mixed media sculpture
I’m relatively new to the world of creating art. However, my preparation began many years ago. I grew up in an environment where if it was broken, you fixed it. I consider myself a Jack of all trades but master of none. I really enjoy working with my hands. I have always been very comfortable with the use of hand and power tools. Now that I’m retired, the skills I acquired mostly out of need, are put to use for fun.
I am considered a mixed media artist although I’ve never taken an art class. I’m self-taught. I use wood, plastic, glass, and metal. I like to repurpose or as I call it, reimagine things. I include in each piece something that was reimagined rather than ending up in a landfill. Although I have created art using 90% reimagined parts, it has its limitations. I decided to explore professional grade clays. I prefer polymer clay and air-dry clay where it is a better fit. Clay provides me with unlimited possibilities. Some of my art may be up to 99% clay and only a small reimagined part. To finish, I use acrylic paint and a sealer with a polymer additive for extra protection.
I never settled on any one style of art; however, I am fond of steampunk. I have a very active imagination. What I once thought was a curse, I now enjoy. My creations begin with an image in my head. Most times it just pops in from nowhere. Then during the building of it, my mind has a way of projecting onto or manipulating the piece. Maybe I learned to embrace crazy. Whatever the case, I am ok with it.
I can’t imagine anything I would rather be doing now than working on my art. I can let my inner child out and have fun while keeping my mind sharp.
acrylic on canvas and inks on yupo
An idyllic childhood in North Topeka transformed before my eyes upon joining the US Marine Corps in the 1960’s.
It was boot camp at Camp Pendleton, then off to Nam assigned to military reconnaissance focused on intelligence gathering. The data’s criticality created the sense of intense duty, reinforcing the importance of analytical thinking and making decisions that could be life-consequential to others. Each soldier, dependent on another, loyally performed their assignment with the utmost precision. Like the myriad of paints held together on a canvas, one particle could not exist without the other.
My entrepreneurial journey began upon military discharge as co-owner of Henry’s South 75 Auto Salvage. It was an affinity for the outdoors that later spurred a decades-long lawn and landscape business. When wintertime came, it was trapping as a furrier or guiding game hunts. Life has always been an adventure and evening no exception, playing harmonica with some of the Nation’s great musicians.
Artistically emblazoned on my upper arms, “eyes that see” contrasted with “eyes that saw too much”. My passion for experiencing the beauty of the outdoors finds itself a world apart from what a young man of 18 encounters on the battlefield.
Yet the journey of life’s work speaks to a higher calling, one in which we confront our feelings and those embedded in the minds of our comrades. Participation and Leadership in local Veteran support groups has been highly rewarding and an integral part of my path.
Now retired, my artistry keeps me active in creating pieces which allow each viewer to see what uniquely speaks to them. Whether it’s chains drug through muddying acrylics on a gently massaged canvas, or manipulating inks on yupo, the paints themselves tell me when it’s time to rest. It’s life’s stories that lie therein.
Art of the Week
Is a watercolor artist, working on both traditional and synthetic paper. She grew up in the Kansas City area and graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in art history. Using the unique qualities of watercolor pigments and employing a number of different techniques, she celebrates the underlying shapes of the prairie landscape; the structures of and spaces between native plants; and the relationships between earth and sky, form and movement.