Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#112, James Dean bust

James Dean sculpture
James Dean, plaster 18 inches height, 2015

60 years after the death of James Dean, he is still regarded as an icon and with 2015 being the 60th anniversary of his death I decided to make this life size bust that will eventually get cast in bronze. 

When I was young I used to watch James Dean movies and study photographs of him. He was such a unique, beautiful person and I remember trying to figure out what made him so alluring, so different. This was a few years before I began listening to Elvis Presley's music and playing the guitar. I will never forget the day when I was 16 years old I became discouraged that I couldn't sound like him. My mom saw me really upset and told me something along the lines of "Why do you want to be Elvis or James Dean when you get to be YOU". We had a long discussion and argument about this but those words stuck with me over all these years. From this moment onwards I started to look for my own talents and tried to build on them rather than trying to be like someone else. 

The James Dean bust I sculpted was inspired by the film East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause. He is wearing a collared shirt under a sweater, one that he wore often in East of Eden, and I wanted his expression to be calm yet with the unique glare that he often had in the few movies he made. A glare that seemed to speak volumes. The bust is 18 inches tall and is currently cast in plaster. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

#111, Master Swimmer installation

Master Swimmer, bronze and concrete, ©2015 Sutton Betti Sculptures
Last Wednesday we permanently installed my bronze and concrete sculpture titled Master Swimmer in front of EPIC (Edora Pool and Ice Center). The 1 ton sculpture is not yet completed as there will be (2) 3/4" turquoise colored glass and (2) concrete "caps" that will sit on top of the large columns shown in the photo. Final completion should be around the end of this year when the glass is completed.

EPIC is the regions premier ice and aquatics facility and has an indoor 50-meter x 25-yard pool as well as two indoor 200 foot x 85 foot ice surface and serves the entire community with a variety of programs, classes, events and activities.

The sculpture was a gift by George Thornton to the city of Fort Collins. The unique design came about as my client didn't want the traditional "museum mount", which is stainless steel rods connecting the bronze to the base so I had to come up with different solutions. After about a week of designing and drawing I met with George to show him my concepts. The approved design consists of two 1/2 ton columns cast in colored concrete (to mimic sandstone) and glass sandwiched in between each of the columns to indicate the level of the water. The model for this sculpture was my brother, good job Mo!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

#110, Sleeping Child relief

Although busy with large scale work, I have been finding the time to complete some relief sculptures. This 9 inches x 11 inches aluminum casting is of a sleeping child and is a commission that I needed to have done for Christmas. I decided to keep the textures and edges loose which gets your eye to focus on the child face. The patina is done with various chemicals also helping to create a focal point using  dark outer edges and lighter center area.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

#109, Hoag patina

Amidst all of the chaos between two big projects, I got to find some peace of mind working with Art Castings of Colorado on the patina of Frank Hoag, Jr. This is the stage it is in now which only has liver of sulfur applied and rubbed back in select areas. On Monday, we will be completing the patina using ferric nitrate followed by lacquer and wax.

Monday, November 16, 2015

#108, Frank Hoag, Jr. monument

This 6' 8" bronze statue of the founder of Pueblo Community College will be installed on campus in the next week or two. I began work on the sculpture of Frank Hoag, Jr. earlier this year and it is now starting to come to a close. The patina is scheduled for next week.

Mr. Hoag, who died in 1989, was not only one of the schools main founders but was publisher and editor of The Chieftain and its afternoon sister publication, the Star-Journal. A graduate of Princeton University, he saw the need for higher education in his hometown and helped to start the college in 1933.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

#107, Master Swimmer monument

By far, THE most difficult project I have done is this sculpture going to a pool and ice center in Northern Colorado. But I am confident that this will be a nice sculpture once it is all finished. The life size statue of a swimmer will be held up by two concrete columns about 6 feet tall. Sandwiched in between is 1 inch thick blue/green glass that will represent water. The major hurdles have been how to engineer this thing without making installation impossible. After back and forth between three engineers three separate times, we have finally come up with something that isn't too bad. This monument has definitely tested my patience, but it is starting to shape up nicely. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

#106, Waiting Temptress relief

Waiting Temptress, clay for aluminum

This pose captivated me because of it's unique angles and overlapping forms. Lately, I have noticed that the reliefs that I enjoy the most are the ones that have some kind of overlapping. Her left leg overlaps her right leg. Her left hand is placed on her left thigh. Her right elbow overlaps her left knee. I'm finding that these compositions are much more interesting in relief I think because they help to show the different levels creating a sense of depth. Although they are a lot more challenging to sculpt, they are worth the effort.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

