New project - Faux bois Wedding gift ❤️❤️

January 3, 2018, our son Griffin married his soulmate, Alexandra Groome.

 After the wedding at the Houston Arboretum.  

After the wedding at the Houston Arboretum.  

As a wedding gift, Curtis and I gave them one of my early bronze sculptures “lovebirds”.

 Bronze lovebirds welded to rebar.  

Bronze lovebirds welded to rebar.  


The lovebirds are inspired by my grandparents Imogene Young Travis and Robert Francis Travis, (Granny Gene and Bob-pa). They were married in high school and remained married for 70 plus years. In their El Paso High School yearbook, their senior pictures faced each other and lovebirds were placed in the corners of each of their pictures.

 photo of copies of the yearbook pages framed in my house. 

photo of copies of the yearbook pages framed in my house. 

The second part of the gift is to make them a faux bois bench for the love birds to sit on.

I am going to make each piece of the bench thinking about the two of them and the lessons I want to pass down from my grandparents and from my own marriage. It will be a reflection of the qualities of the love Griffin and Alex committed to each other that day on January 3rd, and will be a symbol of the characteristics needed to maintain a marriage for a lifetime. My plan is to have it completed by their first anniversary. 


Design Considerations: 
1. Griffin and Alex are both environmentalists, so I will recycle as much rebar from other projects as possible.

2. No marriage is ever perfectly balanced, so I will make the bench asymmetrical.

3. It will have arm rest for support symbols of both of their families. 

4. When things don’t work out exactly as planned, I will keep an open mind and make the best of the situation. The beauty will be in the imperfections as is life.   

5. I will listen to their wedding playlist on Spotify as I work. 

6. Griffin and Alex are very playful. The piece will reflect the joy they embrace life with. 

I started on Thursday, June 15th. Griffin and Alex are both people-people. They are always reaching out to others and welcoming them into their home and world, they love to entertain. So I decided to make the seat of the bench the shape of open arms.

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rebar welded into the shape of open arms that will eventually be the seat. 

 

Next I need to set the seat on jack’s the correct height for comfortable seating. Every couple needs a good support group. 

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Marriage should be comfortable -  The front is slightly higher than the back for comfort. 

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 equality - I use a level to make sure the seat is level from side to side.  

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Grinding the tip of a piece of rebar cut for a leg. 

 With small taps I  use a sledgehammer to make a gentle curve to a leg. 

With small taps I  use a sledgehammer to make a gentle curve to a leg. 

Next is to creat the armrest and back of the bench. 

 Four legs and two arm rest are welded to the seat.

Four legs and two arm rest are welded to the seat.

Griffin and Alex are very fun loving and not inhibited at all to have a good time. The vines/branches that make up the back will embrace this side of them. 

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A little sketch of the armature and how it will look with concrete on it so far. 

I might need to prune the crazy branch on the left side. 

Photos 🙏🏽 title of work? and artist statement ?

photos by Nash Baker 

Earlier this week I received the images taken of my sculpture. There is great satisfaction seeing this piece finally photographed. Many many  thanks to Nash Baker for taking the time to get the perfect lighting and angles. 

I am struggling with the title and the  artist statement. This is where I am presently on the Artist statement for the piece. Some possible titles follow. I would appreciate any suggestions 

 

 ”___________” three deminsional depiction of the the passage of time through energy, produced by playing contemporary classical music.  I was inspired by a long exposure photograph of my cousin, Arkansas Symphony Concert Master Andrew Irvin, that captured multiple images as he played his violin. I was struck by the simple back and forth movements of a bow, composed of horse hair, drawn across strings that create emotionally charged sounds. In this piece, the music radiates off the musician as he plays, as well as off the strings of the violin, sometimes like a painfully slow waltz, and sometimes with the sharpness of a quickstep. Working on the piece during the last weeks of my father’s life I examined each movement of the bow and the wire/sound that comes off the violin. Some warble and then end sharply like a tear running down a cheek. Others gently twist into a whisper that fades into a broken heart, and some linger and then pivot like a murmuration of birds and is set free, each movement triggering a unique emotion. I applied the concept of seeing multiple images, and seeing music as emotional energy in three dimensions. The piece is built on a steel armature covered in plaster, recycled wire cloth, and baling wire.

possible titles 

Documents of Time’s passage

Rhythm

Oscillations

“Lost in time”

Sonata

Rhapsody

Movement

Interval

dimensions of time

Intervals in time

Sonatas of time

Scores in Time

score  

 

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Artspace111 Regional Juried Exhibition

I am so very fortunate to have work accepted and thrilled with the opportunity to show my work in the beautiful Artspace111 Gallery in Ft. Worth. It is a beautiful old warehouse, with really cool features. Christina Rees was the juror. 

