Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wildlife, wildlife, wildlife!

I so enjoyed this trip into the mountains of Colorado this Fall. We saw all kinds of wildlife and in all types of situations. This was a sculptors dream, to be able to capture these animals in their true surroundings and watch them interact normally.

Was excited to see this big guy but I stayed my distance as he was moving quite fast.

Just goes to show you that you have to have your camera ready at all times.

This beautiful guy was bugling to his challenger.

There is a rule of thumb I always try to remember and that is never go around with no film in camera or down to the last shot...this was actually taken on my walk to the bathroom. You just never know!

If you are an artist trips like this add to your inner pool...if you are a patron, you often wish you could duplicate what you saw in a piece of art. Either way enjoy outdoors and all it has to offer and try to keep it the same or better for the generations who come behind you.

Pack it in, Pack it out. So many leave more than just footprints to clutter our outdoors, choke a chipmunk or turn a bear into a looter.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Otters the clowns of wildlife

This was a fun piece to put together.  It involved two of my favorite things, animals and wood.

Underwater Playground
At the time I was helping the Division of Wildlife here in Colorado research river otters along the Platte.  My partner on that first particular trip ended up not showing so I covered the area alone.  I became aware of the danger in that when I fell through the top of a cave along the bank created by a beaver.   It thankfully did not break anything but I realized I was miles from a vehicle if I had needed it. To an observer I probably looked pretty comical because my main fear was a rattler down there so I came out as fast as I fell in the hole.

From then on we partnered that responsibility and my son often joined me to scare off snakes and collect all the ticks first.

Otters are playful, fun animals and I tried to catch that attitude plus the grace and movement of these wonderful creatures in this work. (Ocean otters are totally different)

Old wood, what can I say, I have wandered shorelines for years picking up drift wood and love what time and weather do to give it character.  I tried to capture that look in the tree that the otters chase the trout around. Often trees damaged when young have distorted root systems and create a playground for fish and otters alike.

This work went fast as does anything you are passionate about. The patina lends itself to a look of underwater reflections on the tree and the otters. This is an older piece with only one edition remaining. It has also always been a difficult piece to photograph but then photography of sculpture is another long post in itself. A good piece that can be viewed in the round also showing the movement and flow easily.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Admiration for Kirsty Hall

I know that like all artist you probably research constantly for good advice or critic. I would love to quote Kirsty Hall with some of the best I have heard.

"I've seen far too many people, particularly at art school, endlessly struggling with a medium or form that they just don't enjoy. Why? Art is hard enough without handicapping yourself with a process that doesn't excite you.  You need a certain amount of joy to get through all the bits that you don't like, so don't lumber yourself with a form that just doesn't do it for you - it's not noble, it's just masochistic!"

"Anyone who tells you that art is a wonderful, creative thing that always makes you happy is an idiot!  Annoyance, small bursts of depression and large doses of frustration are a normal part of the artistic process.  It doesn't mean that you're no good, that you're not cut out to be an artist or that you're doing the wrong thing, it just means that you're engaged with your work.  Just make sure that you do have a deep core of love for your process - if you're annoyed all the time then you probably need to reconsider your medium.  In my experience, anger and frustration usually happen right before a breakthrough and it's a sign that I need to stick with a piece - although if I'm throwing things around the studio and yelling, I tend to take a day off! Feeling low usually happens when I've just completed something big - I call it The Exhibition Blues - and it's always a sign that I need to step away from art for a while to recharge my batteries, assess what I've just finished and get ready for the next piece."

Kirsty Hall is one of the best artist I know for giving other artist advice...including myself.  Thank you Kirsty for the kick in the butt that we all need on occasion. We all need that moment to step back...follow her at

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lessons learned

When my son was really young he was talking to me one day and I was busy doing other things and listening as I worked (typical mother, multi-tasking). All of a sudden I realized he was upset with me and I turned to look at him, he said "whenever I am talking to you, you look at me"! I was dumbfounded of course because you know you heard every word he said but I was not valuing him enough to take the time from my day to really look him in the eye and let him know that what he was saying was important.

Again the other day I noticed that my grandson would do something and then turn to everyone that is near and look them in the eye to see that they are paying attention and giving him the eye contact that means so much to humans.

