Capturing the Essence of Nature in Bronze - One Man Show
is the culmination of about fifteen months of work. Working virtually every day. I often likened it to running a very long marathon. Really, it was more like sitting down to eat an elephant! Often, days were spent building up clay and tearing it back down in a quest for that magical quality that takes a work beyond the ordinary. As Bob Kuhn once told me, “You have to work until you have put body heat into them.” Trying to capture that wild essence and putting soul into a piece is my ultimate goal. I do not want to anthropomorphize an animal, but work hard to capture their true wild character. I try to create a piece that has a strong presence and a feeling of timelessness.
Soft clay is my medium of choice. Like the mud pies of one's childhood, it is just plain fun. There are endless ways that clay can be manipulated to create the illusion of reality. Deep gouges create accents, rough textures absorb light, while a smooth surface reflects it. My mind thinks of abstract shapes, the play of light and shadow, and the surface qualities that will create visual excitement and hold the viewer's interest. The tools and the mediums vary, but the thought process is really the same whether drawing, painting, or sculpting. It is really all about seeing, and editing down to just the elements that really matter. The real trick it to take something that is very hard and make it look easy. As early as I can remember, I have always been enthralled with wildlife and the wilderness they live in. I am most at ease when wandering in some untouched territory far beyond the fringes of modern civilization.
Nearly 30 years ago I met Roxane. She also has a fire in her belly for all things wild. Like me, she is happiest when headed deep into the backcountry whether by bush plane, horseback, or just plain old boot leather. Together, we have explored numerous wild places close to our home in Montana or as far away as the Canadian Rockies, Alaska's high Arctic, and the bush of Africa. Like creating a piece of art, trekking deep into the wilderness has its share of trials and tribulations. There always seems to be moments when you question your sanity. Where you feel like throwing in the towel. Times when the pack is heavy and notches are developing in your shoulders, or when the blisters on your feet require Gorilla tape to keep them from turning to hamburger, or the horses disappearing during the night, or the wind blows the tent down. Times like these make you really wonder if it is all worth it. But then you see something truly amazing like a grizzly digging for marmots, a caribou trotting through fresh snow, or last rays of sun light cast on a ragged peak; and you know it is the only place you want to be. It is times like these that create a bond between us that I often wonder if other people are ever lucky enough to experience. I can't imagine not having Roxane by my side. Not only is she cast iron tough, but she has a great eye for art. Her frank and honest critiques are invaluable, especially when you consider that I am a hermit spending most of my time secluded away in my studio. This show really is as much hers as it is mine.
Not long after I met Roxane, I had the extremely good fortune to be invited to show at the Legacy Gallery. Although it seems like just yesterday, it has been over a quarter of a century now. In that time Brad and Jinger have not only become my foremost representatives in the art world, but cherished friends. It has truly been a pleasure to work with them and all the good people who work at the galleries. It's a relationship that has given me the freedom to focus on the creative side of my work. I really could not have done it without them, and I look forward to many more prosperous years.
75 North Cache, Jackson, Wyoming 83001