New Sculptures and New Medium–My First Oil Painting

Over the past several months I’ve focused on the creation of new work for exhibition at the Brandywine Festival of the Arts this September 8 and 9 in Wilmington, Delaware. Much of this new sculpture is made of copper and bronze, but I also completed my first oil painting.

This oil painting, titled The Last Bales, was painted plein air in a Michigan hay field.  It was my first experience painting with oil and only my second experience painting. In my first painting, I used acrylic paints.

I find that acrylic and oil paints differ markedly in response, vibrance and application. Each has its merits and drawbacks, but to my eye they are rather like comparing incandescent light to LEDs. While I really like the result of my first acrylic painting, I prefer–at least so far–the incandescence of oil to the acrylic paints.  My next painting will be oil again and I think I’ve found another stunning plein air site here in northern Michigan.

There is a small image of The Last Bales just below, but you can see a large image of this work and read how the painting got its title at Featured Work–The Last Bales.  There you’ll find the short tale and a slideshow with some images of the artist, the plein air site and the painting. Curiously, you’ll see no images of the hay bales save for those depicted in my painting. You can read why at the Featured Work–The Last Bales.

The Last Bales [Aug 2012]

The Last Bales [Aug 2012]

To see my first painting in acrylic click here-First Acrylic Painting.

As for new sculptures, I am pleased that there are many, but I have featured only one at this time.  [More to follow in future posts for certain.]  This Featured Work is Catch of the Day, a four foot long fish made of bronze and copper, attached to a stainless steel framework and mounted on a pivot permitting the fish to spin. An image of Catch of the Day  can be seen below.

Catch of the Day (2012) Private Collection

Catch of the Day (2012) Private Collection

The creation of this work is more difficult to describe than it is to picture so I invite you to go to Featured Work–Catch of the Day. There you can read of the fish’s creation from inspiration to sketching to sculpture. Plus see a slideshow showing various stages and steps in the process leading to the creation of this sculpture.

Thanks for visiting my website and perusing at my work. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best, Tom

Aug 2012

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Drawing Life Figures (Apr 2012)

If you saw my last post, you know we have a new puppy. And if you’ve ever had a puppy you’ll know not much gets done apart from the constant observation of the creature. One thing I am able to do in the art world is attend a Life Drawing Class at the county art association once a week.

So far I’ve had five 3-hour sessions.  The first session’s drawings (from early March 2012) were posted last month.  Since that time I’ve sketched several more figures, all male save for one female model.  As you look over my website, you’ll see a header image of a  reclining nude from the session with the female model.

Prior to attending these drawing sessions, I sketched human figures from my imagination and memory. Now I must draw what I see, not what I imagine . . . and sometimes in as few as 60 seconds. The medium is stick charcoal in the brief poses of one and five minutes.  For longer periods (10, 15, 20 and 35 minute sittings) I first draw with charcoal and then embellish–for light, depth and definition–with oil pastels.

Curiously, I try to draw nothing more than the slightest detail of the head and face. These features are difficult and time is limited.  Therefore, I focus on the model’s body in the limited time available. In addition, hastily drawn faces are usually rather ghoulish distractions–at least mine are.

I actually squint my eyes to get a better focus on the model’s shape, form and features. (I described this squinting technique–and my theory about why it works–in the post “Sketching Technique”.)  When I squint the depth of field and contours of the model’s flesh are accentuated . . . these are my focal points.   However, while there are some distinctly recognizable body landmarks (e.g. the dimple pattern of the sacral triangle), there is no easy roadmap to drawing the human figure!

In any event, images of my first attempt at life drawing I posted last month and can been seen by clicking here.

Images from subsequent drawing sessions can be viewed sequentially by clicking here Drawing Session Images.   (FYI, these drawing sessions are not instruction sessions; rather you are merely provided with a work surface and an audience with a nude model . . . everything else is on you.)

Thanks, Tom

Apr 2012

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Thank You Earth . . .

Every spring we are fortunate to witness the earth’s rejuvenation.  The landscape comes alive with blossoms, fragrance and beauty.  As a prelude to Earth Day next month, remember:

The world is in your hands . . . Please don’t drop it.

I like this notion so much that I made some brochures to herald the arrival of  Earth Day in April–maybe you received one. I even made a tee shirt displaying the image and statements.

We have a new puppy so I haven’t been creating much of late. You can click here to see some recent work completed in the pre-puppy period. . . including my first ever attempt at acrylic painting titled, Red Umbrella, a fall scene with cottonwood trees north of Santa Fe.

Also, under featured work you can see the process of bringing a table commission piece to life. I designed and created a table to house a beautiful octagonal marble table top inlaid with semi-precious stones.  It is a top heavy structure so support elements of the piece are key to stability.  To top it off, this marble top is illuminated from underneath by a built-in light box. The translucent marble allows the light to penetrate the stone to reveal the beautiful inlay stone design made by Indian artists near the Taj Mahal.   I believe this marble inlay technique is called parchin kari.