Artists are very sensitive I find in needing validation and it could be that way with everyone I can only draw from my experience. It is the same way with criticism, artist need feedback on work in progress but only if it is good feedback not just criticism. My son is my best feedback and I can always trust him to be right on the money and know exactly what does not look right. Often I can see that something is not right but I just can not put my finger on how to fix it.  On the other hand I also need the emotional support that only my daughter can give me, she gets to hear the whining and complaining and patiently turns me around to head off in the correct direction. With both I can keep the optimism going to keep producing when negativity is so common now days.

Encouragement is such a small gift to give someone whether it be a child or an adult it is like water to a flower, encouragement is only part of the gift, validation is the rest.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Busy, Busy

I know it must not seem like it viewing the blog but I have been busy. Once you have a piece done in clay things seem to start to really demand time and energy that pull you away from everything else.

This month I have had to locate a new mold maker and test the waters, I have explained in earlier posts that if the mold is complicated I tend to hand it over to a professional instead of adding to my frustration. I feel that I do as much on a piece as possible the rest I leave to a knowledgeable artist in their own right.

I am only about 35 miles from the foundry I use and each piece I create means driving to each entity several times to either discuss, process or pick up my work. I am always a bit apprehensive when dropping a piece off but I also have learned to trust the people that do a great job for me.  The new mold maker will just be a new family member to the entire process.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Horse sculpture (colt)

 "...and God took a handful of southerly wind blew his breath over it and created the horse". Bedouin Legend

This is an opportunity to purchase a piece in  progress. Because of the choice of deciding whether a patina will look like the standard traditional bronze patina or you wish to create a memory of either a horse in the past or the present, you will have that option on contacting me.

In this particular piece, a colt about a month or so old, I have tried to capture the undeveloped gawky look that endears them to our hearts.

The reason I am showing this in clay before it is patinaed is that some patrons  might want to personalize it by having it look like their own sorrel, paint or black as satin.

 I love horses so much (in the last year we lost a 34 year old) and I have had horses all my life.

My first horse was a spoiled rotten Palomino mare who would get down on her knees just long enough to let me off before she rolled letting  me know the ride was over. Later my Dad gave me a colt off the King Ranch to break all by myself. I managed to break him (I still don't know why they call it breaking because it sounds cruel) and a year later a guy blinded him in one eye and I had to re-train him where he was not gun shy on his right side.

My husband and I have had many horses through our lifetime and each one a charmer. There is no better life than to share it with a four legged equine friend.

This colt, not adding the base yet, measures 9 1/2" x 6" x 5 1/4"  and will have around an 1 1/3" base with routed edge following the contours of the colt. This will be an edition of 25, once all 25 are cast the mold will be destroyed.

This is the metal after cleaning and just before patina and base
Here are more pictures of the progress...the darker is the wax after pouring and cleaning.The next is the picture of the actual bronze fresh from the foundry and needing metal chasing. Notice the sprue coming off his chin and knee and also the tips of his ears...there is also a larger one on the backside of the neck and along the bottom.  These are all vents to either pour or vent the gases and help with the flow of the entire metal being forced into the mold at around 2300 degrees.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Big Wide Country

Great place to research!

As you can tell I am out where I am the happiest, a bit bundled up but happy with my camera in my favorite place, the great outdoors.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Barely Hidden

Barely Hidden

This has been one of my favorite pieces that I ever created and it was a good selling piece.  People say that if a piece of art is cute it isn't art...well I beg to argue with them but I think if any piece of work tugs on your emotions it works.

This was sort of like the Keeper of the Sacred Spirit, it came easily and fast and I knew exactly what I wanted from the clay before I even began.  This is a very small piece 5" x 5" x 4 1/2" so that it fits the miniature requirement and easily sits anywhere instead of demanding a lot of floor space with a pedestal.

Fawn are left to rest and gain their strength after birth and also are given the gift of no scent after birth where they do not attract predators. The doe goes to feed quite a distance away where her smell does not attract predators to her fawn. Often people find the fawns and think they are lost or have no mother and drag them home with them. Can you imagine the panic the doe feels when she returns and finds no baby. Sad....also sad that these fawn can not be returned to the wild as thought and usually die or are raised in captivity (even sadder).

