Saturday, December 19, 2009

Going Home

This was a piece that sold over the Halloween show, but I wanted to post it and talk about it a little bit. It is a departure from the last posting because, with that one, I knew the concept and the look I wanted to achieve from start to finish. But with this rabbit, I wasn't quite sure what she was going to look like until I was almost done. I knew I liked this quizzical pose, with the body turned sort of awkwardly, but as I was working one night, the clay was a little too wet to support the weight I was adding on top, and she started to sag downward. Hence the big butt and pregnant belly, which I had no idea that she would have, but once I saw it, that became a great element to her story. (More the belly than the butt.) After that her story took shape around this element. I decided she needed a strong, erect posture, hinting towards some pride and determination. The ear pose reflects this as well. Her eyes convey nothing of her inward emotions, just looking back at her wagon to make sure everything is as it should be.
Now, the wagon... I wasn't sure what she should be pulling until after she was completely done, but I settled on this as a way to convey her fortitude and emotional capacity. The wagon itself is a slapped together vessel with weird 'wooden' slats of all shapes and sizes, and rickety wheels helping it to teeter along. But the contents are all manner of little treasures I had collected while growing up, and I borrowed a few from friends who had done the same thing as kids. This was stuff like part of a honeycomb, a skeleton key to nothing, a cartoon character plastic ring, a broken light bulb, etc. To me, these things say, yes, this rabbit is a little crazy, but she also, for whatever reason, holds these things very dear and has plans for them in her (and the baby's) future.
I wish I had a few more detail shots to show you inside the wagon and some other views of momma rabbit, but this one is no longer mine so you'll just have to settle for my description.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

They'll Be Lining Up

Here finally, is the finished sad dog piece. This guy went through a number of changes before I settled on what you see here. First was a minor catastrophe when I took him out of the kiln for what I thought would be the last time, and I looked on in horror as his "skin" was popping off in large flecks before my eyes. So the really crusty, kind of amazing surface treatment you see on this guy now is a result of me frantically rubbing off all the slip that was going to shed, and hitting the bare spots with an iron oxide stain, and throwing him back into the kiln one day before he was supposed to be shown. Luckily, that all worked out and he serendipitously looks better than I had hoped!
The second change was a departure from my original idea, which was to have malicious little puppies chewing on his house while he sat stoically. So he was displayed a few times on a large wooden platform with these puppies rolling around and bits of glass and "wood" from the house around them. But it was just too much and the puppies were goofy looking. Finally I decided that his pained expression, sturdy posture, and the decay of the house told the same story without the pups. I have a picture from one of those early showings so I'll post that and see what you think, but I'm afraid I won't be able to do much about it if you think I'm wrong since those pups are now somewhere in the garbage.

And here's the back view. Here you can really see the straining of the house on his muscles and skin, and the broken roof and beams. This is where the puppies were chewing and playing, but it just looked silly.

Seen Show Update!

So the show at The Seen Gallery in Decatur went really well. We had a big turn out on Halloween eve and I had a chance to meet a lot of new fans. We've had a few pieces sell already, and hopefully more to come!
Next up is the annual Callanwolde Holiday Sale starting Friday night Nov 20 and ending the following Sunday. I will have a few new pieces in this one, and the Seen has graciously let me borrow back some from them, so if you missed it there you can still see 'em at Callanwolde!
And finally, I just got my photos back from Walker Montgomery and he's done a bang-up job once again. I can't seem to create a link to his name without resigning to all italics. Hmm... Anyway, I'll be posting new pics again soon now that these are done. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Seen Gallery Show

After a lengthy hiatus, here's a post to tell you that I'll be hosting a show at the Seen Gallery in downtown Decatur on October 30 at 7 pm till around 10. I've got lots of new pieces that I'll be posting here after the show. Come drink wine and check out all the new work!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spring Sale at Callanwolde!

Tomorrow is our annual spring sale in the greenhouse at Callanwolde! We'll be there hanging out from 7 til 10 for the reception with cheap wine and art snacks. Then the show will be up all weekend until about 5 on Sunday, so come check out my newest works and all the various forms in clay that the assistants and instructors have made.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Here's his droopey underbelly and his sinewy neck where he turns away from the house being pulled off. I love his belly and it's a bummer you can't see it unless you're really looking. But as a treat for you internet viewers I'll point you right to it!
This is another dog in progress. This one sits stoically, but wincing in pain as his house is pulled from him by silly little pups (not yet pictured). I like to use dogs as characters who represent loyalty and power, much like the fierce and skinny dog who protects his house. But this dog recognizes it is time to surrender, although it is painful for him. He's still a muscular and formidable figure, but the things we create must pass on to a new generation. I want him to show he has faith in a principal, and that is his loyalty.

The Price of Safety

And the professional shot, so you can see a different angle. This was the first sculpture I made standing up on thin little legs, and I had to fire it with a large clay support on his stomach to hold him up while he dried. Getting this into the kiln was really dicey, but successful in the end!
Here's the finished version on display at the Callanwolde Holiday Sale '08! Red and Orange and dirty and angry! The sinews in his neck are my favorite part.
Here's a shot of an emaciated dog, scared and angry, protecting the house on his back. I wanted his body to look taxed from holding this house up, and the house to look like a tiny mansion, something many of us would strive for and maybe lose sight of the cost of getting there or holding on to it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Left To Burn

One vain rabbit with a once nice two story little house, now all burnt out. This one's got a provocative little pose going and a contented grin on its face, unaware of the problems it holding on its back. By the way, if you want a closer look at any of these, just click the picture.
Side view
and a close up of the house

Foolish Bird (the cynic)

and here is the second one. I wanted him to look older and grumpier. He resigned himself long ago and has really crumbled under the weight of his tower. You can't see the back view, but his ribs and spine slowly become the beams and siding of the tower. I wanted the line of distinction between animal and structure on this figure to be especially obscured, to convey the length of their symbiosis.

Foolish Bird (defeated)

This is the finished first bird: Foolish Bird (defeated). He has a dopey kind of look on his face and some nice big fat rolls from his lack of movement. He's a lazy and sad character, content to sit and dumbly ponder his fate.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The second piece in the series - a fat, lazy bird. Grounded by the tower he's got on his back, he just sits dopily. I wanted to make three bird, one fat and lazy (this one), one old and cynical, and one stupidly optimistic. They would all be tethered to each other by bridges connecting the towers. I have yet to make a stupid optimistic one I'm happy with, so the two I finished have just been displayed alone and flightless.

A Beast Submits

The finished piece: A Beast Submits

Clay work was done, so now just drying it out for the glazing!
Back view after the slabs were added for the house.
and the front. They were still pretty soft when I put them on so it would look more like they were melding with the skin. I thought this was important for the concept - not that the houses were just built there or fastened on, but that they grew from the animals and their relationship was symbiotic.
This was the first piece in the series I've been working on lately. The basic idea of most all my artwork has been trying to find a balance with basic human nature and the modern world. So these animals, which I try to use to represent raw emotion (ie: dog = loyalty, anger ; pig = sloth, defeat) are burdened by the structures that grow from their backs, but are ultimately responsible for them because they are attached. So the sculptures are the resulting struggle of that playing out. Weighted down birds get fat, vain rabbit ignores the house and it ends up burning... that sort of thing.