Sunday, December 13, 2015

Ending year on a bitter note

I know that some of you are wondering since I usually post twice a month what is going on but this post comes with a warning to all my fellow artist as well as patrons that do not recognize when enough is enough and you can not keep lifting weights you should not be.

Had an MRI this week and I have ruptured a disc. Will go in for surgery in the next few days so will be cleaning up loose ends on work still in progress. I have a fox carrying a chicken called "Chicken Tax" and a whitetail named "The Chase" that should be finished and out of the foundry by end of January.  For twenty years now I have probably carried way to heavy pieces for too far a distance and now I am learning that I must not do that.

Hope you all have a great holiday season and we all come back stronger in 2016, take care of your body He only gave us one.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Eric Maisel...again Coaching the Artist Within

If you have read this I am sorry but it is worth repeating, Eric Maisel is fantastic and I wish I had all his books." Creating is real work, takes more of our mind, heart, and hands....provokes anxiety, opens us up to the possibility of mistakes and messes."

Mental energy
generates - desire, anticipation, excitement, passion
saps - fear, doubt, worry and concern
replenishes - courage, clarity
How can you increase your mental energy
desire - think more positive about creating and less about money
anticipation - research a piece you really want to do where you are excited to complete it
passion - either reward yourself for each goal reached or renew your love of animals by doing something concerning animals
Really think about why you do what you do and regain your passion

desire - why do you enjoy what you do? This is not something that you just pick up for a day or two and drop, it is something that plays in your head all your life, maybe in the form of something other than your choice of medium but creativity is there all the same. Women say to me all the time I just don't have any talent...duh! You create in your meal planning, dressing, decorating your home even baking a cake or cupcakes everyone is blessed with the creative mode, men it is messing with gadgets. I have this best friend that has a husband that can't admit he is talented but he can look at something and create magic in his head or he can use something that is salvage to come up with a very creative idea.

"...positive, obsessions are forward looking...pleasurable and engrossing.  These thoughts are characterized by feelings of competency and ability, even power...and lead to excitement and energy.
"...negative obsessions are backward thinking...chatter...replays of bad decisions, bad experiences, disasters etc...characterized by feelings of incompetence, stupidity or powerlessness."  Rosemary Antel

"In fact, they will prevent us from moving forward and achieving our goals, because of the attention we give to them:. Aleta Pippin
"You must be able to create in the middle of things, or else you will not create.".

Everyone must think of themselves as unique and not like anyone else in the world and also that they create like no one else in the world, this is who you are and what you do.

"I would love for you to learn to drop everything and go create. The phrase "drop everything" means dropping your resistance, dropping your doubts, dropping those aspects of your personality that hold you down, dropping your nagging to-do list, dropping all the reasons that you and your effort don't matter..."
That was one of the  most profound statements in the entire book, if we could just learn to do just that without guilt.
"suit up and showup" no excuses. Don't set yourself up for high expectations everything starts small - if you expect too much of yourself you'll fail. Enjoy, otherwise why are you doing it at all.
Have a great day..........

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Armatures and finishing Whitetail

I know that we have touched base on armatures before but it seems that maybe everyone else is as bumfuddled with them as I was and still are often.   They are something that you have to be able to produce a molded piece of work but you can not let it dictate direction to you.

  In other words it has to be able to support quite a bit of movement and weight but yet give you enough flexibility to not have a pipe or wire sticking out where you do not need it to be interfering. There is nothing more frustrating then to find that after you start claying up, your animal looks really stiff because you have followed the lines or the demands of the armature rather than bending to the nature of a leg or neck and it will be  sickening when you already have it in metal before you wise up.

All starts with scaling your figure to where you can break it down into inches or 1/4 inches where you can be accurate.
This is a basic store bought armature versus a picture of one that can be constructed with pipes, T's, and L's and using wire that is either wound with more wire for strength or a single strong art store purchase of armature wire. You do not want something you can not move at all.

this is just beginning we already covered this in previous blog dated 5/5/15
several days later while trying to decide position I desired

this is trying to figure out exactly what I wanted in antlers

This is finished piece without the antlers actually attached because they will be molded separately.

I have cheated and upon finding a wire in a bad spot and needing to eliminate it I have waited until it is a wax and trimmed it where the wire was visible in the molding process. I don't suggest this if you are like me and are absent might go through the foundry process like that.

