Sunday, May 14, 2017

New Sculpture

I have put some of my art work on hiatus for the summer to give me the time I need to create
a new "mixed-media sculpture". It's a revolutionary new kayak. It's the craft I will paddle for the Paddle'Sculpt Expedition I'm planning for May 2018.


This new "sculpture" will be shaped in my studio using simple hand tools. It will be built of bio-composite materials wherever possible and once completed it will be tested in the waters along the coast of Vancouver Island.

Since I will be paddling it in the diverse conditions during the expedition, I need Versa'Trio to be robust and exhibit the highest level of efficiency, performance, and seaworthiness. Since I'm an artist, I want it to have the bold flowing lines of a contemporary sculpture. Versa'trio will meld form and function.



Sunday, May 15, 2016

Inverness...team building!

Contest up-date: Lord Stanley's Gift

I have been informed that our proposed monument for Sparks Street in Ottawa, preliminary sketch below, was not chosen as one of the eight moving forward. It was an honour to have participated. We are disappointed, of course, but pleased with our effort.



Original Post:

La Fonderie D'art d'Inverness
It was great fun to be back in Montreal for a few days at the end of April.

I was in the process of developing a proposal and building a strong project team with which to enter the Lord Stanley's gift Competition. The colleagues I wanted to be on that team all live in Quebec.

I flew in, met up with two team members, Sabina and Louise, in Montreal and we headed out for a bit of a drive, to visit the foundry that does all my bronze casting and patina work. The contest requirement, that one of the team members be an architect, would be filled admirably by Sabina and the relationship and project management skills of Louise would not only strengthen our effectiveness but help free me to concentrate on sculpting. Emmanuel, the fourth member of the team, the Director of the Foundrie D'art d'Inverness in Inverness, which is located just outside Quebec City, would already be there and having the foundry in his blood, would be indispensable for costing. casting, and enlargement. It was Emmanuel who advised me of the contest by sending me the contest details in March.

Since the hockey sweater is a key element of my proposed concept I asked each team member to bring a hockey sweater for the photo op; without specifying which team sweater they should bring. I was more than pleased with the spontaneous outcome. Hockey sweaters have a magical way of unifying people no matter how diverse the people are.

Although Louise, Sabina and I had communicated on a number of occasions by email and telephone regarding the project and the willingness of each person to be a part of the team, it was great to have the drive to Inverness and back to more fully discuss what would be involved and the time commitment required.

While I was at the foundry I made time to talk about the enlargement process, from maquette scale to monument scale, and also about some basic costing with Emmanuel, so I could measure these elements against the concept I had swirling around in my head.

The visit to Inverness was a great opportunity for Louise and Sabina to tour the foundry and acquire experience with the rather complicated steps involved in the bronze casting process, gain an appreciation of the length of time required to complete each step, and interface with the very capable artisans who work there. And, of course for Louise, Sabina and I  to reconnect as colleagues, having worked together at Future Strategy International for so many years.

The day at the foundry with the whole team showed the great chemistry we have together and confirmed everyone's commitment. So, with the proposal completed and submitted this week and our team ready to take on the challenge, all we can do is hope the presentation submitted was strong enough to carry us on to Phase 2. We will know the outcome on June 3rd.

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Young Louis Riel

I really enjoyed the research work I did as a precursor to creating Tag 189 for the Hillcrest Mine Disaster memorial. That very positive experience gave me the thirst to do another historical piece; perhaps a full-figure bronze this time.

In my quest to find a suitable subject I sorted through (clicked through I should say, since I used the internet) one of Canada's early newspapers, the Canadian Illustrated News, which was published between 1869 and 1883. While reviewing the articles and images I came across a picture/illustration of a young Louis Riel. It was in the January 15, 1870 edition of the paper. Riel would have been 26 at the time, basking in the success of the first rebellion; the Red River Rebellion. It's a picture of him I had never seen before; one that doesn't get much play. Wow, I thought...I like this guy.

When I leaned in with my magnifying glass to get a closer look at the illustration it seemed to me that the original photograph had been modified during the print-plate-etching process. It seemed the paper was trying to soften Riel's image since his somewhat stern facial expression and bold stance already made him a rather daunting figure. He was a big man. It's reported that the Illustrated News employed a young engraver, William Leggo, to work on their illustrations.He was a journeyman apprentice at the time. Although Leggo became a well known artist, his inexperience showed in his work on the Riel engraving.


Riel's left hand is without tone indicating that its position was most probably re etched onto his hip rather than being menacingly gripped around the rather lethal, double-tipped, fighting Bowie knife there at his left side.

And another part of his arsenal, looks to be the Canadian, militia-edition Colt revolver, which I'm told is the holy grail of Canadian military antiques. It's held in an open holster with its octagonal barrel exposed. The area of the pistol seems to have been darkened to soften the visual impact of its rather formidable appearance.

Although first glance suggests the long gun is a musket, there are tell-tale signs that the rifle is high-tech for 1870; probably a compression-firing Peabody.

Further, as I learn more about Riel and get more of a feel for his character and how meticulously he clothed himself, I seriously doubt that he would have positioned his hat on the end of his rifle that way. Anyway it wouldn't be perched like that if he had. And where's the "Cienture Flechee" the arrowed sash so symbolic of the Rebellion....

The magnificent buffalo coat with sheared collar, cut to the latest fashion of the day, in a double-breasted Duffle style, buckskin fringed pants, Métis beaded leggings and moccasins, and such iconic weaponry...all add up to 1870s chique!

So, let's see if we can get Louis back to...to being Riel! I've set up a full figure 24" armature and I've started to build up some clay, but I need to continue on with my research, to get a better understanding of Riel's personal arsenalbefore I go further....