sage and blackberry. The din of bumblebees beckons her, the hum of an Indian summer that has gone on too long and especially the fragrance of alfalfa from the dairy, several fields away. Summer will end soon. The father is painting the house himself. Too proud to hire someone but also too poor. Planting the palm tree while his wife, holding their youngest child laughingly remarks that he will never be here to see it become full grown. He promises her it will grow fast. At least as fast as their two daughters, the second of which has now pulled free from her mother's hand, and is pushing her small perfect toes into the fresh turned soil of their new home. He pats the dirt around the base of the small slender palm with the back of his shovel. She holds onto her fathers left work boot and laughs. Her white cotton dress is darkened from the fresh earth. He wipes the sweat from his brow with the back of his sleeve and as he looks out across the fields towards the sea, realizes he is smiling.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Parts are Excellent

As I was putting together another email announcement of a show the other day I was thinking about how, depending on my feeling about my work at the time, this process can be easy or rather hard. I am not sure if most everyone understands that part of the process of making things, creating things is not really knowing sometimes where you are going. This is how it is for me. It helps to look over your shoulder at what you have made to give yourself direction but really it isn’t so important what was made in the past but rather what is being made presently. So how honestly can one be doggedly extolling the virtues of what you’re doing all the time even though part of the time you aren’t entirely sure? I have come to accept that you need to be lost sometimes if you are to change, to breakthrough, to improve. In fact out this struggle sometimes comes my best work. It seems to me to be somewhat of a deception to be constantly putting out the message that you have arrived when actually you got off at the wrong station and are just simply lost. I never want to admit it. I will be painting furiously for several hours and even though I do know a tremendous amount about what I am doing, I can get to a point where I can look at my painting that’s as big as me- (over 6 ft) and realize that I actually have no clear sense of what I have just done. It hits me so hard that I sometimes just have to sit down and stare at the ridiculous amount of intention, the sheer effort it took to wind up here, in a place that seems foreign and unfamiliar. Humbling is an understatement. It’s one of the great aspects of doing art that no two efforts are the same. Each comes with a new challenge, a new problem to solve. Sometimes it falls into place other times not. On a day when it doesn’t it is a difficult time to self promote. It’s challenging to encourage collectors to come to your upcoming show or to talk to a gallery about raising your prices. And actually, I don’t think we are hard wired to endlessly go on about ourselves and things we have done in the past. I tell my students that the hat of the promoter has nothing at all to do with your art, that it is a second kind of side business that is there only to insure the viability of the first. So it’s a challenge, I feel, that surely plagues many creative people but curiously it is rarely spoken about. I guess admitting unsure ness, hesitation runs counter to the assurance and brilliance we are all trying so desperately hard to convey.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Color in Nature

These photographs by Chris Jordan were taken on Midway Atoll in the middle of the North Pacific. These photographs document the remains of albatross chicks that have been fed, unintentionally by their parents, floating plastic garbage collected from the sea. Thousands of these baby birds die every year as a result. In Nature, all color harmonizes with all other colors. However, in manufactured creation, such as the making of plastic, the color often ends up being uncomfortably bright and as a result, unrelated to everything else in it's environment. Nothing demonstrates the unsettling nature of synthetic color juxtaposed with the sophisticated color of Nature better than these exquisite photographs.

bird three

bird one

bird two

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Principle #6 Soul

This is an excerpt from a book I am working on about Creativity. The book, like the workshops we teach, utilize 6 Principles as a framework, roadmap to allowing more artistry, more creativity into our lives. This excerpt is taken from the chapter on Soul, Principle #6. -NW

