Friday, December 21, 2007

Solstice sunset

OK, so I'm a bit of a druid. About 20 years ago I made a sculpture and placed it so that the sun sets right above it on the winter solstice (from my kitchen window). And it does it every year! I monitor the southward progress of the sun as the days get shorter. And finally, on this night it reaches its most southern point and begins its slow trek north. That means the days are getting longer (though it will be a few weeks before it is noticeable.)
Sometimes the sky is cloudy on the solstice sunset, but I have always been able to see it within a day or two, and the sun is very close to the position over my sculpture. And I always toast the sunset with a wee dram of bourbon or single-malt.
Today was bright and sunny, so I was looking forward to the sunset. But alas, the sky clouded up an hour before sunset. I had pretty much given up on having my celebratory drink, but around 4:30 a sliver of clear sky appeared on the horizon. Immediately after, a brilliant red gold orb dropped under the clouds and hung for a moment over my sculpture before setting. I took that as a good omen as I enjoyed my bourbon.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Gallery Night

Friday night is "Gallery Night" in Ithaca. All of the galleries in Ithaca have their openings on the same night. This happens four times a year, but the December event is the most festive. Besides walking around from gallery to gallery there is an Ice Sculpture show on the Ithaca Commons. And all the holiday lights are lit as well.
Last year was my first one-man show “Rorshach-Mandalla”. This year I have a piece that was accepted in the State of the Art Gallery Regional Juried Competition. The piece is titled “Wind Dancer” and is shown above.
I am looking forward to festivities.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Crows of November

For some reason I always notice the crows in November. Of course, they are around all year, but somehow their gatherings are more noticeable in the bleak barren trees of late fall. Maybe they are more obvious, reeling and cawing against the gray sky. Or maybe their chattering and varied vocalizations are easier to hear without the muting of dense tree leaves.
I have always been fascinated by crows. They are remarkably intelligent and their social behaviors are complex and often human-like. Thus they play a significant role in the culture and mythology of peoples worldwide, from bearers of omens to minor gods.
Recently, ravens have moved onto our hilltop as well. These are much larger and more impressive than the crows. They are also very intelligent, maybe more so than the crows,(and hold a higher status in cultural myth.) It will be interesting to observe how the ravens and crows get along in the coming years.
A few weeks ago I was walking along the road when I heard a loud beating swoosh coming up from behind me. I cringed, as if a giant pterodactyl was about to carry me off. But looking up, I saw two huge ravens flying a few feet overhead. The pair was wingtip-to-wingtip as they flew purposefully down the road. It was quite a sight to see, and well worth the start.
I have been sketching and photographing crows and ravens, and expect them to appear on future works.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fuzzball and the Night Sky

I have always been fascinated with the night sky. On the hilltop, a clear night brings out a vast sparkling sky of countless stars. Long ago I memorized the major constellations and the brightest stars. I have followed the seasons in the sky for many years and find their familiar patterns give a sense of comfort and order. But occasionally something interesting happens and disturbs that order.
The past few weeks a comet has appeared and is currently in the constellation Perseus. The comet is named Holmes. It unexpectedly brightened significantly and can now be seen with the naked eye. It looks like a glowing fuzzball rather than the typical comet. This is because the tail is pointing directly away from the earth and can’t be seen behind the comet.
People used to think that comets were omens that brought great disruptions and change. When that was pointed out to an astronomer during a radio interview, he responded with tongue-in–cheek cynicism, “it’s just an icy dirtball and doesn’t care about us.” Still, it is an object of awe and inspiration.
And as an inspiration, I have included the night sky in several of my works, including my most recent. I hope to post that on my website soon.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Autumn already

