thursday, 16 march 2017
it seems almost crazy to continue with this journal (the previous entry was more than three years ago). there are simply so many other things to do. so here, in no particular order, are various things i am working on, in various states of near-completion:
phoenix and dragon paintings, 2017, each about 5 ft x 3 ft, acrylic on canvas
a bluejay in basswood, commissioned by the girl next door as a gift for the mother of a schoolmate who died in a car crash (about life-size):
work yard views of carvings in walnut. i haven't decided yet whether to paint these or not, though the base of the female figure with the bird is inscribed "Thou wast not born for death, Immortal Bird!" (a line from Keats's Ode to a Nightingale). each carving is about 30 inches tall. the walnut is very heavy and dense:
the carvings are followed by a preparatory design for a page of a book printed in woodcut, illustrating lyrics of Robert Johnson's song "Malted Milk."
the two photos below illustrate preliminary studies for a set design for the play Hagoromo, in which a fisherman who finds a feather cloak belonging to a tennin finally agrees to return it when she promises to dance her heavenly dance for him. this dance is one of the high points of classical Noh drama in Japan:
monday, 6 january 2014
space riding the cart of time through the dome of the mind.
saturday, 4 january 2014
amphibious subway carriage bearing wheel on fire, prehistoric bird, blockhead, heart, white rabbit mask, and puzzle piece.
today marks the beginning of a new notebook feature on the site.
monday, 1 july 2011
here is the way the show looks in bethlehem at the colonial theater. it will be up until the end of summer. the snake charmer is flanked by three circus sideshow heads from 2007. a sculptor carving a liberty head (on a "giacometti" stand) --all made this spring-- occupy the right window.
monday, 20 june 2011
what with college graduations and other things, there have been numerous breaks in the action during the past month, so here is a quick photographic breeze through. the head was oversize, and required numerous recarvings; the design of the belt also wavered between being concentric circles and a spiral. i'm still not sure i ever got the proportions of the figure right (probably not). it is striking how strong the image of the feather headdress is, so the piece took on a whole amazonian life of its own. i'm tempted to recarve the whole thing to make it all slimmer. (the last shot is a preliminary drawing from my notebook. you can see how far off track it got by the end.)
sunday, 15 may 2011
set up on a worktable to make the lower portions easier to reach.
friday, 13 may 2011
further definition at top and bottom. now the height will probably fit into the show window.
wednesday, 11 may 2011
like i said, it's probably a mistake to be detailing like this so early; as usual, i am too eager for some reference points. i like a fairly robust cross-section for the extra durability and strength, but i am really struggling with the trade-offs between strong features and overall proportion. having to fit this in those windows is cramping me a little. as it is, the total height is still taller than what will fit.
tuesday, 10 may 2011
it's probably a mistake to begin to detail the belt and skirt like this when the figure is still so girthy, but i can't help myself. i have been struggling with the shortened proportions. she really should be more slender, but i am afraid of losing the life-size scale.
monday, 9 may 2011
finally the thing is light enough that i can raise it by hand.
sunday, 8 may 2011
shortening and detailing the top (the snake).
wednesday, 4 may 2011
the best laid plans of mice and men...so, before a year goes by, i had better continue my story. this photo shows the result of day one of carving, yesterday. i began by shortening the log at both ends. (i always hesitate when i shorten the length of a piece of wood.) i am preparing this carving for exhibit in a store window with a ceiling height of 7'3" and an access height of a little over six feet. i had a year's time to mull over this piece, but have re-committed to my original idea of a snaketamer, in this way utilizing the crotch in the log for the raised arms. the snaketamer will go well in that space i hope. (the last view shows the colonial theater lobby pictures windows.)
saturday, 26 june 2010
my brother peter scolds me from time to time that i need to update my site more often. of course he's right. so i thought, in the interests of science, that i would try to record the carving process on a larger log. what we see here is a log of white pine, about 18 feet long or so, that i took down on the property a couple years ago. it's not easy to get a long crotch piece from loggers because they usually make their cuts for saw logs, and so they customarily cut just below and above big crotches like we see here. so i'd like to make a carving that somehow makes use of this formation. the tree was a bit distressed when we cut it down (we being dave currier and his father fred, loggers who live just down the road from me), so my first step is taking off the bark and sapwood, and just giving the thing an overall inspection. this log shows a fair bit of discoloration and insect infestation, so it's a little bit dicey. but i'm hoping to salvage enough good material to carve a life-size human figure. so that's the plan. i still have a bit more clearing off of bad stuff to do before i have a complete sense of what i can use here. but before i can go any further, my schedule calls me to chicago, and so it may be another month before i can really get going on this thing. anyway, this gives me some time to ruminate over the whole project and develop a full head of psychological steam. the picture at right shows some of the tools i use in the early goings. i also use an electric chain saw.
