(To listen to the audio of this blog post, use the purple play button.)
· Bouncy’s Tall Tale by J. Alex Potter ·
On today’s blog J. Alex Potter, my wife, shares her creativity about creativity! You will see her fine art, and as a bonus, you can hear her audio tape.
KISS THE SKY
(1) My husband and I live in the country where the peace and quiet energizes me. We share the property with all sorts of wildlife, and we are located exactly under the flyways for migratory butterflies, pelicans, and Canada geese. This is my gateway to creativity.
(2) Creativity is different for everybody. For me it is whimsical and unpredictable. It’s something that’s not me. I don’t know where it comes from so I never know exactly when I’m going to connect with it. You have to be ready for it. I learn to wait and listen.
(3) Inspiration can come to you anywhere: waiting in line at the grocery store, a glimpse at the sky between the trees, driving the car. For me it often comes at night as I’m falling asleep. Ideas arrive in a manic rush – demanding I furiously scribble notes to myself.
(4) The process starts with an idea but I don’t get my hands in the clay right away. I take my time to savor and enjoy the possibilities. This waiting is important because I don’t want to miss anything. The most important part is the part you can’t even see.
(5) An artist is a problem solver. I want to make art that brings joy. Art that shows a glimpse of someone elses world. The job is to magically turn nothing into an illusion that reflects emotion, feelings, memories, yearnings and possibilities.
HANDS IN CLAY
(6) When I work with the clay I go by the feel, often with my eyes closed. I like a wet, sticky clay that’s pliable. I use porcelain paper clay reinforced with cellulose that burns out when it’s fired. It’s easy to make changes, it’s strong, and resists cracking.
(7) Sometimes a piece takes a long time to model. Because I don’t want to dilute the creativity, I don’t talk about a sculpture until it’s almost finished and all of the parts are clear to me. I keep work wet under a plastic bag until I’m sure there are no more changes.
(8) When it is totally dry I carefully place the piece in the kiln and fire it to a temperature of 2000 degrees. The whole process takes about 24 hours. Finally, the sculpture is painted with layers of acrylic paint. I was a painter for 25 years so this part is a lot of fun.
(9) The names and stories reveal themselves – I don’t make them up. I trust my feelings about when it is “right.” I write the words of the story on the sculpture’s surface to add to the energy . The stories give voice to another perspective and reality.
SID, RHONDA, AND THE BOYS
(10) Sometimes the subjects are a surprise to me – they are things I get to find out about in the process. The piece I want to talk about tonight came from an everyday experience that was the springboard for a sculpture about a dog and the day he was having.
JIM AT WINDOW
(11) The sculpture, Bouncy’s Tall Tale, started with my husband washing dishes at the kitchen sink. He was looking out the window when he saw the neighbor’s dog sniffing around a flower bed where we had stuck a turkey feather in the ground for decoration.
RAINBOW WIG ALEX
(12) Then he saw the dog steal the feather and take it back home! When Jim told me about that event, I knew I wanted to make a sculpture! I was excited about it but it took several months for all the parts to come together.
(13) Many details go into the preparation of a sculpture. We don’t have a dog so I had to research dog anatomy. What color would Bouncy be? How big? I had to decide what Bouncy’s posture and facial expression would be. What did he want to say?
(14) The feather was a trophy so it needed to have an important part in the composition, too. I studied the markings and colors of turkey feathers to find the right one. There are a lot of details to figure out…
(15) And here he is! The neighborhood dog who inspired the sculpture! Thanks to Bouncy (we don’t know his real name), I’d like to tell you a little story… This is “Bouncy’s Tall Tale”….
(16) Before he ever saw Rogena, young Bouncy dreamed of chasing her.
He smelled her footprints and wondered about her. Is she bigger than me? How fast can she run with only two feet? Could she climb like the cats? He thought about her all the time.
(17) When he finally saw her, Bouncy couldn’t believe his eyes! Rogena was beautiful! Majestic! And she was Big! She had two feet like he guessed, skinny legs, and a little blue head. But then he saw it! SHE HAD WINGS!
(18) His heart sank. He would never win a race with her if she could fly!
Then one morning when he was on his regular patrol, he saw it there on the ground! One of Rogena’s feathers! What luck!
BOUNCY’S SIDE SMILE
(19) Bouncy smiled. He gently took the wonderful feather in his mouth and turned to trot home. He couldn’t wait to tell everyone how he won a 100 mph race with the turkey queen. And here was the proof – one of her feathers!
BOUNCY’S FULL FRONT
(20) Brownie would be impressed. Biscuit would be jealous. But they would both say, “Bouncy, you’re such a GOOD BOY!”
Until next time, happy writing and reading!