Harvey project #1

October 6, 2017

I am starting a new project inspired by the experiences I witnessed on social media during hurricane Harvey as well as broadcasted  by traditional media, and my experience at George R.Brown as a volunteer in the families with pets area. 

There were so many images of people rescuing perfect strangers, big guys with boated who just could not sit at home and watch people suffer on TV. When the rain finally stopped I found that I had a bad case of survivors guilt. The only thing you can do about survivors guilt is to volunteer. So  that I did; I went down to the George R. Brown Cinvention Center and as fate would have it I was assigned the families with pets section. I was the only non trained volunteer the put in the families with pets section. The other volunteers were trained by pets4life one of the local pet rescue associations. In the families with pets section the families are allowed to bring their pets. The have to be seen by the volunteer vet. They were given any vaccines or medication they needed. 

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water color monotype. 

30” X 22” 

Sapling #1

I have had a request to make a faux bois sapling tree complete with bronze abstract leaves. 

 

Arnature -  

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The Steel armature is complete. 

The question is what do I make the leaves out of to make the leaf molds. I do not have an answer - yet. 

Faux bois Wedding gift ❤️❤️ #5


For Griffin and Alex- 

Today is overcast and drizzly, my favorite weather. As I work on the kid's bench, I take a picture every hour, then every thirty minutes, then every fifteen minutes of our night blooming water Lillie. It is normally closed up and underwater by mid-morning. Due to the overcast sky, it is lingering exceptionally long and gives me time to absorb every stage of its closing. I know that Griffin and Alex will enjoy knowing the Lillie as well. The dogs are hanging out with me while I secure lath to their gift.  

 

 
Today’s lesson number one for a happy marriage and life is always have a dog or two in your family. Man/woman + animal + plant = A sustainable life 

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Goose and Tobi my faithful helpers. 

 


The last time I worked on the bench, I covered a limb from the right side foot clear across to the other side of the bench.

Lesson number two is about looking at both sides. Take the time to step out of your preset opinions and listen to your partner’s thoughts and opinions. To stay balanced, seek out each other’s unique views. See life through your partner’s eyes. :) 

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Lesson number three is to give each other flowers. They don’t have to be store-bought or delivered. They can be beautiful weeds hand-picked, or in a photograph texted.

Here are the lillies.  

Faux bois Wedding gift ❤️❤️ Keeping the bench from rusting


Keeping your marriage/bench from rusting-
It is a fact that concrete will get hairline cracks, water will penetrate hairline cracks and water will rust steel and rusted steel breaks. During the lifetime of a marriage you will have differences, the surface of your bond will crack. If you plan ahead, if your relationship is strong and you talk your differences out, your marriage will not rust. It will be restored and stronger after you work through your problems.


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In order to keep Griffin and Alex’s bench from rusting, I am painting a coat of Restore, a rust retardant on the the armature. 

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The restore is a bluish color. 

Both their marriage and bench should last forever.

 

What does sound look like? installation problem solving #3

Before I can dive deep into this installation, I need to work out a few problems.

1. How to hang the wire elements from a concrete ceiling. Drilling holes for anchoring would be very difficult and nasty, and would ruin the ceiling- not an option. 

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2. In addition, the ceilings have 8 double concrete beams that run across the room. The space between the beams varies.

 the space between the beams varies from 1/4”-3/4” . 

the space between the beams varies from 1/4”-3/4” . 

Small tension rods would be optimal. After a few hours at a hardware store, I have decided that a small wedge of PC-Crete between the cracks will work best and will be the easiest to remove when the project is finished.

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 I am 5’4” 12’ is a stretch even on a ladder. 

I am 5’4” 12’ is a stretch even on a ladder. 

 3. How can I safely reach the 12’ ceiling. My current ladder is not tall enough. I was lucky to find a little Giant ladder on sale at Lowes. 

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The little giant is a LOT of ladder, and I am not going to step on it until I watch a YouTube video and thoroughly and read the instructions.

 

 It is a LOT of ladder, and I am not going to step on it until I watch a YouTube video and thoroughly read the instructions.

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The ladder is back a Lowes and Aztec has rented me this small scaffold for 2days. Onward! 

