Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Art in the Park Festival

This event has been going on for 44 years now. It is free to the public. It is not one of the big sculpture shows, but if you want to see other art and craft items, this might be the show for you! Paintings, jewelry and other items are available.

Location: North Lake Park
Dates/Times: Sat, Aug 9, 10am-5pm
Sun, Aug 10, 9:30am-4pm

Loveland's big art weekend has something for everyone!

Loveland Sculpture Invitational Show & Sale

This is the 17th year of the Invitational. It is across the street from the Sculpture in the Park (the "senior" show). Another awesome show to see lots of great sculpture.

Location: Loveland High School
Dates/Times: Friday, Aug 8, 10am-3pm (discounted rate of only $3 for Friday)
Sat, Aug. 9, 9:30 am- 6pm, $5
Sun, Aug 10, 9:30am-4:30, $5

It will be hot and humid under the tents, so wear your coolest outfit. Bring water, and money to buy some more--you'll want it! Keep hydrated so you can enjoy the show. And take lots of breaks. There are shade tents with chairs, so take advantage. You'll be glad you did.

25th Annual Sculpture in the Park

Sculpture in the Park is only a week away! I drove by the venue today and the workers are busily getting things prepared.

You don't want to miss this show!

Location: Benson Sculpture Garden
Dates & Times: Sat, Aug 9, 9:30am-6pm, $5
Sun, Aug 10, 9:30am-4pm, $5

Advice from a seasoned visitor: where plenty of sunscreen, drink lots of water, carry a fan! And talk to the sculptors and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Enlarging Sculptures

Many sculptors will create a piece at one size and then decide that they want to make it larger.

There are options for that sculptor. Of course, it would be possible to just create a new original at the new size.

Another option is to take advantage of technology and have some computerized help along the way. The computer can scan the original and digitally enlarge the piece. Then digital image is transferred to another medium for a 3 dimensional enlargement of the original sculpture.

This can work quite simply for some pieces and some enlargements. It isn't always so easy, however. Depending on the artist's style, the size of the original vs the enlargement and where the enlargement will be placed, some modifications may need to be made.

That is one reason it is important for the artist to be involved throughout the process. The sculptor may choose to add some detail that was not needed at the small size, in fact may have made the small piece too busy, but could really help the larger piece.

If the piece is a commission and you have the luxury of knowing where it will be placed, that can be very helpful as well. The viewer's perspective on the piece can lead the artist to make other modifications.

So the technology is helpful, but it is only a tool. A great tool that makes life easier for the artist, but certainly does not take away from the sculptor's involvement in the finished piece.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mold Making & Editions

Mold making is a step in the process of being able to make multiple renditions of a sculpture. This allows the sculptor to create one master, typically of clay, and create an edition. The pieces in the edition are usually numbered. In a limited edition the artist sets the number of pieces that will be created from the mold. Once that number of sculptures has been produced the molds are then destroyed.

This process is most frequently used for bronzes or other metals. It can be used for other materials as well including some stone or stone-like materials, as long as the material can be poured into the mold and will solidify.

This is how you can see "The Thinker" by Rodin in Paris, France, Kyoto, Japan, and Kansas City, Missouri all at the same time. Well, if you could travel fast enough you could at any rate!

Compare that to Michelangelo's "David", which has one, and only one, original. This piece is hand-carved from marble and lives in Florence, Italy. It would be possible to make a mold of "David" and reproduce it in another material, even a marble composite, so that it looks like the original, but it would always be a copy. With the bronze, the actually creating of the bronze is part of making the original.

The mold-maker is a skilled craftsman in his/her own right, working with the sculptor to create a piece that fulfills the artist's vision.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Walk in the Park

If you live in Loveland, Colorado or are planning a visit here, be sure to stop by Benson Sculpture Park--even if you've been there before! July 12 brought the dedication of seven new pieces to this fantastic park. Now the park has 123 sculptures on site.

The park is a beautiful place to take a walk. The sculptures are of a variety of media, styles and subject matter. There are pieces to appeal to everyone, regardless of age or taste. There are big turtles and other cool animals at easy reach to little hands. There is a sculpture designed to be sat in. There are modern pieces along side very traditional ones.

This is no stuffy museum. There are ponds and grasslands that frame and embrace the sculptures. A great place to take a stroll even if you are with someone who isn't an art lover! Kids can run around and do cartwheels while you chat and enjoy the art.

I found a cool interactive map so you can actually see the sculptures in the park:
Sorry I haven't figured out how make this a link, so you'll have to put it into your own URL, but it is pretty cool!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Keep the Dream Alive

Sometimes it is easy to get bogged down with the day-to-day routine and forget about our dreams and goals.

Don't let "life" get in the way of the dream. Whether your dream is to be an artist or to buy art, or just to enjoy looking at it. Do something every day to help move you forward towards that goal.

Sketch, be sure to really look at and see things that are around you--those are some of the best daily activities any artist can do (of course if you can daily paint or sculpt, or do whatever you medium is, that is all the better!)

The art buyer and lover can read on-line or in a traditional magazine. Find an article about a different style or different artist. Expand your horizons.

None of this takes a lot of time and it all helps keep the dream alive.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cost of Oil Affects Sculpture

Whether you are an artist or art buyer, the price of oil could affect you. Not only will it cost you more in gasoline to get to the gallery, but it could drive up your costs to create, or purchase, your next piece.

Many sculptors use a casting technique. I won't go into detail on this now, that is a long article all by itself. Suffice it to say, this is how they are able to have more than one copy of the same piece, called an "edition". Some of the materials used in this process are petroleum-based and therefore are subject to the same sort of fluctuations that you experience when going to the pump for your automobile.

Large pieces, called "monumental sculptures" because they are, well, typically monuments, are generally purchased by corporations, museums or other large organizations which might not feel the pinch as much. At least not yet.

The smaller collector, who doesn't have a grant, a 1% fund or deep pockets, is usually purchasing smaller pieces. As prices go up on materials (not just the oil-based materials are going up) these smaller pieces will likely see an increase in price. This could drive sales down. This puts the artist into the tight spot of absorbing some (or all) of the increase in order to make sales.

There are some options that artists can use to help control costs, but sometimes the artist can't do much to control the cost of materials. You can't skimp on the raw materials! If the material is consumed during the process then it is just gone.

As an art buyer, be aware that the artist is not making money off these increases. These are raw material costs that he or she is incurring when making the finished product that you love.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Juried Shows

A friend of my was recently juried into a show that was at a Denver gallery. It was her first time in a Denver gallery, so of course we wanted to go and support her.

The show was excellent--an exhibition of Plein Aire paintings. The variety in styles was fantastic. I had two other friends with me, neither of them in the art field. It was really interesting to get their perspective as well.

One of them posed the question to me as to how the jurors decide which paintings win the ribbons. I confess to not really having an answer to that one. I know that a good juror can be more objective than some of us, but so much of art is personal taste. I've been to lots of shows where it is apparent that personal taste had more to do with assigning of ribbons than did mastery of the medium.

How do you decide between pieces of such wide variety of style and subject matter? Most of the pieces were very traditional in approach...and mostly that was what was rewarded. Did that make the more modern approaches any less good?

If you go back in art history, you will learn that many of the painters we view as plein aire masters today (think the Impressionists, for example) were not considered of value during their day. Mostly because they were "different".

So, if you are an artist, don't go for the ribbon. Go for what is in your heart. The market is big out there. I believe that if you paint what you love, and you continue to improve your skills, there is a market there for your work. Your heart will guide you and you will have great pleasure in what you do. That is worth more than a bunch of ribbons.