Sunday, December 18, 2016

Relief Portrait: Abigail

Leading Centre College's study abroad in London last Spring was amazing. I learned and taught a ton, but also got to spend hours admiring London's art collections and gathering years-worth of future inspiration.

After indulging in the V&A's sculpture gallery on a number of occasions, I knew there would be a few future pieces that would come from my visits.

As a father of three beautiful girls, I planned on using Jon Bower's portrait of his daughter to help pay them tribute.

After final exams finished last week, I finally made time to put my hands back into clay.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Renaissance Women II

After a long hiatus in London, which offered its own inspiration in the way of Botticelli exhibits at the V & A, I returned to Kentucky to finish the first tile in relief, a detail of Mary from the Cestello Annunciation.

With some advice from a colleague and master ceramist, Judith Jia, I decided to experiment with oil paints on fired clay.  It produced a stunningly bright and velvety texture to the relief.  I'll be using it on the remaining tiles.

I then spent some time selecting the right gilded frame to give the proper Italianate feel, and ecco!

I can't wait to begin the next elegant Madonna.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Renaissance Women

I've begun a series of tiles of women from famous Renaissance paintings and sculptures. 

The first is from one of my favorite paintings, the Cestello Annunciation by Sandro Boticelli (1489).  Probably one of my favorite depictions of Mary. 

The head is always the most difficult, but always the most satisfying.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


The years that have passed have seen me engaging in many different contemplative practices.  My involvement in qigong and other meditative practices have inspired this high relief, fused with my religious roots and the fact that I recently taught a section on Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise.  I call it Silentium (latin for you can guess what).  

I enjoy the intellectual challenge of the relief; somewhere between sculpture and the trompe l'oeil inherent in 2-dimensional drawing--vanishing points appear in an x-y-z grid.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Back in the studio

It's nice to be back in the studio.  Our resident artist at Centre College, Sheldon Tapley, is now both my running and art instructor. 

A couple of pieces I've done the past two weeks.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Little Pat--Parisian Boy

Le Pilote #2

Summary: In trying to fix a TV antenna, Pat finds an injured carrier pigeon carrying a mysterious message, with an address and a plea for help.   Mr. Soupe is a bit startled by Pat's acrobatics.

"You can open your eyes now Mr. Soupe, I'm out of danger.  And look, I've got a surprise for you." 


"29 Brooks Street, by car."

"Little Pat!"

"An empty house.  Closed door.  Strange...  Pat, my friend, it's time to pull out the big guns.  No one should ever climb this high without a parachute.  From what it looks like Pat, you're life is hanging by a thread!  If Hollywood doesn't hire me to play Tarzan after seeing this...  The path of adventure is littered with chimnees."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sussi e Biribissi

Ch.II, A Cat Worth a Fortune (Che vale un peru`)

Biribissi couldn't sleep that night.  He just tossed and turned, throwing a couple of nasty kicks from time to time into Buricchio wh was sleeping at the foot of the bed.

"Wait!  Who is Buricchio?"  I hear you saying now.

I'll tell you.  Biricchio is a big, fat tabby cat that would make your mouth water.  I say mouth water on purpose, because it happened more than once that he was almost taken for a jack-rabbit by a few resatuarants.  But Buricchio, like all good little beasties, enjoyed the protection of Saint Anthony and had gloriously escaped all danger.

Overall, Buricchio was not like other cats.  He had a cat's nose and paws.  A cat's fur and tail, but he was more well spoken than quite a few chaps I know personally.

I imagine you all smirking incredulously, saying: "My dear, nephew of Collodi, no beast has ever uttered a human word, so please refrain from telling us such stories."

Actually, no, my dearest little readers.  Despite the fact that certain ideas may pass through my brain, I only want the best for you as if you were my only little brothers.  I swear to you all that Buricchio could speak, and with such good judgement, that he would have made many of you jealous.  And during such fortunate times as Sussi and Biribissi had, animals talked like people, while people nowadays, I lie not, often speak just like animals.  The effects of progress.

I told you all that Biribissi couldn't sleep that night, but threw a few kicks every now and agian into the side of our poor tabby curled up at his feet.

Buricchio finally lost his patience.

--Master Biribissi!  Could you please keep still for just a moment?
--I can't sleep--he responded.
--I am sorry for that, but could you please leave me in peace for a moment.
--Yeah, that's easy to say when you don't have a hole in your head.

Burcicchio was stumped.

--A hole in my head?  Is that what you have?
--Who gave it to you?
--The hole.
--I told you you wouldn't understand.
--How is one to understand when you speak like an oracle?

Biribissi sat on the bed and lit a candle.

--Tell me, Buricchio, do you know what a zenith and a nadir are?
--Buricchio smiled with satisfaction.
--Of course I do--he answered.
--Well, let's hear it...