Barely Hidden

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quotes to ponder

If you have been following this blog at all you know I love to read and love quotes.  Recently I read John Maxwell's Talent Is Never Enough. "Key choices you make, along with talent you have will set you apart from those who have talent only.  Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice, it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."

"Intelligence, imagination and knowledge are essential resources but only effectiveness converts them into results."

"Your potential is a picture of what you can become, believe and you can see and reach it. Only with belief in oneself will anyone ever reach their potential.  There are two types of people in this world; those who want to get things done and those who don't want to make mistakes. Which are you?"

Stephen King, "Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

"Talent Plus...

Belief lifts your talent
Passion energizes your talent
Initiative activates your talent
focus directs your talent
preparation positions your talent
practice sharpens your talent
perseverance sustains your talent
courage tests your talent
teachability expands your talent
character protects your talent
relationships influence your talent
responsibility strengthens your talent
teamwork multiplies your talent"


Thursday, August 18, 2011

ArtFest 2011

These young ladies came to create, enjoyed them and they liked my new edition of the young colt.
Louisville, Colorado had an ArtFest downtown on September 3rd and I along with others did demo's and other fun activities. There were lots of mediums represented and people seemed to enjoy the hands on activities.

Monday, August 15, 2011


I hate to admit I am fascinated with buffalo, their beauty as well as their power.

I am also a texture loving sculptor so the buffalo is one of my favorite animals to depict because of their woolly hair.

This bull was done much the same way the other large laying down buffalo (Keeper of the Sacred Spirit) was, with the blue contractors foam and on a pipe armature set into a large board (remember it has to support the weight later of the mold) with a flange.

Remember how I said previously that I really enjoy heating my Chavant and creating hair with anything handy by swiping the warm clay. This is the very case in point, I used an old scratchy washcloth to create the curls and projections that give this guy his character.

This is also a good example of how to utilize your mirrors in the corner (remember I said that my studio had a corner where two mirrors were placed where with my pedestal placed just so I can view the piece in several directions at once. It is critical to get an animals eyes evenly distributed on either side and balance the piece of sculpture.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Come watch

I am doing a demo on sculpture at the gallery I am at in  Louisville, Colorado.  It is on Main Street and called Creations, Art and Gifts and it is the blue house on the corner just as you get to the business district coming from the north.

So many people that I talk with do not know the process of sculpture or the lost wax procedure so I am trying to take as many examples as possible to the gallery so that I can easily explain the process.

I am the featured artist for the month of August so come watch and ask questions and I will try to answer them.

Don't forget to check out my new site at

This is a wax of my moose that I am cleaning, it is called "Tranquil Moment"

Monday, July 25, 2011

Care of Bronze sculpture

Most people never take into consideration the surface of a piece of sculpture and the damage that can occur in ordinary day to day life.  The patina (or surface of a sculpture has occurred due to acids or chemicals being placed on the bronze surface either cold or while being heated.  The different colors occur due to whatever mixture of acids are used.

This outside surface is vulnerable to sun being reflected through glass (such as a large window where the sun shines directly through it).  The surface can also become scratched by rings, watches or any abrasive and must be corrected because with time it can enlarge. 

Our modern cleaning agents can not be used on any bronze...for instance never use windex or dust spray such as Pledge even if you are trying to do the base only.  If it is a Stone base it has been sealed with stone sealer but should need nothing but a feather duster. Feather dusting occasionally will prevent dust from accumulating and as a last precaution salt water or even fresh water tanks put different chemicals in the air and humidity that in the same room can destroy any metal in time.

Usually a piece will need to be checked every few years for scratches or damage or have the need to be re- waxed and buffed...usually the artist will do that for you or a nearby foundry.

Art pieces are a lifetime investment that need to be carefully checked through the years in order to keep its quality monitored.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stone work

I am trying to develop a piece of sculpture in alabaster (of which a friend gave me and told me to go for it).

It is such a different technique than adding little pieces of clay, you are doing exactly opposite by permanently removing a little here and a little there.

I am usually quite content working in clay but this entire process is very stressful and a slow go.

As you can tell I have layers of clothes on to deter the dust from consuming me plus a face mask and eye protection.  My grinder has been used for metal but by changing blades I can use it on the gentler surface and non forgiving surface of alabaster. (very soft)

This is white with a shade of pink piece of alabaster and will update information as it progresses

You definitely have to have access to the outdoor area because of the dust spread along all surface areas and I am fortunate to have just such an area.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Toothpicks and Foil!