O.K. So it’s not like I didn’t know it’s Fall. The equinox came and went. Then there was an amazing full Harvest moon rise over the hills of southern California (immediately after witnessing my first green flash on a Pacific sunset.) Part of a trip to the West Coast for a wonderful family wedding on the Queen Mary. And fun touristy things such as going to the amazing Getty Center, and exploring the L.A. basin’s beach towns.
I’ve been away from my blog for a while. And away from my art. And it wasn’t just the travel. There was a long period of unusually warm weather (including several record breaking days of August-like heat. Maybe I just convinced myself that it was still summer.
But a couple of days ago I was walking through the woods, listening to the distant rumble of thunder. Suddenly a strong wind came up and the sky turned a dark black-purple. As the treetops thrashed back and forth I decided to scamper back up the hill. I thought I was going to get soaked, but what sounded like rain turned out to be millions of small yellow leaves falling. The air was instantly filled with swirling color that was dazzling and disorienting at the same time. But no time to linger. Bright flashes and the loud crack-boom of nearby lightning spurred me on. I barely reached the shelter of my porch as the first drops began to hit.
I spent quite a while sitting on my porch watching the heavy rains falling and illuminated by frequent lightning. Thunderstorm watching is one of my favorite pastimes (as long as it’s from a dry, cozy vantage). The sticky afternoon heat was quickly swept away by the cool air. The quality and texture of the rain was not the heavy drops of a summer storm, but the dense fine drops of a fall rain that seemed to saturate the air. I knew that it was finally autumn with the arrival of this cold front.
Sure enough, this week will average 30-40 degrees cooler than last. Flocks of geese have been heading south. The woods are filled with russets, crimsons and gold. A time of change, and I need to do so myself, seeking my muse.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ah, summer

These days summer seems to go by in a flash. There never seems enough time to savor the season and this year was no exception. But after the Artist's Market there was a little time to relax.
The gardens were spectacular, especially the daylilies. Abundant rain and sunshine made everything thrive despite my neglect.
And then there was a marvelous week on the beach. No full moon over the ocean this year (although late night revealed a waning last quarter shimmering over the water.) But there were clear nights filled with stars and an excellent view of the Milky Way. Jupiter, like a jewel, still above Scorpio.(All the more lovely, reflected in the ocean.} One night the Perseids put on a marvelous show.
The days were spent on long walks, and swimming in the ocean every day. There were many opportunities to photograph trees and flowers to use in my collages. The weather was mostly lovely (though a couple of spectacular storms made things exciting). I love living in the hills of the Finger Lakes, but the ocean is a special, soul-soothing place for me.
Home now, with a bit of summer left, my thoughts turn again to art. There are no deadlines to spur me into production so it will be a time to explore new directions.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ithaca Artist's Market

Long exhausting day. (Exhausting week actually).
But lots of fun. Watching peoples faces light up as they walked into my booth was very gratifying. Listening to people comment on and compliment my art all day was worth all the effort.
It was my first time at the Ithaca Artist's Market and quite an experience. I even sold enough art to want to do it again. And considering the competition I think I did reasonably well. Ithaca is a small community with a large number of very talented artists.
All week the forecast for Sunday was rain. But the day started off with mixed clouds and sun, and got even more sunny as the day went on. The market was festive and crowded.
At the end of the day I could barely move. I sat on my porch watching the light fade. My daylilies seemed to glow in the twilight along with the occasional firefly. And when the Full Buck Moon rose I knew it had been a good day.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Four days of music. I've been going to the Grassroots Festival for the past 10 years.
Almost didn't go this year. After all, the Ithaca Artist's Market is next weekend, and I should have spent this weekend getting ready. But few things nourish the soul (and excite the muse) like music. So I'm four days behind where I should be. And still smiling.
Thursday night the evening sky was suddenly filled with lightning and torrential rain. (fortunately I was cozy under the dance tent listening to Cajun music). It looked like the festival was going to be a wet, soupy mud-fest. But the next three days brought the most amazing sunshine and blue sky, and things quickly dried out.
And oh, those nights! Early evening the crescent moon hung in the western sky. When it finally set the crystal sky was ablaze with a million stars. Jupiter sat atop Scorpio, and its brilliance made the constellation seem strange and familiar at the same time.
All the while music drifted sweetly in the night air. When I finally dragged myself away and headed home I noticed the Pleiades climbing into the sky, and I knew it was well past my bedtime.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