Faux bois Wedding gift ❤️❤️ #3

For Griffin and Alex-

I have added more vines to create a stronger back to the bench. The back of the bench is the metaphor for the strength of their marriage.  Curtis has always been there for me and I know Griffin and Alex will always be able to lean on each other.

 

Supporting the seat and the back of the bench are the legs. If the legs are wobbly and weak, the whole thing will collapse. Respect for each other is what gives our marriage strength. To make this a respectable bench, I am going to add more support to the legs.

 There are many ways to strengthen the legs and all are equally good. In our home I do things one way and Curtis often does things another way. What is important is that we both help out, we both try to carry our own weight. With this in mind I will build the support for the right legs and the left legs differently. 

 

 right legs

right legs

The right front and right back legs have a vine that runs between them for additional support. The leg on the left back will be supported with a branch from the seat and the front left leg will have several vines running down it, making a double leg anchoring it to the seat.

 The double left front leg supported by extra vines. 

The double left front leg supported by extra vines. 

  I think that the most important change I added was a branch that reaches across from one side of the back of the bench to the other side of the bench. I suggest throughout your marriage you reach across and hold hands as often as you can.

 I think that the most important change I added was a branch that reaches across from one side of the back of the bench to the other side of the bench. I suggest throughout your marriage you reach across and hold hands as often as you can.

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Curtis testing the leg strength and back stability. He said it was a respectable bench. 

 I have decide to double up on the front piece of rebar. Above I am tacking it to the first piece of rebar. (Thank you Sage for taking the pic.) 

I have decide to double up on the front piece of rebar. Above I am tacking it to the first piece of rebar. (Thank you Sage for taking the pic.) 

 Where should the birds sit? It is always good to consult with your partner. I checked with my whole family and this is the winning location. Alex suggested this spot. I wired it on just to make sure it is the right place. I added a little piece of rebar set back a bit so the birds will not poke anyone in the back.

Where should the birds sit? It is always good to consult with your partner. I checked with my whole family and this is the winning location. Alex suggested this spot. I wired it on just to make sure it is the right place. I added a little piece of rebar set back a bit so the birds will not poke anyone in the back.

 welding the birds on. 

welding the birds on. 

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Close up of me welding the birds to the branch. 

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Wahoo! the bench is structurally sound,

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and the love birds are very comfy. 

I am always looking ahead and already thinking about the texture of the concrete for this piece. 

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Here is a chair I did several years ago. The Concrete the lovebird bench will have a similar narliness with a much lighter patina. 

Faux bois Wedding gift ❤️❤️ #2

To build a strong bench, you have to build into the structure reinforcement. I have welded (connected) numerous small pieces, of rebar, to the legs for stability. To build a strong marriage, you will have to work at staying connected, have date nights, hold hands when ever possible. Talk to each other about your connections and how you can build more. You can’t have too many.

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legs reinforced (connected) with small pieces of rebar. 

 

The top of the seat will be covered with pig wire. Pig wire is super strong  

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Picking a piece of pig wire big enough to cover the seat.  

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The pig wire fits.  

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In order to protect the feet of the legs I weld a stainless steel washer underneath the rebar. Every marriage needs a strong footing as does every bench. 

What does sound look like?

Using the Schlieren Flow Visualization method of photography, scientists photograph sound vibrations (even with them moving at 761.2 miles per hour.) NPR does a beautiful job of explaining this complicated process that scientists use to see sound. See link below-

https://www.npr.org/2014/04/09/300563606/what-does-sound-look-like

 

It is amazing and inspiring to see photographs/videos of sound. With this additional visual inspiration and  conversations with art critic Laura Wellen and curator Kimberley Davenport, I have decided to create an installation in my new studio. 


 

 I have moved my “score” (working title) sculpture to my new studio.

I have moved my “score” (working title) sculpture to my new studio.

 Everything else is in a temporary storage facility 

Everything else is in a temporary storage facility 

 I will miss my dogs 😒

I will miss my dogs 😒

 

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With some luck by the end of the summer  my new studio will be filled with a 4D installation of the voice of the violin. 

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 rests 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.