Hey there web guest....
When showing step by step how I made a Raven sculpture, I received some good feedback from readers. So I thought to include a little photo shoot of the next piece in the works, an orchid/flower wall piece.
So far it contains about 40 flowers and approx. 80 copper pieces.
This piece included over 200 pieces- 40 flowers alone! She is called 'Mature Raven with Floral Halo'. Get it? There is young raven, raven and mature raven....
She will be delivered soon! You can see her at Childhood's End Gallery as of october 2 most likely. The opening is Oct. 6. so come on down to Downtown Olympia Fall Artwalk! I will post pics on the Oscines page as soon as I can. Thanks for visiting!
If you like to know more about Ravens.....
Making more flowers for a commision project and the corvid show in the fall. Above left is the lily of the valley flowers. I freehand small blooms like this but have been using silicone molds for larger ones. I purchased great molds from a company, Sugardelights. Photos will post soon.
I like making rough birdlegs for the bird series. Though the internet sells great realistic legs in bronze they don't seem to match my bird sculptures. SO I am freehanding legs in copper.
Next I worked on the broken owl. I broke many items over the last few months. A hummingbird, towhee and the owl among them. I used slip and gradual rehydration to fix her and she looked great. But once I fired her in bisque she began to show hairline cracks. Then in the highfire these big cracks showed up. She won't be sellable but I can fill with epoxy putties and then paint with acrylics to finish her.
Painting all winter and into the spring, I finally finished the sanctum series this week.
Still obsessed with Dutch master forest floor paintings I was inspired to make my own style of 'Sottoboscos'. The subject matter makes me feel safe, intrigued and calm in a world others call Terrible. This work is about finding sanctuary in home and self purpose.
I started their elaborate frames last month and was surprised by the complexity of their construction. I have three days to finish the frames before delivering the work....ACK!
At the top you can see the scroll saw I used to cut all the fancy edges and tiny windows. Each window requires a drill hole and then removing and replacing the tiny scroll saw blade inside. Then I use tiny files and custom sanding sticks to sand those miny openings.
Next is more sanding, then the painting begins. Paint, sand, fill, paint- sand- fill on and on! until most blemishes are removed. Though the frames compete with the paintings, I didn't want the tiny flaws to distract too much, and believe me ...black is hard to get perfect.
When I assembled a few and knew it was doable, I began to layout out all of the frames and matching them with the paintings. You can see the 'sandwiches' I made for prepping each box.
I made 17 frames for 17 paintings which in a normal year would take more than 8 months but squeezed it into 4-5. Viola! ready for Childhood End's Group show...
-'UNDERSTORY'- June 16-July 30, 2023.
The Sanctum Porcelain Painting Series
Usually I consider myself a sculptor, but for the last 8 years I have been learning to paint.
I began painting regularly on small smooth pieces of wood. It was just for fun, but a few sold and I felt encouraged to keep practicing.
When I started using porcelain clay I wanted to paint my porcelain works but with permanent pigment. China painting was the solution. It's not that I hadn't made sculpture before with surface treatments on them, it's just that I realized I didn't really like acrylics, oils or glazing.
China painting is an odd choice considering that it is complex: mixing, layering, firing and troubleshooting color layers and tinting issues.... Perfect if you like challenges.
I took regular classic china painting courses and even a doll painting class (unlike classic china painting, they use a water based china paint). Classes were useful, but it was my constant practice at home that accelerated the learning curve. Classic porcelain painting taught some medium and technique, but I felt it was very restrictive to where I wanted to go. And certainly china painting on ones own sculpture pieces wasn't covered in class!
My painting approach is loose, unstructured and often just plain intuitive. I have an absurd amount of colors (over 86) and crafted my own oil blends to fit my personal style.
SUMMER/FALL: Botanical Imaginarium
More porcelain Flowers
Last years Native Orchid series, Wild Orchids, was a wild success. The first 'batch' is almost sold out and I have commissions in the same flower style to complete in the months to come. Heavy in painting, they are still mostly sculpture. The porcelain sculpted flowers are complex and time consuming. This year I continue the natives but add what I call 'wedding flowers'....anemones, bleeding hearts and butterfly ranunculus.
FALL: Corvidea Series
In the Fall I will join other artists in the Olympia area to create ravens and crows. Working in clay bodies that are heavy in manganese- a mineral that helps make the clay very black- the ravens will be full size and accompanied with flowers. As a side series that I hope to sneak into Childhood's End as well are wild birds like wrens, towhees and owls....
In my mind there is a frenzy of mushroom. Single bolletes with purple tops. Big super white shrooms, and tiny pink orbs on a log. Chanterelles are golden and hard to find next to fallen leaves. And those delicate 2 inch LBMs growing all around the entry to my house are like sentinels ushering me home.
Ah yes! Chanterelles melting on my tongue... cooked in butter for breakfast.
Walking is a daily occasion. Near my home are many forest trails. And fungi can also be hunted in our local state parks. My imagination is filled with the memory of mushrooms. In the studio I translate those memories into clay. Often I refer to my mushroom book or iPad for clarity. Because of this obsession, my eyes just gravitate to the little fruiting bodies anywhere I go.
Yesterday, I see what look like Avenging angels in my neighbors yard, and rush home to look them up. It's a passion that I share with many amateur mushroom enthusiasts!
This month in the studio I am making mushroom ornaments, and what I call 'Mushroom Ensembles'. The Ensembles are sculptures featuring many species of mushrooms at once and with mycelium attached- or at least an attempt to represent the beauty of their connections.
They are in their greenware stage drying and will get fired next week. After that they will be glazed and then china painted. Delivery to the gallery, Childhoods End Gallery in Olympia, WA should occur the first of December!
HEADS UP! the ensembles only just got done in January 2023, I just dropped them off. More ornaments are coming soon.
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