Thursday, 29 November 2012

#351 Living with art

Everyone in the art world knows Nancy Guzik and Richard Schmid.  I have the great pleasure of calling these two fine artists friends.    One of my most memorable experiences was in the early 1990s when Trish and I spent 2 weeks with them in Alaska . . .  I was able to witness two masters working in the field.

I have several  paintings by both of them which I cherish.  The Guzik painting shown below is of her cat;  painted when her studio was not far from mine in Ft. Collins, Colorado . . . twenty years ago.  My sculpture, "Hummingbird and Rose" sets under it.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

#350 In the studio and in the field: Moose

This year has been the year of the moose:  I spent the summer completing an enormous moose monument for the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming -  see post #312, Sept. 16.  In Sept., I completed a one hour quick-draw study of a moose at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming - see post #319, Sept, 26.
Thirteen castings sold at their auction.

This fall, at the Canadian studio, I completed a moose study that was started over a year ago which will be introduced next year.  Also, while in the North country, moose venison fills the freezer as a result of a hunting trip north of Kenora - See post #337, Nov. 3.  Reference material and measurements gathered on the hunt were vital to the success of the new work.

Shown below is the Cody quick-draw moose bust before it was molded earlier this fall.  The green wax bar that
supports the antlers prevented sagging under the weight of the rubber mold material.  In the distance, the new moose study can be seen in progress.  The gray clay used on the bust was Jolly King and Chavant's Le Beau Touche was used for the full-figure study.  Different types of clay impart a different surface and texture.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

#349 Autry Masters Exhibition: "Crowing Rooster" . . .

Every year I introduce new work at the invitational museum shows.  
This year one of my new entries is Crowing Rooster.  
The high-relief sculpture is mounted for a wall hanging and will be introduced 
Feb. 1, 2013 at the Autry Masters Exhibition, Autry Museum . . . Los Angeles.  

Crowing Rooster  16'H 15"W 3 "D
Bronze . . . cupric nitrate and ferric nitrate patina

Friday, 23 November 2012

#348 "Art of the West"

Those of us involved in the realm of representational art are fortunate to have a great trade magazine . . .  ART OF THE WEST to introduce, support, 
and promote our creations and careers. 

I'm honored to have my work spotlighted in the 25th Anniversary issue 
of this important publication.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

#346 In the field: Cabin life, con't . . .

Close up  . . .

The golden days of autumn were to be savored . . . 
but the icy north wind and a dusting of snow reminded me it was time to drain the cabin, close up, 
and return to our Lander headquarters.

Whispering wings flew overhead and we followed them south before our bay froze up.  
The Canadian island/studio is my source . . . spring will come.

Above, our boat house, the morning before we left the island
Below, a drawing from my sketch book

Monday, 19 November 2012

#345 In the field: Cabin life, con't . . .

Walleye are excellent table fare and when we are at the Canadian cabin on Lake of the Woods, Trish and I love to walleye fish in the fall.  We leave the warm cabin on sunny,
crisp days to not only catch our supper but to experience the abundant wildlife that abounds on the enormous, remote lake.

My sketch book and camera is always with me and over the years, I've relied on the reference gathered in this beautiful
area that I know so well.

Cold weather walleye fishing on Lake of the Woods: Trish with a 22 incher

Fishing puts me in touch with another of nature's species, 
in beautiful surroundings, that are as old as time.
That is where I want to be;
this is how I am renewed.
                                                        - Joan Salvato Wulff

Saturday, 17 November 2012

#344 In the field: Cabin life

Glorious autumn days, solitude, and a warm birch fire . . .
cabin life in the woods is inspirational.
I keep clay, armature material, paints and supports,
and a sketchbook on hand when I'm there . . .
living in a constant state of inspiration.

Trumpeter Swan and grouse still-life in progress at the Canadian cabin

Thursday, 15 November 2012

#343 In the field: Grouse, con't . . .

Most of our diet consists of wild game . . . venison and upland birds such as quail, pheasant, and grouse.  We have headquarters in Wyoming and a seasonal cabin/studio in the Canadian woods; both provide ample hunting in the fall. 
Shown at right, Trish holds three plump Ruffed Grouse.  

Beyond table fare and the wonderful experience of working with a bird dog is the opportunity to gather in-the-field reference for my art.  Hunting furnishes first-hand knowledge in the fall; coupled with a sketchbook and camera during the rest of the year, this combination has been my method of observation, experience, and adventure in all of my years as an outdoors woman and artist.     

Below is a great recipe for upland birds.  These birds are non-migrants and therefore, have white breast meat.

In a cast iron skillet, using butter or bacon fat, brown bird breasts and legs that have been dredged in flour, salt, and pepper.  After browning, add a prepared sauce such as mushroom soup, Ragu alfredo or four-cheese sauce.  Cover, simmer until cooked but not dry . . . usually less than an hour depending on the size of the bird.  During the last few minuets of cooking, stir in a cup or so of sour cream.  Can be served with steamed potatoes (as shown), rice, or poured over pasta.  Also, I've varied this method by adding either mushrooms, onion, capers, or parmesan cheese.  

