Tag Archives: Clay

Ah, Spring! When…

View across Kailua Beach to the offshore islet...

View across Kailua Beach to the offshore islet known as Moku nui. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A spring, when an old man’s fancy turns to doing nothing and napping at the beach.

Well, here it is the 4th day of summer and I haven’t been napping at the beach or doing nothing although I have somewhat neglected blogging.

Life is just too outrageously wonderful for anything? I have been wonderfully busy living outside myself while in myself.

In the ceramics department with the end of the school semester hours have been cut back at the studio and so I have been doing a bunch of stuff at home. I don’t do wheel work in my little apartment but I have been busy sculpting figurines. Somehow I think sculpting sounds more artistic than hand building, but it’s the same thing. They range in size from about 7 to 15 inches in height.

Hifh fireHere are seven figurines glazed and on the shelves ready to be high fired.

Wait 4 glazeThis next bunch has been bisque fired and waiting for my chance to use the spray booth for applying the glaze. I’m spraying these rather than dipping them. The blue around the bottoms of some is masking tape to keep the glaze off that area.

Ready 4 BisqueThese are waiting their turn to be bisque fired. The one on the top left sagged a little while drying in the damp room so I have that support under the man in the hope to keep it from sagging more in the bisque firing, but then it may sag more when it is high fired. Ah, the joys of uncertainty in ceramics.

DryingThese two have come out of the damp room to dry a little more before they are put on the bisque shelves. All together here we have 21 pieces plus another dozen slowly drying in the damp room. I guess that isn’t a bad months output for someone who was planning to nap at the beach.

MSS CoverOh, yeah, and I have another book coming out the end or this month or the beginning of July. The title of it is, Murder Sets Sail. Here is the cover.

inside, right at the beginning I state, “This is an absolutely true story except for the parts that aren’t.” I think one should be honest about these things don’t you? I’ll tell you more about it next time.

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Murder Sets Sail is published by 2nd Wind Publishers. This novel is not a mystery. You know from the beginning who the murderers are and who they intend to murder. Adventure aboard a sailboat from Honolulu to Hong Kong.

Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is now available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99.

To watch The Telephone Killer video click here.

The Telephone Killer is now available as an audiobook.

 

Since everything is copyrighted please feel free to re blog any of my posts but please repost in its entirety and giving appropriate credit.

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A Hand Is a Hand Is a Hand

A Couple of weeks ago I had a post entitled “Behold – The Hand.” I received more comments on that post than any other. Since I had so many comments on “Hands” I thought I would explain a little of how it came about.

As some of you know I dabble in ceramics. On the wheel I do bowls, mugs and plates, but my real love is sculptures. On the wheel I have a pretty good idea of what I’m doing, and it’s pretty routine, but I have not idea what to do with sculptures. Each sculpture has is own challenges and that’s what so exciting about it.

Dancer 1Dancer 3I had started on a series of dancers and when I got the first one done and someone said, “I really like the flow of it, but what is she holding, a piece of cardboard?”

I hoped it looked like a scarf. But as I’ve already told you, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Some one else observed, “Her boobs are too low.” Since I didn’t have a live model to work from I excused that observations.

I didn’t throw that one out, but went to work doing it again. This is the result of the second attempt. So you say, “What does this have to do with your post about hands?” I’m getting to that.

Dancer 4

While I was doing it I was looking at my hands as they worked with the clay and I was very grateful that they worked so well. Even if their manipulation of the clay isn’t everything I would like it to be, that’s not my hands’ fault. I have known people with their hands so gnarled with arthritis they can’t hold a pencil.

Dancer 5aDancer 5bI started working on something a little different. Still with idea of a dancer, but different and this is what I came up with.

Then It seemed to me that in gratitude for all my hands have done for me, the least I could do is somehow pay tribute to my hands.

Hand 1Hand 3That is when I made this sculpture. I didn’t really try to reproduce a copy of one of my old, wrinkled hands. Wrinkles are awfully hard to reproduce in clay as I learned in trying to do the dancers scarfs and skirts.

There are some who are so good they can produce every wrinkle.

In a class where I was the model one student reproduced every wrinkle in my old face so accurately I wanted to hit him over the head with the head he had made of me. Not until it was high fired of course and hard as a stone.

Then he had the unmitigated kindness to give it to me. I immediately put it for sale in the annual Christmas pot sale at Windward Community College. I like to think that the reason it sold so quickly the first day was because I’m so good-looking, but I know it is really because of his talent to show my every wrinkle.

Damn, I wish I could do that. Well, given another 5 or 10 years I may get to be that good with the clay.

May everything your hand finds to do come with ease if not always with fun.

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Paul is the author of The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing now available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99.

To watch The Telephone Killer video click here.

The Telephone Killer is now available as an audiobook from Amazon.

Another new novel of mine, Murder Sets Sail, will be coming soon from Second Wind Publishing. This novel is not a mystery. You know from the beginning who the murderers are and who they intend to murder. Adventure aboard a sailboat from Honolulu to Hong Kong.

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If At First You don’t…

You know the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed; Try, try again.” Or maybe you are more familiar with the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, throw in the towel.” Or maybe you like, “If at first you don’t succeed, you probably shouldn’t have tried it in the first place.”

Poseidon, Greek god of water. The Roman water ...