Aristotle defined Soul as the inner core, the essential essence of a person or a living thing. Sometimes, I believe however, an inanimate object can be imbued with this same essence. When enough passion and life force is contributed into the making of something, it almost seems magically to carry with, to hold within its center a small degree of this very same soulfulness. This aspect, this overflow of soul into a work is what transforms an activity, an effort, a creation into something more valuable and rare. It changes it, pushes it into an entirely new realm. It’s called Art.
The whole notion of creativity is about bringing something into existence that hasn’t existed before. Like magic, all manner of things can be made visible whether it’s a beautiful ceramic pot, a birthday cake, a painting or a marble sculpture. But here, and this being the very last principle of the 6, is where we can take a breath and relax. Because this Sixth Principle, Soul, develops in our work on it’s own. We simply need to be ourselves. Show up and pay attention as deeply as possible. And, this is important, we need to earnestly care about what we’re making. This intention, Soul, is the aspect of ourselves that is perfectly constant. It is carried inside us and is the primary thread, the guiding light of the creative arc of our life.
Interestingly, asking questions seem to be the easiest way to ease into an understanding about Soul.
Questions such as “What is important for you? What is engaging? What do you care about? These simple questions if answered truthfully will invariably lead us to the kind of creativity that results in work with a high degree of Soul. After all, if it is imbued with this quality then it will be, like you, totally unique. It will be yours. And it’s this uniqueness, this highly personal expression that creates the tremendous value to your work. Especially for others.
Sometimes it’s difficult to see this thread, this continuum in what we are making. Creative efforts are often accomplished in fits and starts. Changes occur rapidly and at other times not at all, but in the persistence of our efforts, it’s reassuring to know that if we consistently pay attention and put care into whatever we are making that much of our concerns about our apparent successes or failures will fall by the wayside.
It is, in the beginning, sometimes difficult to see the value of our own individuality. Especially so when much of our work, up ahead, cannot be seen as it lies quietly waiting in the future, unmade.
David Whyte, the poet, philosopher writes, “ If we can see the path laid out in front of us there is a good chance it is not our path. It is probably someone else’s we have substituted for our own.”
Rest assured, if we are paying attention earnestly, staying true to what is important and engaging to us then, much of our creative journey will take care of itself.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Lemon Lemon

My Mother in Law picked this lemon off her tree. It obviously has some kind of different genetic coding than other lemons.
It just makes me wonder how it is that things stay as normal as they actually do.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Michael Kessler Studio Visit

When I was out in Santa Fe I visited Michael Kessler, an artist who lives just outside Santa Fe, NM. He came to my opening and I had actually just seen his work on you tube. He is extremely prolific not only with his paintings but with all aspects of his business. His videos are pretty great and he has made a lot of them. Thousands of people view and comment on them on YouTube. Whenever I visit artists I am always inspired. His work is beautiful but it was especially interesting to me to see a vetaran artist who has a pretty good sense of the business side of art. Michael has organized his studio so he can make his art panels, paint on several at the same time, photograph them, and crate and then send his work all without leaving his studio. All of these steps he does himself. I think people in art and businss get in the mindset that they have to hire people to do everything that they are not experienced at doing. I know I do. Michael, however, seems to have adopted a different attitude about the process of making art…he loves EVERY step and wants to do it all himself. As I drove back to Santa Fe I thought about how extroardinary this mindset is and how it can shift the entire way artists, or anyone for that matter, can think about their work. That not one part is better or easier, it’s just all one seamless journey, a highly personal process developed from passionate hard work.. …What I learned or maybe re learned that day was this: The entire process of making art can be as personal and as important as the art itself.

To see Michaels work:

Michael Kessler

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Show at Selby Fleetwood Gallery, Santa Fe

This year I had made all the paintings for the show "Life Fortune" almost 5 weeks early as I was out of the country for all of July. It was especially nice to not be painting up to the last minute - sending paintings barely dry. It also provided me with a fresh view of my work when, after not seeing it for over a month, I arrived at the gallery and was able to walk into a room and see it all hanging. The owners of the gallery, Selby and Eddie, had designed the show and it looked great. I had forgotten about the gallery walls actually being made of adobe and as a result have a gorgeous earthy brown color that sets off art beautifully. I really enjoyed getting to meet some of the people who have followed my work. The fact never escapes me that without those interested in my work, those people passionate enough about art that it must be a part of their lives, I wouldn't be able to afford to do what I love. Gratitude is not really a big enough word for how it makes you feel when someone supports and believes in what you make. I forgot to take pictures during the opening but snapped a few the next day. The sculpture standing below my painting is by Joe Brubaker.
I love his work and especially how this one looked standing next to my painting.

gallery 2

show 1

Monday, August 9, 2010

Standing Still

What is it about leaving your life for awhile, that makes everything seem so different, but the same upon your return? is it possible that just changing your background, your surroundings that shifts everything? When I am traveling I feel so artistically fulfilled and perfectly content to just look at things...To learn about new places, people's lives, to try to understand why things are as they are. My need to make art diminishes when I travel. I wonder if it is all about change? Change being the required ingredient in a fulfilling life-if your seeing new things constantly- such as when your traveling, then your fulfilled, content and pretty close to happy. At least this is the case with me. Put me in one place,( home) repeat the same experiences, the same drives, stores, etc and then I start making things again. The art is just more necessary to make when I am standing in one place.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Center for Children's Happiness

