Blue skies, slight chance of pain

I daydreamed I was like Michelangelo while painting this mural of clouds on the ceiling of Cinelli’s, an Italian restaurant in Durham last year. I know his Sistine Chapel was much… more. I had just started sculpting and, hey, it was a daydream! 

I had no scaffolding, only a wobbly ladder and I developed a new respect for the man who could paint entire masterpieces with his neck craned like that.

One day I heard fighting in the back while I was on my wobbly ladder and I was really upset. I felt helpless while someone was getting hurt. Afterward, I had to leave for the day because I couldn’t work anymore. I had nightmares about it.

The next day I saw the person I had been worried about. I walked into the restaurant and he was standing there looking up at one of the clouds I had painted, smiling quietly. His smile is my greatest accomplishment as an artist.

Restoring Peace After The Parting

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No one who has laid eyes on this sculpture has come up with what it says to me.

They offer meaningful reflections and I wonder if it is that I have fallen short as an artist -that they don’t see what I see in it, or if it is some bizarre success that each sees his or her own circumstances.

I do believe good art offers viewers the opportunity to reflect on themselves and their lives, to make solid their own ideas and  philosophies -but somehow I was so over confident, almost embarrassed that the meaning of  this piece wasback_0080 a little too obvious.

How can I, a visual person, have been thrown for such a loop?

Un-nudes at the Slater Memorial Museum

The Satyr Plating the Scabellum (?) or

The air was thick with dust and mold inside. On this drab, rainy day the natural light from the ceiling was grayed a bit. It was as though I’d meandered into someplace old and forgotten like you’d see in an Indiana Jones movie. My party and I were practically alone there as we wandered.

It took my breath away when I walked into the main gallery and found myself surrounded by full size castings of works I’ve only ever seen in pictures before.

Some works were stiff, noble, stoic. Other works writhed  in front of me and convinced me they might gasp for breath at any moment.

All genitalia were concealed beneath a fig leaf with the exception of one sculpture. I can’t remember the name of the work. On that particular piece the genitalia had been broken off. Apparently this was a concession the museum had to make in order to be allowed in the community when it was first established.

The Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich, Connecticut is one of only a few in the United States featuring full sized plaster castings of world masterpieces from the Louvre and the Vatican and other wonderful places in the world which I haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet.  The museum also has a nice collection of authentic art. The Slater Memorial Museum is part of the Norwich Free Academy, a local public high school which offers private enrollment for tuition students as well. What an incredible opportunity for young minds. 

I’ve heard making plaster castings of world class sculpture of this caliber is no longer permitted.

Something I enjoyed in particular about the plaster castings is that some of the works were not chased. -The seams from the mold where the plaster had oozed into them were not cleaned away and it was fascinating to see how intricate the mold making had to be in order to capture the bends of each delicate finger and detail. Well worth a visit if you’re into art or if you’re interested in doing any casting.

Thanks to the Slater Memorial Museum for allowing me to post this image of The Satyr Plating the Scabellum (?) or “Invitation to the Dance” Cast of the original in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence – 2nd century B.C. 

**Please respect the intellectual property of others. Do not repost this blog entry without my permission. The image on this blog entry is used here with written permission from the Slater Memorial Museum.

Pinch me, I might be surreal

Wish Granted, cedar chair with swivel by Kim Marchesseault For an artist, there is a haunting pressure to choose a genre and work within it.   It can easily feel as though you have to suck everything in while someone laces the corset so tightly you can hardly breathe…no. I will not draw as I am told.

I want to be observant of what happens intuitively in my own work and amplify it rather than force myself in a narrow direction.  Some call this finding your voice.

It requires a good, long look in the mirror, and to avoid defining self based on the countenance of another.  For me one of the big issues is not that I let others define me. It’s much worse.  I allow them to stop me.

My work appears as many styles heading in different directions, yet there is this common philosophical, psychological element among each piece. Usually there is the unexpected. Often a transformation is represented. I sometimes place it subtly so not everyone picks up on it. Is this skill or lack of it?

I think it’s fear.  Keeping it subtle, keeping it small makes it easier to avoid being noticed. Horrors of my childhood sometimes leave me afraid to express and create. -Paralyzed by fear of failure and fear that someone will destroy or take away what I work hard on. I struggle but have made great strides recently to break free.

Some have looked at my work and tacked on the labels art deco/ art nouveau because of Letting in the Light by Kim Marchesseaultthe lines in my pieces. Absolutely, I have leanings toward those styles and the wonderful flowing lines. Some label my work Classical realism due to the detailed nudes I sculpt using live models. I love Michelangelo, Dr. Seuss, Disney, Lalique, Picasso.

I simultaneously finished the piece called Letting in the Light and it’s counterpart, A New Direction. Right there before my very eyes was the influence of O’Keefe’s florals in one and the soft edged buildings she’s known for in the other. A New Direction by Kim Marchesseault I’d been looking at her paintings right before I made those and was oblivious to the impression they’d made on me. And then there is my abstract, geometric work.   This is complete relaxation for me. These are all parts of my personality and expression.   I have had these separate parts meet up in some works much to my pleasure.  These are the pieces I find most thrilling. I love finding connections between things that from a shallow view appear to be completely unrelated. I love combining unexpected elements to share with others an idea.

My very first figurative sculpture is called The Pawn and is a woman/chess piece. The Pawn by Kim Marchesseault The model who posed for this piece began to cry at the end of the last session because she had a very ill pet whom she started worrying about so I changed the head (as though she wouldn’t have to cry anymore once I made this change). I divided the top of her head into three sections in a decorative manner unaware at the time I’d allowed psychology an entrance. My second piece is named Agony. My third figurative sculpture is called River’s Dawn, a reclining nude with flowing, long hair that becomes water. My fourth is a male standing with waves crashing against him looking up toward God in anguish. It’s called Why?

I also sculpt crazy techno bugs, and recently dandelions with buildings and skyscrapers as the petals. My latest figurative work is called Free Diver, a ceramic, floating, nude male designed to hang from the ceiling.

Who am I? I despise labels yet I seek one. I  loathe boundaries yet I search them out. Perhaps I should instead simply enjoy this journey of getting lost in art and finding pieces of myself. One day those pieces may fit together as a whole.