Now you may be wondering what in the world a picture of Poseidon has to do with “If at first you don’t succeed.” Well nothing really, but since this post is about Poseidon, I thought I’d introduce you to him early.

What I was trying to do was a sculpture of Poseidon, or Neptune if you prefer, as part of the Hawaiian mountains. After all, the mountains came up out of the sea, which is Poseidon’s domain. Continue reading

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What Makes An Artist?

“Hey, Ruby, where is your fish?”

Six different colored koi and a smaller goldfish.

The fish they were referring to was a clay sculpture of a Koi that was about 3 feet long and weighed 30 pounds or more. It had been pit fired and had some nice blacks and reds on the white clay. Ruby had it for sale at every Christmas and Mother’s Day sale for the past 4 years.

“Oh, I sold that,” Ruby said, “so now I’m a real artist.”

It was a nice piece. Not to my taste, but that’s not the point. I don’t know what she got for it, but I wanted say, “Selling one sculpture doesn’t make you an artist, it makes you a merchant.” I didn’t say that, of course, but I wanted to.

But it got me to thinking – when does the artist become the merchant and vice versa? I have a friend that I think is a very good painter. He gets a reasonable amount of commissions and teaches at the college. I ran into him at the mall and said, “Well, Well, if it isn’t Norm the artist.”

His response was, “I’m a painter. That’s for sure. Whether or not I’m an artist we won’t know for another 50 to 100 years.”

His remark got me to thinking. What makes an artist? It is more than just loving to paint, or play an instrument, or even being artistic. There’s a big difference between being artistic and being an artist. Nor is it just loving art and involving yourself in some creative process.

I love working with clay but I know I will never be a ceramic artist. Someone said to me when I gave her a small sculpture I had made, “Oh, Paul, you’re such an artist.”

My response was, “No, my dear, at over 80 years of age I have neither the strength or the energy nor the 20 to 30 years it takes to be an artist.”

What does it take to be an artist? First I think it takes a love for what you are doing so for 20 to 30 years you immerses yourself in the medium, whatever that may be; painting, clay, stone, wood, violin, piano, guitar or whatever. But just that is not enough. Added to that dedication there has to be talent. And, I hate to say this, but a little bit of luck, or maybe a great deal of luck.

So, now that I’ve told you what I think an artist is, what is art? A ceramics student asked me the other day, “What is art?” My answer was, “Art is anything that enhances your world.” I think that’s true to an extent, whether it is a bridge or well-prepared food. In the visual arts for me it is something I look at and then have to go back and look at again. If after I’ve walked away it comes back to mind, then it is art, and the person who created it is an artist.

The Mona Lisa.

Almost everybody is familiar with the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. Even as you read this the painting comes to mind. That is Art.

Three of my favorite artists are Salvador Dali, Norman Rockwell and Andrew Wythe. They are three very different painters and it is wonderful the strange times their paintings will come to mind. For Dali it is the melting clocks.

Rockwell did covers for Saturday Evening Post, The New Yorker, painted presidents and other famous people but the one that comes to mind is a painting entitled, “Outward bound.” It has an old sailor, a boy and a dog sanding on shore looking at a departing ship.

"Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth

With Andrew Wyeth it is “Christina’s world.” There is just something about that girl sitting in the field looking at the barn that haunts me, in a nice way, but for me there is something haunting about that painting.

As for me, well, My dear, I will never be an artist, but that doesn’t prevent me from loving to play in mud.

I told someone the other day, “You see I have a habit and selling my pottery supports my habit. My habit is writing.” I may not be an artist, but damn, I’m having fun pretending.

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Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is now available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99.

Since everything is copyrighted please feel free to re blog any of my posts.

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Starting 2013 Correctly

plate 11 mugStarting the New Year correctly takes some doing.

The three-week Christmas break at Windward Community College is over and I’m behind schedule. That’s OK. That’s my normal state. However, I don’t think I have ever been behind schedule in every area of my life, but this year I am behind in everything. I’m even behind in my sleep. But I digress…

In the mud department I decided to get away from coffee mugs, dinner plates and spaghetti bowls like those above and try something a little more challenging.

G sculp guide 4Being one who needs a road map if I’m going where I’ve never been before I started by make a cardboard guide to help me stay on the clay road so to speak. Since the clay that I extruded was ¾” and my mockup guide was inside the piece I had to make it an 1-1/2” smaller. If you look closely you can see the lines I drew as to where I hoped to place the first lay of clay. The height of this fair maid is 39 inches.

The first day of actually working with the clay I didn’t get very far. In fact I had to do it over because I didn’t like the lay of the bottom of the skirt.

The next time, 2 days later, went very well. In fact it went so well that I let the time get away from me.  To tell the truth it didn’t get away from me, I just ignored it. Worked on the sculpture for 7 hours straight. Went home tired as hell but well pleased with what I accomplished.

Hope sculp 6Well, here’s where I am today. I can see that I’m going to have to do something to soften her face and make it more feminine. I am also going to have to smooth down the whole figure.

I think I’m going to use under glazes and with a crackle finish, but I’m not sure yet. I’ll let you know where we’re going.

In the “paper” department, I got an email today that my murder mystery, “The Telephone Killer” would be out by the end of January. I don’t know why I’m so outrageously blessed, but it is great news for starting the New Year.

Hey, everyone, have an outrageously wonderful New Year!!!

Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by Second Wind Publishing will be out January 31, 2013.

Please feel free to re blog any of my posts.

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