Category Archives: Blog

Drawing Group: Embracing The Flaming Struggle

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Life Drawing, more than any other medium, is like an improvised performance. For three hours the model strikes poses and the artist must recreate them, call and response. It all happens in the moment. There is no plan. If a drawing doesn’t come together in the time the model can hold the pose, the page is turned and the next pose commands our attention. There is little time to admire achievement, or register disappointment. Michelangelo famously, toward the end of his life, burned most of his drawings. He didn’t want anyone to see the struggle, he explained. We are all…

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Sculpture by Jay Hall Carpenter

Poetry, Three More Things:

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As Valentines Day approaches your thoughts may turn to poetry, as have my own. Three things fascinate me regarding poetry and the mind, and I shall set them down here. The Cadence: First is the ability of the simple arrangement of words to churn the imagination. The order of any commonplace sentence can lie inert or bubble to life. By example, I was thinking about my friend Sam, a WWII vet, and his recent funeral: “We buried him today. It was raining.” Not much there, but when I happened to think of “We put him in the ground today, in…

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Darth Vader and Other Stars

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As Star Wars is back in the American conscience, I will relate my brief encounter with greatness, Darth Vader. I had the great honor and pleasure of sculpting for the National Cathedral from 1976 through 1996 and became the Cathedral’s first Artist-in-Residence. I designed in clay all of the 400 or so grotesques and gargoyles, angels and other decorations on the West Towers. In the 1980s, while its west towers were under construction, the Cathedral held a decorative sculpture competition for children. Word of the competition was spread nationwide through National Geographic World Magazine. The third-place winner was Christopher Rader of Kearney, Nebraska,…

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