Sponsor: Edmond Visual Arts Commission partnered with Caleb & Terri McCaleb, and Scott & Sally Whipple
I grew up just outside of Denver, Colorado, and first became interested in art as a career in junior high school. I pictured myself as a oil painter in a beautiful studio painting grand landscapes. Fast forward a couple of decades – after attending Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, first as a biology major and then as an art major. I met a cute red headed girl at that time and she ended up becoming my wife in fairly short order. Yea! Charlie Brown does win sometimes!
After our senior year (I left a few classes short of graduating) we moved to Loveland, Colorado, where my family was living. I worked for a few years casting plaster sculptures that were sold in gift stores throughout the country. My interest was piqued and I got to know some of the prominent sculptors that were getting the Loveland sculpture phenomenon rolling. With their encouragement I started sculpting the human figure – mostly children. By that time I was supporting my family as a interior trim carpenter during the day and working on my sculptures in the evening. I was blessed to get into some great galleries, and in pretty short order I was able to support my wife and four children, as a bronze sculptor. (Somewhere in there I did end up earning my bachelor of fine art degree – my mother and grandmother were pleased to no end. Never mind that I was already fortunate enough to be making a living as an artist.)
By that time my work branched out to include depictions of all walks and ages of people. The figure in motion was my favorite theme, but I started getting commissions for a wide variety of placements, both public and private, many of them life size or larger. And more and more I was working with people who lost loved ones. Often these memorials were challenging because of the circumstances surrounding the losses. But I always felt honored to be chosen to help in the healing process. Others were dedicated to past heroes that made substantial contributions to their communities and our country.
The central theme of my work has always been to celebrate the gift of life. My goal is create work that stands on it’s own artistic merit regardless of subject matter. Combining a client’s vision and needs with my own interpretation usually starts out as a challenge but is particularly satisfying. Those projects are team efforts where we all can win.
But what about those dogs and cars? As a diversion from some of the weightier memorials I’ve worked on in that past, I started doing something more whimsical. Is there any creature that enjoys being alive more than a dog riding with it’s head out of a car window? I get a smile, and often a laugh, every time I see that. But I bet they would enjoy it even more if they could drive the car – and classic ones at that! Well, maybe they don’t care what kind of cars they are, but it’s been great fun depicting classic cars with reckless canine drivers and passengers.
I plan on continuing with my more traditional depictions of the human figure but also hope to create more in the reckless dog series.
In the past year I’ve also been working on getting in as much painting practice time as possible. I’m mostly painting in smaller formats: 5 x 7, 6 x 6 and 6 x 8 typically. The smaller size allows me to try out more ideas in a shorter amount of time that larger paintings would. My main interest in in the landscapes around us, but I am also having fun capturing images of automobiles while they are on the road. Working them into compositions that are about fine art first – that just happen to have cars in them is the challenge. That is especially true for cars on paved roads: how does one make pavement look interesting? Value changes along with color variations and dynamic lines – those yellow and white lines can be pretty effective in drawing the eye into the picture – and interesting shadows seem to be working. But no, I haven’t painted any cars driven by dogs yet. That would be ridiculous! (wouldn’t it?)
Pricing will be coming soon on the paintings. Most of them posted so far are nearly finished, but I want to make some minor adjustments on most of them. (Especially on the ones with those paved roads.) But I wanted to post them now as a generous, encouraging friend is displaying some of them along with one of his classic cars in the Cruise Nite Kearney car show in Nebraska. Send me a message if you want more information on anything you see here or if you are interested in commissioning a sculpture or a painting.