Friday, December 27, 2013

#77, untitled dancer, relief

untitled dancer, 17"x23", clay for urethane resin

This is the latest bas-relief that is now being molded in silicone. The second relief using model Cami (passion being the first), I decided that I needed to do more of a portrait of her since she has wonderful facial features as well as being a wonderful dancer. The process of making this relief was the same as creating Awakening in that more time was spent on the face and head than on the remaining parts of the relief. It is also about the same dimensions as Awakening and raised from the background the same at 7/8". I am continually inspired by movement, portraits and the beauty of drapery and this relief gave me a chance to express all of these interests.

Friday, November 29, 2013

#76, Glancing, relief

Glancing, bonded sand and oxides, 16"x12"x1 1/2"

#75, Momentum, relief

Momentum, bonded sand and oxides, 12"x10"x1 1/4"

#74, Passion, relief

Passion, bonded sand and oxides, 18"x14"x1 1/4"

I created this relief over a 3 day period using oil based clay. I first thought of the title when I was struggling with sculpting the hair and head. Initially the head looked like flames more than a head and hair and it took me a while to work this out. Since that point I haven't been able to think of any other title other than Passion. My model on this one is from Fort Collins and is an incredibly talented dancer.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

#73, stainless steel Ganesh

Ganesh, stainless steel 60" height x 30"wide

This was recently installed in Colorado at a private residence. Although I don't normally do abstract or stainless steel, it was a fun project.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

#72, installation of Remembering

Remembering the Fallen statue
Remembering by Sutton Betti

Remembering the Fallen

Remembering the Fallen

Remembering the Fallen
drilling the holes for Remembering

Norfolk Veterans Home
Norfolk Veterans Home in Norfolk, Nebraska

Norfolk Veterans Home

Saturday, November 2, 2013

#71, Danza da Sola, relief

Danza da Sola, bonded sand and oxides, 17"x13"x1 1/2"

Today I worked on casting this relief I made last summer. Although the model is American I decided to call it Danza da Sola which is dance alone in Italian. Not only does the woman look Italian, but the casting itself feels Italian.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

#70 Waiting, relief

Waiting, 20"x16", bonded sand and oxides

This relief was supposed to have been finished a long time ago to go just outside of Jessica's massage room at a local day spa. It's the very first casting using bonded sand and oxides that I am satisfied with and I will use this casting as a reference point for casting other reliefs.

So, today while talking with my studio mate about reliefs in general, we discussed how solving some problems in relief can sometimes be solved through admiring and studying figure paintings. For example, how to crop and leave an area unfinished can be very tricky to pull off, but if painters can pull it off than so it can be done on a relief sculpture. I sometimes don't like to include the entire figure in my relief sculptures and the latest relief "Glancing" (post #67) was one of most difficult ones in making the cropped leg look natural. After agonizing over it over the last several days, I finally just slapped some clay around the area of the cropped leg and left it. This was done mostly out of frustration but after letting it sit for a bit it started making sense. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

#69 patina on Remembering

Remembering bronze
raw metal after sandblasting

Remembering bronze
sulfurated potash

Remembering bronze
sulfurated potash

Remembering patina
sulfurated potash

Remembering bronze patina
rubbed back sulfurated potash

Remembering finished patina
finished patina before lacquering. Sulfurated potash and ferric nitrate patina with highlights

 Patina day on the statue Remembering. Chad Quam did the patina at Art Castings and he spent the morning and part of the afternoon putting on the liver of sulfur and ferric nitrate, highlighting here and there. After talking with the client, who was leaving the patina choice up to me, I decided that a french brown with a little contrast between the skin tone and the clothing would work best. Tomorrow I will be delivering the sculpture to the photographer Jafe Parsons and the sculpture will then be ready for delivery to Nebraska.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

#68 Plaster cast reliefs

I have sculpted and molded (using urethane rubber) around 20 relief sculptures in the last year. These reliefs were originally designed to be cast in aluminum. However, in the last 2 months I have been evaluating the casting quality of aluminum and it pains me to think that I cannot continue casting aluminum. The last several reliefs that were returned to me were of poor quality! They were either short poured or filled with air bubbles that I could normally be able to fix on a three-dimensional sculpture, but on a relatively flat surface it is very difficult. So, in my free time I have been spending time trying to find another option for casting.

