Wildlife Art and Animal Paintings Art Collection foR Art and Animal Paintings Art Collection ... leap off a cliff. ... Mark Mussari is a Tucson-based freelancer who
Post on 29-Mar-2018
Wildlife Art and Animal Paintings Art CollectionColleCting ResouRCe guideAnimal paintings and wildlife sculpture from southwest Art and the artists who create the artistically powerful and unique works.Melissa J. Cooper, Morning Companions, bronze, 10 x 13. foRyouRwww.SouthweStArt.com 2A natural inclinationRod Zullos sculptures reflect his lifelong love for animals and artB y M A R k M u s s A R iRod zulloAnyone who hAs wandered the sylvan landscape of Pennsylvanias Bucks County can understand exactly where sculptor Rod Zullo is coming from, both personally and artistically. Zullo grew up in New Hope, a town renowned for the Raging Bull, bronze, 15 x 20.artists and other notables who are drawn to its pastoral beauty and creative spirit. In Bucks County there were always suc-cessful artists, people held in high es-teem in the creative arts, he recalls. As a child, Zullo was exposed to prominent Pennsylvania art movements, including the Brandywine Schoolwhich gave the world the Wyethsand the local New Hope School of impressionists. It all just sank in from living there, observes Zullo, and from living with parents who appreciated the arts. He describes his youthful self as the art kid and expresses gratitude to his par-ents for encouraging his talent. They werent rich, he explains, but they had good taste and an appreciation for art. At the age of 8 he was introduced to au-thor James Michener, who had a home in Bucks County (an art museum there now bears Micheners name). Zullos fa-ther was also friends with woodworker George Nakashima, famous for his ele-gant, hand-carved furniture, and took his son to Nakashimas studio. Artistic genes ran in the family. Zullos www.SouthweStArt.com 3The Tired Horse, bronze, 10 x 12. paternal grandmother was an oil painter, although her career was shortened when she developed multiple sclerosis. Still, she encouraged Zullos parents to send the boy to professional art lessons. Later in life, Zullo discovered that he is a di-rect descendant of Italian Renaissance painter Francesco Zullo. If you look at the path that has led me here, he says, its pretty obvious its where I should have ended up.Another important interest blossomed in Zullos childhood: His father fostered a love for fishing and the outdoors. When I finished high school, I decided I would work on fishing boats, recalls Zullo, who had been offered scholarships to art school. His original intention was to first save some money and then enter art school. What was going to be a couple years sojourn from school ended up be-coming 10 years, he admits. But even at sea, Zullo was studying and learning. One of the sculptors who really in-spired me was Kent Ullberg, who sculpt-ed these wonderful marine mammals. Without even knowing him, his work inspired me to do what I knewwhat I loved most, he says. It gave me hope that I could express myself and speak my own language. Finally, art school beckoned. After 10 years at sea, I had this creative energy that needed to be fulfilled, Zullo ex-plains. Because his father had introduced him to fishing in Montana in his child-hood, Zullo chose Montana State Univer-sity in Bozeman for his art studies. More than his classes, Montanas dramatic landscapes and wildlife spoke directly to his artistic nature. He also discov-ered a lifelong mentor in Floyd Tennison DeWitt, a Montana-born sculptor known for his equine figures. After school and during the winters, Zullo supplemented his knowledge of sculpting by working in foundries in Bozeman. After being exposed to sculpt-ing in the foundry, he notes, the desire to create was irresistible. At work Zullo absorbed all the information he could about the casting process. I gained more knowledge outside of school than in it, he says. While obviously influenced by life in the West, Zullo also cites several inter-national figures as significant influences on his three-dimensional art. I think Alberto Giacometti has been enormous-ly influential on some of my work, he points out. Also Antoine Bourdelle, a Frenchman and student of Rodins who came into his own. In addition, Zullo www.SouthweStArt.com 4mentions the work of Paolo Troubetzkoy, the Russian-Italian sculptor. He was extraordinarily expressive, says Zullo. Exposure to these artists has had a pro-found effect on the singular approach Zullo takes in his animal sculptures: My travels to Italy have been very power- ful, enabling me to break away from the western realism that exists west of the Mississippi. To study abroad, Zullo borrowed mon-ey and went into debtyet he insists he has no regrets. I couldnt afford to do it, but looking back, I couldnt afford not to do it, he says. I was seeking more knowledge than I was capable of getting on my own.TodAy, Zullo works predominantly in bronze. His early sculptures mostly depicted marine wildlife, but more re-cent works include all kinds of animals, Into Thin Air, bronze, 22 x 24. Lenore, bronze, 22 x 13.including equine figures, birds, and vari-ous game. A lot of my animal sculptures are very human oriented, he explains, because the human condition is part of every one of those creatures. For exam-ple, a cow with the ironic title of UDDER MADNESS reflects a particularly difficult time in the artists life. When I did that piece I had just broken my neck, says Zullo. My life was pure, utter madness, and I just needed to express that. See-ing an old cow standing alone in a pas-ture, Zullo found a visual expression of his emotional state: I thought, there it isthat defines the craziness of my life right now. At the same time that they possess a strong narrative sense, Zullos sculp-tures and elegant bas-reliefs display an intricate knowledge of animal anatomy. Im just one of those people who grew up surrounded by animals, dogs, and pets, he reveals. The more dogs I meet, the more dogs I love. Zullo says he finds something consistent in the nature of animals: A horse wants a carrot, a dog wants a pat on the back, or a neighbors cat rubs against my legthose things dont change. Although Zullo defines himself, ar-tistically, as a realist, he admits that something reminiscent of expression-ism surfaces in the rough-hewn textural quality of his sculptures. He says this is a natural progression in his creative jour-ney. My work is very real but also very expressive, especially some of my newest pieces, he notes. Zullo achieves this rug-ged texture partly in the casting process. I leave a lot of the investment [plaster or clay that forms the mold in the lost-wax