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The following pieces will be in the Exhibition.  

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shake shake shake chocolate lV

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shake shake shake chocolate II 

Soaking up Montmartre- day 1 part 2


 

 "Museums in Paris Behind  Scenes: From Impressionism to Contemporary Art" Study Abroad ARH323 - day 1- part 2 Musée de Montmartre and Van Donge 

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Once the home studios for many artists notably Auguste Renoir, Suzanne Valadon and Émile Bernard as well as the fauve artists Emile Othon Friesz and Raoul Dufy. The museum is splattered with vintage posters that feature chats (cats in French) and French cancan dancers. 

The contemporary dancers of the day inspired many of the artist.  

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 the French Can-can 

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Dancing with chats 

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love this dog

 This is hysterical. He could careless about those cats. 

This is hysterical. He could careless about those cats. 

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 The studio of Suzanne Valadon, this is the most charming home studio you can imagine. 

 Gardens dedicated to Auguste Renoir surround the Museum of Montmartre. Such a pleasure and treat to imagine all the artist hanging out and chatting about shows and exhibits. A very intimate place. 

Gardens dedicated to Auguste Renoir surround the Museum of Montmartre. Such a pleasure and treat to imagine all the artist hanging out and chatting about shows and exhibits. A very intimate place. 

I was still jet lagging and didn’t get enough good picks of the Van Donge exhibit. 

Seeing faces at Dachau -

We recently toured the Dachau concentration camp. It was known as the S.S. “school for violence.” The facility is now a memorial to those who suffered and died at Dachau. 

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After seeing a few of the images in the memorial; I had to turn away. That is when I noticed that the immense suffering that was inflicted upon innocent people inside the walls of Dachau is not only told in the photos; it penetrated and lives in the structures of Dachau. The walls are scarred with the suffering. In every wall I saw the faces of pain, misery and stories that can not be ignored. Below are a few words That the images in the walls inspired. 

 

                               Dachau 

In the walls of Dachau  

the sunken eyes of starvation still cry.

Through it’s cracks,

faces of fear still hold their breath.  

In the walls of Dachau

the contorted faces of torture still moan. 

Through it’s scars,

calls for tolerance plea to be heard. 

In the walls of Dachau

the stripes of prisoners are held in respect.

Through it’s survivors,

stories are preserved and true heros are honored.

In the walls of Dachau.  

 

 

Below are are some photos of the images I saw in the walls when I turned away. 

 sunken eyes of starvation 

sunken eyes of starvation 

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The fear seen in eyes of those confronted with the evils of humanity watch helplessly through cracks in the cement walls.

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  contorted face of  torture

 

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an emaciated body 

 face contorted in pain

face contorted in pain

 human figures bent over in pain and suffering. 

human figures bent over in pain and suffering. 

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After you walk through the tortuous halls of the Dachau maintenance building and walk around to the front of the building there is  a magnificent sculpture.  It is an abstract figurative piece that beautifully  expresses in monumental style the bodily harm endured by those who threatened the ideals supported by the S.S. . 

 

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In front of the sculpture is an additional memorial: The foundations of the 30 barracks that housed the prisoners of Dachau are each marked with a tombstone style market and numbered. 

Soaking up dreams in New Athens, Paris-day 1-

"Museums in Paris Behind  Scenes: From Impressionism to Contemporary Art" Study Abroad ARH323 - day 1- Musee Gustave Moreau 

 

As I entered the late 19th century home studio of Gustave Moreau in the New Athens neighborhood of Paris, I imagined the artist greeting fellow artists, friends, curators and clients in the paneled, small and stuffy foyer and inviting them up the amazing winding staircase to his vast studio of dreams. 