monday, 8 february 2010
ok, so it's finally time to get back into the race. today, i ordered the postcards for my next show, opening next month at pisticci's. more news to follow...(For now i'm just trying to remember how to update my website!) if you'd like me to mail you a card, just drop me a line with your postal address.
monday, 25 may 2009
my best friend in "the shire" died this morning. steve huntington passed away peacefully in the living room of the house he built with his own two hands. the photo above shows him as an entering college freshman. at that time, he was known as "yosemite sam." already, it is easy to see his jovial humor; the head tilted in laughter was characteristic. steve and his wife mary lou moved to northern new hampshire from boston in the late 1980s. steve worked as a carpenter. active in politics, he was a town selectman in bethlehem and on the school board. during the four years that we were close, he was being treated for a rare neuro-endocrine cancer. during these years he was also a staffer for u.s. congressman paul hodes (d-nh). it was not unusual for steve to chalk up 12-hour work days doing constituent services, even while undergoing chemotherapy. as he told me once, "there is no end to the amount of work that can be done there." steve and mary lou raised two children in the north country: dan, presently a sophomore at the university of vermont; and eliza, who is to be the valedictorian of her graduating high school class next month. the other photo shows the view from their living room at dawn this morning, just shortly after steve passed away. he was 55.
wednesday, 18 march 2009
today is a great day! i finally finished putting together my newest "magnum opus"! now to try to find an agent and a real publisher...
thursday, 20 november 2008
i installed the "prince and princess of the shire" last month at the weeks memorial library on main street in lancaster. two views are shown here since the library entrance they are facing is too shallow for a good photo. they flank the stairs that lead down to the children's section. the prince is carrying a falcon; the princess is accompanied by a cat at her feet. barbara robarts, the head librarian, tells me that kids are just fascinated with that cat. that's barbara's granddaughter in the photo, proving her point.
saturday, 6 september 2008
finally updating my site here. added a new heading called "new work" today, illustrating a broad sampling of work included in my "wild things" show, which concludes at the WREN gallery in bethlehem, new hampshire, on monday. the show was a smash hit in the community, with a lot of local press coverage. a few of these latest projects are still available for sale.
tuesday, 3 june 2008
last week's dandelions are this week's ghost dandelions. so it goes.
when scott was here, i described for him some of the issues facing coos county, and i asked for his opinion about my idea for the "imaginary institute of coos county." he wasn't too positive about the imaginary institute, warning me that he was all too familiar with artists who talk about starting non-profits with their own self-interest primarily in mind. i'm not so sure that that is my motivation, but i understand his complaint. anyway i am so involved in my own work, it's hard to see where i could find the time to found an imaginary institute. (actually, as long as it's just imaginary, i suppose i have plenty of time.)
but scott did have a very good idea. he is a graduate of the yale school of architecture, and he said that he believed that the yale school of forestry and the yale architecture program have some sort of combination initiative for studying "green" design and "green" planning. noting that when he was in grad school, he participated in any number of worthwhile external study projects, he thought that coos county ought to approach these yale departments to do a study on how a "green initiative" might benefit the prospects of "rural renewal" in the county. since the problems of rural decline are common throughout many northern counties in the US, a study of this nature would stand to have widespread applicability and value, especially in places where logging has been a major economic factor. he said he would be willing to act as a liaison with a dean at yale to get the ball rolling.
saturday, 31 may 2008
well it's time to get ready for my next show. it opens on 8-8-08.
and it's dandelion time in the shire. (last weekend my friend scott wood visited from greenwich, ct, and he took these shots.)
wednesday, 23 april 2008
(i had satellite internet installed at my studio yesterday, so i no longer need to drive to the town library to use broadband.) my studio has about 12 acres of hayfields. two streams converge in back, forming a delta of little islands, and then exit as a single slow brook, the otter brook, that winds its way to israel's river. a dairy downstream mows the fields for hay three times a year. before the brook gets to the dairy, beavers have dammed it up, and they have been pretty thorough about gnawing down every sapling in sight. just above the beaver dam, the road bends close to the pond, so you can see how things are going on the drive to and from town. a pair of mergansers have been courting there for a few days. the other evening we saw a beaver out of the water there; she looked to be about 60 pounds. how deliberate her motions were.