casting process] in my pieces; I dont sand-blast them, he explains, adding that this is due in part to the influence of www.SouthweStArt.com 5this content has been abridged from an original article written by Mark Mussari. f+W. All rights reserved. f+W grants permission for any or all pages in this premium to be copied for personal use.Italian sculptor Marino Marini. Zullo says his goal is to impart an aged, unearthed feeling to his work, and, indeed, many of the pieces seem like figures discovered in an archeologi-cal dig. Color increases this effect, and critics frequently laud Zullo for his in-ventive patinas. In his piece ODE TO THE WEST WIND, Zullo depicts a large work horse with a bowed head and a wind-blown tail. The solitary horse stands steady, exuding a distinct strength of purpose. Youre in the middle of Montana, and its 20 be-low, and there are these big horses out in the pasture waiting it out, explains Zullo, who worked for eight years on the sculpture. In INTO THIN AIR, depicting a hawk about to take flight from a rocky ledge, Zullo crafts a study in angles and move-ment, the rock inclining in the opposite direction of the soon-departing bird. Crackly pieces of investment enhance the sculptures textural effect. That piece is a metaphor for the leap of faith that is my art, observes Zullo. It really is like a leap off a cliff.His sculptures have won a number of prestigious awards, including the 2003 best new artist award from the Nation-al Sculpture Society. He still resides in Bozeman, and when he isnt sculpting or painting, he works as a hunting and fish-ing guide, which, of course, continues to inform his art. Zullo often finds himself in the studio before daybreak, and he says he feels lucky to have a studio separate from his house. I work a lot, but the greatest gift of all is that I can work whenever I want, he notes. His home functions somewhat like a western salon. A lot of fellow artists visit or come by or stay. Its a place where artists are welcome, says Zullo. Challengesincluding a divorce and complications arising from donat-ing a kidney to a friendhave failed to slow him down. Theyve reignited my creative energy, he comments. My creative side is the one thing that never leaves me. FMark Mussari is a Tucson-based freelancer who writes frequently about art and design. Bison, bronze, 16 x 22.The Road Less Traveled, bronze, 15 x 14. www.SouthweStArt.com 6Wonderland of CharactersPokey Parks fantastical figures reflect her multicultural interestsB y M A R k M u s s A R iPokey PARkPokey PArk is a self-proclaimed loner, but her world is peopled with more char-acters than an anthology of fairy tales. Birds, wolves, turtles, frogs, lions, drag-onsher work comprises a menagerie of creatures recycled through her own idiosyncratic, mythical lens. The results would make Lewis Carroll proud. A kaleidoscope of anthropomorphized animals that frequently wrap their limbs around themselves in circular bliss, her works range from chess piece-sized Midnight Serenade, bronze, 42 x 34 x 24.www.SouthweStArt.com 7The Shaman, bronze, 40 x 20 x 20.miniatures to monumental sculptures. Parks imaginative bronzes stare at you from every corner of her home high in the Santa Catalina Mountains of Tucson, AZ.You have to be strong to love the desert, asserts Park, whose real name is Marie Whittle-Webb Park. Her great uncle gave her the name Pokey when, as a girl, she would fall behind him dur-ing their nature walks. I was always stopping to observe, she recalls. I like to absorb where I am. And where she has been is just about everywhere, from the Aleutian Islands to Southeast Asia to the Canadian Arctic. Ive been lucky to visit many different places in the world, she adds, and that tendency has helped my art.Park was born in Brunswick, GA, and grew up on St. Simons Island, a barrier island off the Georgia coast. The ocean scenery spoke immediately to her visual sensitivity. I love patterns, she ex-plains, all those textures in seashells, driftwood, and shadows on the dunes. Her father bought her first art sup-plies. And she can thank a bar of soap for her first sculpting experience. I was a Brownie, and I carved a bar of soap to get an art badge, she says, but I ended up with nothing but a sliver of soap. She adds that her dyslexia also fed into her desire to express herself visually: If I couldnt find the words, Id draw a pic-ture and communicate that way. Park was also fortunate to have a mother with a heightened sense of aesthetics, which she imparted to her daughter.Art and nature began to merge as the driving forces in Parks youth. She at-tended the University of Georgia, where she majored in ceramics and earned a bachelors in fine arts. After gradua-tion, she also took classes at a ceramics workshop in California, where, she says, I learned to throw just about anything on a wheel. Although her first marriage and raising four children took prece-dence over her artistic endeavors, she still found time to sculpt on the side. I sculpted everythingpeople, animals, plaques, she notes. Bronze soon emerged as her favored medium. Bronze is permanent, and I like things to be real, she comments. I used www.SouthweStArt.com 8to stare at pictures of ancient bronzes, especially observing the negative spa-ces. This study eventually informed her overall compositional sense, particularly in the narrative play of negative and positive spaces. As whimsical as Parks sculptures of-ten appear, a realist element surfaces in their careful detail. Even if I take it to an extreme, she explains, youll still see a paw or a nose or some anatomical detail. Although categorizing Parks sculptures is somewhat difficult, she feels comfort-able being called a whimsical realist. Theyre whimsical but with an attitude, she is quick to add. While her work includes reclining turtles, hopping rabbits, and children at play, many of her figures appear in ovoid shapesmulti-textural, mythical crea-tures with limbs and tails swirling in on themselves. Addressing the dynamic sense of movement this creates, Park points out that she doesnt want figures that are static. I use a lot of piercing, opening up the surface to create light and movement, she says. It keeps the eye moving. This curvilinear element also reflects her diverse cultural interests. Says Park: Ive been influenced by many different cultures, especially the arts of the northeastern Inuit and Japanese net-sukes. The latter are intricately carved purse toggles, usually made of ivory. Ive learned that similar myths and symbols exist among disparate cultures, she ex-plains, and that all indigenous groups have fetish symbols. PArk ciTes her travels as the greatest influence