Another mixed blessing. An unexpected opportunity to show my work suddenly appeared. There was a cancellation for the July art showing at Ithaca's famous Moosewood Restaurant. I was able to hang a show with two day's notice. Very exciting.
But the downside is that I was planning to use those pieces in the Ithaca Artist's Market coming up at the end of the month. So I am going to be scrambling to get some pieces ready during a very busy month.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Clusters of heavy thunderstorms going through all afternoon. This evening was the opening of the "Art in the Heart of the City" sculpture on the Ithaca Commons. The rain stopped and the sky cleared off just minutes before the ceremonies began. Afterwards, a tour of some of the sculptures. I talked about my two sculptures and seemed to get a good response from the crowd. Lots of excellent sculptures in the show. A must-see for anyone visiting Ithaca this summer.
Back home and off for a walk. On the longest day of the year there is plenty of light left. The air, cool and clear, cleansed by the storms. Distant clouds, puffy cumulus, chased eastward by the cold front.
The moon, a thin crescent sliver only a couple of days ago, is almost first quarter. The image is an inspiration for a mandala collage. And with sculptures done I will move on to my digital art. After all, the Ithaca Artist's Market will be held in just a few short weeks.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Dark Pyramid

Sunday morning I installed Dark Pyramid on the Ithaca commons. The sculpture is made of polychrome ferro-cement with a copper tip. It is almost nine feet tall. The installation was quite a challenge, particularly transporting it in my Subaru. It is the largest sculpture I have made, and I think I've reached my size limit.


Saturday morning I installed Duamutef on the Ithaca Commons. The sculpture is over six feet tall and is made of polychrome ferro-cement. It is based on Egyptian canopic jars

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

stone circle

Many years ago as a very young artist, I invented the stone circle. Needless to say, I was quite disappointed to find that I wasn’t the first. In fact it had been done many times before. I have since enjoyed the works of Richard Long, and admired his stone circles in many museums, including our own Johnson Museum . And one of my favorite sculptors, Andy Goldsworthy, has done many amazing circles in stone as well as other media.
Despite the fact that others have proceeded me, (probably for millennia), I still am fascinated by circles in landscaping. I have a large raised-bed garden in the form of a circle.
And now I have just finished a circular patio in flagstone. I took this picture before it was covered by furniture (the reason it was built in the first place). It shows some of the stonework detail. In the cold months with the furniture gone it will once again become “sculpture”.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

sticks and stones

A pile of lumber and a pallet of flagstone from the local quarry.
The lumber,4”x4” is for fenceposts and 2”x6” for a raised bed. Refurbishing an old garden. The old wood, almost 20 years in the ground, is pretty much rotted out.
And the stone, nearly a ton, is for a new small circular patio. Pictures to follow.
Anyway, I still seem to be caught up in garden projects when I should be installing my sculptures. But the installation deadline has been extended by a week and I am taking advantage of glorious weather for outdoor chores.

Friday, June 1, 2007

suddenly summer

In the wink of an eye, summer is upon us. I am always amazed at the sudden change of seasons. And always caught off guard (you'd think that after years of the same experience, I would learn). But it is the usual scramble to try to keep up with the gardens and outdoor projects.
The woods are deep green, dense and lush. The forest floor dark enough that I must remember to bring my tripod to photograph ferns and wildflowers.
The lilacs are almost past, the rhododendrons in full glory. And in the moonlight (last night's full blue moon) the viburnums and bridal wreath spirea glow and the sweet smell of locust wafts in the sultry air.
This the season of artistic procrastination for me. With so many demands on my time, it is easy to get sidetracked. But I have obligations and deadlines, so work on sculptures will proceed.

Friday, May 18, 2007

walk in beauty

Home after a long week. Enough light left so I can get a few garden chores done.
But instead I wander off into the woods. This time of the year the days are long and the evening light is lovely. The sun hangs low in the sky, a sphere of red-orange. Leaves are starting to fill the canopy, but the sunlight filters through. Shafts of brilliant gold illuminate emerald buds. Magical light dazzles, like jewelry suspended in air. I want to capture the moment, to paint it or photograph it. But I know it would be in vain. No medium is sufficiently radiant. Not to mention the chill of evening air on my face, scented with honeysuckle. Or the haunting melody of the hermit thrush, fluting like a distant lonely Pan.
I remember the Navajo blessing, "may you walk in beauty".
The experience of beauty is a gift given to the artist. To pass this gift on to others is his duty. But sometimes failure is part of the process. So I am content to hold this fleeting gift, with the hope that someday it will emerge in a future work.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