Finally, and in another first, I attended a 3-hour life drawing class.  A live model holds various poses for varying durations of time. This was my first such drawing class and I will return. See some images of my first live model drawing here.

Thanks and best, Tom

March 2012

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Santa Fe Inspiration (Oct 2011)

Recently we traveled to New Mexico including Santa Fe, Abiquiu (location of Georgia O’Keeffe’s home and studio) and Los Alamos, the site of an unthinkable creation.  Nonetheless, the art conceived, designed and created in New Mexico is astounding.  Equally compelling for me is the landscape and natural surroundings.  In fact, I saw the landscape in the roof lines and snapped this picture shown above in the header for Oct 2011 . . . and as seen here:

This banner is not an image of a distant butte or mesa in the landscape. Rather, it is the roof line of the adobe casita next door to our desert lodgings north of Santa Fe.  It is difficult for me to describe the vantage point from which I captured this image, but imagine this:  Walk up to, and get within 6 inches of, the adobe wall.  Look straight up toward the sky so that you can see vertically up the adobe wall.  Where the wall ends, the roof line is silhouetted against the blue sky.  Included in this roof line contour is a hump to accommodate the chimney flue . . . or is to mimic the landscape’s buttes and mesas?

I am curious what you see in the image–distant butte or adobe roof line or both!  Let me know.

What else is new?  My sketch pad was a constant companion on this southwest trip.  At the airport I was taken by a notion as I sweetened my espresso with brown sugar from a bag marked, “Sugar in the Raw”.  My next sketch (pictured to the right) captures my notion of “Sugar in the Raw”.  Other sketches from the trip can be viewed by clicking here  for the Santa Fe Sketches slideshow.

And . . . see an image (right) of a recent installed mailbox stand and click here for a Running Postbox slideshow.  The stand takes the shape of a runner’s legs in motion and is made of steel mounted on a base of concrete, 300 pounds worth!  I am fortunate to have several commissions and this is the culmination of a long standing one.  Completion of two other commissioned works will follow closely on the heels of this work . . . I am excited by the prospect of closing out the year with the conclusion and installation of three commission works!

Finally, New … in the Studio shows a rare self-portrait done in acrylic and ink.

Thanks and best, Tom

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Recent Brandywine Festival Exhibition (Wilm DE) ~ Sept 2011

The 51st Annual Brandywine Festival of the Arts came to a close a couple of weeks ago, over the 9/11 weekend.  It was my second time exhibiting there and the venue once again did not disappoint.

A slideshow with images of my booth and work is posted here so you can take a virtual tour of my Brandywine set up.  [Click here to see the slideshow.] I exhibited a series of works in each of four media: forged steel, copper, polymer and a new area for me, wood. With each series I wanted to demonstrate my depth and skill in working that medium.

12 of the 16 pieces exhibited were new creations since the last Brandywine festival held in Sept 2010.  Included in these new works is a decade tribute to the 9/11 tragedy titled Tears of the Towers.  [Click to see image of Tears . . .] Another is a tribute to one of my favorite sculptors, the 19th century Romanian artist, Constantin Brancusi. [Click to see images of Brancusi Leg.]

Of the 16 pieces, I returned home with 14 and I am happy.  The unsold pieces are now reinstalled in the Martin Sculpture Garden and Collection. (In fact, our sculpture garden serves as the backdrop in most of the images of my work displayed on these pages.)

Finally, and also below, you can see a piece titled, Red II, that I created to test my ability to weld stainless steel.  This particular steel must be welded by a process called TIG [Tungsten Inert Gas]. Essentially, Argon gas circumscribes the electric arc and prevents the stainless steel from oxidizing during the welding operation.  Once you get the hang of it, welding stainless steel with the TIG is a dream.

Red II

Thanks, Tom

Sept 2011

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Sketching and a new sculpture or two . . .

While attending the Immaculata Art Show this past weekend, I sat and sketched–always a tranquil experience for me.  This month’s banner is one of the sketches that developed and likely will become a sculpture titled, Flying Split.  Now, how to make it . . . but herein lies the joy of what I do.  Am thinking maybe hammered copper in relief and then mounted in a deep, shadow box frame . . . time will tell.

When I sketch I use a technique–and theory–that really helps me “see” the image and portray it. I go to some length to discuss this technique at Meanderings under On Sketching Technique.

. . .  and there are new sculptures

See to the left Quandary II and the artist and down below you’ll see a new wire sculpture, Bicycle.   Quandary II is the Featured Work this month and is the subject of some MeanderingsOn unintended, but happy, outcomes.

Hope you enjoy what you see. Let me know what you think. I always appreciate the feedback.

Stay tuned for word on new fountains and water sculptures.

Best, Tom

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Public Art Installed . . . April 2011 . . . Wilmington DE, USA

RED is pictured on April’s banner image. RED is 2 feet diameter tube that is 35 feet long and ascends 12 feet in the air before falling to the ground.  This work is made of a stainless steel skeleton that is covered in red cotton fabric.   I installed RED at the Redding Gallery in Wilmington DE as part of the April Art on the Town and especially for the Art Loop opening night reception held on Friday, April 1, 2011.