on her work. However, certain other artists have also had a profound ef-fect on her approach. When I was very young, I saw some of Degas ballerinas. I loved seeing those patterns and tex-tures together, she says, reflecting on his blending of metal and cloth materials. She was also struck by the studies Rodin did for his sculpture of Balzac. The final figure is wrapped in a robe, so mostly you only see his face, she notes. Yet, it was the studies that fascinated Parksome of them even depicted Balzac nude. He understood that man so well, she ob-serves. And you can see all of that in the finished sculpture. A parallel effect surfaces in her circular mythical creations: Their energy seems bound inside their enveloping forms, lending the restrained power of a talis-man. That energy has driven many of my ideas, admits Park. Her towering ZO-DIAC TOTEM [see page 9] offers a prime example of this condensed, focused power. The monumental bronze stands 9 feet tall. Four animals, inspired by the Chasing My Shadow, bronze, 23 x 33. Alter Ego, bronze, 34 x 18 x 17.www.SouthweStArt.com 9this content has been abridged from an original article written by Mark Mussari. f+W. All rights reserved. f+W grants permission for any or all pages in this premium to be copied for personal use.Zodiac Totem 1, bronze, 9 feet tall. Chinese zodiac, are stacked vertically atop a frog resting on a lily pad. The piece represents transformation, rebirth, explains Park, who also incor-porated elements of American Indian totems. I changed some of the Chinese animals to Southwestern ones, she com-ments. The dog becomes a wolf, and the pig has morphed into a javelina. Although different animals grace different versions of the totem (she plans to complete all twelve signs of the zodiac), the effect re-mains the same: The eye moves from fig-ure to figure, each connected to the other by a floral wreath representing nature in full bloom. Park emphasizes the power of the individual animals by ascribing each a specific patina. Park sculpts in a painstaking manner, beginning with a small, 4- to 6-inch clay model. A foundry in Tucson then digi-tally scans her clay figure and produces an enlargement in a block of Styrofoam. I do a lot of work on the foam, says the artist, who then sprays a coating of clay on the model and continues to work on it. The foam is my armature. A rubber mold then leads to the final form, and the subsequent lost-wax process results in the poured-bronze figure. Parks main studio is an area she has set up in her backyard under a large umbrella. The setting is breathtaking, with majestic saguaros punctuating the dramatic landscape of the Santa Cata-linas. Visitors are greeted at the front door by several of her large-scale turtle sculptures, jovial creatures also found lounging around the backyard pool. Park has indoor studio space as well and con-fesses that she must force herself to not work all the time. I work seven days a week, she admits. When I work, I am completely absorbedits the most wonderful place to be. And with the company of her mythical menagerie, she couldnt be happier. FMark Mussari writes frequently about art and design. www.SouthweStArt.com 10Their Morning Catch, oil, 20 x 24.into His ownNicholas Coleman finds his voice as a western and wildlife artistB y g u s s i e f A u n t l e R o yiTs A chArming scene to envi-sion: Nicholas Coleman, 3 years old, watches intently as his father, noted wildlife and western artist Michael Coleman, works on a painting. At one point the elder Coleman marks off a small area on the canvas. He tells his son this is a spot where the toddler can con-tribute to the painting, which Nicholas happily does.Later, when his father is not in the stu-dio, little Nicholas sneaks back in and paints a bit moreoutside his designated spotjust to see if his father will notice. He probably did notice, and he probably laughed, Coleman recounts, smiling. He adds, in explanation, that his areas to paint were always dark spots, under a rock, in the shadows. My father would paint over what I did, but the shadow would still be there, although there was nothing noticeable where someone would say, Did a 3-year-old paint this? It was definitely fun, thats for sure.The younger Coleman continued having a small hand in his fathers paintingsno pun intendedthrough elementary school. As a young teen he niCHolAs ColeMAnwww.SouthweStArt.com 11encampments and the lives of 19th- century mountain men. With all of his subjects, Coleman strives for, and at- tains, a timeless sense of the daily rhythms and quiet interconnectedness of nature and man.colemAn grew uP with two brothers and a sister, but it was he who most shared his fathers passion for the outdoors, for hunting and fishing, and also for visiting art museums wherever the family traveled. My Dad could do no wrong in my eyes. For whatever rea-son, I loved everything Dad showed me. I loved whatever we did together. Deer hunting at 4 a.m.? Okay! Lets go! he re-calls, smiling. So I cant help but paint the way I do.Even as a child, Coleman shared his fa-thers fascination for reproducing the ex-perience of early American trappers and mountain men. Together, father and son volunteered to trap and skin muskrats to rid a nearby golf course of the rodents. The artist also remembers his father teaching him to catch fish with his hands.Following graduation from high school, Coleman spent two years in Brazil as part of a missionary project with the Mormon church. The experience opened his eyes to other cultureshe remains fluent in Portugueseand taught him the impor-tance of being of service to others. When not teaching English, helping build houses, or sharing his churchs message, he spent his free time draw-ing, painting in watercolor and gouache, and taking hundreds of photographs. I spent about a year in rural ranchland ar-eas. Sometimes Id be walking along and a dozen gauchos (cowboys) would come riding through the mist, he relates. It was the stuff of paintings. By then, at age 19, Coleman had known for several years that he wanted to pursue a career in art (as a preteen he briefly con-sidered neurosurgery, until he learned how much schooling it required), and his time in Brazil intensified his deep convic-tion that art would be his life.As soon as he returned to Provo, he set up an easel and began to paint. He painted during every spare minute while attending Brigham Young University and earning a degree in art. I had a good work ethic before, but I had a really good work ethic after Brazil, he says. I knew In the Shadow, oil, 22 x 18.was given primed boards and photos for reference, and he began creating his own paintings. Wed both be working