Old musings upon the Muse

When a sculpture is going well, I feel as if I am in a dialogue with the emerging form, with each tool used, and with the material itself. My hands and eyes are listening, responding, exploring, coaxing. Sometimes what comes out is a complete surprise to me, as if a combination of my unconscious, the life of the material and the spirit of the form are being reflected back to me.

When a sculpture is not going well, I have ample opportunity to observe my impatience and insistence to push or hurry the process. Oftentimes this is when something breaks. In that clear moment of destruction there can be incredible insight and the chance to see/feel what the form/material is really all about…

I owe much of my training and inspiration to several teachers: David Park, my uncle, a Bay Area painter whom I never met, but feel akin to nevertheless. I grew up surrounded by his large, moody figurative paintings. He died when I was nine, but lives on through his work and lately a modest fame and recognition. Perhaps as part of this legacy, when my own talent emerged, my family strongly encouraged and supported me.

Edith Truesdell, my great aunt, a painter of landscapes and figures, and David Park’s mentor. She painted well into her nineties with excitement and devotion.

Judith Simmons, a potter and sculptor who with gentle hands and voice showed me how to feel the life of clay, the miracle of transforming fire, art as a private act of listening/feeling inside.

Gordon Newell, my uncle-in-law, a sculptor of wood, stone, clay, bronze, plaster, good friend to David Park back during the WPA days. Upon seeing my ceramic sculpture when I was eighteen, he catalyzed my own desire to move myself along the path of an artist. His Sculpture Center in Monterey became my home and workplace in 1971. Gordon introduced me to carving, to the beauty of the California desert, and to the fellowship of artists. My affiliation with Gordon, who at eighty-something is still robustly carving stone, continues to this day…

excerpts from my artist’s statement, Deer Run Art Show 1990

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