I don't care what anyone says you may change a piece or tear it down and redo five to eight times before finding the angle or position you want and that looks good to you. Remember my story about covering up a piece between working on it so that your errors jump out at you as in this piece it was redone many times because I chose a different position than ordinary, it is called the "sneak" so you have to change to accommodate the neck, head and entire body language  making it more difficult. It is the position of a buck when he is in pursuit of a doe. It is so beautiful to watch hopefully I got it to come across in clay. Much like having a baby this won't be out of the foundry for a few months and I will show the finished piece at that time. Thanks for dropping in hopefully I have shown something you enjoyed.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Finally down to the last show, I think

Sorry I have neglected this part of my keeping touch with everyone but during the summer I am usually so busy with art, shows, family and etc. that it is difficult to keep this current.
On top of that my daughter had another grandson for me (making it three boys) my husbands mom passed away and he had total knee replacement (not due to spousal abuse).

I have my last show September 19-20 in Boulder, Colorado on the Pearl Street Mall and I pull down my Estes Park show October 25th then I will close out 2015 unless I get into the Lone Tree Art Expo 2015 which I will not hear until later. It runs 9/24/15 until 11/09/15.

But did want to call attention to you artist that shows are already being posted for 2016 and the cut off dates are earlier than ever.

My option is still open for a class to be taught this Spring (I do not usually set the date until I get my show schedule) for only four days and only one person and to remind those that do not know me I only teach one person at a time because I like to develope not only friendships that have my complete attention during the class but also because this is when I donate my earnings to Operation Smile (so little can change a child's entire life). Four days for 375.00 what a deal, from clay to finished piece or close to finished plus I get to see a miracle in a child's smile.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Busy but touching base

Been busy with shows but wanted to leave you with something again from one of the books I read. Walking In This World, The Practical Art of Creativity by Julia Cameron

This was written 10 years after Artist Way

"Making art is making love with life" Julia Cameron
"Instead of thinking about conquering an art form, think instead of kissing it hello, wooing it, exploring it in small, enticing steps. A small beginning is exactly that, a beginning. Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do begin it, because action has magic, grace and power in it." Goethe
"If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies, and so a man." Henry David Thoreau

"It is only by risking from one hour to another that we live at all." William James
"Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?" Fanny Brice

Today isn't like any other day you have known, create it.
"What a man thinks of himself...determines, or rather indicates, lies fate." Thoreau
"Every exit is an entry somewhere else." Tom Stoppard

It is so easy to become discouraged as an artist that we must all gain courage from the thought that we are able to create, not everyone is given that gift. To express a feeling in clay, paint, pastel, pencil whatever medium you choose or you purchase from an artist to create a mood or setting in your home or office...that is you pure and simple.

My last show is in September and you will have to be patient with me on my blogs and I will try to keep you updated. I realize I have not added to my armature post so that will be my concern when I find the time. Thanks for dropping in....enjoy your summer so far mine has involved around 4000 miles. Two more shows to go closer to home, Golden and Boulder.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Quotes 2015

If you have read me at all you know I love my sculpture but I love to read and love quotes. Here are a few more that impressed me.

"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth-and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up-that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had". Elizabeth Kobler-Ross

"We are the hero of our own story" Mary McCarthy

The one above I dedicate to my friend Deb

"If you want to see God laugh, tell Him your plan." John Lennon

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you imagined." Thoreau

Thanks for enjoying these....I do. If  only we could focus on them in the midst of mindless chatter.

Helpmates in pouring wax and packing for show

As I have explained before I have two cookers that I use and vary the temperature from 200 degrees for the first two pours (or if it is a tiny piece or relief 220 degrees) and the other stays around 160-180 degrees for the second two pours.

I have finally gotten smart concerning some of the safety issues of pouring wax.

These are inexpensive silicon gloves sold at WM for less than 5.00 and have saved my hands from getting the usual splatter and splash of hot wax during the pouring and rolling process. Love them!

saves the skin...silicon cooking glove

Also not shown is the can I pinched the lip into a dent to be able to dip into the hot wax and deliver it into even the smallest pour holes (believe me when I say some of mine seem to be smaller than a pinky finger tip.
Also always remember that I keep a large bowl next to me in case I do get splashed to put the skin into to relieve the pain and also hardens the wax instantly.

Below are some of the tips I have been shown by my base maker to protect the bases. I had no idea that bubble wrap can leave the same impression on wood bases as that of rain or water damage. He explained to me that you must wrap pieces in some type of soft absorbent cloth before you cover them with the flat wrapping pad (not the huge bubbles).

Take an old t-shirt or piece of soft flannel and wrap your piece carefully.
 Then after you wrap the piece in soft cloth, wrap them again in  flat pad plastic wrap but not bubble wrap. Then you wrap them lastly in a regular packing blanket.
 To add even more protection to any bumps or rattles and rolls I add a piece of Styrofoam packing sheets 1" thick to bottom of the tub.

Hopefully these tips will help you along the way and not have to be learned the hard way along the way.

