Monday, March 10, 2008

Down From The High Lonesome (Part 1)

Many months, and sometimes years, spent in the mountain valleys, weathering the cold, rain, and blistering heat, a Mountain Man comes Down from the High Lonesome. This is the idea that sprang into my head as I lay on my left side in bed this morning, stretching my right arm back behind me, to work out a kink in my shoulder. These happen more the older I get. Well at that instant, the vision of my next clay popped into my head, of a mountain man coming down a rocky twisted trail from up in the mountains.
I can't explain how I see a piece when an idea comes into my head. I don't actually see it. I feel it's shape and form. As if I were touching a three dimensional figure. I feel the hooves of the horse as they step over fallen rock. I become the horse, it's muscles and bones moving, it's head turning in the direction of it's careful step, as it changes it's direction of descent. I feel the sway of the man, moving to the horses movement. His left hand senses the cold steel of his rifle through the doe skin sheath that covers it. The fringe on that sheath moving to the movement of the horse and man. I feel his face, grimacing with the pain of hours in the saddle, as age starts to tell him, a comfortable rocking chair would be an ideal place to sit, and not on the Santa Fe style saddle that squeaks under his weight, and to the horses shifting anatomy, as his Cayuse picks it's way down the rocky trail. The saddles rawhide covered parts groaning at it's joints. The sound of pebbles and rock, echoing off the canyon walls, as they rolling down the steep mountain side. His Crow Indian wife, uncomplaining, rides, on her horse, behind him.
The vision of her just popped into my head as I sit here writing.
Ideas sometimes take years to form in my head. To get to this point, it took about a week of reading, watching movies, playing games on my computer. All the while in the back of my head, trying to come up with an idea. Many artists have different ways of coming up with a vision. I try to do anything but sculpt or draw. I do those things that relax me. I just clear my mind.
It's kinda like when you taste different wines and then to clear your pallet, you swish water in your mouth, before drinking the next glass of a different vintage. Well I've been clearing my pallet.
I freed my mind of the last clay I'd been working on. Making way for the new idea to take hold. I have to be excited about the idea, to do my best, with it.
Well now it's time for me to do my research. Clean my studio, from the months of clutter and reference materials that are stacked there. Putting them in order. Then creating the armature to hold the clay. This all takes time. All the while the vision I had this morning matures. I call friends with my idea. Bounce it off of them. I listen to their knowledgeable input, then I start applying clay. Creating something that may have been, but never had been seen, in the empty air above my sculpting stand.
Stay with me. I'll add photo's of this creative process here on my blog, over the next few weeks and maybe months. You'll be a part of my creativity. Hopefully you'll experience a little of what I experience on this road to, Down from the High Lonesome.