Just a thought, I was driving in Denver traffic the other day on I25 at quite a clip (along with the other 2 million cars) and saw three different accidents.

These were normal size cars to small cars (because everyone is trying to buy cars that get a great mileage) and there was not one of them that a driver looked as though they had survived in the crash.  I wish that manufacturers would go back to producing automobiles that were made of something other than aluminum foil and toothpicks....I know, I know because of the price of steel and etc. we will never see sturdy bumpers that would take anything less than ten miles an hour and just leave a tiny scratch. My daughter and I were in a wreck when she was one and it was in an older vehicle made of real metal and we survived and the policeman said it was because of that very fact.

I also realize that now days with the price of gas and oil, tires, cars and loss of jobs that someone has got to pay attention to the little guy that is just barely hanging on here and come up with a economical transportation that will heal the earth's pollution, hang the oil guys in foreign countries out to dry (in their own desert) and the only reason I am in a bad mood today is the fact that it is getting where good artist are having to fall along the wayside because of the terrible economy, to any artist reading this please hang on to your passion, your wits, tweak your game and maybe take the time to learn your skill  even better.

But for pete's sake do not let the quality of your work fall short, always be known for the quality of your trademark. A good artist is revered and collected and the time they took to research, refine and define their work will earn respect among collectors.  Just because the world is going cheaper by the dozen does not mean we can cut corners and let our art fall by the wayside or become pieces of throwaway junk.

Art will always be in our culture and our culture will always be judged by the quality of the art left behind in each and every generation.  Creativity  is how we define ourselves whether it be in design of our buildings, tech, clothing, pastel, oil or stone.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Gallery

Just signed on with a new gallery, Creations, Art and Gifts in Louisville, Colorado so looking forward to adding Vickey and Tom to my family and working with them. If you are nearby and want to check us out it is on Main Street but with the renovations going on there are sure to be a lot of other interesting shops  to browse.

Might I invite you to our reception starting at 6:00pm on July 1st, 2011. Come enjoy art, good company and music as we visit.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Commission Work

Just what is a commission piece? For instance, you have a favorite animal, pet or subject that you want done a particular way. On a commissioned piece of art you have control of everything that appears on that piece from creating the clay, the position (a running horse), (a pair of fighting elk) or a nativity scene that I am currently working.

Your input is very meaningful to the artist in that it is your idea completely from start to finish and you not only get to view its every development but also to change anything if you are not completely satisfied.

You pick out the subject, size, the position or stance and watch it develop onto the armature one step at a time (even if you are long distance I share pictures either sent through the mail or sent via email).

Some commission ideas in the past have been representations of an industry, desktop art showing a sculpture for your personal office, for instance I have done several for the beef industry and lamb industry. You have a favorite horse that you want to remember  as a colt and all you have are pictures but you want something more tangible. College mascots are a favorite item for a desktop. Want a favorite memory of a last hunt with a favorite pointer or a brand new puppy.  These are just a few of the ideas that have come across my desk and I have loved every minute of it.

What memory do you have that you would love to see in bronze?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Been reading a book recently The EMyth Revisited - Gerger and a lot of it pertained to business but some could also apply to art and creating a business around art. It discussed the fact that each business venture had a entrepreneur (the dreamer, drive and energy) a manager (lives in the past, loves organization, order, sees problems or the worry wart) and the technician (the doer, the creative).

We probably all struggle with these same characters in our lives each and every day and in essence Gerber explains that if a decent time is not given each of these characters that in time one will dominate and destroy the business....which is the strongest personality in your life?

If each characteristic doesn't receive its own opportunity, freedom and nourishment, your business will slow and mirror your lopsidedness. You can't just create and ignore the "financial accountability" the "marketing accountability" and the "sales and administrative accountability".

What you need is order, excitement and continuous growth.
              order - disciplined schedule, tools etc. plan
              excitement - constant filling the inner well so that you stay excited and full of ideas
              continuous growth - expanding marketing, new shows, website, gallery exposure

This great advice can be applied to almost every facet of life. The work you produce should be a reflection of who we are - how we do our work becomes a mirror of how we are inside.  Work is only an idea before a person does it. But the moment a person does it, the impact of the work on the world becomes a reflection of that idea.  "You become the force that breathes life into the idea behind the work".''