today i began the first rubber mold for one of my carved reliefs. this development has been a long time in coming. up to now, my experiments in cast paper had been limited to casts made in tupperware or chinese carry out containers. my goal is to be able to produce multiples in cast paper that can be priced more affordably than an original carving in wood. the processes of moldmaking and recycling the paper mash are both fairly laborious (these are in addition to the actual carving process, of course), but my hope is that this enterprise will lead to sales sufficient to be able to employ assistants to help with these tasks. i have two orders for paper casts of the trapeze artists from the magic circus show, so it's a start.
coos county is in such an economic freefall, i have been racking my brain trying to think of new ways that i could contribute to the community. the idea of trying to create an employment center to manufacture cast paper artworks is an example of this. i have attended a number of various functions over the past six weeks: presentations on the prospects of a "creative economy" by ann markusen from the university of minnesota; a presentation on co-ops by the cooperative development institute; a presentation of rural development programs by the usda; and a series of grant-writing workshops by becky newton of lancaster township and pat garvin from the north country council. in addition i attended a basic business course on entrepreneurship offered by wren in bethlehem, and taught by jeanne boisseau. the most interesting idea i have come up with so far is to establish a "coos institute for creative studies" that would host workshops and roundtables to attract interesting creative types to visit the area, perhaps to settle here, or at least to spend more time. establishing an actual college might be even better, but it seems too ambitious; small projects first.
monday, 3 march 2008
people ask me, "what's it like at your studio in new hampshire?" well, here it is; above is the view out my studio window. that's mount cabot among the mists, in the pilot range of the kilkenney mountains. it's been snowing a lot these past six weeks. here's a sunrise from the bedroom window:
in the distance is the pliny range of the kilkenneys. every sunrise is different, even though it's the same sun, mountains, trees, streams and sky. east lancaster is one of the most beautiful parts of new hampshire, and that's saying something. out these windows i've seen bear, deer, even an ever so shy bobcat. we've listened to squirrels chatter, moose wallow, and coyotes howl. beaver gnaw the saplings along the brooks, otters hop along the banks, snow geese nest on spits of sand, and heron glide silently from fishing hole to fishing hole. i call this area "the shire."
it gets cold here. it's not unusual for it to get minus 20 degrees (like last thursday night for instance) or even minus 30 degrees for short stretches in winter, so you best bring along your longjohns. times are getting hard around here; the paper mills are closing, as are the maternity wards. most people are uninsured or on medicaid or medicare, so the artists around here are asking ourselves what we can do to help and it's not entirely clear. i, for one, intend to celebrate the wild nature of this place.
wednesday, 16 january 2008
based on some feedback and advice from my friend seemeen and my son lao, i have revamped the navigational set-up of the site somewhat this morning to make it more consistent, while simplifying it even more...
sunday, 13 january 2008
so i took down my show at pisticci's yesterday. up since last june - it had a good, long run. it was a popular show and i met several new patrons through it. taking it down allowed me to finally photograph the pieces yesterday and to post a magic circus catalogue to the web this morning. now i can officially announce this website, and keep on going from here!
thursday, 3 january 2008
if you want to know what it looks like out the window from here, well here it is. that's the verrazano narrows bridge out in the distance, followed by governor's island, the staten island ferry, and then battery park city. the ziggurat on the right is the jewish museum. the building on the far right blocks the view of the statue of liberty, alas. my hard drive took a dive last weekend, but dell sent me a new one, i installed it last night with the help of dell's gary moncur, and now i am back in business. happy new year!
monday, 24 december 2007
well, there's only so much web composing a man can take...it's been an interesting dip into something new, still lots of dribs and drabs of course, but i think i'm getting there and pretty soon keeping up with a website will seem like old hat and i'll be able to get back to the real business of living...
sunday, 23 december 2007
was very frustrated with my first attempt, so now i have redone the main pages in style sheets, looks nicer...
wednesday, 19 december 2007
okay, building up a head of steam here, couldn't really work on this much yesterday, but i've got a few more things done today...
monday, 17 december 2007
today is the first day of my first website!