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Gustave lived in his parent’s home and had a large studio on the top floor located in Nouvelle-Athènes (New Athens). 

 portrait of Gustave in front of the winding staircase. 

portrait of Gustave in front of the winding staircase. 


Gustave is an artist of dreams, and as dreams go, some are clear and crisp while others are blurred. But as you look closer at his monumental works, he not only tells the stories of his dreams in exacerbating detail, he abstracts parts of the paintings while drawing on top of them with ink. His techniques are very interesting for an artist of his times. I really admire him for the beautiful job he does of connecting man or womankind with animal-kind, something that is lacking in the world I live in.

 Notice the movement in the abstracted bulls head, The blurred horns and ears.   

Notice the movement in the abstracted bulls head, The blurred horns and ears.   

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both figures are abstracted

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see the elephants drawn over the abstract shapes giving them movement and detail. 

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You have to love anyone who dreams of unicorns.  

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This running horse almost Japanese  

 a man an his goat

a man an his goat


After soaking up Gustave you can tour the tiny living spaces in the home. and get a good idea of how Gustave spent his time daydreaming when he was not painting or maneuvering paintings in and out of the windows.

Jumping into the next phase.

Last week was the last critique  and the end of my term in the MFAH Glassell school BLOCK studio program. It took four days to move all my work out of the Nabisco building. It is all in storage except for 1 large piece that is stored in the lobby of the Bermac Arts building. I will jump into my new space mid June. 

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“score” photographing and moving

I can’t wait to see how these photos come out.  

 Nash Baker and his nephew take care of every detail in order to get the best photos. 

Nash Baker and his nephew take care of every detail in order to get the best photos. 

After the photo shoot Act crates came to crate the sculpture. .  

 

 

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The crate is so big it barely fits in their moving truck. (Is this over kill for a short local move?)  

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Loading him up  

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  notice the size of the crate and the size of the doors. 

 

The crate waits In the lobby of my new building,  Bermac Arts on San Jacinto until my space is ready. 

“score” #40 - ✅

Sometimes you just cannot put your finger on it, but you know you are not finished. It has bothered me that the sculpture has very much a top half and a bottom half, which does not make for a  beautiful composition. For some reason, I was not driven to fix it, but it did bother me. Last Thursday, artist Joe Havel generously spent some time with my piece and took the time to find me and advise me. His seasoned eye immediately picked up on the boring composition, a top half and a bottom half. He suggested I add some wires on the figures right side giving the right leg/hip more motion. He nailed it. In addition I added some white to the wire on his face as suggested by Francessca Fuchs and the wire on the shoes as suggested by Patrick Palmer. I have been very fortunate to receive advice from some of Houston’s most talented. I am done 

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detail of wires added to right hip area to integrate the torso to the lower half of the figure.  

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Friday, May 4th it will be photographed, crated and transported to the lobby of my new studio. My studio will not be available until June 1. Bermac Arts is allowing me to store it in the lobby until my space is ready.   

Interesting Studio visit - Devin Kenny


Core fellow Devin Kenny  http://www.devinkenny.info/Devin-K-Kenny-Works
was in my studio today to look at my progress. We were discussing my violinist and where I might be taking it or is this it. I told him that today, driving through downtown Houston, and having a bit of time to think at stop lights I found myself imagining suggestions of sculptures of contemporary dancers in an installation with the violinist. I imagine these suggestions of contemporary dancers forming a human chain. I know it sounds like a crazy idea, and creating a human chain with the violinist might just be too much, and I know it may not work, but Devin totally got what I was envisioning. I know, because he suggested I research Yo Yo Ma and Lil Buck. See the video below and I think you will see what I mean. That said, the human chain sculpture may be a separate piece, I think it could hold it’s own. 

https://youtu.be/C9jghLeYufQ

Installation day - “feminam”

 

