Friday, August 31, 2007

Fall is in the Air

Fall is indeed in the air here. Kids are back in school, temps are cooler, especially at night, and it is Labor Day weekend already. Time to relax and get some sculpting in!

Driving by one of the hay fields today I was struck by the beauty of our mountains, as I frequently am. We live at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, near the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. I rarely see that sight without being so very grateful!

Today while admiring it, I was struck at how painters can capture the scene and I pondered how a sculptor might also. We tend to capture other scenes, rather than a landscape. Then I remembered as a child in Japan learning Bonkei, and that is a way to create a landscape "sculpture". Although designed to be temporary, I recall creating mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes, with various textures and colors. Perhaps this recollection will lead me to a new series!

Fall in the air--and perhaps in stone!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Odds and Ends

Home again. While the beach was great and visiting family was wonderful, it is fantastic to be home. My own bed. My studio--even if I didn't get down there today.

Today was mostly getting unpacked, groceries bought and other errands that have been ignored for about 3 weeks. I did mail off sculptures and certificates of authenticity, so pieces are finding their way to their new homes.

Didn't have time to really organize much before I left, so we have sculptures around the house, not in the best display. That will evolve over time.

Final odd bits to do for the show, including sending in the sales tax. Amazing feeling to be grateful for paying tax--it really means that someone bought your work!

Then I will get back to work on the website so it is up and running since many people took my card at the show!

Monday, August 20, 2007

What Does A Sculptor Do While On Vacation?

What does a stone sculptor do while on vacation? Right after a big show? In oppressive heat?

Well, this sculptor has hit the beach!

On Sunday, August 12, we loaded up the remaining pieces at about 5pm. Oracle went home with a new owner, Rock Turtle and Spinner will be shipped to their new homes when I return to Colorado. I sold 3 pieces at my first time exhibiting at this show, so that is good. I also made some incredible contacts, and had loads of fun.

And, we were incredibly tired!

So, we packed our suitcases and flew to the west coast. Here we are visiting family, working in the garden, swimming in the pool and the ocean and all in all having a great time. The change in visual stimulation is excellent for an artist.

While in the ocean a Harbor Seal popped up within 15 feet of me...he looked as surprised as I felt when our eyes met. Another of my favorite beach critters are the pelicans. At home we have white pelicans. Here they are brown. The original Jedi fliers...tight formations inches above the water in the channels created by the waves.

When I got too cold in the water, I took a break and warmed up on the sand. I get quickly bored if I sit still with nothing to do, so I started sculpting in the sand. I had no tools, just my hands, so it was a different experience. The sand is so soft and sensual, it was a lot of fun. First I created a dolphin, about 5 feet long. That was fun. Even when the water came in and started to dissolve my work. It all felt very natural, like the tides had come to claim one of their own.

Later, after another dip in the water, I created a leg. Just one. Mid thigh all the way to the toes.

The temporary nature of working with beach sand has pros and cons. For me, this was a lark. Very quickly done and quickly lost. Not sure how I would feel about losing the pieces to the sea if I had spent days or even hours creating them. But going into it, you know they are only for a short time. So very different from creating pieces from stone, which, barring an accident, will last long after I am gone. Like everything in life, they each have their place and purpose.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

16th Annual Sculpture Invitational is Over

What a great weekend!

Hot. Busy. Lots and lots of people. Incredible sculptures of every shape, style, media, subject matter and size. Wonderful networking opportunities. New friends. New fans.

The people watching alone was amazing! It really helps you realize the diversity in the faces and body shapes that can make up a human being! Some of the people are such characters that if me created a sculpture of them people would accuse me of making them up!

We talked to countless sculpter lovers. Some were sculptors who were either on a brief break from their booth or who didn't exhibit at the show, others were locals visiting for the first time or the 16th, and lots of others were visitors to our town who came to Loveland specifically to see this show. Many return annually on an art prilgrimage--some to buy, some just to appreciate the incredible talent and energy that fills the air.

We were fortunate to be in Tent #1. People tend to start there and work their way around to Tent #8. By then, the sheer volume and heat have lead to glazed over eyes and brain overload. For the most part, the visitors were still fresh and inquisitive when they came by our tent. It was so much fun talking to them. With heat in the 90s and 100s, fresh and inquisitive doesn't last too long!

Our good fortune also put us on the north side of the tent. That meant we had only a little direct sun, and even that was mostly avoidable. Where we sat was a good 10 degrees cooler than the people in the center of the tent!

The variety of people at the show extended past the superficial. Sure there was that too--babies to senior citizens, all colors and shaped. There were those who asked lots of questions and those who preferred quiet contemplation, and others who weren't interested in my work at all.

Being a stone sculptore in a sea of bronzes was like a breath of fresh air for some visitors. Others seemed to think I was a waste of their time. That is one of the great things about this show--there is literally something for everyone.

One thing that also set me a part was I brought some of my tools. Since many people have a basic understanding of how clay and bronzes work they were very interested in learning more about the subtractive process of stone. Being a natural teacher I had a great time explaining and showing them some of the basics.

I met so many wonderfully talented people, and ran into old friends and acquaintances. Lots of friends came specifically to see me and my work. Others happened by and had no idea I was a sculptor. It is fun to expose a new part of oneself to a person who thinks they know you.

