I am interested in contrast. Our world confronts us with distinct contrasts: black versus white, right versus wrong, absolute truth versus truth by consensus, etc. In an increasingly relativistic society, such contrasts, like its people, lose their identity. With my sculpture, I try to represent this contrast by depicting order versus chaos, space versus negative space, geometric versus organic, etc. While my work appears abstract, it is actually quite representational from a conceptual standpoint. It represents the logical order of things; i.e., the steady decay of all systems over time - what in physics is referred to as entropy, or the "Second Law of Thermodynamics". Wood is elemental, wood is primitive, and an organic material that suits me both artistically and philosophically. From the standpoint of an artistic medium, it provides its own contrast to our increasingly technological society. The Lord created the trees, and from those trees, woods with beautiful colors and intricate grain patterns. I attempt to create pleasant and interesting shapes using those woods. It is my challenge to to make minor additions without taking away from His work . . . essentially “touching up” a previously prepared canvas. It is a partnership in which I am humbled to be the junior partner.
I wanted to be an artist from a very early age. In high school art classes, I was encouraged to pursue my artistic interest. The first recognition of my work was a high school charcoal portrait from life that was exhibited at the Boise Art Museum in 1963. However, having grown up with a single mother with very limited resources, in a town where the arts were not of significant import, I ended up in junior college with an art career in mind. I found the art classes that I took were geared toward either abstract art or commercial art. I was interested in a classical art education and became disillusioned. I continued on, and graduated with a bachelors degree in Mathematics, got a job, got married and had a family. However, I never lost my interest in art.
When my circumstances permitted, I began taking classical art classes in Palo Alto, California, at the Pacific Art League, in life drawing and print making. My early work in the 1980s involved primarily classical drawings, etchings, drypoints and woodcuts. In the late 1980s I was introduced to the sculpture of Chaim Gross, a New York City sculptor working in unusual hardwoods, as well as the wood sculptures of Henry Moore. I was “born again,” and began trying my hand at wood sculpting. At about the same time I became aware of a wood sculptor who had a studio at the Twin Pines Art Center in Belmont, California. Her name was Ruth Waters. I met with her and showed her some of my early figurative efforts; she agreed to let me work under her “tutelage.” I did so for a couple of years. Eventually I was invited to join the Peninsula Sculptors Guild, of which I was a member until 1996.
In 1996, the Galley in California that represented me was sold and the new owner decided to change the gallery emphasis to photography – painting and sculpture were no longer to be promoted. That year also saw a career “modification.” The change took my full effort both mentally and physically – no time to pursue my sculpture or look for a new gallery. The embers were still warm, but no oxygen was available!
When I retired my artistic passion was re-kindled and the flames began burning hot. I am now able to devote my full energies to my art.
About the Woods
African Padauk: Native to central and tropical west Africa. Heartwood color can vary, ranging from a pale pinkish orange to a deep brownish red. Most pieces tend to start reddish orange when freshly cut, darkening substantially over time to a reddish/purplish brown (some lighter pieces age to a grayish brown). Padauk is medium hard and dense, similar to Walnut.
Black Walnut: Native to eastern United States, but can grow throughout the U. S. Heartwood can range from a lighter pale brown to a dark chocolate brown with darker brown streaks. Color can sometimes have a grey, purple, or reddish cast. Sapwood is pale yellow-gray to nearly white. Figured grain patterns such as curl, crotch, and burl are also seen.
English Walnut: Native to eastern Europe and western Asia. Heartwood can range from a lighter pale brown to a dark chocolate brown with darker brown streaks. Color can sometimes have a gray, purple, or reddish cast. Sapwood is nearly white. European Walnut can occasionally also be found with figured grain patterns such as: curly, crotch, and burl.
Honduran Mahogany: Native from Southern Mexico to central South America; also commonly grown on plantations. Heartwood color can vary a fair amount from a pale pinkish brown, to a darker reddish brown. Color tends to darken with age. Mahogany also exhibits an optical phenomenon known as chatoyancy. Chatoyance or cat's eye effect, is an optical reflectance effect seen in certain woods. Coined from the French "œil de chat", meaning "cat's eye", chatoyancy arises either from the fibrous structure or from fibrous inclusions or cavities within the wood. It is quite light and soft for a tropical hardwood.
East Indian Rosewood: Native to India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. Heartwood of East Indian Rosewood can vary from a golden brown to a deep purplish brown, with darker brown streaks. The wood darkens with age, usually becoming a deep brown. Of medium weight and density for a tropical hardwood.
Macassar Ebony: Native to southeast Asia. Heartwood has dramatic striped appearance, somewhat similar to Zebrawood. Yellow to reddish brown body with darker brown or black stripes. Sharply demarcated sapwood is pale gold color. Very heavy and dense and will not float in water.
Oregon Black Walnut (Claro Walnut): Native to in California and western Oregon. Heartwood can range from a lighter pale brown to a dark chocolate brown with darker brown streaks. Color can sometimes have a gray, purple, or reddish cast. Sapwood is nearly white. Wood from orchard trees that have been grafted with English Walnut may have a colorful/streaked appearance near the graft, which is sometimes referred to as “marbled Claro Walnut.” Claro Walnut can occasionally also be found with figured grain patterns such as: curly, crotch, and burl.
Oregon White Oak: Native to the Pacific Northwest, west of the Cascades. Heartwood has a light to medium brown color, though there can be a fair amount of variation in color. Oregon White Oak is the heaviest and most dense of the deciduous Oaks.
Purpleheart: Native to Central and South America (from Mexico down to southern Brazil). When freshly cut the heartwood of Purpleheart is a dull grayish/purplish brown. Upon exposure the wood becomes a deeper eggplant purple. With further age and exposure to UV light, the wood becomes a dark brown with a hint of purple. Very heavy, dense and hard.
Zebrawood: Native to West Africa. Heartwood is a light brown or cream color with dark blackish brown streaks vaguely resembling a zebra’s stripes. Depending on whether the wood is flatsawn or quartersawn, the stripes can be either chaotic and wavy (flatsawn), or somewhat uniform (quartersawn). Quite heavy and hard.