RED is a rather unwieldy sculpture, but the challenge of the design and execution was particularly exhilarating.  Of course, in a one-of-a-kind expression such as this not everything goes as planned–but not for lack of planning.  Get this:  Upon installing RED it became quite evident that the piece, while impressive in size and scope, could not remain where it was.  It fit the space perfectly and certainly it was eye-catching.  This wasn’t the problem. Rather, the sculpture RED was purple!

After some quick thinking on the eve of the opening–and with the aid of kindly government employees–RED was moved around the corner where it was once again was the bright red RED that I planned!

Here’s the deal: The special energy efficient lighting in the atrium space generated a light emanating from the ultra-violet part of the spectrum.  When this light mixed with the bright red fabric color, purple–rather than bright red–was the reflected color.  I ask you, “How could I possibly have a sculpture titled RED that is purple?”  The answer is: I couldn’t.  As you can see from the banner,  RED is red.

See the anatomy of this sculpture and its birth in the attached slideshow.  Also, you can see the other nine sculptures in the Redding Gallery April 2011 Art Loop installation.

Thanks for taking a look.  The exhibit at the Redding Gallery, 800 North French Street, Wilmington DE 19801 was open to the public for the month of April 2011.

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Verdant Spring … and Sculpture

Sarah and I are headed to the southwest later this year.   I believe it is this trip that prompted my revery to conjure images of the majestic Saguaro cactus.

Of course, my Saguaro is not 12 feet tall.  No, mine is more like a bonzai Saguaro!  It is made of forged steel and stands about 18 inches tall (and 48 inches on its plinth).  You can go straight to the slideshow of this sculpture by clicking here. Solvent dyes give the waxy green texture of the outside covering of the cactus and vertical channels represent the Saguaro’s exterior ridges running vertically along the succulent.

This sculpture also has base hieroglyphs [see slideshow for detail images] that I imagine as emblematic of the high arid plains and mountains where these cacti are found.   You can see a slideshow of this sculpture and its detail by clicking here.

*   *   *

Also, in the past week another new sculpture has emerged from the studio which you can see at the side bar.  Click through to New . . . in the studio to see the slideshow of this new work titled Le Plongeon Arrière [The Back Dive].

 

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High in the 70s . . .

No, this is not a reference to my state of mind as a Tufts undergraduate in Boston circa 1972!  Rather, it is a reflection on last Friday’s spring-like temperatures.

Yes, with East Coast temps on Friday in the 70 degree range, fleeting snow sculptures made way for new, permanent pieces to blossom in our sculpture garden. So look to the right and see my new, featured work titled, La Nue I [Nude I], which is a copper sculpture about 5 feet tall now mounted under a pine tree in our sculpture garden.  In the coming days, I will post a slideshow that shows the evolution of this piece from raw material to finished sculpture. But for now you can see a slideshow of this sculpture’s many facets.

Plus, check out the addition to . . . in the studio with images of the new Untitled Balance sculpture.  Look to the right column for a peek.  See if you can determine how this piece is balanced.

Also, News on the Exhibitions front:

I received an offer of a solo show from the Curator of Art for the city of Wilmington, Delaware.  I accepted and after installation in late March my work will be exhibited for the entire month of April. The Exhibition will be part of Wilmington’s city-wide Art On the Town also know as Art Loop. My sculpture will be located in the lobby of the Louis L. Redding City/County Building, 800 French Street, Wilmington DE 19801.

Opening night for this show in Wilmington is Friday, April 1, 2011–April Fool’s Day. Please come out and join me and the other artists in Wilmington’s April Art Loop.  I am not a superstitious creature, but I do think it curious that, in eight times showing my work, there are:  Two dates occurring on Friday the 13th; two dates on 9/11; and, one date on April Fool’s Day!

This is uncanny good luck in my book and I hope to see you at 800 French Street in Wilmington DE on the first of April 2011.

Finally, for subscribers (thank you one and all) and users of my website, I have adopted security and privacy measures that are part of a Google Compliant Privacy Policy.  In addition, my website’s privacy policy incorporates by reference the WordPress.org Privacy Policy, which is also Google Compliant.  See my website’s complete Privacy Policy here.  So I hope you feel secure in subscribing to, and using, my site as this will allow you to see what new sculptures emerge from my studio from time to time.

Thanks very much for your support and encouragement.

Best, Tom

2.20.11

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CLASSIFIED AD — SSM SEEKS SSM FOR FUN IN SNOW . . .

Single Steel Male seeks Single Snow Maiden. . .

The steel sculpture above, Man in tunic walking, will discover the Snow Maiden!

What you can discover straight ahead is all the new stuff such as:

So, welcome back!

But, if you are new to my site, then welcome!  Feel free to take a test drive and see my work, learn about my process, find where I get my inspiration or just look around and discover where and when my upcoming exhibitions will be.

I always appreciate your feedback and if you think of someone who might be interested in my work, forward the site address to them . . . http://www.tcmsculptures.com . . . and thanks, Tom.

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