Remember burns hurt and damaged pieces must be repaired before showing and that is all out of your pocket. Let me hear from you if you have run into any other problems that I might have already stumbled into. Thanks again for dropping in...

Thanks also if you have left a those!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Finally...Introducing Rocky Mountain Thunder (bighorns)

I can finally post a picture of the new Rocky Mountain Thunder, depicting two bighorn rams fighting on a rocky ledge trying to gain the rights to breed the females.

This was fun to do and I loved the research as this is one of my favorite animals to watch (if you missed the post where I created this one go back a few  months) it was actually November 21st.



Creating new work...Whitetail Deer

I had so many people checking out the post on armatures that I thought I would take you from the start of the piece as I did in the beginning of this blog.

This will be a large piece of work and hopefully it will be clear, I used a standard armature for a sculpture around 15 inches high.

 You will notice all the wire coming off the pipe and T for legs, neck

This shows where I have measured for all my leg joints which is very important to do before adding any muscle or movement to the figure.

Book that I could not do without during research as to the position I want my animal and whether he be standing, running, walking etc. Muybridge was fantastic

Here I am actually beginning to see the form, notice I have marked major muscle in rear and shoulder, the head is just stuck on to give me something to visualize while I get the "sneak" or following a doe look.

Antlers have always been a problem because you have to have flexibility, strength, and strong hands to wrap the tiny wires (or unwrap if you are not lucky to get it the first time) and I always have to play with this so that I get what I want. I always run into the fact that my wrap ends up being wider than I want the clay to be so it gets unwound and rewound many times. I make my antlers separate from the animal just where they do not have to be cut off in the mold process. I place a small clear tube (Home Depot) in the head so that I can insert the antlers as I work to make sure they look correct.

I will follow this up later because I am experimenting with different wire and may end up using different ones. I may tear a piece down several times before I really feel that it is coming together the way I want it. This may happen over a period of months.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

New Website

Dear Friends I am so excited to be able to announce a new website. I have been wanting to do this for a  long time so now I have

I am so proud of this site and it has been needed for a long time but you know that is something that I have just procrastinated about.

So go and browse and enjoy.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Muddling through the "Good Life"

I picked up the other day "The Creative Spirit" by Daniel Goleman and found one of my favorite people Chuck Jones had added a few of his cartoons being my favorite Wile E Coyote.

Chuck Jones "fearing the dragon of anxiety is the necessary springboard to creativity."

Concentrate on what truly matters and don't get caught up in the banter of life, tv, computers, all are distractions.  Go for a long walk when needing refreshing  or to clean out the trials of the day.  Who doesn't think of great ideas or solve problems while showering or driving or on a leisurely walk.

"Four powerful tools for developing creativity.
Faith in your own creativity, absence of judgment, precise observation and penetrating questions. Remember the only dumb question is the one you do not ask."

Which brings me to add a note that I have declared 2015 to be the year of learning by asking dumb questions. If it saves me time or money I want to inquire as to "how" and learn.  Humbling yourself by asking advice (something a lot of us have problems doing) is as it should be an adventure in learning.

"Interpersonal intelligence is knowing oneself". You know where you have doubts and fears or where you fall in your day to day creating journey so you know what needs to be worked on or supported.  Everyone needs to embrace and cultivate this self knowledge.

"Life is, after all, not a question with an answer-it is a project to be lived." Eric Maisel

Listen to your inner thoughts more than the chatter of everyday demands, just remember to delete the negative. Mindless chatter does not benefit you, try to recognize beneficial ideas.

I wish I could watch Wile E Coyote cartoons in my studio all day as I work...I think it would add to my "joy", enjoy your creating.

"If one advances in the direction of his dreams, one will meet with success unexpected in common hours."  Henry David Thoreau

Friday, March 13, 2015


I know you are wondering where the Big Horns are and where in the process they are...they are being placed on a walnut base at the moment and will not have any photographs until April (first week) so must be patient which is always hard for me to be, have already had a gentleman look at it and make an offer but it was just a shy short of where practicality steps into the picture. Never rip yourself off trying to make that piece start moving right away before you even have it public there will always be people watching a piece that are familiar with the foundry and process.

Always remember until you have all your figures and expenses and can know exactly what you should charge not to cheat yourself you can not allow that piece out of your possession even if and especially if you have not even taken it home yet or to its first showing.

Always remember also that you have no photos of that piece and in the beginning it is so important to not sell a piece of work without pictures. It is your most important marketing tool. You can not sell Ed. #2 without pictures of Ed. #1 to use in marketing while the other is still in the foundry process.

Public Art

I wish I had nice things to say about public art but....

My few experiences with public art have been tragic and very disturbing and I have decided that they are not worth the time it takes to get nervous, get your own bids, write up the proposal and submit in the hopes that you will be picked.