in the studio, and Id get done in a day and Id say, Whats taking you so long? he recalls.The artist, now 30, laughs at the memo-ry as he relaxes in the studio at his Provo, UT, home. Coleman lives with his wife, Meta, and their young son, Henrik Nicho-las, in the foothills above the town where he grew up and where his father still re-sides and paints. Around him in the stu-dio are more than a dozen oil paintings, some as large as 40 by 60 inches. Almost as many frames lean against the walls. I need more space, he points out, adding that he hopes to soon finish a basement that will contain his art library, storage space, and a second studio for his work in gouache.Between Colemans earliest forays into painting and his successful career to-day, a constellation of art-related expe-riencesnot the least of which was his fathers open-studio-door policycame together to produce an impressive level of talent, as evidenced by his invitation to participate in the prestigious Masters of the American West Exhibition and Sale, which is held each year at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles. The artist has attracted a broad base of collectors for his work, which includes wildlife and western themes, and, more specifically, scenes of American Indian www.SouthweStArt.com 12In Silent Places, oil, 20 X 16.how to focus all day, six days a week.Having his father nearby was also an enormous help. The two shared reference materials, including the elder Colemans collection of hundreds of thousands of photos; hundreds of books on art, wild-life, and the Old West; period cloth-ing and accessories; and all manner of propseverything from stuffed animal heads to authentic birchbark canoes. To-day, his own studio is filled with a simi-lar collection, which grows continuously. It helps with the research, to get every-thing right, he notes.During his early years of painting, Cole-man also turned to his father for techni-cal advice. Often he chose a subject and jumped in without knowing how to paint a certain aspect of the scene. His father would explain how he would do it, and the younger artist translated those point-ers into a painting reflecting his own vi-sion and style.Still, not surprisingly, viewers often note likenesses between paintings by Coleman and those of his father, includ-ing similar imagery and color palette. Some people say Im a chip off the ol block. Im definitely a Coleman, he ob-serves. Over the past nine years Ive wondered how I can separate myself as an artist. I think Im still evolving. As an academically trained painter, Coleman finds that developing a distinc-tive artistic voice is not as simple as, say, shifting to a more impressionist style. While his work does contain areas of looser brushwork, it diverges from his fathers art in other ways as well. Whereas both artists paint big game, Nicholas also focuses on small animals and their habitatsan intimate view of a birds nest, for example, or a mink on the prowl. He is intrigued and inspired by the animals that frequent his foothills prop-erty, including foxes, squirrels, deer, and a large covey of quail. As a way of passing on his love and understanding of nature to his toddler son and other youngsters, Coleman has written and illustrated a childrens book, called In the North Woods, which he hopes to have published soon.But more than simply painting wildlife, Coleman endeavors to portray the com-plex, all-encompassing interplay between animals, their environment, and hu-mans. To accomplish this, he periodically spends time in places barely touched by Snowshoe Rabbit, oil, 12 X 16.www.SouthweStArt.com 13modern life, practicing age-old methods of obtaining and cooking meat or fish. Often when he camps with friends, he takes along period clothing. His friends willingly accommodate him by changing into the outfits and posing by the camp-fire for photos that will become reference for paintings. With no telephone poles, baseball caps, or other current-day ob-jects in sight, these images are infused with the timeless atmosphere of an age gone by.Ive been to the places I paint. Ive sat next to the fire and smelled the smoke, the artist reflects. I do some action paintings, but I like the quieter, more thought-provoking pieces. I try to create a sense of mood, the feeling of being there.PIEGAN CAMP AT DUSK, based on Cole-mans research on the Piegan tribe of the Northern Plains, is set along a river in Montana. The first time I drove up there, I imagined a camp in that place, because thats where I would have put a camp, he explains. The painting strikingly de-picts the stillness of evening as campfires are lit, water is drawn from the river, and families settle in for the night.Coleman has visited such encamp-ments in dreams. He also imagines an en-joyable afterlife in which a celestial guide places him gently and temporarily in the midst of everyday life in different times and places throughout history. As he en-visions it, not only would he experience diverse eras and cultures, he would also witness the worlds great artas it was being made.In a more modest vision, Coleman pic-tures his own eventual place within the history of art. I want to keep painting as long as I can, he says. And when Im done, I want to look back and say, Oh good. I ended up painting something even better than I started out to do. FSanta Fe-based Gussie Fauntleroy also writes for Art & Antiques, New Mexico Magazine, Native Peoples, and the Santa Fean. this content has been abridged from an original article written by gussie fauntleroy. f+W Media, inc. All rights reserved. f+W Media grants permission for any or all pages in this premium to be copied for personal use.Piegan Camp at Dusk, oil, 30 x 40.www.SouthweStArt.com 14Horse senseOregon sculptor Dixie Jewett fashions miraculously lifelike steeds from cast-off bits and pieces of metalB y n o R M A n k o l P A sMaytag Matilda (foreground), found objects, 7 feet tall, and Prince (background), found objects, 10 feet tall.www.SouthweStArt.com 15Think for A momenT about the similes we sometimes choose to describe the strength and grit of horses. We com-pare their muscles to steel or imagine their sinews tensed and torqued like wire cables. Now, consider how we turn such com-parisons around, measuring our machines by equine standards. Our cars surge with horsepower. Railroad locomotives are iron horses. You can see the pattern. Its been im-pressed upon our human psyches over millennia of interaction with animals of the genus Equus. Horses often seem like divine works of sculpture, as if made of the strongest metal turned fluid and then miraculously sprung to life.Those links we imagine between horse, metal, and