#105, Tuskegee Airman revisit

tuskegee airman statue
Joe Gomer (Tuskegee airman) by Sutton Betti, bronze, life size, Ellsworth Community College, Iowa Falls, IA

Last week, while I was in Wayne, Nebraska doing the install for Remembering at Wayne County Veterans Memorial, I decided to drive to Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa to see my bronze statue of the Tuskegee Airman Joe Gomer. The leaves were changing and being that I didn't have very good pictures of my first WW2 statue and that I was only about 3 hours away at the time, I thought why not. The sculpture was commissioned in 2012 and is the first war statue that I made in what seems to be a steady flow of work in this field (knock on wood), and worthy of a visit. It was a cold and frosty morning, but well worth the drive. Iowa Falls IA, like Wayne, NE, is a very small town of about 5,000 people and both towns also have a beautiful college campus. ...Interesting story, while snapping these pictures early Saturday morning a young man walks up to me and we start chatting about the bronze sculpture. He told me many of the community college students will walk by and take selfies and put their pictures on Ellsworth facebook page. After a few minutes I told him that it's time for me to make the long drive back to Colorado and he then tells me how much he misses it there. "Where from, I ask?" Loveland, CO, he tells me! ...Small world.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

#104, Wayne County Veterans Memorial

remembering the fallen sculpture
Remembering at Wayne County Veterans Memorial, Wayne, Nebraska

remembering the fallen sculpture
Remembering at Wayne County Veterans Memorial, Wayne, NE

remembering the fallen sculpture
detail of Remembering at Wayne County Veterans Memorial, Wayne, Nebraska
A couple of days ago I had the honor to install my bronze sculpture of a US Marine who is remembering the fallen at a beautiful veterans memorial in Wayne, Nebraska. The veterans memorial was built in 2010 and lists every veteran, living and dead, from Wayne county who served in the military during all of our countries wars. Over 3100 of them! In the background is the courthouse. 

The 200 pound bronze statue located in Wayne is the second in the edition of ten. It is a life-sized sculpture titled Remembering depicting a U.S. Marine kneeling and remembering a fallen soldier.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

#103, Booth Display

For the past 3 years I've been spending time and money in designing my booth for art festivals. Not only am I creating more of a consistent body of work (as is required by many of these shows), I've also been purchasing things like propanel walls and lights. Although it does get costly, I am mostly quite happy that I've made this investment. This was my booth display in Vail, CO at Art on the Rockies.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

#102, Moment of Reflection relief

Moment of Reflection, 2014
17 inches x 12.5 inches

The idea behind this relief was to show our connection to our past through our thoughts. As if to remember a particular moment more clearly and to feel something that has been lost. Perhaps it is of a lost lover or the memory of someone close. Her eyes are slightly closed in order to help remember this special event yet slightly opened in order to help bring the memory to the present.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

#101, Into the Evening relief

Into the Evening by Sutton Betti
21 inches x 11 inches x 2 inches
aluminum, limited edition of 20

    I have been a fan of the Italian oil painter Pino for many years and when I created this mid relief sculpture I had in mind that I wanted to pay tribute to him. Some of the techniques I use I have adapted from his paintings, modified and applied towards my art.

Monday, June 29, 2015

#100, Confidence relief

 "Confidence", aluminum

Confidence is from my series of nudes where I'm exploring simple compositions, focusing mostly on the soft forms of the female figure. This relief was created of one of my favorite nude models whose proportions and unique facial features remind me of paintings from the turn of the century, in particular Bouguereau's painting of The Bather.

Friday, June 12, 2015

#99, Portrait of Spring and Peasant Woman, aluminum

Portrait of Spring, 10"x10", aluminum

Peasant Woman, 16"x13", aluminum

Although I'm in the middle of two public art commissions I'm still making time to get myself ready for the next show, Art on the Rockies. These two reliefs will be among 24 sculptures that I'll have displayed next month in Edwards, CO (just west of Vail). They are cast in lightweight and durable aluminum using the lost wax method which makes them great for hanging on walls.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

#98, Frank Hoag, Jr... Revised

Frank Hoag, Jr. clay original

Last week I had to change the facial expression on the life size sculpture that will be going to Pueblo Community College later this year. Although I had initially liked the "speaking" expression that the sculpture had, my clients weren't too excited about it. But after a few days I started to like the smile much more. He is more inviting and I think it makes the soon to be bronze monument easier on the eyes. The statue is 80" tall (6 foot 8 inches) and there will be an additional 18" tall solid black granite base that he will stand on making the statue 98 inches tall ( 8 foot 2 inches) and weighing over 1 ton (most of the weight will be in the solid granite). I think looking up a smiling statue will be much less intimidating and more of a welcoming gesture.  