I am so grateful to all the volunteers without whom a show of this magnitude would not be possible. Also to the fantastic "neighbors" who took me under their wing, and the other new sculptors we met.

Over the next few days, as I catch up on my sleep, I will update this blog and my website and include some photos of the event. You really can't imagine the environment!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Almost There

The show is almost here. Today I spent a good amount of time working on the display items, other than the pieces themselves. The little details that are easy to forget!

I also did work in the studio. Putting on final touches to the pieces. Tomorrow is minor touch ups and bases. All in all things are looking good.

Only one day left, then it is set up and SHOW TIME!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Yes, Stones Break

One of my stones must have also felt the stress of only a few days remaining before the big show. As I put my chisel gently to it I was suddenly, unintentionally, the proud owner of 2 pieces of marble rather than one.

Things like this happen when you choose to carve stone. Sometimes there is a flaw that runs through the piece that you just didn't catch. Other times we push the stone further than it wants to go.

My philosophy is that it just wasn't meant to be. Perhaps one day I will have 2 nice sculptures instead of only one. Probably they will be better individually than they would have been as one piece because obviously the stone didn't want to be least, not that one!

For now, I have put them on the shelf. I look at them. Surprising even myself, I am not saddened or shocked or angry...resigned is the best description. I know that this is a gift.

Stones are like people. Sometimes, no matter how gentle you are, it just doesn't work out. Some people also have huge cracks running deep inside them, and they do such a good job at covering them up you don't realize it is even there...

So I moved on and worked on a different piece. I realize now that gift in the first piece breaking is that I worked with this other stone. While I was working on it, I had the most incredible energy and calm. The stone and I had a great communion. It was a wonderful day.

Life is grand, broken stones and all.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Loveland, the Mecca for Sculptors and Sculpture Lovers

Loveland, Colorado is abuzz this week with art, artists, and art lovers from around the world!

The world's largest sculpture shows are happening next weekend and the prep has been going on all year. Now, things are at a fevered pitch as people arrive and last minute details are ironed out.

The Loveland Sculpture Invitational and Sculpture in the Park are two separate shows. Each show houses incredible artists from around the world, displaying work of all sizes, media and styles. It is the ideal place to learn about sculpture, find wonderful pieces for the new collector and for experienced collectors to find new artists and reconnect with old favorites thereby expanding their collections.

I suggest planning on two days, one for each show. That allows time to not just walk the many tents, but also gives you time to actually talk to the artists.

One of the best parts of the shows is meeting the creators and learning about their inspirations, their lives, making new friends. Most of us really enjoy talking to people who love our art--and those who are just curious. Don't be shy or feel like we only want to talk to you if you buy our work. I, for one, am honored and pleased to share my work and philosophy, so please say hi!

That being said, realize that many artists are shy by nature. More comfortable in the studio than on the "sales floor" they may seem aloof. Don't let that deter you. Generally a warm smile is all it takes to break the ice! And we all love to hear that you like our work!

Artists of all medias come to this show. In addition to the exhibiting sculptors, you will find other artists who come to get inspiration or who love learning what other artists are up to. The energy in Loveland this time of year is incredible, so come just to get a Rocky Mountain High from all the positive vibes flying around!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

One Week to Sculpture Invitational and "Flashes" of Brilliance

What is going on in the life of a sculptor right before a big, big show?

This week on the schedule are issuing press releases, finishing one last piece, polishing four otherwise complete works, creating bases, creating literature to hand out, testing my credit card procedure, pumping up the tires on my transport cart, getting my display props accumulated, getting all my materials gathered to safely transport the stones (stone may seem hard, but it the polished surface is subject to scratches if not protected appropriately.)

I have my sales books. My business cards arrived. New laptop computer is here.

Fortunately, we had a bit of a break in the heat. This made it easier to work. Whew! Keeping my fingers crossed that it will remain below 90 degrees for another 2 weeks.

I have been in the studio a lot. I found a new source for stone (one can never have too many stones!) And talking with other people who love stones is just so much fun! I learn something from everyone I meet. Many of these folks know lots more about the stones than I do (I basically look at a stone, it either speaks to me or doesn't...I don't necessarily know what it is called!) and I appreciate their willingness to share their knowledge with me.

One of the big steps I have is designing and creating bases for my pieces. Some of my works don't have bases, since they aren't necessary and for some pieces they are more effective without a base. In that case a little felt to protect the surface the stone rests on is all it needs. Other times, the base helps to give a sculpture a formal, finished appearance. And in other cases the base is actually an extension of and integral part of the sculpture.

Of course other parts of one's life don't stop just because the artist has a big deadline looming! Computers still crash, requiring replacements and all the work that entails. Since I had been considering acquiring a laptop, and the old computer was really old, this is not entirely a bad thing. However, I'm not sure I would have consciously chosen this timing! But the Universe knows better than I it seems! With the laptop I will be able to process credit card orders at the show much more easily!

Then there are my emotions. wow. I am nervous, excited, scared about having my biggest show in several decades. Having lost 4 friends and family members in 4 months has also had a toll on me. Compounding that is I happen to be right in the throes of menopause! So watch out for the crazy artist with chisel and large hammer! "Flashes" of brilliance, ha!