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Unseen Hand of Water


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My aim with this work was to evoke the mystery around a narrative that has already passed.

 

I had begun the carving before the tragic events in Tohoku, March 2011, and I was certainly struck with how water can reshape our lives as well as create tranquil beauty. I had many moments while making it to reflect on the quiet endurance of the Japanese people in the wake of the destructive Tsunami.

 

During many quiet and restorative hours in Nature, I am fascinated with the ever-changing details of stream beds after high-water events such as spring run-off or a large rainfall. One of the phenomena that appeals to me in this regard is the patterns left by the water in sand-bars, and in the reshaping of sand-bars. Objects large and small, such as logs, stones and twigs come to rest in the sand, creating a small still-life, charged with the power of the water and the mystery of how objects came to their position.

 

A stream-bed focuses several powerful visual and dynamic realities. In the short term, every visit unveils new courses of water, and new arrangements of sticks, stones, leavings and bits. In the longer run, the work of water for ages reveals rocks uplifted when North America and Africa were one continent. I find it impossible to be emotionally unaffected by this display of transformation and beauty, both short and long-term. I hope the evocation of this work will involve the viewer with their own imaginative emotional response.

 

The wood is a very black Ebony. I carved an undulating surface representing the sand patterns, and textured the surface to appear as sand. This texture was done with a triangular chisel point, moved in various angles so that the reflected light would dance as grains of sand might in the light.

 

The stones are made from, iron, lead, two alloys of shibuichi and pure silver. The twig is made from shakudo with traces of gold.

 

 

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Edited by Jim Kelso
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I love it Jim. Your words make me think of the work of Andy Goldsworthy.... Another incredible artist who sees and is inspired by the more subtle patterns in nature.

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Thank you so much for posting this. All of your pieces are astounding, but this one especially captures my imagination.

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Thanks very much guys. Very encouraging. :)

Here's another shot that hints at the highlighting in the Ebony "sand", showing as reflections in an otherwise dark field.

 

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Edited by Jim Kelso
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Jim - that is a wonderful echo of the ripples of time. just beautiful.

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Jim,

 

I believe that you have accomplished your goal. I particularly like your approach to the "sand effect."

The pictures reflect that you were successful in creating the illusion of the presence of different grains of sand. It makes me wonder if this is a technique that you have learned or something that you created yourself. The reason I wonder about this relates to my own struggle with the creative process vs. the technical aspect of a given effect or detail.

The emptiness of 90% of the surface with only that other 10% containing the pebbles and drift wood left to one side, conveys to me the sense of displaced elements by the passing of water that you intended.

 

Thank you for sharing this piece of art.

Edited by Jesus Hernandez
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Thanks very much Jesus.

The sand technique was worked out on a smaller area on the piece before this. Feather In Sand

 

When making that box lid I tried different punches in the Ebony, seeing what was the most effective at creating a “sand” texture. I hadn’t considered that the chisel face, when punched straight down, would give enough surface area to be noticable in a varying light angle. I realized when I saw the effect that it could be used very effectively by varying the position of that face in different areas of the surface. So I stumbled upon this while trying out some punching ideas I hadn’t done before without knowing exactly what I was shooting for.

 

I haven’t noticed this elsewhere that I recall. It could also be used to fine effect on a metal surface. I’ll post a photo of the chisel I used soon.

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Yes, thanks Jesus. In this case, while experimenting, it was all about seeing what was there to see. Sometimes I approach it from a different angle of recreating something I’ve seen on another work. The approach can be more-or-less focused or more-or-less random, but in the end it’s about seeing what’s revealed.

 

Here's a fuzzy wood model of the type of chisel point I used as a punch to get that effect. The tool steel would be of course polished and the face has perhaps slightly less of an angle from the side than seen here. The front-on angle of the point of the face (front-most surface in photo) was wider as well, giving more area to that surface. Hope this makes sense.

 

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Edited by Jim Kelso
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Hello Jim,

 

I dont stop by the forum as often as I used to, but it's always a treat to find something new from you. Wonderfully subtle work as usual. Congratulations on a fine piece.

 

P.

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Thanks Jesus. Hope it's helpful.

 

Another point that seems worth emphasizing is that I almost always consider that any technique should serve the interest of artistry, not the other way around. In other words, as in this piece, I was starting from the point of wanting to convey an expression of something (sand) and found a technique to do that. Sometimes infatuation with a technique can get ahold of you and be driving the bus. Almost always I think this is the wrong way around. This isn’t to discount the importance of technique. It is vital, but putting it in the driver’s seat I think almost always leads to some sort of excess. I had to be careful with the sand punching not to saturate the surface and not have too much directional variation. It’s more on the suggestive end.

 

Jim

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Thanks Jesus. Hope it's helpful.

 

It’s more on the suggestive end.

 

Jim

 

Reminds me of the whole 'are you on the bus, or off the bus' damned electric coolade acid test... still on the brain. Inspiring work, many thanks for the ability to view... and discern...

Damon

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Well every good ride comes to an end. Here’s the Kesey bus after a few years in a swamp.

Thanks for your comment Damon.

 

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Edited by Jim Kelso
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Hi Jim,

 

Been away in Europe for almost a month.

Amazing work as always.

 

Check your mail please.

Very best as always

Edited by Antonio Cejunior
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