This week's blog is written by Carl Sandeen of Kristi Usher Fine Art. Carl's wife Kristi is a bronze sculptor of Western themes as well as a two-dimensional artist with oil, pencil and ink. Kristi's work is known for realism and projects her intimate knowledge of horses, dogs and the cowboy way of life.
Building a body of work can be greatly enhanced with a commission, and a big one came to Kristi from the Ellensburg Rodeo Association, one of the nation’s top ten rodeos. Bronze sculp-ture is an expensive medium, so when a call came from Ellensburg, Washington to produce seven rodeo events, one each year for seven years, the answer was a definite “yes.” Kristi would ride in the parade each year, have guaranteed sales, and begin to establish loyal collec-tors in central Washington.
Having raised horses and cowboys while squeezing in time to pursue her passion for art crea-tion, made Kristi a candidate for this coveted commission. Now, years later, in galleries and Western art shows, those rodeo pieces often sit front and center in a body of work encompass-ing the Western way of life.
It has always been fun for Kristi to come up with creative names for her bronzes and to add a touch of poetry to each piece. At shows it’s fun to have a patron stop and read the plastic plac-ard while commenting on her ability to capture the action and fine detail of a rodeo event. Kristi named her bull rider “Double Tough”, and wrote:
The bull is just plain ornery
Like a freight train on a track
He'll unseat anyone who dares
To climb upon his back
The cowboy is determined
His will to ride is strong
He manages to stay aboard
When seconds seem so long
There's eight of 'em to deal with
And when you think they've had enough
They keep on dancin' round and round
This pair is "double tough"
In addition to the bull riding event, Kristi sculpted the saddle bronc “Diggin’ Deep”, the barrel racer “Turn ‘N Burn”, the bareback bronc “Marked Out”, bulldogging “Down ‘N Dirty”, team rop-ing “Ropes & Hopes”, and calf roping “Quick Catch.”
This week's blog was written by Steve Yarosh who creates original sculpted inlay art.
Art is an Action
I remember the first time my parents took me to an art gallery. I was 11-years old and I noticed right away that my mom and dad behaved differently there – more formal and polite. Not like they were at home. This was more like church -- stuffy and fake.
And there was a lady in a long dress who worked there. She wore her hair high on her head and smelled like perfume. But she was seemed a little mean as she walked around pointing at pictures and talking -- as my parents nodded politely and followed. I looked at one of the pictures she pointed to. It felt grey and sad – and I turned away and looked out the window. A bus rumbled by. I wondered where it was going . . . .
When we got home I changed back into my jeans and went outside to play. None of my friends were home. There was nothing to do, and I kept thinking of that lady in the gallery and how weird my parents acted there. I went back inside – to my room. I laid on my bed and wondered what I should do.
On my desk there were some markers. Magic markers my mom bought me a long time ago. She had put them in an old coffee cup next to a stack of scratch paper, but I never used them. They seemed like they were for younger kids.
I sat down at the desk and dumped the markers out of the mug. They rolled across the surface of my desk with a nice rattling sound.
I grabbed a sheet of paper and started to draw.
I made a flower – a big happy flower with lots of colors for the petals. And I drew curling clouds with happy faces. I laughed a little at what I’d done. It was fun. It made me feel good!
So I did it again. Only this time with trees and birds, a big mountain and the sun shining over all of it. I redrew my world . . . and I was okay again.
That’s how I discovered the secret power of art. All along I thought it was about critics and connoisseurs – but I was wrong! It isn’t about them at all. It’s about you . . . and the act of creating. It’s about tapping into hidden places and re-creating yourself. You make your own spirit . . . and art is a way to do this.
Now selling . . . well that’s another question entirely.
This week's blog was written by visual artist, Lea K. Tawd.
Have you heard about our Community Bowl Project yet? Every 1st Thursday you can stop by the shop from 2-6 and paint your own bowl for free! If you are in love with your masterpiece, you can come back to purchase it for only $10. 100% of the proceeds go to Sisters of the Road Cafe, a local non-profit that helps feed the homeless. Or you can leave it and we will offer it up for sale to someone else.
This project is for all ages--I brought my 3 year old in and she painted her bowl for over an hour (supervised--I opted to come paint my own another time). Now she always wants to use her "painted bowl." This would be a great way to take care of some early holiday gifts, too! Bowls are dishwasher and microwave safe.
This project is thanks to the generous time and materials donation by one of our glass artists, Michael Barley.
Our next 1st Thursday event is on September 7th--be sure to drop by to paint a bowl! While you're here you can browse the art, have a snack, and enjoy a tasting from a local distillery.
Still have questions? Check out our feature on KGW news!