My posts as of late have been about my art. The weather (although the window shot in the background is deceiving) has been cold and snowing. A lot more snow is expected tonight. So, during this time indoors, instead of out and about, at shows, etc. I've been working. The survey on the bottom of the home page has the question about what i should work on next. "Something whimsical" is one of the option and currently in first place. This sketch shown is my first attempt until I move onto something else. This rabbit sculpture is the result of my wife telling me I should "try a rabbit"... then she added "try something that you've never done before." And so I did. If the colors don't throw you off, you can see a bunny with his hind legs (at least one) up, while smelling flowers and a butterfly on his high leg. Will this cute wildlife sculpture / scene make it into bronze? I'm having fun with it and actually Mark came into the studio and was very helpful bringing this piece to the point it's at by offering his usual suggestions. The results of my poll, my wife's input and my ADHD will determine what happens. In the meantime watch for updates that aren't just about my art as the weather hopefully warms up soon.
So are you born an artist or is it in the DNA? Who knows. I know I have a huge advantage having my father. But what about the next generation? Will they become sculptors too? Here in the studio I have a shelf with several clay pieces my kids have done of the years. One in particular (shown in the far back left) is of a "man". It was sculpted by my son about 5 years ago when he was 4. I was impressed then and appreciated his eye for the art and have saved the piece over the past years. The future will determine what paths they take. I didn't expect to pursue this course when I was younger.
Why bronze sculpture?
After learning that I'm an artist, I'm often asked "what medium?" Although I'm able to work in many, my response is "bronze sculpture". But why? First, it's in my blood. I grew up around it, it's what my father taught me. Do I feel bound to it? Not at all. I actually truly enjoy it. I worked from age 12 in and around the foundry and have a keen appreciation for what is involved the creation of bronze sculpture. Bronze offers such an array of possibilities. A big commission monument or a small delicate sculpture, patinas that look like marble, stone or wood. There's so much it can do, I doubt my love for it will waiver anytime soon. As a sculptor I am curious about other options, but they don't forgive like clay or wax. You make a mistake on a marble piece and that's it. "Agility", shown here is one of my first pieces cast into bronze. This horse sculpture, or rather a stallion, is more a contemporary style emerging from its base and shows a little of what's possible with bronze.
Some recent eagle experiences
Due to the fact that I've been working on an eagle sculpture as of late (see other posts below), two recent experiences have been note worthy. First, on Sunday my son and I were driving when over a field near the road we saw a massive bird of prey. We pulled over the watch as it swooped low, flew in circles and eventually landed in the field, probably hunting. It was a young, juvenile bald eagle. Both my son and I watched this big bird for several minutes as it did it's thing. I've seen them in this area from time to time, usually full grown with white heads. I've enjoyed these close (relative) experiences with them. Then last night I dreamed that a young eagle was flying into me, attempting to get my attention. I thought it was attacking me until it finally landed on top of me (I was then laying on the ground with my hands covering my head) and I realized it simply wanted my help. That it was hurt. What do these things mean? Don't know, but either way I felt that both of these things were worth mentioning.
African sculpture as a set
Sculptures sometimes look best in sets. When you have similar themes and sizes placed together, they can compliment each other and create a scene. A giraffe sculpture I did a couple years ago (see a better picture in the sculpture section) titled "Lookin' Up" now has a companion piece with my newest "Embrace". Together they work as a team and add to tell a story. In this quick image I took you can see how well this set works.
This show is amazing. Many people don't know that there are 2 shows the same weekend (this year it's Aug 1-11). One show is in the "Park" and the Invitational is up the "hill" in the grounds of the high school. This is where I exhibit. Below is a quick clip from last year's show, but helps to express the feeling and enthusiasm of the show. PLAN TO ATTEND. It's worth it. The biggest of the year.
A young artist, a sculptor to be
Recently on Face Book we posted a picture of my father as a boy. Unrelated but coincidentally at the same time I was asking my mom for a picture of myself for a lesson I was preparing for a class. Those two facts together inspired me to include this image of me as a young boy. Childhood holds my favorite memories. If I could jump back to a time and repeat a time of my life, ages 6-10 are where I'd go. No need worry about that "sad" look in my eyes. That was how I've always been. I still have that look, but now it's a 6"-4" 230lb man with facial hair. My wife says she still "sees that little boy" in me. Who knew he'd grow up to be a bronze sculptor and artist. You just never know.
The creation of a sculpture
In posts below you can see other images of how this piece (and others) has developed. First is the idea, then the armature, then the basic shape and look, followed by the refinement, which is where I'm now at with this new eagle sculpture. Then you mold and cast it (READ MORE ABOUT IT HER) To answer the question of "how long does it take you to sculpt a piece", well here is the answer to a degree. Sometimes days, weeks or months. This piece seems to be going fairly fast. Mark continues to come in to the back studio where I sculpt, see it, make minor suggestions which I generally follow and then I keep proceeding. I'm hoping to finish this piece and begin molding it next week. It's smaller so the process should go fast. I'm also blessed to have worked on eagles, hawks and their wings so I'm already somewhat familiar with the anatomy. That helps A LOT. There is still lots to do, so I'll get back at it. In the back ground you can see the skillet with hot clay. It's something that seriously hurts when you spill some on your leg or hands. Some advice, don't do it.
Even with the heavy snow outside, a box arrived from the foundry. It was my new sculpture titled "Embrace" which depicts a mother and baby elephant "hugging". Shown is a quick image of it I took with my phone. Tomorrow we'll have it professionally photographed after which I'll have the image and info in "gallery" page. The patina is a grey, marbled look and is exquisite. No doubt some will see it and ask "what's the medium?" because it doesn't appear to be bronze. This piece is similar in idea, style and feel of "Mama Bear" and hopefully it will be received the same.
Let it snow
This image shows what is happening a the moment outside the studio window which is right behind by sculpting area. We are expected to get as much at 10 more inches. Luckily the hot clay - warmed in a skillet and with a light - keeps my hands warm as I sculpt. It's quiet as the snow falls and can be very inspiring. However it causes the "hibernation" mode to kick in and the desire to go home, drink hot chocolate and watch any good movie trilogy.
These updates are written by Eli Hopkins.