Just me and my shadow: In the studio I’m rarely alone, my imagination runs a commentary along side me. Oh, in the moment as I’m working the wax, solving some challenge of getting the right color or texture, it’s just me; but let me step back to look at my progress and as the form appears before me, a name pops into my head, sometimes long before I’m done and from that point, changes I make move me in the direction I’ve envisioned. Normally this happens early as I’m building texture but sometimes I’m pretty far along before I feel really connected to the piece I’m working on. Actually that’s a good sign for me as to whether I’m moving in the right direction. If I’m pretty far along on the piece and there’s no ‘spark’ of recognition, I’m liable to change directions sometimes as drastically as removing / flattening the surface by laying the piece down on my heated palette (which melts it) and starting over.
My first themes: I didn’t start out thinking “oh, I’m going to make themes” but the thought evolved from my work. I did a series of flower pieces which slowly expanded into other flora (and even fauna) related works such as “Garden Gate” and “Eve’s Garden” with its snake theme and Earth’s Garden became my first theme. I grew up in Arizona and as an adult I hiked a lot, looking at Native American sites in the Southwest. When I make pieces in “those colors” I refer to them as Anasazi, so far they all include some rust treatment.
I love fantasy and Dragons evolved when I started using mixed media to create shapes. They are really no different than any other texture technique except in my mind there are very real and have their own personalities. My Galaxy theme is all about what’s in the sky: planets, stars, moons, dust. When we’re at the beach or actually anywhere besides Ohio (where we have generous cloud cover most of the time), I am awed by the night sky. I’m even more blown away by the photos that get published now showing galaxies and intergalactic space, and also by macro photographs of the universes in our world that we can’t see.
And finally, there are Terraforms: when I tell these little remembrances they are not the world’s history but what I heard or saw. When I was in Mumbai in the home of my friend’s parents which happened to be on the 23rd floor of an apartment building I looked down to see a ‘slum’ directly below – ‘slums’ in India (remember this is MY story and might be corrected by people with more knowledge) often have blue plastic over the roofs especially during the monsoons. The story I heard was that when large buildings are constructed the workers come and set up around the building (think Medieval Europe) and when it is finished there is often a worker’s village at the base which in my rudeness i called a slum. I guess at this stage I should mention that if you haven’t read Shantaram, I recommend it. Okay, back to the Terraform story: “Terraforms” especially in science fiction refer to the transformation (of a planet or …) to resemble the earth. My terraforms are a combination of all the places I’ve traveled and seen and all the science fiction that I’ve read and feel like I’ve visited. Earth at 30,000 feet or that place in space where we’ll all live some day. So, by title, “Oxbow” and “Atoll” could be part of the Earth’s Garden theme but they aren’t.