Our family has just returned home from Cambodia where we spent a couple of weeks with 150 amazing kids at an orphanage in Phnom Penh. Most of these kids are orphans and have been rescued, often around the age of 5 or 6, from living on the garbage dumps just outside of the city. The orphanage is a very uplifting place covered in decorations and photos of visiting friends who have helped this organization over the years. At the the head of this family of 150 children is an extraordinary man, Sokha who, along with his wife, look after and imbue these kids with love and a startling sense of self worth and respect not just for themselves but each other as well.
One of the projects we did with them was to write and illustrate your dream. What the future might hold if their dreams come true. The kids are all very clear about wanting to get educated and each have very clear ideas already about becoming doctors, engineers, english teachers, etc. At the Center for Children's Happiness, they are educated and many are eligible for scholarships to universities upon graduating high school. I have never experienced a more harmonious, kind and grateful group of young children in my life. We did artwork, photography, read books, sang and generally just spent time getting to know as many as we could. Our last night with them we had a party in the small cement courtyard of the Center. The kids danced and sang with such joy. It was so triumphant, so inspiring to experience. I will never forget it. This kind of happiness and gratitude maybe only comes from those who have been given a second chance at life.
The first 3 photos of the garbage dump below were taken by Sambath, one of the promising young photojournalists who lives at CCH. The photos below do not show the magnitude or the actual number of those living at the dumps. There are about 900 people who live and work there, picking through the city's refuse for recyclables and food. The two american girls in the photos are my daughters. To find out more about CCH and how you can help...





english teacher



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Buddhist Cave Dwelling

On our trip to Southern Thailand we came across this limestone cave which doubled as a dwelling for local Buddhist Monks. They lived very simply underneath an immense limestone overhang. Upon the walls were very old paintings. The seasonal rains had worn down the paint creating this beautiful surface -part stone, part paint. The monks lived here and as they do not value possesions did not mind us photographing them. They had very little. Their orange robes drying on a line, old books, a clock some basic kitchen items. Each monk slept in one of these small houses, just big enough to lay down in. In Buddhist countries you often see monks. Rarely, however, does one get a peek into the personal, the intimate aspects of their lives. Lives of committed simplicity and quiet contemplation.





red house


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sand Drawings

We are in Thailand right now. Last night we walked down the beach and came to this huge stretch of beach that looked like someone had made hundreds of abstract drawings all over the beach. It turned out that it was actually a small neighborhood of burrowing crabs that were simply rolling up balls of sand and pushing them out of their holes in the sand. The tropical breeze would shift directions re arranging them into these beautiful shapes.




Sunday, July 4, 2010


So often Ads in magazines for shows or announcements fall short- either the color or the design is off or sometimes the opposing page has some disastrous image on it that clashes with your own work. I was very impressed with this ad that The Costello Childs Gallery is running in the new magazine "Luxe" is a fabulous very high end design and interiors publication. The artist's from Left to Right are Erik Gonzales, Chuck Johnson, Nicholas Wilton and Patricia Sannit.

Picture 7

Friday, July 2, 2010

Artplane Workshop at Esalen

Another fantastic week at Esalen. We stayed up till 3 am painting every night, ate more than our share of chocolate and wine, created amazing artwork, laughed a tremendous amount and from the steaming hot springs, watched the moon come up over the Big Sur mountains. Thank you all! We will post the dates of the next Esalen workshop up as soon as we finalize it--most likely Spring 2011.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Principle #5 Risk

This is an excerpt from a book I am working on about Creativity. The book, like the workshops we teach, utilize 6 Principles as a framework, roadmap to allowing more artistry, more creativity into our lives. This excerpt is taken from the chapter on Risk, Priciple #5. -NW

Almost every painting I make ends up somewhere along the line involving some kind of risk. What follows is the typical scenario. This example is just my process, just something that I have noticed again and again in the way I work, the process I often go through in making paintings.

