Archive for January, 2013

The Angels have Returned….

Posted: January 24, 2013 in Studio Practice

January 24, 2013

The Angels are Home

I received the email from the bronze foundry to come and supervise the patina process.

I started the 2 hours journey into North Bohemia yesterday morning.  I arrived at the foundry in the middle of the countryside up a snow covered drive.  It was like many things here very non-descript but once you got past the first building, there were multiple buildings in all stages of manufacturing and creating sculptures.

Pavel who is the owner of the foundry and Daniela who would be my translator for the day met me.  They took me on a small tour of their facilities, which included the wax room, large storage rooms, foundry, and mold room; it was the next room that got me.

I walked into the finishing room expecting to meet the person who does this work.  Once in the door I saw familiar shapes in the corner of the room.  I was taken.  It wasn’t like I didn’t know they were going to be there, but the truth is, it is the first time I have handed off the waxes to someone and not been part of the entire process.  It was a lot of trust.  Shivers and tears began to move in.  I didn’t expect to be so emotionally charged from seeing them.  Pavel asked if everything was Good?….  I didn’t know how to express what I felt, to I put my arm around his back and held the other to me heart.  Best I could do in a situation where words no matter what language fell short.

I met another Pavel, he is the man who does the finish work.  He quickly began to whip the work around with a familiarity to that of a good friend who you are comfortable with and know you can trust with your wife.  We communicated the needs of each piece and he began to work.

Standing in the foundry felt right.  It smelt right.  It was a full attack on my senses as I haven’t been in a foundry to work in  years.  Time doesn’t matter when something is so part of your physiological make up.   There is something about sharing an understanding with a process or a person that takes little effort.  It comes easy because  of a natural understanding and loads of hard work over time.

They invited me for lunch.  I had packed a lunch and was ready to retrieve it from the car when a lunch service was bringing in catered food.  All the employees moved up stairs to the lunchroom where I joined them.  I watched as everyone sat down and began gathering plates, cutlery, and sat in their familiar chairs.  Like a family where everyone knows where the other is to be.  It was like the dish seen from Beauty and the Beast…  I was a stranger for sure and funny glances and comments that I couldn’t understand were floating. Everyone was respectful and I was handed my dinnerware.

Hot lunch was provided for everyone.  It was at a minimal cost and it was explained that the cost was so small that it was better to each lunch provided than to bring food from home.   Can you imagine.?  The most amazing thing for me was that Pavel the owner sat with everyone, joked with everyone, and communed like everyone.  Hot soup, then Roast pork, bread dumplings, and sauerkraut were served.  (see photo)

Back to work where Pavel (the finisher) and I enjoyed a level of communication though smiles, grunts, small words, and shared knowledge.   I had a flash back to something my son once said.

Our son once said to us,  “I want to have a relationship like you and mom some day” we asked him what he meant, and he said, “You two look at each other, say a few words that make sense to no one except you and you both understand what you mean”.   We laughed knowingly.

The work was done and I loaded the pieces to bring home.  I have a ritual sharing a drink with friends the day a piece was finished and or signed.  So last night we toasted the first bronze sculptures made in Prague.  I look forward to sharing them and showing them.   They are angels in so many ways and will guide me through this journey.

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January 21, 2013

When She calls,…….  You better come running…

When I was a kid I would go outside after school, come home for dinner, then back out until dark and play. The call to the table or to bath time was a sharp and loud whistle.  When I heard my grandmother’s screeching siren cut through the air, I hit the ground running, because being late and or not hearing it, was not an option.

Staying aware of threads, connections, and listening for the whistle have become a vital part of my art practice.  Over the last week or so I have been looking for connections to my place here through books, the Internet, and movies.  I have most recently been watching Painters Painting.  It talks about the abstract expressionists coming out of New York City, the likes of Frankenthaler, De Kooning, Pollock, Barnett Newman, etc. etc.  There were moments in that film where different artists talked about searching for content and redefining what the object or focus of a painting was to be.  The part that caught my attention was when they spoke to being an American and hoping that the work they did was not just American but universally understood.  I have spoken about this before and the idea of feeling more American while living abroad then when I am back in the States.  But to view the art making process as an attempt to create universal understanding is daunting.  At best some days I am just trying to reflect my surroundings and find my place in a context of creating.

That being said, I have started the amalgamation of the Angels ( a series I began painting I think eight years ago) and Prague.  They seem to fit here; they have gone to bronze here and should have them back in the studio soon.  They have found a rebirth, perhaps because of a subconscious need to connect or build connections between my studio lives, but this common thread has appeared in the states, in the ballet works in Moscow, and now here in Prague.

This piece is a working piece, with study and an attempt to understand a few historical items from Prague.  Look close at the bottom.  I have collaged photos that I have taken of a Christmas market in old town square I have taken it and cut it apart then layered it with the piece and into the angels.  The background is Kepler’s “rendition” of the heliocentric model of planetary orbit, work he worked on with Tycho Brahe while in Prague.  I have painted the planets moving out of the orbits at a 23.4-degree angle away from the sun that is located on the astronomical clock in old town.  It is the same angle of the earth’s axis.  All that being said, my angels feel right here.  They seem to fit effortlessly and I am intrigued to see where they go.

She has called me…..I have come running …..

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January 7, 2013,

Back in the saddle and some Dirty Bits………yeeeeeeeehaaaa

Today is the first real focused day back in the studio in over three weeks.  It feeeeels sooooooooooo gooooooooooooood.   Yesterday I spent the day between being a dad and working on preparations to return to the studio to begin work on the large “frankentscultpture” as it is affectionately known in my house.  Never take yourself too seriously, if you do, your family will sort you out.

The next few pieces have been added and it is starting to take form.  By my estimation, it will finish at about 5meters from foot to fingers.  What the hell will I do with it?   I don’t know, but I will have done a large-scale figure for the first time.  In between looking for a job, creating other work, and or learning and adjusting to life in the Czech Republic.

Here are the Dirty Bits,

While writing this blog, I have hoped to help people understand the creative process, thoughts, production, and general work that go into making art.  It is also my hope to gain exposure through this process.  So, please feel free to send this blog link to anyone you like, you can even send it to people you don’t like.

Facebook – Airy Hill Studio

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I am going to go bath now.  I need to get this layer of self-promotion off my back………wash rinse repeat.

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