For the 10 years I have become familiar with casting in resin. I have used resin for casting models for public art competitions, trophies, even for mother mold making. More recently I began experimenting with adding powders such as bronze, stone, sand, terracotta, cement, etc. to see what kind of look resin offers. Most of the time these experiments were eye opening. Sometimes they were discouraging and made me want to give up. In the last month I've been focusing my free time in developing a look for casting the reliefs in resin and I believe I have found a beautiful look for these mid-relief sculptures. I'm calling it "bonded sand and oxides". Although it's much more than that, I'm leaving out my formula so as not to bore anyone. However, to get these castings means that I have to remold around 20 or so of my reliefs. They are almost all molded with a urethane resin. The problem is the "bonded sand and oxides" formula uses urethane resin which will bond to anything urethane including urethane rubber. The four reliefs above are plaster casts that I will seal with acrylic spray and johnsons paste wax so that I can remold, this time using tin cured silicone.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

#67 Glancing relief

"Glancing", 16"x12" clay for bonded sand with oxides cast, 2013

The latest of my relief sculptures is this 16x12. This is the second relief I've done of the model Tabitha ("Awakening" was the first). I generally start my reliefs by establishing the highest point on the artwork followed by the lowest points. This, I believe, makes the process go smoothly as I'm constantly making sure not to go higher or lower than the established points. Most of my new reliefs are raised 3/4"-1" at the highest point. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

#66 Remembering assembly

Remembering the Fallen bronze

Remembering the Fallen welding

Remembering bronze

Remembering bronze statue
Getting the metal assembled at Art Castings today. Although we had to fuss with the rifle on his back it came out well. This sculpture will be delivered and installed in Norfolk, Nebraska on November 1, 2013.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013

#64 Remembering bronze before assembly

These are the first few castings of Remembering, a life size bronze soldier that will be installed at Norfolk Veterans Park in Nebraska sometime in November 2013. Art Castings of Colorado is casting and assembling the figure so I will post more progress pics in the next few weeks.

Friday, September 27, 2013

#63 Momentum, relief

Momentum, 12"x10" clay for aluminum

Momentum is the first male dancer relief I have sculpted and I believe it came out quite well. Although I struggled with a title for this, Momentum seems to represent what this pose is about, yet also it has meaning for me artistically in that I hope to keep the momentum going by introducing the male figure into my relief sculptures. The model I hired for this is a modern dancer named Jeremy and what an awesome dancer he is! Jeremy introduced to me the idea that there are three types of dances (masculine, feminine, and androgynous), this pose being on the border between androgynous and masculine. 

#62 aluminum reliefs

"Awakening", aluminum 17 7/8"x 13 7/8"

Grace in Motion I, aluminum 21 3/4" x 15 3/4"

Rain, aluminum 19 1/2" x 8 1/2"

Summer, aluminum 12 1/4" x 6 3/4"

The first four relief sculptures that I had cast in aluminum are "Awakening", "Grace in Motion I", "Rain", and "Summer". They were all cast at MADD castings just south of Loveland in Berthoud and I was pleasantly surprised and happy that they came out so well. Debbie Bakel did the patinas on these and I was also pleased that the patina process is very similar to a bronze patina. Debbie did a great job! There are some minor differences between aluminum and bronze patina. Aluminum, for example, heats up much faster than does bronze. This is important to know because it means that you can burn a patina much faster so care needs to be taken. Being more familiar with bronze I have to be careful when doing the patinas myself that I do not get the aluminum too hot. 