When I initially set about to make a new work often I am spurred along by someone – perhaps a gallery saying or encouraging me to do something similar to a painting that “everyone seemed to like” and that in fact has just sold. Of course, I like to believe that I am not influenced at all by the outside response I get from people, that I am divinely inspired from a higher authority, a genius that doesn’t need or require kibitzing from the sidelines. But sheepishly, I admit that this is not the case with me, with my particular fragile ego. Like most people, I do like to get a positive reaction from an audience. It feels so good. We are social creatures after all and even though I work alone I do consider art making to be a socially minded endeavor. “Well, to re do a painting should be easy enough, I say to myself, as I have made the original painting just last month. I basically am just doing another version of this same painting. I know exactly what to do. In fact I could do this again and again, garnering more and more positive responses…My life could be filled to the brim with positive remarks, lots of sold paintings, bigger and better shows, leading to some kind of celebrity status, an artist to the stars perhaps. But then I snap out of it and realize that it is only Tuesday afternoon – I have practically zero celebratory status and the fact remains I still have a blank canvas in front of me and I have to re create something as good or better than a previous work. In reality it’s not always so easy to do.

I begin the painting that I already know will be successful before I have even started. My mind is clear and dead set on a certain outcome. This goes pretty well at first- I can lay in the basic composition knock in the colors so by the end of the first day I have a reasonable facsimile- a rough version of what my gallery called one of my best paintings. This one is looking good – doesn’t really have the same feeling as the original one…. I quit for the day and think I am just tired- Start again tomorrow- then I will be able to see, to understand what is missing. I have dinner and then pop my head back in the studio on the way to bed, as I just want to see if I do in fact like it better after eating. Paintings rarely get better when your not working on them and this time is no exception.

The next day arrives and with it comes a fresh determination to force this artwork into obedience, wrestle it’s look into the very same thing I made before—I want it, everyone else wants it so I am going to get my way. I even printed out a color copy of the prior painting, the one that just sold, so I can see where exactly I am going to end up. Hours roll along and it seems the painting is getting more similar to my print I have thumb tacked to the wall. But I feel tired, worn out a little bit. Something is missing here. I don’t’ feel particularly good anymore about this ugly stepsister of a painting. I stop to eat lunch—food is always a good distraction and often after eating lunch- giving it a visual break, I can see more clearly what is missing. This doesn’t work this time although I did manage to get involved in making a salad of such complexity that I was preoccupied for well over an hour…so I definitely am no longer hungry, but my painting is still not quite working. I plod on pushing paint around. The whole process is becoming tiring. Why do I want to paint what I have already painted before? Whose idea is this anyway? Yes but that’s what they want- that’s what everyone likes. Somewhere around 3:30pm I get the realization that like my painting before me, my interior, my insides the very core of my being is actually bored to death. This is not fun, not interesting- It’s like “fill in the colors” but with not very good ones. What do I do? I feel hemmed in, stuck on a mind-numbing course of my own design. I finally surrender and sit down in my paint-splattered chair I reserve for such moments. I usually work standing up and feel it’s important, at least for me, to utilize the whole body, but when I become defeated I sit down, rest and take a good long look at my situation. I might not figure it out at first or it might take several more painful days to realize what has gone so hopelessly wrong…But then I get the inkling, the remembrance of what I already know I know. That what is missing in this whole silly business of doing things that are too safe, trying to formulize art, trying to game this business of art making into predictability is simply, Principle #5, RISK. That thing that is always pushed outside the door, that has no place inside a factory that makes cars, a restaurant, a dry cleaners, no spot really anywhere inside our business work lives or for that matter our personal lives either. This thing called Risk is simply unwelcome most everywhere it shows up. Except in Art. And the closest I have ever gotten to wrapping my understanding around what makes one thing art and another just a regular thing has something to do with this crucial ingredient called Risk. It is simply essential to the making of Art.