This was great reading when applied to your own particular issues. Thanks for dropping in for my thoughts.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Google funny!

Have to tell a funny on Google, this past weekend I was with my daughter and grandson and my daughter came in with an inquisitive look on her face and said that my grandson had some squiggles in his diaper and she was thinking something was wrong. I am not talking a few squiggles either!

Before I could even think she said well "lets just google squiggles in diaper" on google and see what comes not being as techy as she looked at her with probably doubt on my face.

Seconds later she is telling me of a woman with similar circumstances on the Internet and that it was the bananas that she had been feeding her baby that caused the squiggles...well I'll be darn if we had not been attempting to begin feeding him bananas the day before.

That just goes to show you that "google" covers all subjects even "squiggles in diapers". Thanks for enjoying a laugh together.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kees (a commissioned piece)

This was a dog commission involving a pet that had passed away and was very loved. Kees was a Colorado Red and looked an awful lot like a dingo.

This is looking down and the wax is just sitting on a stool but it gives you the idea of where I was headed with the subject. The dog had a favorite spot in the yard that he laid in and I gave the impression of that spot and also the edge of the brick work so that it gave the patron a familiarity.

silicon in tin
  The clay was produced on a laminated board, the floor covered with paste wax done with a paint brush and I placed a round shaped piece of tin around the clay as a wall to hold the silicon. My friend (thanks Deb) laid in a sealant of glue gun along the bottom to secure the tin and keep it from leaking out the bottom. I painted the entire surface of the tin with paste wax as well. Note: this silicone is so able to pick up fine detail that as I removed the tin I realized the silicone even captured my brush strokes of the wax on the wall.

tin wall with clamp
 Always remember that anything you come in contact with the medium is going to end up with a rubber splash so be careful of your surroundings and use the release spray on anything that will come in contact with the silicon so that that does not become the case. In other words you spray the dog and sides with release even though you have painted the entire wall with paste wax. You do not want to interfere with the surface of your clay though with the wax so just use the release on it.
I have mentioned this silicone before Platsil 71-20 RTV Silicone Rubber mix 1 x 10 ratio Part A and Part B, use vinyl gloves (not latex) measure carefully down to grams for volume (can't fluctuate by 5% or more or error) used scale to weigh exact grams of each, scraped and mixed both together very thoroughly. Note: I don't know how you can do this and keep it such a perfect mix without using the gram scale (thanks Deb). You have a 30 minute window once it is combined to get it all mixed and into your tin walled off area.
mold material is white so picture difficult

After setting for a minimum of four hours the tin is removed and based upon marks left you slit the rubber to allow your original clay to escape.  On the dog I placed a crimped piece of tin as a shim between his ears (thanks for the idea of crimping it Walt) where I would know exactly where to cut the mold material.

This shows the mold after removing everything and at this time you need to decide whether or not you are going to give it more support by making a plaster mold over the silicon for support, I opted not to because of the size. To do a plaster support just move your tin frame out a bit and make your basic plaster, fiber glass mold over it and let dry. Often this keeps  your wax from moving during pour or set up and creating weak spots or cracks.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Distant Thunder

Opportunity often falls into your lap when you begin looking around your area for a subject matter that you can actually view in close proximity to your work space....even greater when the opportunity affords you the ability to have your pedestal there where you can view and work at the same time.

Distant Thunder
 I am fortunate to have a buffalo farm nearby and Dave the owner let me sit and do a piece a few years ago, well since that time (one of my first posts) I have created a few other pieces based on the buffalo.

This was an exciting piece to develop, and as often the case I thought of the title long before the piece was finished. "Distant Thunder" depicts a herd out on the plains that is hearing the thunder of the coming storm in the distance and reacting to it in the only way an animal has of expressing fear of the unknown.

These buffalo were all created on their own armatures separately and then welded into place upon casting. Note the difference in the female and the males (these are also young males) a lead male bull is not as impressive as the young males as in later years they mass up terribly and are all bulk it seems.

This depicts three males and one female with a calf by her side, calves are born to run almost as readily as young pronghorn. The chavant clay lends itself to the nice texture I was able to do in the hair of the buffalo. A few sparsely placed cactus gave it a base for prairie placement.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I have had for a long time a note up in my work space to remind me not to focused. Thought I would share with each of you.

