A new development

What’s funny about having a blog is that if you don’t bloody update it, nobody notices. And that’s why a year has slipped by with little to no updates. I’ve thought about it many times, mostly to rant about something stupid that Trump may have done, but heck, that could have been weekly, and that really wasn’t the intent behind this blog. I really wanted to showcase my artwork or writing, allowing people to come to it, instead of just on Facebook.

What I have been doing over the last year has been pretty interesting with my new found passion – sculpture. I guess it’s not new, I’ve been sculpting off an on since high school, and art school, but mostly off. I’ve sculpted jade, wax, soapstone and now polymer clay.

When I walked into my first day of Art 3-D foundation class in the Alberta College of Art (now and Design) in 1990 -1991, I was so excited to try sculpting with clay. The semester before had bragged about all the stuff they did in clay. I arrived my first day and the instructor was like, “Dudes, I’m so bored of clay. Let’s do Styrofoam.” I was pissed. He was pretty bored of everything, as I recall, bored of changing clothes and at times, bathing. He came back after lunch usually fairly stoned and liked to talk about the patterns in the grey brick that made up our classroom, but alas… no clay. We did turn Styrofoam cups inside out, and one of my classmates may or may not have peed in one, but that was art school, expect the unexpected. Haha.

So, instead, I never really got to experiment with clay. But, I did get to sculpt in my jewelry classes, as we carved wax quite a bit for lost-wax casting. I was OK at it, but I did enjoy it, although jewelry design wasn’t my favorite thing. I liked to carve wax and make little dragon sculptures, and after art school, I carved small profiles of superhero figures thinking that someday I’d cast them and make them into pins, which at the time no one was interested in wearing. I was like 20 years ahead of my time.

Fast forward to 2016, and I bought a box of Super Sculpey, a polymer clay and thought I’d give it a whirl, and so I carved a little basic human face, which I baked, then glued to a canvas and painted around it. It was incorporated into one of my wax/acrylic paintings and although it turned out really good, I wasn’t sure how far I could push the sculpting and gluing them to canvas.

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Some of them turned out pretty good, and creating Ascension, I knew that I could push this fairly far. My next challenge was creating the Han Solo in Carbonite, which was most definitely a challenge, but one that I feel that I learned a lot from and still ended up with a pretty awesome piece.

Eventually, I decided I was going to try and sculpt something big. OK, not that big, just something larger than I’d tried before. So, I decided to make a paint another one of the masquerade mask ladies that I’ve done two or three times before, but this time, I decided to add the sculpture stuff to it, the curved horn that made up her headpiece. It wasn’t that difficult, it was just a horn, but I enjoyed doing it, and when the piece was totally finished, I was so happy with it.

Like most things, that just lead to the next step. If I could sculpt that, maybe I could try a stand alone sculpture out of the polymer clay. I started a piece months before of a woman’s face inset into a wooden box frame (birch back) and put it on hold as my resolve and my energy for it dropped. When I finally got around to picking it up again, it came together so well, I bought a genuine moonstone and inset it her chest. I was so happy with it, that I immediately decided to try something else. Something bigger and meaner.

So, I decided to try a dragon head, mounted like hunters would a deer or boar. So, this summer, I started sculpting my first dragon since the mid 1990s. It’s core was a bunch of gas fittings to give it strength, and aluminum foil and duct tape to give it shape before I added three pounds of sculpey to it.

It was fun to do, but a beast. See what I did there, beast? Never mind. I really liked it, and was happy to put it on a cool piece of oak that my dad cut and helped me with, and it was named… Ignem Volantas, “Flying Fire”. After hanging it in our living room, not only with my wife’s blessing but, “Maybe you should keep this one…” as well. What? A dragon in our living room? Yes, my paintings are in the living room that I’ve painted for her, but a dragon? Doesn’t exactly fit the decor, but I digress…

A few months ago, Ignem, the Crimson Masquerade and my sad Marilyn all found a new home in the 1979 Taphouse and Grill, hanging out with about seven other of my pieces that have been there since the place opened a few years ago. I was happy to see that they’d get all kinds of eyeballs on them as people that would never see my work any other way would get to see them. Thanks, JJ for the purchase! I painted a nice big blue dragon around the same time for the art show for 2018, and my nephew Nathan saw it and bam, sold.

That put me in the mood to do more dragons. Even though for YEARS, my friend Rod has been hounding me to paint a dragon. Dragons? No one is going to buy dragons around here, other than maybe my gaming or nerd friends. Apparently, I was wrong. I sculpted a new smaller green dragon coming out of an antique looking frame, put it on Facebook, bam, sold. Which lead me to a commission of an even bigger dragon (that has yet to be started. I’m just collecting the parts at the moment.

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So, sculpting has become a new passion, I’m learning a lot, and I think each time I make another piece, I get better at it. The fact that I know how to paint fairly well doesn’t hurt, making the sculptures into final painted pieces.

As the Art Show 2018 fast approaches, I plan to keep sculpting away and have a number of new pieces for sale, I can only hope that they get better each time.

 

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