More weird spring weather. Yesterday was record hot. Tomorrow is supposed to be brutally cold. Progress on sculptures and gardens seems haphazard, but both are coming along. I don't know if it's the weather or my own ability to procrastinate that makes my projects disconnected.
But in the meantime, I've done some work on my web page. Mostly repairing some bad links, changing the appearance, and adding an Artist's Bio.
I have also set up my new printer. So far, the results look wonderful. It is very exciting to be able to work in a larger format. And the pigment-based inks are archival and can last up to 200 years without noticeable fading.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Weather happens. I sit on my porch watching a gentle rain and listening to the distant rumble of thunder. It's raining on my sculptures-in-progress (obviously no progress today). But I refuse to be frustrated.
After a winter that would not let go, the warm rain is a welcome sign of spring. The dark skies make daffodils and forsythia seem luminous. The leaves are just beginning to green-up. (A friend always reminds me that this is the time of a thousand shades of green. The dark greens of summer are lovely but monochromatic by comparison.)
My new printer has arrived and I will use my indoor time to set it up. It will be exciting to get back to my digital collages.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


Yes, yes. I know. I should have been working on my sculptures. But today was such a beautiful sunny day and it was time to work in my garden.
Mostly ripping plants out in the long neglected north garden, a series of semi-formal beds that were well designed but long ignored. The fact that the beds were presentable until recently is a testimony to the original design. But stuff grows and runs together and the structure is lost.
Good landscaping is like good sculpture. A balance of shapes. And the spaces between the shapes are just as important as as the shapes themselves.
So, as much as I hate to yank out perfectly good perennials, I need those spaces to define the overall structure. I will work on the sculptures tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Mixed Blessing

The "Art in the Heart of the City" show asked me to leave my pieces from last year's show in place. This is a mixed blessing since I am happy to leave my work in public. But it also means I can't use the underground support structures for those pieces with my new pieces. I have to cast two new huge slabs for them.
I guess I'm mostly pleased, since I always hate to move them from their home on the Ithaca Commons. One piece in particular, "Song of the Wazonghi" seems to have acquired a cult following. Poems and other "offerings" appear at its base from time to time, and it is occasionally adorned with necklaces.

Monday, April 30, 2007


Weekend away. Great visit to NYC and museums. Always nice to get stimulated and recharged artistically.
Today I cast heavy angle brackets in the base of my canoptic jar.
I also ordered a fancy new printer. An Epson R1800. Very exciting.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Heavy Stuff

Not much accomplished today, but I did buy a sack of Portland cement to cast bases for my sculptures.
My back still aches from hoisting the 90 lb. sack into the back of my car. I am reminded that maybe I'm getting a little old for working with large concrete sculptures. Still, I am committed to displaying my pieces in the "Art in the Heart of the City" show this summer. With public art, it's almost as much work making the works "people proof" as it is creating them in the first place. In my case, it involves casting a large concrete pad that is buried in the ground and mounting the sculpture on it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Second Try

Ok, so my first blog wasn’t very exciting. But it was mostly a test blog, so I could explore how to set up a page. I must say that it was extremely easy. I’ve had a web page for several years and had to edit everything in HTML. However, with Blogger it’s quite simple to just enter text. (I will try pictures soon).

I’m not entirely sure why I decided to do this blog. I am going to use it as a personal journal to chronicle my artistic endeavors. If this seems to work out, I will post my progress in my various art projects. I have read that blogs can give an artist wider exposure and help potential customers connect with the works on a more personal level.

My current projects are two large outdoor sculptures made from ferro-cement. One is a tall pyramid, and the other, a large canoptic jar. I hope to have them accepted for the annual “Art in the Heart of the City” sculpture show in Ithaca, N.Y. I have had pieces in the past five shows. These can be seen on my sculpture page.

My progress has been impeded by the weather. A little over a week ago we had 22 inches of fresh, heavy wet snow on the ground. A week later it was 80 degrees (I think we broke the climate.) With the snow finally gone my priorities have shifted to garden chores. But I have to get back to sculptures soon to meet deadlines.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My First Blog

So here I am starting a blog. Totally unfamiliar territory. Never done this before and, in fact, I've only read a handful of blogs. But it’s time I gave it a try.