As I had posted some time ago these aluminum castings were also a test of the art buying market. To see if people would like them and, if so, would people buy them? Would aluminum be appealing to prospective buyers or would people shy away from it? Were they curious what the castings were made of or would they assume it was bronze? Aluminum is a relatively new-comer to the field of casting, one of the very first sculptures to be cast was in 1893. Anna Hyatt Huntington later experimented with casting aluminum and her sculpture "Fighting Stallions" at Brookgreen Garden  is one of the largest. With this short history I wasn't sure how potential collectors would react. To my surprise, it was good! I sold two of the four castings at the Loveland Sculpture Invitational (Awakening and Summer). Many times, people would walk right past my sculptures to look at the reliefs. With this assurance I now have about 6 new reliefs going through the foundry being cast in aluminum. I will post them as they are finished.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

#61 Waiting, relief

Waiting, 16"x20", clay for aluminum

For the last 3 days I've been working off and on on this mid-relief of the model Caroline. It is one of the larger reliefs I've done and therefore requires I spend more time on it. What I like about this pose is it is kind of a cross between what I enjoy doing the most in relief form: movement and portraiture. Caroline has studied dance and so just a simple seated pose such as this becomes more than just a sitting. She has beautiful eyes and her glance upwards and her expression implies that she is waiting on a friend, perhaps someone she loves.

On another note, Northern Colorado has been hit hard with flooding, Boulder taking on the worst punishment of all. For the last couple of days it has became clear to me that I, along with many many others, was falling victim to the sad events that were happening; watching videos of roads being destroyed, watching the flood waters down the street from us rolling through parks and destroying homes, hearing about people missing or dying, dealing with a possible shortage of water. Stuff that you simply cannot ignore! Amid all of the chaos happening, I am remembering a couple of lines from a commencement speech given in 2012 by Neil Gaiman: Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

#60 Grace in Motion II, relief

Grace in Motion II, 11"x8" clay for aluminum

This year, 2013, I have made an effort to focus on creating a body of work with something that I love to do more than anything. What I'm finding as I spend more time creating large commissioned pieces is that I actually enjoy sitting down and making small to medium sized reliefs. They require so little of my energy and I can get one done pretty quickly. In the last 3-4 months I found out that I can cast these in light weight aluminum and patinaed very similarly to a bronze sculpture. And what I learned from the Loveland Sculpture show this year is that people do like them! Although there are limitations to casting in aluminum, such as it is not very malleable and almost impossible for me to figure out how to weld, I can work around this. For example, if I give the foundry a wax that has little stubs in the center the wax is less likely to bow in the middle from it's own weight, therefore eliminating the need to pound on it to flatten it out. As for the welding, if I keep them smaller than 30" or so there is no welding required. This is huge!!

This relief Grace in Motion II is of the former Russian ballet dancer Anastasia, one of the models that I hire. This pose fascinates me because it shows off her back muscles while her right foot comes out of the relief giving it life that otherwise wouldn't be there if it were all low relief. I wanted to make a relief that mimicked Grace in Motion I which was the center of attention of all of my sculptures at this years Loveland Sculpture Invitational. This pose has a little more movement and is quite a bit smaller in size but equally as powerful as the first Grace in Motion. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

#59 digital rendering of Norfolk Veterans Park

Digital rendering my client made of Norfolk Veterans Park in Norfolk, NE with the Grieving Soldier I am currently having cast in bronze. We plan on having everything completed by November 2013. On top of the 9' tall granite column is a bronze abstract flame that will encase an LED light.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

#58 Flute Sonata on a Tortoise-patina day

This piece was sculpted back in late 2011 and I finally had saved up the money to have him cast in bronze. We decided to do the multi-color patina after the sculpture Sowing Seeds, which also had a multi color patina, was installed outdoors. This piece is designed to sit in a garden, we'll be showing him at the Loveland Sculpture Invitational 2013 in the garden area.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

#57 Kneeling Soldier-clay

Remembering the Fallen clay
finished clay of Remembering

US Marine boots

Remembering statue AR-15
the AR-15 rifle will be slung on the backside of the kneeling soldier

Remembering clay
95% finished clay of the kneeling US Marine titled "Remembering"

This life size soldier is currently being cast in bronze through Art Castings of Colorado and will be kneeling in front of a 9' tall black granite column that will hold a 32" height bronze stylized flame. The bronze flame will cradle an LED light. More pictures as the piece progresses. The sculpture will be installed in Norfolk, NE early November, 2013