There is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400.
 It carries over no balance from day to day.
Every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out ALL OF IT,  of course!!!

Each of us has such a bank.  Its name is TIME
Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds.  Every night it writes  off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose.  It carries over no balance.  It allows no overdraft.

Each day it opens a new account for you.
Each night it burns the remains of the day.
If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours.

Using time to our benefit is as huge a benefit as not grazing but actually thinking about what we are eating.We were not given this fantastic life to just exist. You have a plan and are to listen to the little voice inside of you that has the floor plan to all the goodies of life.

None of us know how long our life is going to be, I know it is hard to imagine what you would do with your life if you knew it would end in a month or that we would not be able to function as we do now a month from now but somehow we need to learn to think about just how important each day are giving a day of your life for it. Treasure it!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Most people, especially artist would love to hear from visitors, whether it be good or bad response. Input is input and it is always great to hear what other people think or need to see or hear.  If you have something that you are curious about or just a question about the process, I will try to answer your questions. Life as an artist is not easy, it takes a lot of work and thought before you can even start a piece of work.

Whether you are a patron and your piece has not been shown yet or you keep checking to see what new has come along, let me know. If you have an animal that you are curious about let me know and I will show it. If you are an artist and have a question about something that I have said, ask it, there is not a dumb question only whether or not I will be able to answer it or not. If not I can perhaps point you to the right people that can answer your question. Maybe you can just say hello! Same goes for my physical studio, if ever any of you are in the Colorado area, you are welcome to come by and drop in to see what is on the pedestal.

Fatal Attraction

Fatal Attraction
This piece was a challenge, not only because it needed to flow but also because the two fish were not created on the same armature  (as you can see in this picture they are just sitting on top of each other to give the impression).

Beta's are the tiny fish found in pet stores in cups that you feel so sorry for because of their cramped quarters.  They are beautiful fish and if two males are put together fight often until all fins are missing and death occurs. They come in beautiful colors and if put side by side in different containers will spread their fins and gills and posture themselves in a wonderful sight to watch.

This was a balancing act also in getting the fish to look as though they were interacting when in reality they would never be actually together until welded in metal and patinaed.

This is a wonderful piece for either a foyer or an actual garden or pond area and the bases can be switched out for it to go into a pond of water. 

I used Chavant clay again and built my armature using pipes and flanges screwed into a heavy wood base. These were quite heavy when completed and stand almost 3 feet tall together. One of the challenges we had was holding while welding and ended up chaining the top fish up on an overhang  while holding the bottom fish in position. So needless to say it took two people.  Regardless of how it looks I had a some good solid welding spots but realized that if the bottom fin was not ground flat that the pieces would not balance correctly.

Friday, March 25, 2011


It always amazes me just how many artists are truly gifted and are so shy about their work, most are not salesman, myself included.

When you meet a gifted person we should all try to draw them out away from their fears and timidity, most won't even look you in the eye I have found because they are so sure they are going to be rejected emotionally or artistically.

What I enjoy though is picking at their surface and asking questions about their art and usually they begin to open up and explain the process and you see a spark. That spark allows you to see their true passion, it is not the person then that you are looking at and questioning it is their passion and they can talk about it til the cows come home.

I have learned a lot about myself in these conversations, how not to be and how to really share the passion that is art. That is who we really are and people need to see that. We see life as unique, shapes, colors, textures and desire so badly to share that with everyone but often fail to necessarily vocalize it well.

I feel too that patrons need to feel that passion also and feel our need to convey that emotion in clay, paint, pen or whatever medium we use to express that emotion. So I have come to the conclusion that next time I feel shy or run into someone that does wonderful work I will remember just how unique artist are and be proud.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Piercing the Silence

Piercing the Silence

 Piercing the Silence was done out of my respect for the most important animal in my life. Elk have been a reason to get out of bed at 3:30 in the morning and drive the hour and a half to witness one of the most exciting moments in nature. Granted there are a lot of moments but this one actually sends chills down my spine just hearing an elk bugle and stalk around in his majesty.

You arrive in the dark at your chosen spot and pull over and park, you naturally have your coffee or in my case hot chocolate ready to await the dawn of that particular day. It is a magical moment and you are actually afraid to make noise for fear that it will break the spell.