machine may explain why Dixie Jewetts equine sculptures seem so perfectly right, despite how undeni-ably eclectic and strange their construc-tion may appear on close inspection. A single glimpse of one of her usually life-sized steeds, composed of materials ranging from auto parts and farm equip-ment to baling wire, railroad spikes, and broken tools, can leave the impression that the artist has somehow snatched her work from the depths of our collective subconscious.Held together with sturdy steel frame-works and assembled with the painstak-ing detail of intricate three-dimensional puzzles, such artworks express a mastery that belies the mere 14 years Jewett has been producing them. Yet, they undeni-ably result from a lifetime thats as mul-tifaceted as the materials the 64-year-old artist employs.Jewett grew up in rural Montana. Her folks, Orville and Josephine Jewett, raised cows and crops of hay and wheat near tiny Willow Creek, close to the Ca-nadian border. I grew up familiar with that landscape, and with the horses and the farm machinery, she recalls. I espe-cially remember harvesting wheat with the old horse-drawn thrashing machine and chucking it up into bundles.At home and in school, young Dixie always shone as an artist, but her tal-ent was just something that was there, that I did, that I was. Most of her early drawing dexterity was honed copying the calendar reproductions of western scenes by the likes of Charlie Russell or detailed images of birds from a book of Audubon illustrations her parents had. I just used school stuff, tablets and pencils and crayons and one of those watercolor sets with the little dried squares of paint in the little tin.When she was 12, her parents split and she and her siblings moved with their mom 350 miles south to the restored ghost town of Virginia City, between Boz-eman and Butte. There, she gained more knowledge by hanging out in the shack of an old cowboy artist who specialized in souvenir pen-and-ink drawings. I love pen and ink to this day, she says.Soon, the teenagers talent led to the beginnings of a livelihood based on art. In high school, she says, I was paint-ing signs for the fronts of stores and silk-screening posters for local theaters.But Jewett had a wanderlust, bred per-haps by the wide-open spaces in which shed been raised. She hit the road and, in her early twenties, wound up in Alaska. Finally, she recalls, I ran out of money in Ketchikan, so I got a job there driving a taxi.The most sought-after fares, she learned, took tourists down to the docks to catch seaplane air taxis, a com-mon mode of transportation among the narrows and inlets of the states rug-ged coastline. Jewett showed unusual courtesy to her fares; Id carry peoples luggage down the stairs to the dock in- stead of leaving them at the curb like the other drivers. Soon, she says, the owner of one air taxi service was calling up the dispatcher and demanding, Send that dame out.It was a short step from there to Jewett learning to fly those seaplanes and other small aircraft herself, spending almost a decade and a half working in Alaska as a pilot. Her childhood familiarity with ma-chinery led her, as well, to start rebuild-ing old aircraft, from souping up their engines to modifying their bodies and Dixie Jewett with Drifter.www.SouthweStArt.com 16home again, she tried her hand at sculpt-ing bronzes and crafting raku-style pot-tery figures of fat little horses in bright colors. But she found bronze didnt suit her style, and she was frustrated by the size limitations of the kiln and the fragil-ity of raku. I just had to find a way to do something bigger that wouldnt break, she remembers thinking.Inspiration finally came after her move to western Oregon in the mid-1990s. At Lawrence Gallery there, she saw the works of sculptor John Richen, who fab-ricates large stainless steel and bronze was taking off from Cordova airport on the Orca Inlet, she had an epiphany. Just off the end of the runway, I saw a guy with his easel set up, painting. That was a pivotal moment. I thought, Ive got to get back to art. Ive been sidetracked for too long.She returned to Montana, buying a house in Bozeman, but the career tran-sition proved difficult at first. I just didnt know how to go about making a living as an artist, she says. A flying trip to France, and visits to some of its great museums, brought her fresh resolve. Back restoring their fabric skins, a pastime she continues to this day.An older pastime also endured. In the evenings, she says, I would draw in pen and ink. I even created and published a coloring book of airplanes, from the ear-liest aircraft through jetliners. Once, when she was sidelined from flying for a couple of months, she also dabbled in oils, painting Alaskan scenes that sold well in a show she had in the lobby of a local bank.one dAy in the early 1980s, while she Drifter, found objects, 12 feet tall.www.SouthweStArt.com 17process, she explains, is a little bit planned, a little bit intuitive. I start at the nose and just work aft. She laughs at realizing shes used an aviation term. Well, I guess it is pretty much like building airplanes. You have this frame, and then its fleshed out.Fleshed out is putting it mildly. Through Jewetts art, inert pieces of metal somehow feel as if they pulse with lifehumankinds time-honored metaphors for the horse are made wondrously real. FNorman Kolpas is a Los Angeles-based freelancer who writes for Mountain Living and Colorado Homes & Lifestyles as well as Southwest Art. this content has been abridged from an original article written by norman kolpas. f+W. All rights reserved. f+W grants permission for any or all pages in this premium to be copied for personal use.sculptures combining vivid realism with bold elements of abstraction. I cant be-lieve theres a person alive who wouldnt fall in love with his work, Jewett says. She also renewed her admiration for the boldly scaled, welded-metal sculptures of Jim Dolan, known for his larger-than-life public works of natural subjects ranging from a whitetail buck to a flight of Can-ada geese.Gradually, it dawned on Jewett that you could just build up metal sculp-tures, you didnt needs molds. And you could make horses that look like horses, she says. So I got a welder and started welding up what I had around.The bits and pieces of metal in her workshop, combined with fresh finds from garage sales, became her first huge horse, which she decided to submit to the annual Sculpture in the Park show held the second week of August in Loveland, CO. Happy with the results but unsure of how the piece might be received, she secured it upright to a flatbed trailer and headed to Colorado. What