 “Feminam” is Latin for feminine. I gave this piece a Latin name because she was purchased by two physicians. Over a year ago I agreed to sell G.G., my female wire cloth sculpture, titled “January 21st, 2017” as she saw it in our 2017 Spring Block Exhibition. I was amazed that G.G. asked me if she could buy the piece because I was already anticipating the problem of where I was going to keep her. G.G. was the first person who came to mind. G.G. loves art, is a very particular collector and any artist would be lucky to have their work in G.G. and Mark’s collection. A year later I was still having studio visits with people that I wanted to see “January 21st, 2017." However, I had said I would sell her so it was time to give her up. I decided to make another one for my studio.  I started the second piece and showed her to G.G. and the new piece is really a better fit for G.G’s collection. She has a beautiful run just off center down her middle and she has more whit  plaster on the surface. I am really pleased with the new piece. I wanted G.G. to have her pick and it worked out GG. for both of us. When I first met G.G. I automatically liked her, I tried to channel her inner  beauty into this new piece, “feminam.”


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Diane and Nate of Level Arts were very patient as G.G. and I decided on the perfect height. 

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They were also extremely patient as we played with the lighting. And I can play with lighting all day, it is so much fun.  

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Job well done. I could not be more thrilled to work with Nate and Diane of level Arts.  

 G.G. And me- both happy  

G.G. And me- both happy  

I  

“gust” more lemonade- breaking off the shell


Out temporary foundry has a lot of things that happen that are out of our control, like wet sand. When we poured the bronze I thought about not having mine poured, because the sand we set the pieces in was slightly damp from the prior week's rain. I was tired and failed to speak up. The wet sand caused some spots to cool too quickly and not pour. That said, the porosity looks great and I will make these lemons into lemonade one way or another. 

 The latest in safety gear fashion

The latest in safety gear fashion

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Starting to break the floor the shell  

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Hat number 2  

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In my car and off to legacy fine art Foundry to finish breaking the shell. I have torn my shoulder two times breaking Shell. Once I see how successful the pour was I let them finish breaking the shell off to save my shoulder. And keep my medical bills down.  

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Lemonade  

New piece - Hurricane Harvey confronted with humanity #2

Below, I am experimenting with what a collection of watercolor monotype images would look like grouped together. I have used some images more than once, just to get a feel of what a big group would look like together. Photographing them with my phone makes some of them look like they are on different colored papers. They are all on the same BKReeves white paper. The long term goal would be to have a sculpture of a Red Cross cot in front of the drawings with a wire dog on it. The drawings behind the sculpture would fill a wall.

Above I am playing with the photos on my phone. These watercolor monotypes are  30” X 22” 

 

I don’t feel like they are really working like I want them to. I want each image to flow into the next piece. Maybe it is because they are photos not the work. 

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Above I have tried hanging some on my studio wall. When I have time I will move the lower three to the top. 

Of course the size of the grouping would depend on the space available. With the cot sculpture I would like to see them at least 4 tall and 4 wide.  

I have two more drying and will try to do two more on Wednesday. 

Score #39 one sculpture, one room filled to the rafters with sculpted sound.

 

I had a studio visit recently with an art critic. We talked for two hours about all of my work, my long term goals, short term plans and my artist statement for score. Regarding score she suggested I rent a storage unit for all my work except score. Move score to my new studio and fill the studio to the rafters with with the sweet sound of delicious violin music

 

artist statement - revised.  

”Score” is a sculpture of energy, sound and the physical act of playing contemporary classical music, and its primal impact on emotions.  I was inspired by a long exposure photograph of my cousin, Arkansas Symphony Concert Master Andrew Irvin, that captured multiple images as he played his violin. I was struck by the simple back and forth movements of a bow, composed of horse hair, drawn across strings that create emotionally charged sounds. In this piece, the music radiates off the musician as he plays, as well as off the strings of the violin, sometimes like a painfully slow waltz, and sometimes with the sharpness of a quickstep. Working on the piece during the last weeks of my father’s life I examined each movement of the bow and the wire/sound that comes off the violin. Some warble and then end sharply like a tear running down a cheek. Others gently twist into a whisper that fades into a broken heart, and some linger and then pivot like a murmuration of birds and is set free, each movement triggering a unique emotion. I applied the concept of seeing multiple images, and seeing music as emotional energy in three dimensions. The piece is built on a steel armature covered in plaster, recycled wire cloth, and baling wire.


 just a quick phone sketch 

just a quick phone sketch