Then you hear it, that awesome shrill and whistle or scream whichever way you want to describe it, even in the dark it is incredible.  As it slowly dawns and you are able to pick out shapes and distinguish between bushes and the elk themselves you see the herd of an incredible bull.

Often they may capture up to 20 or so cows to be their harem.  These magnificent bulls, often 6 x 6 or 6 x 7 which is counting the antlers on either side, are overseeing their herd and completely blind to anything other than a challenging bull or escaping cow.  I have been able to get many great photo's and store many emotional moments peeking into the dawn, awakening my senses in an intense way. Sometimes you are laying on the ground shaking you are so cold that you are sure that your camera is not going to focus but then you realize you are not cold but excited. I have hundreds of photo's but would not throw away one because they mean so much to me as not only memories but research material.

In this incredible moment all humans are trying to be respectful and stay within the limits of approach of these truly wonderful animals. Some cows have calves still at their sides even though they are ready for breeding again, my favorite picture is witnessing a cow nursing her calf among the confusion.

The bugling is most intense in these early morning hours but it continues until around 9:00 a.m. when they all begin to move either into the trees or up into the valley.  Some bulls may not have but five or so cows but as you look to the more experienced bulls and larger bulls you will find a considerable difference. To witness a fight over the cows is fantastic, most large bulls will not even put up with the challenge of a much smaller bull and just chase it away but a perfect match of horns may spar for quite a while and it is serious business. Often an older bull will find it does not have the stamina and back off after becoming injured, these will be the ones to either die slowly from their injuries or have a tough time once winter sets in again.

In Piercing the Silence I have tried to capture such a bull, proud, stately and in constant movement trying to keep his cows from escaping or other bulls from stealing one away. It is this time that I often wish I was a painter so that I could catch DAWN. The mist and fog that hangs over the mountains and trees and lifts from the valley floor as it warms is part of the fascination of my early adventure.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Book work

One thing I can not do without is the collection of books I have acquired over the years to help in the research of animals.  I don't care how many pictures you take or sketches you draw, when it comes down to the final clay you want to have a reference that is laying right in front of you and is anatomically correct.

My favorite two books to constantly dog ear or turn to are Animals in Motion by Eadweard Muybridge and The Atlas of Animal Anatomy by Ellenberger and Baum. Animals in Motion take you through high speed shots of 34 different animals, action pictures frozen in time that really give you the ability to see muscles in action.

The Atlas of Animal Anatomy is interesting because it breaks up the animal anatomy to where you can see the development of the animal from bone to hide. That gives you the advantage over someone that does not even look at the influence of bone and muscle under the skin of an active animal. The only way to really do an animal correct is to understand the anatomy and then you have to understand the animals personality and traits. Posture is impossible without structure.

I also haunt the library sales where often I can find old books with either information that I need or pictures that give me further incite. You not only use as much out in the field observing that you can but you also find as many other sources to aid you as possible.

Two subscriptions that I adore are Ducks Unlimited and North American Hunter, I know they are meant for hunters which I am not but the information gleaned from them is immense. Even though I learned  about ducks picking up dead ones for the Division of Wildlife from a botulism die off I still caught myself referring to photos in Ducks Unlimited.

Hopefully as a patron you will appreciate the trouble most artist go to in order to develop the skill needed to capture a moment in the life of a beautiful animal. I never even knew elk could jump gracefully from a standing position until I witnessed it myself...little things bit by bit collected become a work of art.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Elusive Legend

I don't know how many people will be offended to know that a lot of my information comes from seeing dead species. How else would you be able to measure a wild animal unless you are fortunate enough to have them to view daily. I will also admit that I am from a hunting family, yes I know I am going to get flack from that but  animals have to be managed some how and licensed hunting is a game management effort to keep  their numbers under control. We only have so much open space and so much to graze on and any over population will just lead to wildlife dieing in tremendous numbers.

Whitetail are a typical example of a wild animal that multiplies at a tremendous rate and has adapted to civilization in such a way as to endanger themselves and drivers by running across highways that in previous times was a natural trail for their migration.

Elusive Legend was an interesting study of not only one of my favorite animals but one of the most graceful animals in the United States. They are able to stand on a fence line and gracefully glide over that fence as though it was nothing. Some animals go through a fence (pronghorn to name one) but a whitetail was born to fly and fly they do.