happened at her first stop, when she pulled into a gas station in the Columbia River Gorge, was a sign of things to come. Jeez, she still recalls with a hushed sense of wonder. Here come all these cars over, and everyone was flocking around the horse, going nuts. Id done it sort of as a lark, and suddenly I thought, Ive got something going there.People respond to her work, Jewett feels, not only because the sculptures look so amazingly lifelike and animated, but also because they can identify with all the little bits. Theyve got stuff like that at home. She vividly remembers the reactions of one couple. The wife was amazed by how realistic and alive the horse looked. Meanwhile, her husband was up close to it and said, Wow! A 57 Chevy headlight!Almost a decade and a half later, Jew-ett remains dedicated to the artistic path shed sought for so long. She now makes her home in the town of Dayton, about 50 miles southwest of Portland, on a 34-acre Christmas-tree farm that shes consid-ering transforming into a vineyard and winery. She works in a 60-by-100-foot barn that offers ample room for the tons and tons of stuff she now routinely picks up from scrap yards and farm auc-tions. I plan projects for just about every load I get, she says.Each project takes some three months to realize, and sometimes a little longer if the parts are small. She usually starts by making a soapstone sketch on the ce-ment floor. That guides her in welding steel tubing to create the steeds interior. And then Ive got some fairly stiff wire to go around the outline, she explains.Finally, sometimes welding directly onto the frame or, when the material wont take a weld, fitting it with a col-lar or drilling a hole for a weldable pin, she begins attaching things. When she needs reference for musculature, shell tie one of her horses outside. The entire Stormy Bay, found objects, 13 feet tall.www.SouthweStArt.com 18A Breed ApartTexas-based Teresa Elliott has found her niche painting portraits of longhorn cattleB y n o R M A n k o l P A sMystic Outback, oil, 40 x 60.teResA elliottThe eyes seiZe your attention, just as they do in any great portrait. Their com-plexity, light, and depth express a per-sonality captured in full. You dont feel as if youre simply viewing another liv-ing being but, rather, that youre actually making a connection with another soul.No matter that Teresa Elliotts subjects are Texas longhorn cattle. The subtlety www.SouthweStArt.com 19and sureness with which she paints her large-scale canvases lead many folks who encounter them to experience surpris-ingly emotional reactions.I hear people say that they feel as if they are connecting with the longhorns, says Elliott, hastening to add that she doesnt intentionally set out to anthropo-morphize the animals. But I have such a reverence for my subjects that when Im done, there seems to be something in their expressions that I wasnt aware of when I started. They just wind up having a human aspect.Count a lifelong connection to the pas-toral American West for some of the rev-erence that inspires Elliotts oils. Add to that an equally long-standing affinity for art, and youve got a combination of fac-tors that seems to have destined the art-ist for the success she enjoys today. TeresA ellioTT was born in 1953 about 25 miles due west of Fort Worth, TX, in the small city of Weatherford, the nearest community big enough to have a hospital. Both her parents grew up in Springtown, where her grandfather had a farm. Her father became a salesman and took his young family with him to New Mexico, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, and finally St. Louis, where Teresa spent most of her childhood. But we would visit my grandfathers farm during vacations, she says, recalling how she was always fasci-nated by the animals there.An even earlier memory, however, in-volved art supplies: When I was 2 years old, I was always asking my parents for paper and a pencil. We didnt have many toys and, left to my own devices, I would draw. By the time she entered kinder-garten, she says, my skills were pretty good. My drawings were always the most recognizable, the ones that ended up on the classroom wall. I got a lot of positive reinforcement.More significant reinforcement came from a set of books her parents bought be-fore she had finished elementary school. It was called Childcraft, she says, refer-ring to a popular multi-book series with the subtitle The How and Why Library and individual volumes like Who We Are, How Things Work, and The World of Animals. But it was the one called Art Around Us that re-ally captured her attention.It had pieces by Renoir and Van Gogh in it, says Elliott, her voice hushed with the happy memory. I pored over those pictures so much that theyre still etched in my brain. We never set foot in a mu-seum or a gallery, so that set of books must have started it because I remember looking at them and telling myself that I wanted to be an artist.In 1971, after graduating from Kirk-wood High School in Kirkwood, MO, Elliott sought a summer job to help pay for college. The Six Flags Over Mid- America amusement park had just opened in St. Louis, and she got a job there in a shop called Quick Draw. Six days a week, from 10 a.m. until dark, I would just draw peoples facesserious pastel sketches, not those exaggerated carica-tures you see. She swears she wasnt very good at first, but like a sponge, she watched and absorbed what more expe-rienced Quick Draw artists were doing. Pretty soon, she says, people would wait in line for me, and the lines snaked around the whole area. Id spend 15 or 20 minutes on each one, for $15 a portrait, and I got to keep half of that.Thus bankrolled, Elliott set off for the University of Kansas, where she honed her art and graphic design skills and also developed a lasting love for photogra-phy. Her aptitude for accurate, lifelike, Crema Pastelera, oil, 48 x 36. www.SouthweStArt.com 20just at the time her freelance career was waning. I was lucky, she says, that my interest in fine art dovetailed with the end of my commercial work.Luck, too, led her to the next big transi-tion. Living in the Dallas suburbs, I had become visually immune to my surround-ings, she says. One day in 2005, however, something out of the ordinary caught her eye right there amidst the tract houses and power lines: a small pasture where longhorn cattle grazed. Despite the imposing grandeur of their sharply pointed horns, Texas longhorn cattle are generally gentle and placid. Soon, Elliott was spending as much time as she could spare getting up close and personal with the bovines, sketching and photographing them. Her first por-traits of