As discussed, this “Broken Zeus” piece is a larger piece. Larger works are very gratifying to build but I have to pay careful attention to the structure as these get pretty heavy very quickly. I also have to give a lot of thought to seeing if I can make these works modular. If
I can construct a Foundling to come apart, it is easier to work on, to hang, and to transport. It came as a rather rude awakening that the first large piece I was working on wasn’t going to fit in the car. If it doesn’t fit in my car, then it means having to get a rental truck any time I want to show the work. So I had to go back and think how I could get the piece to come apart (and easily put back together).

In addition to the mechanical problem of how a piece is going to fit together is the aesthetic problem of making the pieces fit together in such a way that the seams are either hidden or only add to the overall design.

With the help of my dear friend Dave, “Broken Zeus” will not have to come apart but at approximately four feet tall the structure is on the heavy side. I count on Dave to help make these structurally sound. Here, the base that will hold the Zeus head is reinforced with a good, solid piece of wood to hold this all together. Thanks Dave.

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I have a casting of Zeus’ head that I picked up in Athens years ago. It has moved from home to studio to home again, and subsequently broke. I had such wonderful memories sailing the Greek islands with my friends that I hated to part with it.

Then there were the pieces of an organ that I purchased on the premise that if I could take it apart, then and there (and get it into the car), I could purchase it very cheaply. It was badly damaged but had such beautiful carvings on it that I had to have it. I took it apart over two years ago and it has been living in the garage ever since.

These are large items and they need a large scale to get them to live together. So these parts waited as I tend to work in a smaller scale. I woke up recently dreaming of a work with these pieces. It was only a rough idea but I have found that it’s best to follow a vision, when they happen, where ever it leads. It would be nice to have another large piece for my show at Art Expo, New York in April but it will depend on if this was merely a vision or only a dream.

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It has been a while since my last entry. Between the holiday season, my yearly holiday party, the family coming in from the West Coast and my latest show, it’s been a very busy time.

Marie and I packed up 37 pieces and drove for two days to show for four days at the One of a Kind Show in Chicago. I sold two pieces and received lots of praise. It was very gratifying. There were over 600 “vendors” but the show felt more like a gift show with a lot of artists rather then a fine art show. I am not planning to show there again but there were big crowds and it was incredibly well run.

I do wonder if these “retail” shows are a good fit for me and my work. I do like showing my work but does it help me on my path to a museum or with the recognition I seek? So as I ponder the upcoming year, I look forward to what it will bring.

Happy New Year.

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I can see how my work is evolving. The change is subtle but I can see it. Not that it’s easy to explain but there is a kind of harmony to the pieces. They look more contained, more complete. My Foundlings look like they are “meant” to be a certain way. When I have a less successful piece, there is an incomplete quality to them and I have an urge to change them.

That is not to say that everything I create is as successful as it could be, just that I am clearer with what I have been creating. This may have less to do with understanding the process and more to do with an understanding of the goal.

My older work just isn’t as consistently complete as I would like it and yet, this incompleteness has an endearing quality to it. Like an old friend who is irritating at times but is a good friend never-the-less. Their faults seem to me more like personality.PS187_front_72dpiRGB

A Victorian flower frog from around 1890, an old lamp reflector, and a differential gear are framed by the base of an old musical box. All that survived from the musical mechanism was the “on/off” lever on the bottom edge but this added such a little touch of whimsy.

I have two major shows coming up so between the planning, the preparing the work for travel—always a concern, and, not to mention producing as many pieces as I can, I am busier then I had anticipated.

I don’t mind being busy. Actually I prefer it. I get so lost in creating that the pressure is almost unnoticed. It’s one thing to have to drill a hole, for example, in a very fragile part and worry about getting it right versus just not having the time to worry, and just doing it… Not unlike jumping into a pool.

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I frequently use animal bones in my work. It’s not that I have a ghoulish point of view nor is it, strictly speaking, a fascination with death. It’s more about the continuing internal conversation I have with not wanting to take the world for granted. In that way my art reminds me not to take life for granted.

Beyond this philosophical context, bones are simply beautiful. They marry form and function that literally lies just below the surface. Honed by the ages, these forms speak of a kind of trial and error to continually perfect a form—not unlike my efforts to perfect a Foundling.

And like the never-ending process of perfecting a form by nature, my work also seems never-ending as I am always trying to perfect a piece. I will never get there as there is really no such thing as perfection but along the way I learn more about the beauty of imperfections (another reoccurring theme of mine). I learn more about what is beautiful to me and how things that in the past I might have ignored or even been mildly repulsed by, I now see the beauty. I see how these bones now unlock a pathway to seeing more broadly. For that I am grateful.

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This piece was such a struggle. Some Foundlings come together so easily as if wanting to be created—others take months. In this work, the ruffled glass shade broke as I was tighteningthe last screw. I was heartbroken and I wrote about this mishap in a previous blog. I was able to get a second shade relatively quickly and yes, with the tightening of the last screw, I broke it… again. It took more then six months to get another shade and then it took several months more before I was brave enough to try to put this together again.

I am so relieved that I was able finish it. It was a frustrating process but worth it.

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A frame shop was going out of business and my friend Paul suggested that I stop by.
I do use a lot of frames in my work but, as always, the trick is trying to get them to “work” together… not to mention, fit together. With a broken brass frame that was unloved and ready to be thrown out, and two frames that almost fit, I had all of the ingredients for another Foundling.

Visiting another framer, Greg, from the Barnes Gallery in Garden City, helped me “adjust” the inner frame to fit. Greg’s skill and resources have been invaluable to me, and my Foundlings, more times then I can count. To both Greg and Paul, I say thank you.

 

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My sister died in 2008 and I was moved to make a memorial Foundling for her. I was pretty new to making Foundings at the time but this Foundling, although very special to me, never really seemed right. In reflecting on my sister’s sensibilities, I wanted this tribute to her to be more “involved”, more complex… more “pretty”. She would have wanted it that way.

Everything about this piece was more complicated then I had anticipated. For example, a picture of my sister in the last year of her life would show her slowing losing the battle with her Leukemia. A picture of her, taken only a year earlier would seem to ignore her struggle in her final year. I decided to use a picture of her in high school. This image would show her in a more idealized, youthful way. The way she would, no doubt, like to have been remembered. It was, afterall, her final wish… to be remembered. Here is the reworked Foundling that is a more fitting tribute to remember her by.

I’m still working at a fast pace as if, after being bottled up for six months, the creative energy is just pouring out. I am presently working on six pieces and the pace is yet another exercise in letting go. I am proceeding as if I was familiar with the road I am on and knowing which way to go. The process is not unlike sketching. I am less concerned planning the “aesthetic destination” and am more concerned with the journey. The trick is to stay loose and not get too concerned with having to be perfect.

I had a drawing teacher who once said to never be afraid of putting down the wrong line. It is only by putting down the wrong line that you know where the correct line goes. So working on six pieces allows me to not get too hung up on trying to be perfect and just enjoy the process,… and the pace.

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