Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beauty in August

The difference between utility and utility plus beauty is the difference between telephone wires and the spider web.
Edwin Way Teal
There are several pressing subjects that should truly be demanding my attention but Beauty surpasses each one. This feathered gown by Alexander McQueen is a deep and beautiful dream.  It transports the imagination.  

"Beauty is a primeval phenomenon, which itself never makes its appearance, but the reflection of which is visible in a thousand different utterances of the creative mind, and is as various as nature herself."

This picture is from my studio wall.  How glamourous is the Pelican!  
Today a half a ton of clay was delivered. I have had sirens and sphinxes on my mind.  These "in progress" shots are the first sightings of the Odalisques.

"There is certainly no absolute standard of beauty. That precisely is what makes its pursuit so interesting."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Stendahl Syndrome

                                Neriad on a Sea Panther from Pompeii.  Fresco

                             Terra Cotta Figure from the collection of the Louvre

                                             Stendahl Syndrome 
Stendahl describes feeling a highly charged emotion while confronting the collection of art displayed at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

"I was in a sort of ecstasy, from the idea of being in Florence, close to the great men whose tombs I had seen. Absorbed in the contemplation of sublime beauty ... I reached the point where one encounters celestial sensations ... Everything spoke so vividly to my soul.'' Stendahl 1817

Celestial sensations well describe the feeling that the visual arts can provoke.  
The lovely Terra Cotta shown above is displayed in the Louvre, Paris.  It is over 2,000 years old and made by pressing clay into a simple mold. It is pure poetry in form. 
The fresco of the Neriad on a Sea Panther is from Pompeii and housed in the Archaeological Museum in Naples. In the words of Stendahl, these fantastic artworks speak vividly to my soul. 
I am in the process of creating visual portfolios for sabbatical research.  The terra cotta votive figures, also called Tanagras are one of my subjects.  
The Looking part of the creative process fills me with joy. It sustains and inspires.
The feeling that Stendahl describes is a familiar one.   Recognizing the marks of the hand and understanding the process and technology of the artworks provides an additional dimension of delight.
Art connects us across generations and cultures, it is a powerful and direct communication. The visual arts draw humanity into the great museums and collections of the world like moths to a flame. We are provoked and attracted through our unique sensibilities to various works and themes. Perhaps the formation of that unique sensibility is the greatest gift that the arts give to humanity. The treasure is immense, unfathonable.  
The garden patiently awaits it's visitors. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


"Transcendent", an exhibition curated by Kathleen Hanna will highlight new work by Don Reitz, David Kuraoka and myself.  The show opens on Friday April 29th, 2011 and runs through June 12th at the wonderful Pence Gallery in Davis.
I met Don Reitz recently at NCECA.  He is 81 years old and a real dynamo not to mention a world-renowned artist.  I told him I was out of my league exhibiting with him and David Kuraoka.  
Within the world of ceramics it isn't unusual to meet ones Heros and even to know them.  A community of generosity and great spirit exists within the artform. 

With delivery date fast approaching, my creative process is at an accelerated pace  The cycle of making, firing, glazing and finally showing the works is coming to a resolution.  The range of emotions and states of mind that go into creating a new body of work are so vast.  It is quite a journey. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Alcazar in Seville

 I am waiting for my kiln to reach its temperature and hoping for some good color results inside.  Was thinking about how ceramists are so superstitious and how we like to have kiln gods in place during firings. In addition to my kiln god, these photos are my tribute to COLOR in glazes.

 Is there anywhere more magnificent to spend an afternoon than a place like the Alcazar in Seville?  Imagine the smell of oranges and flowers perfuming the air.
 Imagine the sound of water.
 The geometry and pattern of these colored tiles with their lyrical splendor bring such delight.  How these sights will influence me remains to be seen.  Perhaps the joy that flooded into my soul will linger from the visit.
Finally at 1:30 PM the kiln has reached its temperature of 2165 degrees F!   A 14 hour firing.
The Kiln Gods can now take a relax.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

In Progress

"The significance of the work is in its effort not in its intentions.  And the effort is a state of mind, an activity, an interaction with the world"  Frank Stella

"We paint to discover ourselves, to explain our deepest nature"  Jacques Villon
Quotes from The Artist's Mentor edited by Ian Jackman

Pictured are my new works in process.  The first part of the journey is complete and now the surface glazing will begin.