longhorns, often dramatically positioned against stormy skies, soon followed. The paintings almost immedi-ately grabbed the attention of galleries and collectors alike.With her fine art career soaring and her daughter grown, Elliott and her izing in fashion illustrations for womens wear retailers. She also married Pete Czarnecki, a medical supplies salesman, and the couple had a daughter, Emma, now 22 years old.In whatever spare time freelancing and motherhood allowed, Elliott continued to pursue her passion for fine art. In-spired by the gentle, evocative works of great American illustrators Bernie Fuchs, Bart Forbes, and Robert Heindel, she be-gan to work in watercolors, doing mostly portraits of people and some fashion- inspired compositions. Then, in 1998, Elliott started to work in oils. The transition happened at least in part because of what she describes as an obsession she had with the richly at-mospheric landscapes of New York-based painter April Gornick. It was a really hot summer in Texas, Elliott explains, and I just felt starved for moisture, and she does these huge landscapes that look like theres always moisture in the air.Thus inspired, Elliott, too, began to paint her own large-scale landscapes, and perceptive drawing gained so much recognition that the art department even recommended her to the local police sta-tion, where she worked for a time as a forensic sketch artist, helping detectives nab some dangerous criminals. I think that with my intuition plus my skills and experience, I just figured out how to do it, she muses about that suc-cess. I knew exactly the questions to ask: about the hair, the nose, the mouth, the jawline, the size of the forehead, whether the eyes were close-set or wide-set. She even considered becoming a courtroom sketch artist. Instead, she headed for Texas after graduation. Id heard the job market was good in Dallas, and that appealed to me because Id always loved the time Id spent on my grandfathers farm. Alas, her grandfather soon sold the farm, which was heartbreaking to me, and booming Dallas turned out to be just an-other city.Nevertheless, she soon had a thriving career as a freelance illustrator, special-Blue Roan, oil, 36 x 48.www.SouthweStArt.com 21goal, pretty much, will be to show how interconnected we really are. FNorman Kolpas is a Los Angeles-based freelancer who writes for Mountain Living and Colorado Homes & Lifestyles as well as Southwest Art.this content has been abridged from an original article written by norman kolpas. f+W. All rights reserved. f+W grants permission for any or all pages in this premium to be copied for personal use.Wyoming Paintbrush, oil, 48 x 36.Reata, oil, 40 x 30. Christoval, oil, 30 x 30. husband moved a year ago to the more rural surroundings she had long yearned for, in the foothills of the Davis Moun-tains near the West Texas town of Al-pine. There, working pretty much from dawn to dusk seven days a weekIm a workaholic, she admitsElliott puts together the basics of her compositions on her computer using Photoshop, work-ing both from scans of sketches and from photographs shes taken of the Dallas- area herd. Once shes worked out an idea, shell print it out and move out-doors to the easel she has set up on a sheltered patio.Next, Elliott sketches the composi-tion freehand in charcoal pencil onto a canvas, which varies from the occasional 12-by-12-inch painting to, more typi-cally, large-scale pieces, some as big as 4 by 5 feet. Then comes a thin turpentine wash of burnt umber and ultramarine blue to block in the shapes before she starts painstakingly capturing the reality of the subject and scene. For the larger pieces, the entire process can take as long as three weeks, which is all the better for her. I like to work large, she says, be-cause then I feel closer to my subject.That feeling of close in-timacy, in turn, invariably transfers to those who be-hold her paintings. And the artist aspires to make those connections even stronger in the future. My idea is somehow to get human figures in the paintings with the longhorns. I want to keep it pure, simple, nothing like rodeo scenes. The www.SouthweStArt.com 22friendly CreaturesMelissa J. Cooper deftly captures the spirit and personality of the animals she sculptsB y g u s s i e f A u n t l e R o yTen yeArs sPenT working in a foundry as a young woman did not in-cline Melissa J. Cooper toward becom-ing a sculptor. Starting at age 17, Cooper learned and performed virtually all the sweaty, labor-intensive steps involved in casting bronze at a Loveland, CO, found-ry. She was assisting her father, sculp-tor Robert Larum, whose renderings of Arabian horses were selling so well that Cooper with a piece called At Waters Edge, bronze, 54 x 72.Scout, bronze, 8 x 7.he couldnt keep up with demand with-out some help. But not once during those years did Cooper pick up a chunk of wax or clay and ponder creating her own little work of art.It was not a pleasurable job. Foundry work is hard work and really dirty. I nev-er thought I would do sculpture on my own, because I knew what it entailed, Cooper relates, thinking back on those years as she sits in her spacious studio in Littleton, CO, in the Rocky Mountain foothills just south of Denver. But what she didnt know, as she pre-pared her fathers art for bronze pouring or welded sections of metal, was how much fun the actual sculpting part was. She didnt realize how much she would enjoy using her hands and her imagina-tion to shape a compelling form. When www.SouthweStArt.com 23Morning Companions, bronze, 10 x 13. Im in the studio sculpting, I love it. I have the best job in the world, she proclaims, adding that she remains involved in vir-tually every aspect of the bronze process. Now I thrive on it. When its your own art, its completely different.Despite the grime and hard work, those years at the foundry were worth it, the 49-year-old, award-winning artist ac-knowledges. They gave her an invaluable education in working in bronze from the bottom up. As a result, she can visualize a complex three-dimensional design (with-out drawing it on paper), calculate the necessary structural strength and the in-terrelations of its various parts, and bring it to realityin many cases without ever having seen how the artwork will look as a whole. In her bird-and-vessel series, for ex-ample, the vessel, birds, and botanical elements are often sculpted separately in clay. The sections dont become a sin-gle form until theyve been produced in bronze and the artist welds them together and finishes the piece. Its a way of creat-ing made possible by a keen visual imagi-nation, an intimate understanding of the medium in which she sculpts, and