This rock on rock needs work to actually fix these two rocks together, plus a bit more detailing here and there. And then it will be ready to display along a trail somewhere in town.
It is fairly heavy and a little bit awkward to carry, so I hope that will deter theft. Sadly many outdoor art and craft items do disappear if not truly locked down; I have had one or two items mysteriously disappear; perhaps why most of my yard art is just too odd, messy, or sharp to appeal! These two joined rocks might be a bit unusual, however these are very cool rocks, so I am sure some people will enjoy them.
I have not decided whether to contribute it to a new art trail in an adjacent neighborhood, or display it closer to home. So rock on, rock!
It is summer, so it is yard art time! And I have been dwelling on ancient Egyptian art and Egyptian mythology. My effort to make a Horus stylized falcon was derailed by my own incompetence. But another Egyptian concept appeals to me. A few days ago I saw that an old Styrofoam and plaster head could easily be recycled, and my new art project was born. I decided it is time for a Sphinx, with this head serving as part of the armature. I will transform it into something more durable.
OK, I understand that the famous “Sphinx” of Giza may not be a Sphinx at all. As best I understand, the name Sphinx originated with the Greeks, many centuries after the carved stone creature of the Egyptian desert. The Egyptian “Sphinx” that we think of was cut in situ from “living” stone, probably over many years, and probably commemorates a god as embodied in a specific pharaoh. It is considered to have a male head, and to wear the traditional headdress (menes) and the cobra (uraeus) of the pharaohs.
The ancient Greeks described the Sphinx as a single fantastic winged creature with the body of a lion and the head of a woman. The Sphinx was presumably a creature to avoid! However I model my new artwork on the ancient Egyptian stone stature in Giza, so no wings. I still say that it is time for a Sphinx!
Now is the time for an Egyptian Sphinx in my yard. And it is time to work larger. My Sphinx will be 4-5′ long and about 2.5′ high at the head. The plan is for ferrocement, once the initial cardboard armature is complete I will wrap this with wire mesh. It will be large and heavy!
I have moved on from Let’s Make a Bird to let’s make a better bird, or actually let’s00m Make a red-tailed hawk! After way too many fixes, I have now painted and mounted this experimental bird. It may have started out as a falcon, but it became a red-tailed hawk, and became a better bird for it.
After adding more ferro-cement to improve the shape and balance, I have sealed, painted and mounted my heavy set outdoor sculpture. It is now very stable, has a somewhat realistic shape, and a suggestion of dark red-tailed hawk coloring. It needs a final clear coat or two to become a bit more durable for the great outdoors, then I really will call this finished.
As usual, I don’t have anywhere in mind yet for displaying this bird. It really cannot be in my yard, as I had initially planned; my crows and small birds might just be offended! So this hawk needs a home elsewhere! So I really hope that I will think twice next time, before I decide “let’s make a red-tailed hawk.
My hawk is now out and about, between my house and RoseWind Walk. I think she looks very comfortable there, and she does not upset my crows in the slightest. In fact they laugh and scoff at the thought of being bothered by this lumpish bird statue … they do not see a red-tailed hawk at all!
I am something of a birder: I own and use binoculars, I have the Audubon App and the Merlin App on my phone. I put out modest servings of birdseed and peanuts in my yard every morning, and I welcome my regular bird visitors. So it has been suggested that I focus on birds in my artwork.
While I have completed a few birds in my work, this has not generally interested me. I carved and cast my little fat baby bird, and have a few drawings & collages featuring birds on their nest. And I did complete a small sculpture based on these. This felt like enough until I decided to try combining my interest in things Egyptian (mostly ancient Egyptian) with my interest in birds. The Egyptian falcon god Horus seemed like a natural choice. So I decided it was time; now let’s make a bird!
This project has not gone well. My goal of a stylized streamlined falcon has been swallowed up by a chunky awkward lopsided hawk. I have attempted to rework this weird heavy set bird too many times, and I think I may just paint it and stop there.
And then what? I really don’t think I can put this bird in my yard! My crows and small birds will just hate it! What on earth was I thinking when I said “Lets make a bird”?
Still working on this bird, however… not sure why! I have added to the legs & tail to create bit more symmetry, and will need to reshape both wings if I want it to look a bit less ridiculous! Tomorrow!
This is the last cast of my draped worker figure, for now. I found one unused in a drawer, and I found a good way to use him!
I still have the mold, but this favorite figure is retired for now and maybe for a long long time. I made several casts; I count seven but I may have missed one… And I am not too interested in making more work using this figure at this point. But of course that could change. Anyway each cast has its own personality as each is used in quite different artworks. And some figures are clear, others are tinted or painted, so no two are quite alike.
This artwork does repeat an earlier theme: that of the moon. But in a very different finished piece. Here I have my figure catching a crescent moon while mounted into a colorful translucent circle framed in a large embroidery hoop. This piece is designed to hang in window to catch the light.
This piece is now ready to hang, with a copper wire attached at the top. The effect of this last cast of my draped worker on the moon changes with the light.
