Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Testing 1--2--3

Well, I am having trouble again today. I started with the greatest of intentions of spending time in the studio.

My friend and neighbor, Frank, died yesterday.

I salute him, and the others I and the world have lost before him--and those since and in the future.

I have my first exhibition in over 20 years coming--it is in less than 1 month now. I struggle with creating while grieving. I have now lost 4 loved ones in 4 months. I am choosing to focus on the positive, but I confess that I struggle with that from time to time.

I decided today that I will have for this exhibition what I have. If I feel like creating something that is "different" from what I would otherwise create, that is okay. If I do not create anything new, that is okay. If I wake at 4am it is okay to go to the studio and work. What is, is. What will be, will be.

I am so grateful that I have the freedom and flexibility in my life to life, sleep, work as I choose.

Thank you to all the wonderful people in my life--those on earth and those beyond.

Celebrate life. Love. Laugh. Live.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Art Therapy

Can we create wonderful when we are sad? Should we even try?

These are questions that I am contemplating today as I got the word that yet another close friend is dying. This will be the 4th month in a row when someone close to me has died. I have never experienced such a string before.

I've had experiences with death in my life--more than some, less than others. The first I remember was a horrible accident that took the lives of several acquaintances when I was a child. This string is different partly because they are all individual experiences, and all "natural".

This string started with the death of my father in April. I spoke to him on Wednesday afternoon. Less than 24 hours later I got a call from my mother than he was gone. "Gone? Gone where?", I thought. Did he go for a walk and get lost? It took a moment to sink in. He did not seem ill. He was pretty energetic and happy, at least in our visits. There was no car crash or other accident...he just died.

Then a neighbor died. I saw him one afternoon. He told me a joke (a very bad, dirty one, as was his standard!). The next morning I was with his widow at the hospital. He just died.

Then next month, a very talented artist I know died. Hers was not a sudden death, in that she had cancer and we knew it was coming. But hard to lose a beautiful spirit either way.

And now, another neighbor hovers on the edge. I am grateful that we recently spent an evening sharing a glass of wine and stories. I will miss his smile, the twinkle in his eyes, and the way he coveted my little sports car!

The reason I mention all this is that I have had difficulty in creating lately. So have the other women involved who are artists. How does one grieve and create at the same time? And should we even try?

While some may be moved to paint or sketch or pound away when grieving, I felt so numb and physically weak that it wasn't possible. The chisel weighed more--not to mention the hammer! I didn't want to imbue my work with the sadness that was in my heart.

When the deepest grief of my father's death passed, I found myself in the studio once more. At first the feelings that came up while I worked surprised me. They weren't of my dad or my friends who died. They were of anger at another "dead" friendship. Perhaps my psyche could be mad at her, but not at them. After all, they died, while she chose to poison our friendship. When I became aware of my feelings I made a conscious choice. I decided my sculptures deserved to be born in love, not anger. I chose to think of only the positive things in my life--my partner, my good friends and family (including those who have died), the beauty around me--and let go of everything else.

Likewise, my friend, the recent widow, went painting yesterday for the first time since the death of her husband of 32 years. Until then no cajoling could get her into the studio or out in the field. Yesterday, she too, made a conscious choice. She chose to be engaged in her life--and it felt good.

If you are an artist, or you have a friend who is one, and he or she suffers a loss, know that we don't all go immediately into our studio and enter a "Blue Period". Some of us have to work through our feelings internally. Yes, our art is a blessing to us and it is part of who we are and how we relate to the world. Yes, we will get back to it. Yes, we might need a little encouragement. And yes, it might take us a while to accept it. In the meantime, love us, hold us, and let us express our emotions in whatever way is the right one for us--it might surprise you the direction it will take us and you might see a side of us never displayed before.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Seven Wonders of the World?

The day that the results for the Modern Seven Wonders of the World were announced I was disappointed that Angkor Watt in Cambodia didn't even make "the finals". Talk about incredible sculpture!

Later that day, I was working on a small piece in a soft alabaster. It started off wonderfully. Inspired by my friend, the incredible sculptor Agnes Nyanhongo, it was bust of a woman. Along the way, a crack suddenly appeared practically splitting the piece in half vertically.

Normally I work with cracks and broken bits by adjusting the composition. I figure the stone has an innate knowledge of what does and doesn't work and it is my place to work as a translator, not dictator. But a crack from neck to top of head--how do I deal with that?

I had to laugh when it occurred to me! Lo and behold, this bust resembles one of the ancient heads I recall seeing as a child in the jungles of Cambodia. Now I can create "banyan tree roots" spreading over the face, appearing to cause the cracks and simultaneously holding the stone together and pay homage to one of my favorite memories--seven wonders of the modern world designation or not!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

I Thought Marble was Hard?

Wow! I've worked on a few pieces of marble before and they have all been extremely hard. Yesterday I was working on a piece of Colorado marble and it is not that hard at all. I know stones come in hardness ranges but this really surprised me.

I prefer to work with hand tools. I like the proximity I get with the stone that I just don't feel working with power tools. That's one reason. The main reason is the noise! I just don't like all the noise. And the heat. I get hot enough protecting my lungs and eyes...I don't want to have more body parts covered with big heavy things!

So, I work with hand tools as much as possible. It can be slow going with harder stones. So I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up this piece of marble and took a gentle swipe at it (no matter the stone, I always start with a gentle swipe!) This is going to be fun!

Off I go now to work on my marble piece! One more piece that will be done for the big show in a month!

Friday, July 6, 2007

When is the Loveland Sculpture Invitational?

This is the 16th year of the Loveland Sculpture Invitational Show and Sale. As always, the show is the second weekend in August. That means this year the dates are August 10, 11, 12 (Friday-Sunday).

The show is sponsored by The Loveland Sculpture Group, a non-profit corporation dedicated to expanding opportunities and appreciation for sculpture. Proceeds from the Invitational are used to purchase and present sculpture to the City of Loveland for public display. In addition, $18,000 was donated in 2006 to support art education in Loveland area schools!

There is a silend auction Saturday and Sunday where you can get some great buys. There is also an "Emerging Artists" tent with local student artists from 2nd - 12th grades. The Suppliers Tent is a favorite for sculptors--exhibitors of both the Invitational, Sculpture in the Park, and other artists not exhibiting.

Hours of the show:
Friday Aug. 10, 10am-3pm, admission $3
Saturday Aug. 11, 9:30am-6pm, admission $5
Sunday Aug. 12, 9:30am-4:30pm, admission $5

For more information, call 970-663-7467 or check out the Loveland Sculpture Group website.

Remember, there are two HUGE sculpture shows across the street from one another. The Invitational is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Sculpture in the Park is only open Saturday and Sunday. Both shows are on 29th Street between Taft and Hwy 287. The Invitational is on the south side of the street, at Loveland High School. Sculpture in the Park is on the north side of the street in Benson Park.

Come early and plan to spend the day. Ideally, I recommend a day for each show. Come to the Invitational on Friday, the Park on Saturday. Then Sunday you can go back and revisit your favorite artists.

Take time, enjoy, meet the artists and ask them questions--we love people who appreciate our art!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Happy 4th of July! I will be enjoying the festivities tonight with friends. As I do so I will be reminded with every sparkle in the sky that I am very blessed to have this wonderful life--and that I get to pursue (and find!) happiness every day.

Happy Carving!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Loveland Sculpture Invitational Only 5 Weeks Away

The Loveland Sculpture Invitational is only 5 weeks away!

I am busy preparing for the show. If you have never participated in a show like this then you have no idea of everything that is involved--this has been quite a learning experience for me!

Of course, you must have plenty of pieces ready for the show, that is obvious. That involves lots of sketching, contemplating, carving, polishing and creating bases or buying them and mounting the pieces to the bases.

In addition to that you have to have a sales tax license, display tables(s) and any cloths/fabrics you want to cover the tables and any display stands so you can vary the display height.

Then there is your advertising--submitting press releases, having business cards, creating a website (this is not a requirement, but I think it is a great idea.)

That being said, I am learning how to put up my first website! We'll see how that goes and I will post when the site it up. I am becoming more and more computer literate as this goes on. My first blog (this one) and then my first website!

Back to things you need--how to accept payment is a big one! I plan to sell many, many pieces. The group sponsoring the show will process credit card orders for us, if we don't get our own system in place. I plan to have mine all set up. I have the system, I am just missing one tiny component and that should be resolved by next week.

The count down has begun! I am excited and look forward to a successful show for Success In Stone!