About two months ago I received an email from a woman handling the prospects of rounding up bids for a project acknowledging therapy dogs....she contacted me due to the referral of a friend and business associate. This journey began on a Wednesday, she did not give many details except that it would entail a donation that had been given for that purpose. I informed her that I would love to hear the details.

Friday she emailed me that it concerned therapy dogs and wanted to show the relationship and interaction with patients or humans. Said she would get back to me as soon as she had more information due to the fact that they just started.

Monday I noticed that four different artist were receiving the same email and inquiry rather than me personally so I knew there would be competition. The lady sent pictures involving the site located and how it should relate to the existing sculpture of two children playing.

Tuesday I inquired as to where the proposal should be sent and whether there was a budget of any kind or cap on the response.

Wednesday morning I received an address and told to just send my proposal as long as they had it by March 31, which is when they would present it to the board........two hours later I received an email saying thanks for participating that the artist had been chosen and that they could move forward. I was blown away by the nerve, rudeness and assault on my being. They should at least give other artist an opportunity to open their minds with new ideas, fresh, exciting thoughts. Even though it is legal it is still soooooo awful.

Later I read on that that is the case quite often where they have already picked the piece and artist but legally have to make it public and offer it to other artist.

Another case in point, I heard on the news that they were attempting to pass the city legal red tape to build a new stadium where my children went to school and I thought "ah, another chance" so since they had not made it public yet for 1% and the budget was 220,000,000 that I could sure get my bid in and began again to come up with the paper work involved and bids. This time would be a little different because I had a maquette that would fit the plan.....a week later I find the layout of the budget online for the stadium and the piece of sculpture is already allotted for and described as half football player and half Ram.

So I admire anyone that has been able to break into that realm of business because unless you finance a piece yourself (which I am talking 50,000 or more depending on how large you are talking)  to have on hand or donate a piece (which believe it or not artist do) just to be able to break into that side of the business and say they have one out there it is a tough road. I have met artist that have said they have tried for 20 years and never made it, yet I have other friends that do nothing but outdoor monuments or outdoor installations and it is like asking the "great big secret" to find out how they began. I do not need that kind of frustration, art is difficult to get correct enough as it is.

So I guess I will forever do just desk top pieces and be proud of those and love my patrons as I do..

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Creating with Fearless Abandon

If you read me often you know I love books...well here is one to read." Coaching the Artist Within" by Eric Maisel

"Creating should come first thing every morning before the "mental chatter" begins and chores are demanding." Negative self-talk is a creativity killer.

Effectively coach yourself- can you positively influence yourself, openly communicate with yourself, monitor yourself and chat with yourself. You birth someone who knows you, chids you, congratulates you and loves you when you need it.

Fearlessly acknowledge the problem.
Inquire as to why.

"When you can't step away from yourself to observe, when you are boxed into yourself, your sight is myopic and your thinking repetitive and stereotypic. You can't see answers in fact you can't even see questions."
If you don't think that you, your ideas, or your work matters you won't have the motivational juice to create.
"What I think and create matters."  (mantra)
"Act like you have an inner cheerleader."
Make your life meaningful to at least yourself.
Live authentically!

What is your real reason for living and the role you intend to play in life?
Fill your days with Love of Life! (and it will show in your work)

This is an older book but I still may invest in it to have to re-read often...great read.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Difficulty of Armatures

Often the non-fun side of sculpting for me can be figuring out the armature for whatever you are planning. Planning ahead in a game where it is so much easier to be spontaneous is painful.

Ask yourself these questions in advance.

          What kind of support do I need from this structure?
notice it will come into the side of piece

This one will come into the bottom of the piece

all the different pipes and flanges that it often takes

I know, I know, don't you wish that I could straighten this mess on this site but there is no place to do that. But you can see what I am referring to as to where the pipe enters into the side of a piece or the bottom of a piece.

      Does it allow for the weight of the mold?

            Where are my body part extensions, wings, neck, horns, whatever, and do I need extra support.

           Is it secure with no movement and lastly where do I want my design to have a hole in it because where your armature goes into your piece is a hindrance to both working and accessibility for mold creation.

Now the dove that will sit next to this one is just coming into the space so it will have its wings extended so I will use the side armature to come in just under the wing uplifted so that it does not interfere with detail of wing feathers. Also where my T comes out with the wire for the support of the wings it will be several not just the single wire and I use everything from aluminum sculpting wire to copper wire...whichever the strength needed.

I can already tell by the hits on this topic that it is one people are curious about and there is another earlier post that talks about armatures also so go back and refer to it. I will try to do another one on a more difficult piece this was so simple that it would have been a beginner piece.