Posted tagged ‘stone sculpting’

Feed an Artist-Feeding your Soul

December 31, 2009

December 31, 2009, the end of the year, the end of a decade, the end of scarcity and fear. Please continue a list of all that you want to end, taking time today to make it known and commit to something that Feeds your Soul in 2010.

Appreciation is a life-blood for me, and sales are the height of appreciation when it comes to the challenges of hard economic times. During the good times, when sales were covering the costs of new materials, tools that wear out, and the ongoing costs of education, my artwork would flourish and I could feel my Soul’s calling. The artwork would show up in my vision, then in the material, and after a period of transforming the materials, the artwork would be done. Often when working in the “Zone” when my monkey mind was silent, I would wonder how the artwork happened, losing myself in the process, like disappearing and the art continued to be made. Don’t know if this is common for all artists, but this experience is worth returning to the studio day after day searching for that Zone.

As a self-supporting artist for 30 years, I have found this year the most challenging. With galleries closing down, and sales not at all what they used to be, an appreciative audience is hard to find. This economy has forced me to look at how important being appreciated is. Making my artwork  just to satisfy ME is not complete without presentation to an audience that will view it and connect to it. And when my artwork is appreciated, well, I find it’s life enhancing, like oxygen, touch, food, love, water, and communication. Finding ways to receive a note of appreciation, the voice of another, the smile when someone looks at my work is essential for me. Donating to local causes also gives me appreciation, and is one of the ways I feed my soul.

Sculpture is a non-verbal communication and I want mine to be received, valued and appreciated. In a recent exhibition of my sculptures, a woman admiring my work declared in a loud voice, “Your work makes me so Happy!” That has stayed with me every day since hearing her say that.

In galleries, it’s sales that give me appreciation. I love attending an exhibition of my artwork, where I get to hear the comments, to feel the appreciation directly. Those of you who know my work, know how much it takes to transport and display sculpture. I do regional shows so that I can directly connect with the viewer, see their reaction to my art, hear their appreciation, as well as sell my work. I also love installing my work in someone’s home, office, or public setting. The selling obviously keeps the entire cycle in flow.

When sales (and appreciations) don’t happen over an extended period of time, it brings up big questions about my motivation for making new sculptures. Would I do it without appreciation? Could I provide my own appreciation, as a path to self-sufficiency? I pretty much stopped blogging for many months, after last December’s Louvre exhibition in Paris and returned back to the states to the economic freeze. I found it hard to write about the dark night that didn’t fade away at dawn. I moved through that frozen state by teaching, which lead to creative ideas, and new sculptures emerged in my studio.

So now I sit here at the computer writing this on the last day of 2009. I remember back to Y2K, when the last decade of the 20th century was being hyped by all the fear mongers as well as good intentioned friends. Because of some computer glitch, all the banking systems would stop, all the markets would collapse, all the airlines would crash down in some way. Well we got through, that within a split second it was proven to be a myth of no proportion. Yet it was 9/11 that brought the biggest change to me as an artist, as I upped my social artistry, and shifted my sculpture focus towards Art of Peace.. There is a big story there, and it is best read about on the website.

As the year comes to a close, my soul has been fed by all those who gave appreciation, and by the many creative impulses that have bubbled up to the surface with new sculptures and projects. My thanks to those who found and purchased my artwork. My artist plan which I call Art of Peace is to continue to make artwork that connects people to themselves and to others. To me, our Soul’s nature is peace and love. I know these are such common words that they have lost their value and meaning. But please know this, Peace is our birthright and love is our purpose for being. Let us end the year, with a commitment to support each other with love and appreciation. Let us live the power of peace which is within each of us. It is my prayer that my artwork helps connect us all in our one shared humanity.

May 2010 bring us all closer to our dreams. May the entire world find peace and joy.

Portal to Peace

Omega Series


Getting Back to Sculpting

November 23, 2009

After my inspirational days at Pilchuck, I began a remodel of my studio space. Over the past 18 years, I have mostly worked outdoors under a roof but without walls. This is invaluable for the heavy removal of stone material which generates large amounts of dust. During the winter months, I would be tempered by the weather and this winter I wanted to work on glass and stone sculptures without the concerns of the weather conditions. This would require building walls, and plumbing the studio with hot water for the wet polishing that I do. Besides enclosing my studio, having warm water is one of the most important improvements I have made in my new studio space.

Well, I thought it would take a few weeks with some hired help to get the studio in shape. Well, three months later I finally called it quits, knowing that I could continue improving the workspace and building some new tools and work benches. Little did I know how important getting back to sculpting would be for me. When the sculptures I had in mind began to take shape, I became a nicer person. I felt like I had been carrying them inside and they needed to come out, and like the birthing process, I wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around. Yet once they took form, I was much more at peace, and even friendlier. Here is a photo album you can view the transformation of my outdoor studio:

As I had a couple of exhibitions and some shows to apply for I needed to get back to sculpting. I have been carrying ideas from Pilchuck Glass School days inside of me, and waiting to get them started. As my shows approached, I needed to work quickly to get some sculptures completed and cast glass sculptures are not quick to make. Casting glass is the most indirect sculpting I do. Imagine making a sculpture in clay or wax, and then making a rubber mold with a plaster mother mold, then making a wax of the sculpture which needs to be worked to the look I want, then making an investment mold in preparation for the glass casting stage. Then the wax is steamed out of the mold and the mold is then dried. This stage is the most critical in prepping for the glass to melt into the mold. Now the part that’s really slow, bringing the mold and the glass up to melting temperature, soaking it to allow the bubbles to rise, then cooling it ever so slowly to relieve the stresses in the glass, when it reaches room temperature, it is best to leave it in the unopened kiln for an additional day. The the devesting of the mold is the exciting part, where the quality of the  casting is realized. If it is a good casting then the cold working and polishing of the glass sculpture begins. If the casting is not good, then you go back to the making of the wax and start the process over. This is why many people don’t cast glass, as it’s such a slow indirect method of sculpting.  So I worked on stone sculptures, as I only had 6 weeks before the exhibition.

So I let my imagination open to work with my signature stone, an Onyx that is a beautiful orange/yellow calcite. And a new series began to be birthed. Bringing sculptures of light into this world is a great joy. See posted photos of the new work.

Soon I will begin preparation for glass castings. I will post some photos soon to show you the direction I am taking with the same theme of bringing light into this world.

Wishing you readers the best for the upcoming holidays. I am thankful of all the support I have received this year and throughout my life. Your comments are welcomed. Brian