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.

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Artists Wear Many Hats

It’s been slow-going with my clay sculptures.  Robin was hospitalized week before last with a copperhead bite!  We learned a lot from that experience.

Our collaboration with Growing Media has moved us to a new location–much better than the space we had in the mall.  But the move has meant building all new sets for The Spiel with Angie & Julie.  We got behind with Robin’s injury so we’re scrambling now before the official opening of the space August 1st.  We’re nearly finished and then we’ll begin displaying our sculpture not only on the sets, but in the offices and our gallery within the building.  So for now, I’m juggling building walls, painting them, marketing our work, making 3 new insect sculptures, finishing a wood relief sculpture and playing with the clay!  I’m just much slower then I used to be.

I’ll be posting photos of the new TV studio space soon.  We made an awesome interview desk for them!

New clay sculptures started

I’ve been chomping at the bit to get back into the clay studio and the news of winning the inside back cover of Art & Beyond Magazine with

Lady Liberty               “Lady Liberty” (left) and also selling “This World Becomes That” (right)This World Becomes That

has given me just the encouragement I need.   Last week I started a new goddess piece.  She’s going to be an Earth Goddess, standing on a globe, title to be determined later.  I’ve gotten to the upper calf on her right leg so far.  It’s going slow since I haven’t practiced this craft enough to build easily and quickly–late starter and all that.  I did  my first clay handbuilding in the early 80’s and just loved it.  I did these abstract organic creations with spikes growing out of openings and raku’d them.  Here’s one of them.

#2After a couple of years I left raku’ behind and didn’t return to clay building until several years ago.  This time around it’s earthenware.  I’m loving the challenge and the feel of working the clay with my hands.  It takes me back to my roots–making mud pies as a child!  I was in a world all my own then, living in the country without playmates (no neighbor kids and my older sisters didn’t want to spend time with “the baby”).  I had a great time with my dog and my mud!  That’s when talking to myself became habitual.

I started another piece yesterday.  This one is quite different.  It’s called “Seeding the Earth” and it’s going to be a clay relief sculpture, a 24″ round disc.  I started the center section today and it’s going well.  I’m looking at this piece as a prototype to test out some of my design ideas and feeling free to do whatever I want.  It’s exciting!  I’m considering whether to place this symbolic shield in between the thighs of an outrageous goddess.  Who?????   Do I want to incorporate the bugs?  I think I do.  We’ll see how it feels as I build.  Got a good start.

 

 

 

 

Glorious Redbud

We prize our Redbud and Dogwood trees.  A redbud that has graced our west great room window for 15-20 years is dying–possibly from verticillium wilt.  I’ve decided to document its demise as a way of paying homage as well as demonstrating how you just gotta make lemonade sometimes when  you’re served up sour lemons.  I don’t know how long it will be before we take it down completely, but in the meantime I’ve used it as part of a garden sculpture that I’ve been contemplating for sometime.  Here’s the first photo I took yesterday morning before I broke out the electric chain saw.  Red Bud dying

I selectively pruned some of the lower and central dead growth. After trimming some of the dead branches here’s what was left.

Trimming

Next I got to work with some 80 lb test fishing line.  And walla!

Web

detail

Nice days work.  Next I’ll make a wire spider for it.

Afraid of Making a Mistake

You hear a lot about writer’s block, but little about the similar phenomena with visual artists.  Whatever it’s called, it’s about being afraid of making a mistake.  And then there it is, staring you in the face.  It’s the discouragement that follows that’s most awful–not the mistake itself, but the fear that that’s the best you can do.  It can be paralyzing.

I’ve got a great idea for a new series of clay sculptures.  Been making notes, sketches, researching thoughts, poking around in my morgue.  Cleaned the clay tools, swept the floor, gotta jump off the cliff now.

The Crackled Surface

Those of you familiar with my relief sculpture know that my signature is the  crackled surface  as seen here on

“Amber Earth & Sky”  Amber Earth & Sky

 

As a painter, I’ve always been interested in surface as well as meaning. In my explorations of mixed media, I became intrigued with the idea of  the crackled surface. The inspiration for using it probably harks back to my youth, living in the countryside  close to the Earth and  being fascinated by the patterns in the drying mud as the ponds drew down in the summer heat.

crackled mud

In the 1990’s as I began experimenting with ways of making the crackled surface and ways of coloring it, I came to realize it is a visual reference for many other things that occur in nature–the veins of a leaf, the spider-web, the branching of tree growth, the patterns of the forest, blood vessels, reptile scales, dragonfly wings, an aged face.  It’s all of those things, because they all share a common underlying branched structure.  It is up to me to use it expressively, with or without the narrative.  I work color through the veined surface conveying emotion and ultimately thought and connection.  Connection because we recognize the  mystery of the similarities of different life forms.

In this recent series of “parallel paths”, the opposition to the fractured side is one expressing stable balance for the emotional life, allowing it to burst or seep forth, receiving it, supporting it, complimenting and yet giving tension enough to create movement.  The two together are an expression of life, a metaphor if you will for the patterns and coordination of life….the image of tranquil balance.

Parallel Paths e

36″ square.  Paint & acrylic emulsion on wood with stainless steel bar.  “Parallel Paths”

FREEDOM!

I couldn’t be more excited!  Robin and I now have more freedom than we’ve had in a very long time to commit to making the art we’ve really wanted to make.  For all of the good things I can say about the art fairs (it’s one of the rare ways independent artists can survive on the making of their art) it can be confining to your creativity because of the requirements to show in your booth, work that is highly consistent with what you juried into with some 6-9 months previous.

I’m now exploring wire sculpture (started last year) which I’ve been interested in for a lifetime.  It’s really invigorating.  Seen here is a photo of my latest wing for a mid-size dragonfly in process.  MatusiakSharon#4MatusiakSharon#3.jpg  This other photo is a detail shot of a 3’x3′ dragonfly I made last fall.

Robin is working on enhancing the walls at Growing Media to showcase our work and beautify their television sets.

So much is happening right now–we’re in the process of obtaining a third kiln–to accommodate much larger enamel and cast glass to add to our work.  I’m finishing commissions for the close of the Twitch Series–more on that later.  We will continue to collaborate, but in less of a production way.  I’m designing new work (besides the insect sculptures) for Jewelry For The Wall–got ideas bulging out of my head.

LIFE IS GOOD!