Friday, August 1, 2014

August Already?!?!

And it's Friday Too!  Now that's a good thing.

Today I thought I'd talk a little bit about how a work of sculpture is started, at least for me.  I have an idea that all sculptors are a bit different in their approach to beginning so I won't say this is THE way to do it.

I choose my subject matter based upon something that is internally very important to me.  One very important things to me is the preservation of the world's natural animal habitat and the preservation of the animals that have historically inhabited them...or even the preservation of animals in habitats they have not historically inhabited - if that means they are doing good things for the natural habitat.

For instance I am a big fan of the work Alan Savory is doing because it makes sense to me that preserving the grasslands of this planet will literally save our skins. 

He advocates for keeping any grazing animals on our grasslands as long as they are managed appropriately...which means they mimic the historic grazing patterns the grasslands evolved from - the idea being - mimicking nature allows the grasslands to thrive.

I'm geeked by the knowing that there are wild horses still running free and living in the in family herds and making our world an eminently more beautiful place just because they are out there living their lives.

There are all kinds of things going on with humans that threaten the existence of our country's wild horses.  Every horse I sculpt is my way of saying "notice them...cherish them...respect their place in our world."

I started the Blue Moon Series this year.  It is a series of animals other than wild horses that are in danger of going extinct.  These are animals you may never see or only see 'once in a blue moon' because they are animals listed as endangered species. 

I incorporate a blue moon in each sculpture with the animal.  This sculpture is of a Spotted Owl holding a small blue moon that he has taken a bite from....he offers it to you to taste too.

Owl Ate the Blue Moon - limited edition bronze 12"x 9" x 6"
My sculptures always start with an imagining.  I reason out the "why?" I want to do a particular series, but the imagining of a single sculpture happens with less thinking.  

With horses imagining is effortless.  Somehow, it seems I am wired to always dream about them and imagine them standing around in the house.  I could write a "haunted by horses" book probably.  One of my uncles thinks they are my totem.  Maybe so.

For imagining other animals I may have never seen or have only seen occasionally, I look at photographs or watch movies or go to where they are.  Then I carry those images with me and just kind of wait to see what speaks to me and how.  They are then re-imagined. 

I will also dream about other animals - especially if it is an animal I have been studying....I woke up with the blue moon eating owl one I think I probably had an owl dream. 

In the re-imagining they are always doing something.  And before that dream of how they look when I imagine them goes away, sort of like writing down a dream before you forget it...I grab some armature wire and make a "sketch" of the imagining.

Here is the sketch of a bull elk...pre-antlers (well - the antler buds are there).  Rocky Mountain Majesty is the first in the Rocky Mountain Series.  This is a series of animals we still can see fairly often if we visit the Rocky Mountain West.  These animals are living in the wild in the Rockies and are my favorites and animals that I, myself, have been fortunate enough to see in their natural habitat.

sketch for Rocky Mountain Majesty - 1st in Rocky
Mountain Series of animals of a 10 point Elk - here
the wire has just begun to be covered in clay
My armature sketches are loose and not attached to a pipe or a board or anything.  This allows me to play with the form for awhile until it seems that the pose is the way it "should" me. 

I have many sketches in armature wire in my studio at one time....many works are always in progress.

So that's the start.

More about what comes next tomorrow.

'Till then!