Serve with Caesar salad, a tart side-sauce such as cranberry, and crusty bread.  
Don't forget a dry white wine such as sauvignon blanc.  

Original watercolor-tinted etching . . .  copyright, Sandy Scott

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

#342 In the field: Grouse

Trish and I have a bird dog named Penny.  She is a beautiful American Brittany and we love to take her hunting during autumn hunting season.

We spend much of the fall at our cabin/studio on an island on Lake of the Woods in Ontario.  The island, mainland, and logging roads were loaded with grouse - called partridge in Canada - this year.  The birds are excellent table fare and I save the wings and tails for reference material in the studio and for teaching bird sculpture and anatomy workshops.

Didn't the years pass happily, 
while we hunted on together,
Across the hills and dales of life,
in any old kind of weather?
                   - Nash Buckingham

Below, drawing of a wing.  Copyright, Sandy Scott

Sunday, 11 November 2012

#341 In the studio: "Feelings"

A work of art should reveal something about the subject beyond being technically accurate.  Learning the fundamentals, such as anatomy and understanding proportion is the starting point . . .
simply recreating a specimen of the animal should not be the artist's goal or motivation

The figurative artist is motivated by feelings about the subject and must search for and communicate an authentic message.

At right, is a detail from Red Willows.

The animal is the design source. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

#340 Throw on another log: Figurative essence, Part II

Organize all elements of the composition to capture and communicate the distinctive and individual characteristic that is typical of, or unique to that subject . . . focus on body shape, proportion, behavior, structure, movement, and the subtle (or profound) difference from one species to another.

In my ongoing search for seizing the ESSENCE and creating art, I have found that experiencing the animal in the field and in its natural habitat is the only way to achieve and find the unmistakable individuality.  The delicate balance of science and art requires personal experience and most important of all . . . passion.
After returning from the field, see post #338 & 337, NOV. 3 & 5 
. . . this image was simply  "branded" upon my memory.

Field study  - 6 x 8 oil

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

#339 Throw on another log: Figurative essence, Part I . . .

I've taught sculpture workshops for over 25 years and am routinely asked . . . How does an artist go beyond a literal re-creation of nature and create art?  Representational, figurative or realism should not be equated with an effort to present exacting detail: probing vision enables the artist to experience and capture the ESSENCE of life.

While understanding structure and anatomy is vital, the artist must search for the ESSENCE of their subject by focusing on an emphasizing what sets the species apart and makes it different and unique from other animals.

The artist must seek the defining gesture and essential charter of their subject and go beyond a mere construction of anatomy.  Scientific understanding provides artists with the confidence to transcend specimen art and remain true to the ESSENCE of the animal.

A simple gesture such as the way a moose lifts its long hind leg, 
differentiates and separates it from other deer species.

Moose Flats

Monday, 5 November 2012

#338 In the field: Moose, con't . . .

The most important days of one's life are spent when one is young for that is when the foundation of what comes later in life is laid.  My parents laid that foundation by taking me to Lake of the Woods, in Ontario, Canada as a youngster.

Later in life, I bought a cabin on the north end of an island across the bay from the lodge where we stayed many years earlier.  Trish and I enjoy spending time at the cabin/studio . . . especially in the fall. The isolated and remote island location affords the solitude needed for inspired and thoughtful work.

Last month, after returning to the cabin from a moose hunt - see post #337 Nov. 3 - I was flooded with ideas and creative energy.  Although I have several sculpture projects in progress here, I felt a need for the immediacy of painting an oil study of the fieldwork gathered on the hunt.

 Island from the air, retuning from the moose hunt

Fireplace inside cabin

Working on the painting 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

#337 In the field: Moose

Last month, Trish and I took a float plane to a remote lake north of Kenora, Ontario, to moose hunt.  Our hunt was successful and there will be plenty of venison in the freezer!

Being in the field is an important part of the animal artist's life . . . authenticity
and an accurate portrayal of the subject in the wild is not possible without "being there".  Somehow, the viewer senses in the artist's work if he or she has actually "been there".

As a youngster, I had the privilege of "being there" with my father, who instilled in me an understanding and respect for hunting, fair chase, and obtaining one's own food.

Below, moose camp at daybreak.

Red Willows was the result of research and reference gathered on previous hunts and field trips.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

#336 In the field: Brookgreen Gardens

Entrance to Brookgreen Gardens
Anna Hyatt Huntington's Fighting Stallions
Brookgreen Gardens is a sculpture garden and wildlife preserve located in Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina.  It is the creation of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington who opened the 9000 acre facility in 1931.  It is America's first public sculpture garden and has the largest collection of figurative sculpture by American artists in an outdoor setting in the world.

I am on the Brookgreen Gardens Board of Trustees and have visited the museum and gardens many times . . . most recently, last month for our bi-annual meeting.

On April 15, 16, 17, 2013, I will be teaching a 3-day bird sculpture and anatomy workshop.  Beginners and especially painters  . . .
who over the years, have been among my best students . . . are welcome!
Also, I will be teaching a 5-day workshop at the Scottsdale Artists School
Jan. 21-25, 2013.

Please contact Robin Salmon at
For more information see blog posts #213 - #221 April 18-26, 2012.

Above, I am critiquing a students block-in of a Common Tern