Finally, left with no other option, humbled to a small shadow of my former self- I throw out the damn notion altogether of making art to get attention, to sell something or gather favorable reviews. I banish all those people standing around with me in my studio, the gallery owners, the beaming art collector couple, the adoring fans, the art critics and lock the damn door behind them. My pulse quickens, I just am going to do whatever the hell I want to do for a change. With a degree of frustration, anger really, anger at myself for thinking I can dabble around the edges, only go in up to my ankles-to actually not Risk something and think I could come up with something worthwhile. Who needs another pretty picture anyway? Is that what I am about? What do I want? What am I willing to say? No I need to reassert- to throw care to the wind and the only way I know how to do this is to sabotage this whole painting in front of me- to wreck it, destroy its pathetic overworked surface and take the chance that I can make something better in it’s place even if I don’t know what that will be. Before I even pick up the 5-inch brush and the half-gallon of black paint I am suddenly feeling better. Giddy more like. The excitement, the sense of aliveness in the room is palatable. I have no idea of what I am about to do – I am afraid, but even this feeling is way better than everlasting boredom. I don’t even want to make art if I have to be that bored ever again, I think, as my brush loaded with black paint hits the surface. I roll a thick wide brushstroke right across the canvas, covering over all this picky work I just spent 2 days doing. It feels right, instinctively – I can sense myself coming alive again…I don’t know where I am going but it doesn’t matter. I can feel this is right…paint is literally flying off the palette now suddenly I am squeezing colors out I have not used before-I am so excited that I don’t stop to put the caps back on –the possibilities are infinite- this painting can go anywhere now. It turns out the gate was unlocked the whole time and I just needed to give it a push. Within minutes this ugly painting starts to change- it’s moving, it’s alive and I am too. I am working too fast to even think about outcome now. I could care less. I am just in it all the way. There is no turning back, this painting is teaching me about who I am, what kind of a person I have become- even what kind of a father I am to my daughters, my insecurities, my smallness my dreams and my fears– its’ all here with me now in the room, in this painting...Its completely engaging, utterly transporting and to a small degree frightening.... And then I stop and step back, my shoes are covered in paint, my blue latex glove has torn and my thumb, uncovered, has been tinged with viridian green and maroon. This painting is strong. I can see that right away. There is a sense of immediacy about it. It resembles nothing I have ever made before.
My dog peers in at me from outside the studio glass door. Her nose steaming the glass. It’s dark outside now, I check my watch. I have been painting for 5 hours non-stop and in front of me quite possibly is one of the best things I have ever made. This appearance of excellence will, of course, change in time but for today I am happy. There is no one to tell. So I ease back down into my painting chair and smiling quietly tell the painting that now you look better. That that is what a real painting should look like.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Cheese Box

Today, my neighbor, Lila Friday ( knocked at my door carrying a Swedish cheese box from 1770. She purchased it from a friend who purchased it many years ago in San Francisco. I guess these were used to carry cheese before cellophane was invented or even cars for that matter...She just had to show me because it reminded her of my work and thought I would like it too. Well I did. Very much my colors, if I can be so presumptuous, and, yes, I especially loved how worn out it had become in all it's carrying of cheese, probably back and forth across oceans aboard sailing ships. The colors, in fact, were very similar to a painting that I just had finished. She stood there next to the painting, holding the basket, looking at me, looking at the painting and then back again at the cheese box. She was smiling. I did too. The rain had finally stopped and there were squares of sunlight on the studio floor. I felt slightly very happy. And then I realized I was having one of those moments. A small little thing, an interaction, a gesture perhaps or even a cheese box that somehow takes an ordinary Tuesday and turns it into an especially good one.

hat box

hat detail

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I took this about a week ago and it's fun to see how much I have already changed these paintings. Some are done now. The one on the way left on the wall being cropped out is a painting commissioned by a friend. It was especially challenging as this painting had to go into their home and I wanted it to work. Thankfully they have wonderful taste and their house colors are wonderful. That pea green painting, the one on the floor with the red lines totally changed. I got rid of almost all the colors and ended up with a grey painting with bits of colors coming through. What's crazy is that this process always challenges me. When I took this picture I did not know what to do on several of these. Eventually I figure it out but one would think it would get easier with time. I keep making paintings, over and over again. Actually the one with the red dot in the upper right came very quickly and pretty much looks like it did last week and now it's done.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ritter Center House Cover

When I finished my house I spent a fair bit of time adjusting this photo in photoshop. I deleted the background and made it white, fixed the proportions so it looked in perspective and even added a drop shadow. I thought that this would make it easy for it to be chosen to be included in some promotion of the event. As an artist, one of the fringe benefits of doing "volunteer" work is sometimes getting your name out there in addition to helping a cause you care about. When I was in the hardware store in town the other day I saw a stand of these publications which featured my house on the cover using this same photo that I had created earlier. There was a pretty good article about the project and some of the various houses that are being displayed around the Bay Area. Unfortunately the publication didn't credit my name with the work in the publication. Oh well. It's all still pretty great.
Here also is a Channel 2 segment the local news did on the project.:

