This piece is one I uncovered in a box of art supplies I’d left sitting for a while (as in years), so I don’t have a precise date of completion, however I’d ballpark it at 2015. It’s one of a series of small pieces I did to keep my hands busy while I thought about a problem. It has one or two very minor flaws, but the precision is very good to my eye, and I enjoy the humor of the squirrel in one corner and the nuts in another, hence the title.
This blog is stale again, and I apologize to everyone who’s a regular follower. My work as a technical consultant for Improving has been taking priority, and though I’ve never entirely stopped creating, my ability to make meaningful progress on art has been substantially curtailed for a while.* Fortunately that’s changing, because of a major exhibit I have opening soon that I’ll be covering in my next post.
These are the sculptural works that I promised in my previous post. They were created using the wax from Baby Bel cheeses that I ate over lunch at the office. The wax becomes very malleable after being worked for a few minutes by warm hands, and it has reasonably good shape-retention characteristics after it cools back to room temperature, which makes it a great medium for casual, fingers-only sculpting.
Most of these came out very well without tooling, though of course they could always be better. Working exclusively with my hands limits my ability to do details, but it makes the work more challenging, which is what I enjoy. I’d like to do more of this kind of thing in a more permanent medium, maybe also with tools. However, I’m concentrating on new work for an exhibit I have coming up at 20 North Gallery that will be in my signature pen-and-ink style.
If you’re a sculptor, do you have a favorite medium? What properties does it have that appeal to you?
* Being a technical consultant is challenging, not least because the nature of the work changes on a regular basis as you move between clients. Improving in particular has what we call the Employee Improvement Program, or EIP. By participating in the program, we accumulate points every quarter for doing things that benefit the company and the technical community at large, whether it’s speaking at users groups or conferences, bringing in prospective recruits or sales opportunities, volunteering in the community, and dozens of other activities. We’re given a bonus at the end of the quarter from a pool of cash that’s based on our percentage of the points earned by everyone in the office, so there’s a financial incentive to do these things, and they also make decisions about promotions, equity stakes, and other things based on our performance in the program. I greatly appreciate that they’re putting their money where their mouth is as far as Conscious Capitalism goes, which is the philosophy we follow, and which is a topic I’ll cover another time. However, participating in the program aggressively has eaten up most of the spare time I’d been using for art.
I realized the blog was getting stale (sorry about that), but it’s not because I haven’t been busy producing art! I’ve spent the last few months stretching myself in some new directions, and even though this is nominally my record of my work in pen-and-ink, art is often about breaking the rules and trying new things, so here we are.
These pieces were created between May and September of 2018, and are in the order they were drawn. They were derived from photos posted online (not live sittings) of personal friends: Claire, Shelly, Dawne, and Sanazi. Claire’s was a quick sketch I drew to test the new materials I acquired, and I was so pleased with the results that I produced the others in relatively quick succession. (By ‘quick’, I mean over several months, as the time I have to devote to my art is extremely limited at the moment.) Each of them required a fanatical attention to detail, and though I know I didn’t get everything perfect in any particular piece, I’m deeply pleased with aspects of all of them, and I learned a great deal along the way.
I’ll be posting photos of my sculptural work soon – Stay tuned!