This piece also depicts one of my favorite sites to see and that is the old cross timber fences, so often people run barbed wire on areas that intend to mark their property and end up snagging a deer and having them become entangled and dieing a slow death of starvation where they struggle and become more and more entangled.

Elusive Legend
 This piece was fun to do because I got to play a little with the type of horns I wanted to see, it was done on a wire armature with Chavant clay and done separate from the fence so I actually never had the two together until they were welded after casting. A hunting friend of mine informed me after I had intended to have my deer flipping his tail that a deer only flipped that beautiful white flag of a tail  when alerted to danger or running away from danger....can't we pretend?

So hopefully all hunters are ethical and truly hunt for the right reason and hopefully they will not be judged by non hunters just because they love animals.....hunters pay with their license's to help manage the deer population because they love whitetails also and most eat the meat to feed their families.

 This is a view of the metal before the patina is done and just after welding, the most important thing I learned from this piece is that you can eliminate the welding scars so to speak and keep it cleaner by leaving the wax of the log that is touching the deers stomach area attached to the wax deer when it goes to the foundry therefore they are cast together not welded together. Then all you have to do is weld the log onto the fence area.
This was also a good study in animal muscle since in the position I placed my deer certain muscles are long and strung out and others were gathered.

On this animal in particular my set up of having mirrors in the corner of my studio to place the animal  gave me the opportunity to check out the proportionate muscle action on both sides at the same time. If you don't have this you are constantly turning the animal and checking it but you can loose the error in turning.

The eye is a fickle partner in art, you see what you want to see...that is where it is good to always cover up art for a period of time and when you go back you are looking at it with a fresh pair of eyes.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Re-thinking Ideas

Recently I have been talking to other artist that have been re-inventing themselves and trying to create according to the current markets. Sometimes if you can think of a project that still stays true to your beliefs and along the same genre that you feel comfortable with this is good, it is thinking outside the box. What I hear a little though is doubt...DOUBT, and that is sad. I know that all artist find a bad economy a challenge but it should not pick at your creative side and chastise it to the point that your internal voice tells you to give it up and try something just to make money. What it should do is open a door you have not peered into yet and let you see some opportunity that you could not fancy

When people are not investing in art they are often either buying personal gifts for a special person or even corporations are looking into utilizing the 1% For Art Program that quite often builds up in some locations and is threatened by the need in other areas therefore the tendency of a city to steal from that fund.  A bad economy just means that you need to research deeper and into those dark corners that you might not have ever considered before.

Quite often when I am stuck I go down and work in the studio for at least two hours even if it is just pinching up clay and warming it or cleaning off work space...what I find is that the environment that allows me to get my juices going again will kick in and get me excited again.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Hopefully if you are a patron, you are gearing up for the New Year and thinking just what types of galleries you will be enjoying this year on trips to wherever and just what type of art you are looking for to add to your collection. Often people collect in the same genre and other times they collect randomly according to their passions and "just happen to see". However you dedicate yourself to the arts, we as artist appreciate the fact that you are helping us to complete a dream and to continue creating. So whether you search for bronzes, watercolors, pastels or pencil please keep supporting the artist and their endeavor to put an emotion into a visual just for patrons such as you.

If you are an artist, this will be your year to tackle that project you have been putting off, this will be your year to branch out into another medium, this will be your year to smile inside yourself knowing that you are creating. If you have been in a funk because of the economy, this will be the year to pick yourself back up and know that good art is always desired and strive to become the best of whatever medium it is you choose to create in and thrive. If you just plain need a kick in the butt, let me know and I will send you some words of encouragement, it is good for artist to support artist, who else understand our emotional state better than ourselves.

Elusive Legend

Tranquil Moment

Wiley Coyote
 For myself, I am currently working on a  stone piece and a commission of a beloved pet  for a woman  so she will always have her pet in bronze as a memory. I am first obligated to begin with a clean studio and to get it organized for this new years projects.  I am also finishing up a project I had already started in 2010 of a horse and it is near completion.  Happy New Year to Everyone and here are a few pictures of coming up work that I will be posting on....if anyone ever wants to view more of my work, just log onto and pull up my name Peggy Campbell.