Monday, June 1, 2015

#97, Frank Hoag, Jr. statue

After a long and hard 3 months I am closing in on this 6' 8" tall clay statue that will be cast in bronze in the following 4-5 months. This sculpture was commissioned by Pueblo Community College and will be installed in the courtyard of their campus in Pueblo, Colorado. The monument will show the tall man wearing a 1930's style suit gesturing and welcoming students to the school. Mr. Hoag was a founding member of the school, among his many accomplishments. 

Due to his height, as well as working simultaneously on one other monument and finishing up the 12 figure ww2 monument, this project has taken me a little longer than expected (this, along with losing my father). However, it is shaping up well and I will be very thrilled to see this statue installed. It is the first statue of what I have been wanting to break into for a while now, creating life size monuments of founders, CEO's, presidents, etc. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

#96, Remembering dad

I posted this sculpture titled "Remembering" a year or so ago while it was being cast, but this statue has significant meaning to me as it was my father's favorite sculpture of mine as it portrays a US Marine, my father was a Marine. It was the reason he came to CO in the fall of 2013, as we had planned on installing the sculpture together, driving to Nebraska, however the project wasn't finished in the time he was in Colorado so we could not drive out together. 

On April 30, 2015 I sold a second casting of this statue and a few hours later David J. Betti suddenly passed away while walking his dog Sarge. It was a day of a high and a low, to both extremes, and a day that I will never forget. "Remembering" will forever remind me of dad.

#95, Natalie relief

Natalie, 20" height

What I'm after when I sculpt relief portraiture are not just interesting forms and compositions, but capturing the essence of a model through pose. I usually have the model take many poses before something strikes me. I can never pinpoint what it is that I'm after so modeling sessions are usually haphazard. But I think this is the way to approach it as I believe this is how I get to really "see" what it is I'm after. I don't usually come to the table with an idea I would like to express. It's more like "let's try this" and see where it takes us.

I think this portrait of Natalie works well because it makes use of dynamic angles which leads your eye around the relief. Her bent legs and arm, slight turn of the head create a zig zag that keeps your eye inside the piece. Then when you are ready to leave you follow the pointed foot to direct you to the exit. Generally, successful art has this composition. A place for your eye to travel within the artwork, some interesting stops, but not too many or you'll get overwhelmed (as the critical Emperor pointed out to Mozart in the movie Amadeus: "there are only so many notes the ear can hear in the course of an evening"). 

Friday, March 27, 2015

#94, Orchid relief

Orchid relief

This is the latest limited edition bronze relief fresh from the foundry. It is freestanding and because of this I was able to cast it in bronze and mount on a granite base, unlike most of my other works which are cast in aluminum. I hope to be doing more of this type of freestanding bas-relief sculpture as I am pleased with how this came out.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

#93, James Dean bust

James Dean bust, 19in height

I sculpted this clay bust of James Dean over the past few weeks, mostly for me since I won't sell editions of it. I have been a fan of James Dean since I first saw Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden when I was a teenager. There is something intriguing and mysterious about him that I thought it would be fun to try to capture his likeness since there is so much available photography on the internet. This was a bit challenging since he was such a good looking guy, but I am pleased with how it came out. I will post photos of the finished casting in a future blog post.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

#92, WW2 monument

Since October 2013 I have been working very hard sculpting a world war two monument that consists of 12 life size figures (pictured are three of my favorites). I haven't had time to work on my own projects and therefore post anything interesting so I figured I'd show what it is that has been keeping me busy (and quiet). The monument was designed by a former WW2 army air corp pilot and will be installed in Louisana sometime either later this year 2015 or 2016.  I am very pleased with how it is coming together and seeing this completed will be such a tremendous joy on so many levels. Currently, I am finishing up the tenth guy (standing figure) this week. Many of the figures are engaged with and touching another figure and doing everything separately has introduced challenges of fitting the entire monument together "seamlessly". I expect a good part of the year will be spent at the foundry making sure everything gets assembled properly.