Our Paradise

When we bought our 20 acres of woodlands it was bare of man-made features.  Robin and I cut down what trees were necessary to make room for the building of our home, studios, storage building and eventually barn.  Other than making art, our real passion has been the landscaping of the site.  Though we had professional help in the building of two ponds, the rest of the labor has been largely our own. We’ve made use of most of the existing native hardwood trees (oaks, maples, hickory, walnut, ash, tulip poplar, ironwood, hackberry, cherry, sycamore, black locust, sweet gum) while  encouraging along native volunteers also such as the dogwoods, redbuds, 2 varieties of sumac, creeping charley, trumpet vine, violets, woodland and prairie wildflowers, honeysuckle, red cedars, witch hazel, sassafras, etc.  In addition we’ve added white pines, chocolate mimosa, hemlock, golden raintree, Japanese maple.  We’ve created many different themed gardens.  Each is a unique creation using the varying elevations of the land, additions of stone, sculpture, shrubs and flowers to provide the space with its own privacy and feel.

We always have several projects on-going, some of which take years to complete.  It’s just amazing to watch it grown and evolve.  And some of it is not what we hoped for, nor expected, but you learn to accept it and move on, preferably finding an unseen benefit in the making.  Like when an ice storm took out our most prized dogwood.  We mourned the loss and then moved on to a chocolate mimosa for the same site—a delightful choice for its color, exotic nature and dappled shade in the heat of the summer.  Though it’s not a particularly long-lived choice we enjoy the drama of it.  We’re in the market currently for an old brass bed, preferably with the steel springs for one of the gardens.  We are particularly captivated with the use of sculpture in the garden that allows the plantings to become part of the story as seen here with Sharon’s clay sculpture, “The Old Dancer”,The Old Dancer 3 that stays out year around, allowing the Cardinal vine to grow up around and actually through her open vessel.

The Old Dancer 4

Loss of Sculpture

Well, I’ve never had a sculpture collapse and I’ve never had one blow up in the kiln, even way back in the 80’s when I was hand-building.  So I guess it was my turn.  Since my last post about her, I had built onto the pregnant goddess up through the belly.  This morning I went into work on her and undraped the top and began working and was finishing up her belly and swayed pregnant back when she started falling.  I grabbed her and held her against me but the movement had already cracked her right weight-bearing foot.  The problem was not in the building, but that a major support strap had come untied.  Don’t know how that happened, especially since I tie them in double knots.  I called Robin to help me try to save her, but we determined that it was best to just let her go.  After sobbing for a while I guess I’ll just have to start over and decide that this time she’ll be better anyway.  It’s still depressing though.  I spent over a month on her and she was looking really good.  I can only imagine showing a new version of her someday and having somebody ask me “How long did it take you to make that?”

Robin’s Summer

Aside from snake charming, Robin’s kept busy this summer getting the sets ready for the new shoots of The Spiel with Angie & Julie and he’s made a little time for two small projects in his studio.  He’s been working on a 4′ x 3′ piece which he’s now hung in the Zen Courtyard Garden for maturing a little, before he decides if it needs more patina work and/or other elements.

DSC00208

Clay Sculpture Progress

I’m making progress on the clay sculpture I began a month ago.  Her legs are roughed out as can be seen in the photo.  She’s standing on a sphere.  I’m pleased with the look so far.  I haven’t had a model for her, so that’s a challenge.  It’s so invigorating working figuratively with clay.  My intention is that she is the first in a series of “Woman As…”

legsside legs

 

The Visual Art Message

I’m thinking about how artists choose to make either abstract, non-objective or figurative art.  Obviously it depends on the individual’s personal preference about how to communicate.

Back in 1988 I made a drawing of my parents for a show, and titled the piece “The Rosetta Stone”.  Not a single person asked me why I named it that.  I was surprised a little.  These 26 years later I’m still curious about it.  But, maybe I don’t credit the audience with enough knowledge to draw the lines.