As a child, all I wanted to do was draw. At that time, we couldn’t even afford paper so a friend of the family gave me a stack of used invoices from a business that didn’t need them anymore, and I used the backs of those on which to draw. I did my own paper dolls, designing clothes I liked, and spent hours drawing copies of cartoon figures I found in the funny papers, or in books from the library.
There was no chance I’d get to go to college and study art, so in high school, I focused my attention to commercial business, typing, stenography, book keeping, and while I enjoyed art and glee club, I never thought I’d have an opportunity to do much of it.
But it seems I married well. My husband allowed me to attend art classes at my local community college while my kids were in school. I loved it! I had the opportunity, the time, the familial support, and explored so many things! While painting was my primary love, and drawing is so essential, both of those subjects were explored thoroughly. Life drawing, drawing from nature, painting techniques, how to set up the palette, what colors to use. All that was wonderful, and I dove right in.
Then I discovered sculpture. Using different materials to make art. It was fabulous! We explored and used all sorts of different materials, plastic, plaster, wood, cloth, clay, and even steel. There was a welding table in the sculpture lab, and oxyacetylene equipment. Who knew a simple housewife would take so to welding steel?
I did a few other welded pieces as well, and then I got an idea to do a large piece! I had enrolled in a seminar so I could do whatever sort of sculpture I wanted to do, and plywood and framing were my only options for something as large as I envisioned.
I worked diligently for quite some time and my piece was taking up rather more space in the sculpture lab than others found comfortable. Work advanced as quickly as possible, and my plan was all in my head. How the pieces would be assembled would be easy enough for a couple folks alone to do it, and which piece went where, and how attached. All in my head. I had the hardware, the pieces all framed out, and early in the spring I was ready to assemble. However, it couldn’t go in the lab. It needed to be done outside.
The gentlemen in the sculpture classes were all excited about it and suggested they help assemble it. Since I really had no choice mid week with no helper of my own available, naturally, I agreed. We carried the pieces out to the mound of grass in front of the building, a lovely prominent spot seen by everyone driving into the parking lot around the corner. The guys assumed lots of things, and it took well over an hour and a half to get it all together, standing as I had planned. But we celebrated! And it actually stopped cars, and slowed some entering the campus, just to have a look. At this time, it was raw plywood, unfinished.
My instructor, mentor, boss, and good friend gave his usual nod of the head, with his arms crossed and everyone was pleased with it. I knew it could only stay there for a while. But decided to cherish every moment of the attention it got! The height of my art career. LOL! It was all so fun!
Later, when I took it home, and assembled it in my backyard, I finished it with outdoor stain of off white which caused a fabulous glow of reflected light when the sun hit it. I loved it. To me, it meant Mom was right. I could do anything I set my mind on, and with God’s help, and my husbands, I could do anything! It’s an awesome feeling!
This thing got accepted in a professional art show at the college, juried by Joan Mondale, wife of the then Vice President. It went back to the campus, and my daughter, Gael, and I installed it fully assembled in under half an hour. Some of the guys who had helped earlier were on campus, and were surprised I had planned it so well. They just didn’t think they needed to listen to me the first time. LOL! It had a prominent spot on campus, right in the heart of the plaza between all the buildings. I was just a tad proud, as you can imagine.
Later, as I was sure the thing would deteriorate and fall apart after years of exposure to nature, I decided to render the design in steel and did a small Trag 2. While it was similar, it seemed to want to fall over backward, and the sections were narrower. I got the whole idea from a broken pencil, if you can imagine that.
You’d be surprised how many things you learn about studying sculpture. So much knowledge of math, materials, durability, tools and how to use them, it’s really a very comprehensive study. Well worth the time.
Here’s a plaster piece I did. It was the only hollow plaster piece done at that time in my community college sculpture lab. It took a long time to understand how hollow casting was done, and what had to be done to achieve success with it. First, modelling with clay, you have to make a mold, treat the mold, figure out how to separate the pieces without destroying the casting, etc. What a complex procedure! But, like Mom said, you can do anything, if you have the will.
And, harking back to Spanish Riddle and horses, here’s a small horse sculpture I did, which is in bad shape now. It isn’t hollow. I believe I recall using rubber molding material for this one. All experimental. At least, for me, it was all learning.