Here_ Ritter House

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Redford Center

I am involved in this amazing new organization, "The Redford Center" Robert Redford and his family have created this non profit to inspire positive social and environmental change through the arts, education and civil discourse. Besides doing great work in areas of the environment and social justice, what I feel is particularly potent about the Center is their group process they utilize to create dialogue and change. Along with all relevant experts in the particular field of concern, Robert Redford's long standing personal vision of also having artists involved in problem solving and discussions adds an out of the box thinking that can help catalyze solutions.
Last week was one of their first public events in San Francisco. It was an evening of discussion led by Redford Center's Director, Lee Bycel and Robert Redford. In additon, during the evening they honored two local actviists: Avery Hale, a young woman, 16 yrs. old who has started a organization" Step by Step" that delivers shoes to poor villages in South America. Also honored was Victor Diaz a principal at Berkeley Technology Academy, a high school continuation school.
A particularly moving moment for me was when Robert Redford was describing early influences in his life. He told how he was a terrible student, and that he was rarely interested in what was being taught. He was constantly doodling in class. The teacher, in an attempt to shame him, forced him to stand in front of his 6th grade class and explain why his drawing was so much more interesting than what she was teaching. Totally humiliated, but lacking any recourse, he began to describe his drawing to the class. His drawing showed B-52 war airplanes shooting at cowboys who were driving a group of Indians off a cliff to their demise. To his surprise, the class actually found it very interesting too and were riveted. In a moment that could of gone either way, the teacher, recognizing the magic that was occurring in her now attentive classroom allowed him to continue. Putting her ego aside, she offered Robert a 15 minute time slot every Wednesday, at the end of class, so he could come up and describe and narrate his stories. As we all know, this is the work he still does today. Storytelling.
I was honored to be able to design the awards that were handed out that evening as well as having my work projected as the backdrop to this event. painting shown "May" 70" x 90" Oil and Beeswax on Panel.



Friday, January 29, 2010

Ritter Center House Finished

I finished it. I was happy that there was only 3 sides and not 4. Painting a house is,well, like painting a house...there is a lot of space on the outside of a house!...I am happy that the figure feels like the house and to me really adds something dynamic to the shape. The inside is very open- pale blue sky in feeling to contrast with the density on the outside of the house. Up high, on the inside where very few will look, is a blue angel.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ritter Center House Roof Detail

This is a detail of one side of the roof. The snakes and ladders are from the original game that later was turned into chutes and ladders- a board game that deals with fate and luck. I created a board game, calendar motif on the house to symbolize the passage of time and the unknown twists and turns in one's life. The numbers represent the days of the month and the passage of time. The house is 49" x 48" and is made with plaster, acrylic and oil paint. The sculpture is mahogany and oil paint.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rooftop Man

After I got the figure more defined I ran into a little problem with the hand held disc sander I started with..I couldn't define any details and it wasn't allowing me to carve as carefully as I needed. I called up Joe Brubaker Joe Brubaker - Sculpture a sculptor who also is in Donna Seager's Gallery. His work is amazing and Joe is exceptionally nice. I went over to his studio - a fun space loaded with odd found objects of metal and wood. Remaindered parts of things, half started sculptures of heads and gorgeous miniature bronzes he has had cast of his work. He leant me some tools and told me what not to do and this made all the difference in the world. I especially loved painting the figure as suddenly I was back on familiar territory again, having never carved anything before. It is so fun to paint sculpture because no matter how you paint the form it will always resemble the figure. You are no longer trying to create an illusion with paint. The shape is fixed, but the color is not. I loved painting it. I wanted this figure, that is going to float above the Ritter Center House, to feel as is it is 100s of years old. Very primitive, simple and universal.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Carving the Man

My neighbor gave me this huge chunk of mahogany. I cut out the general shape of the figure and now I am trying to refine it. It's interesting to just be removing and not being able to add anything back on...sculpture is like that--just take away all the parts that don't belong and then you will be left with what you imagined. Easier said then done. I think I will paint on this figure once he is finished. Maybe a dark color, a rich patina. He is going to float above the house like a weathervane on a roof. I will make it so he can move in the breeze.


cutout man