those years of experience in the numerous steps that lead from clay to bronze. Cooper also creates wildlife art (from 5-inch to monu-mental scale) depicting such creatures as rabbits, beavers, chipmunks, and bearsanimals known for their combination of graceful shapes and, as the artist puts it, fluffy and robust charm.well before she began helping her father at the foundry, Cooper was steeped in the parallel worlds of nature and fine art. She grew up on an 18-acre parcel of land not far from where she now lives, with a cottonwood-shaded creek and small ponds for her playground and plen-ty of room to ride her horse. Her mothers field glasses were always on a window ledge for bird spotting. Deer, coyotes, foxes, and porcupines were among the animal visitors the family often observed.On the creative side of the equation, Coopers mother, Mary Jo Larum, was (and is) an artist doing china painting in elaborate floral styles. Larum taught china painting three days a week in her home when Cooper was a girl. Exposed to the fundamentals of composition, col-or, and form, the sculptors earliest artis-tic expression was painting on porcelain and, later, decorative painting on wood. My mother was a huge influence, she notes. That was my introduction, really, to fine art. A lot of people dont consider china painting fine art, but it is.Coopers father, who immigrated to Colorado from Norway at age 16, worked as a brick and stone mason until he fell from a scaffold and broke his leg. Always deft with his hands and brimming with www.SouthweStArt.com 24creative energy, he took the unplanned opportunity to teach himself to sculpt. His first works were Viking busts, in hon-or of his homeland, but he soon turned to Arabian horses. That was my introduc-tion to three-dimensional art, recalls Cooper, who was a young teen when her father began to sculpt.Soon she was recruited to work along-side Larum as he produced his pieces at Art Castings of Colorado, a foundry in Loveland where then-owner Bob Zim-merman generously gave the pair free reign of the facility. They were offered a small room for metal chasing, and Cooper took over the welding equipment while the foundry employees were at lunch. An-other remarkable aspect of working there was being introduced to some of the Sticks and Stones, bronze, 9 x 22.Wests most acclaimed sculptorssuch as Gerald Balciar, Glenna Goodacre, and Dan Ostermillerwho at the time were just starting out. I saw all their works and could appreciate them, she says.Yet it wasnt until she left the foundry at age 27, after getting married and giving birth to her daughter, that Cooper creat-ed her first sculpture. It was a Christmas gift for her father, a square-sided vase adorned with bas-relief flowers, which she cast in bronze. After that, I was hooked, she remembers. It was such a new creative release. She took a sculpt-ing class with Balciar at the Art Students League of Denver. There, in a 20-minute quick draw type of exercise, she used a photograph as reference to sculpt a chip-munk, her first animal piece.Today Cooper consults her own exten-sive library of art and wildlife books as reference material. The Internet has also become a useful resource for inspiration and ideas, as is time spent outdoors on mountain trails. The sculptor shares her large studio and workshop with her fa-ther, and the two provide friendly cri-tiques of each others art. On her sculpting table at the moment is a bird-and-vessel piece: seven blue-birds with an oval-shaped basket. In all of Coopers work in this series, the ves-sels, branches, and floral forms provide an opportunity to incorporate delicately curving, contemporary, and geometric forms that contrast with her fat and fluffy birds. She considers the graceful botanical designsand the fact that the www.SouthweStArt.com 25my lifetime I can fulfill them. Theres so much beauty weve been given. If I could capture just a smidgeon of it, that would be awesome. She pauses, a hint of tearful joy in her voice. I have the perfect situation, and Ive been given Heron Basin, bronze, 32 x 21. vessels are always functionalas influ-ence from her mother, while her love of cute and cuddly no doubt derives at least in part from an animal that shares the artists home: a Netherland Dwarf rabbit named Sammie. Sammie inspired one of Coopers most popular works, LILY, a life-sized bronze bunny.While Cooper describes her wild-life figures as fluffy, much of the surface of her work, in fact, is smooth. The im-pression of a furry or feathery texture is achieved in part through distinctive mar-bleized patinas created by master patina artist Patrick Kipper, with whom Cooper has worked for many years. Patinas, not paint, also provide the vivid colors on some of her animals, especially birds. He does the research, mixes his own chemi-cals, makes his own recipes, the sculptor says of Kipper. Hes the best.Cooper uses an impressionistic style for a creatures body, but when it comes to the face, detail is key to infusing the animal with spirit and personality. I try to capture the essence of their beauty, she explains. The face is where I want the detail to be. It can even be just the lip on a beargrizzly bears have pouty lips. Or the eyebrows. If the eyebrows are high, the animal looks sharper and alert; if theyre lower, the animal looks quiet. In photographs of wildlife, some-thing will catch my attentionthe cock of a head or the position of a body. Some-times Ill put two pictures together and make it my own.As soon as springtime warms up the foothills and the wildlife starts emerg-ing from hibernation and frequenting meadows and woods, Cooper is out- side as much as possible, hiking with her husband or tending to another of her passions, her flower gardens. Being outdoors, of course, triggers more in-spiration for her art. Even just walking outside and seeing birds at the feeder, its like a switch flips on inside me that says, Ive got to capture that! she ob-serves, smiling.Her smile remains as she notes how the three things most important in her lifefaith, family, and artare closely intertwined. Looking back on all the opportunities Ive had, I would-nt have had them without what the Lord did for me, she reflects. I have so many ideas for my art, I just hope in this content has been abridged from an original article written by gussie fauntleroy. f+W Media, inc. All rights reserved. f+W Media grants permission for any or all pages in this premium to be copied for personal use.huge gifts. It touches my heart. FSanta Fe-based Gussie Fauntleroy also writes for Art & Antiques, New Mexico Magazine, Native Peoples, and the Santa Fean.
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