Sometimes artists just want to have fun! And it is that time for me. I am making silly fun things currently! Making my “mocktails” is totally frivolous: and I enjoy this as fine fun summery project. In a new work I embedded translucent beach pebbles in clear epoxy to make a lighted circle. This is an experiment that could lead to a more serious project, one that is just a wisp of concept. Or then again it may not. Instead I may just make several light fixtures, TBD.
Here you see “Stars in Margaritaville”, both sides of my first circle of stones, and “Not your Mother’s Manhattan”. Fun?
I think I am reacting to the artworks that I completed earlier this year. Making art can be difficult, and sometimes artists just want to have fun.
This year I completed two difficult projects, and it is a relief to be finished with them. These were wonderful but also painful to produce. The subjects of the artworks are disturbing, the topics uncomfortable to consider. I worked with new techniques, and I followed so many steps requiring care and attention. Both pieces are actually triptychs: they each have three parts. So in effect I made six artworks, each very time consuming to complete.
Also I don’t know if my two serious triptychs “work”. By “work” I mean that I don’t know if viewers would be attracted by them. Also would viewers understand and consider the topics the works refer to? Or would they be so disturbed by the references that they will just want to look away?
I may never know, because these pieces may never be displayed. I don’t really know how to find a venue. And I don’t try very hard to show my work. I make a little effort, get no results, and give up… sad!
Anyway I know that I was exhausted and emotionally drained. Now I just want to have fun!
My three panel dimensional artwork, The Struggle to Rise, is all but complete. Everything is attached and you can hange the panels on the wall or they can be displayed on a horizontal surface as shown.
This 3 part work has been a challenge to complete in many ways: it has been a struggle!
The first panel came together fairly quickly. The plan fell into place once I added draped paper mache “fabric” that became the rags. And my experimental paper clay base worked fine, and had the direction. It had become The Sudan. Mounting the figure and the small base to the panel was an experiment that worked just fine.
However the second & third panels were much more difficult to fully conceptualize… I think that is the word I need to use. I was in the dark. Where did these two figures fit in my troubled knowledge of the world and our times. I was struggling to understand their struggles!
Now I need to find a venue to display this work. It will be too frustrating to just hide it away in my studio after all this effort. I also want to show the previous three part piece I completed at the beginning of the year. These need to be on show, if only for a month or two.
Sales are not so much the issue for me, although I do love the validation and a bit of reimbursement for the more costly materials. Sincere compliments and actual dialog about the work is wonderful, and keeps me going. It is a delight when someone engages and is getting the message or reactions that I hope to provoke in viewers. However I will say that a purchase does a nice job of demonstrating appreciation in a pretty clear way!
Anyway I hope to display The Struggle to Rise and my group of three Walkers somewhere nearby within the year. That would be so nice!
The final panel of this three part work is startng to come together! My third panel, Oceans Rising for The Struggle to Rise triptych, now has a theme and a plan for how I will finish the base panel. My “beach babe” cyborg figure will soon have a home base.
I have chosen a different primary image to apply to the panel, but I will use the same concept and parts that I was already playing with: ocean shoreline, wire waves, pieces of glass, etc.
The new primary image is of sky, a house and phone lines reflected in a murky puddle. This image is soft and vague, so the figure will be the main focus of the work, and the interpretation of the imagery does not hit you all in a single glance. Instead the viewer needs to take a little time to explore and recognize all the parts in order to fully understand the story.
I am finally attaching figures for The Struggles to Rise today! Two of the base panels are ready, and two figures are attached. Panel One: In the Sudan is all but complete, in fact. I may do a bit of touch up before the final clear coat, and I do need to add hanging wire, but otherwise I am finished.
I am mounting these so that the panels can be displayed on a horizontal surface OR hung on wall. I think they should work in either orientation, although I feel they must hung fairly high, at least above head height for good display.
My figure is attached on Panel Two, but the epoxy is still curing. Also I have a couple of heavy rusted metal items I want to attach, and this will be a bit of challenge. I may drill and remove a bit of the panel in so these can be inset and more securely fixed in place. I think they are too heavy to just surface mount.
Update: the mounting on my second panel is complete. I drilled holes behind the figure and the two heavier rusted metal objects so they are securely attached. I have been tweaking and fussing with the built up black & gold areas, and am fairly satisfied. I expect to check and perhaps double up the acrylic medium soaked wrap around the sides of both panels, but will try to resist any further modifications to the actual artwork. That can be difficult!
Panel number three may be a watery panel rather than an urban panel. TBD!
Now figure 3 for Struggles to Rise is well under way, and maybe almost complete, TBD. Currently I like leaving the wire visible more or less as is, and the head open/incomplete. But that could certainly change! It normally takes me some time to decide when a piece that I am working on is finished, or needs more work. Or even sometimes “less”, and I need to remove or disassemble a bit.
So it is important for me to stop and sit with the work as I proceed, to see how it works. And with a complex work progressing in parts, the individual piece may seem just right, but may not work when considered in place with the other parts. The emphasis has to be on the artwork as a whole!
Here are photos of Figure 3 yesterday (the first two photos) and three from today: