My bronzes range from $1,800 to $150,000. The bronzes featured on this website all range from $1,080 to $8,500. For other three-dimensional work, such as the wall sculptures, the price range is $100 to $295.95.
Full-time, professionally since 1989. Before that I was represented by galleries all over the South- and Northwest, but I worked for another artist, running his "foundry." I started sculpting bronze in 1986.
1. Create the original. I use oil based clay but you could use wood, marble, water based clay or almost anything.
2. Make a Master Mold. There are several steps involved here.
3. Make a Wax duplicate of the original.
4. Gate and Sprue the wax.
5. Invest the wax (Make a Waste Mold)
6. Burn-Out. This step makes the ceramic shell investment hard and removes the wax from inside it.
7. Pour the Bronze. Molten bronze is poured into the heated waste mold.
8. Chip-De-gate-Blast. Chip off the ceramic shell waste mold. It cannot be re-used. For every bronze there must be a separate wax and waste mold.
The added gates and sprues must be cut off. Then the raw bronze is further cleaned of the "shell" or ceramic waste mold by sandblasting.
9. Chasing. All the flaws must be corrected by use of TIG welding, grinding, sanding and other surface treatments. Any parts that were cast separately must now be welded on. The finished bronze is then sand-blasted again to prepare for the final step
10. Patination. Chemicals are applied to control the oxidation process and produce a variety of colors. Then the piece is waxed or lacquered to prevent further oxidation.
11. Base. A base is usually applied to smaller bronzes.
I have used many different kinds. What I'm using now was left over from a twice-life-size monument I did in 1992. Though it's rather soft, I've gotten pretty used to it: Classic Clay, available from J.F.McCaughin in Chatsworth, CA.
I also have used HBX2, which is very hard and good for fine detail. Unlike most other modeling clays, it can be used only once.
Chavant makes several very good sculpting clays which I highly recommend.
Because it doesn't exist! I sculpt in clay most of the time which is not a permanent medium. I mush up the clay and use it again. Also, many times the original must be cut up in order to make the mold. In the case of the wall sculptures, that wood is so old and fragile, it is damaged beyond repair.
I accept PayPal, Money Orders, Wire Transfers and Personal Checks. Click the "Contact Us" button and tell me which one you're interested in and how you'd like to pay. You can E-mail via the link on this website or phone me.
A limited edition means that the artist is honor-bound to produce no more than a designated number of copies. In bronze-casting, that number is determined before the mold is even made. Generally, the original is destroyed in the mold-making process so only those few copies will ever exist.
It guarantees the value of each copy. Suppose you buy number 5 of 30 copies. You don't know that early in the edition IF all the copies will ever sell, but if they all do, then you have a consensus of opinion (from the other buyers) that it was a good investment. Since there will never be any others, yours is sure to appreciate in value.
Those who buy early in the edition assume the most risk. They don't know if they have invested in a piece that will sell out and therefore cause their investment to at least hold its value. Those who buy later in the edition at least know that x number of people before them have purchased the same piece and agree that it is worth the investment. They are risking less and the piece is proving its value at the same time. It is worth more later in the edition for this reason.
Proofs and copies are virtually the same thing. Usually a proof is a piece that is cast so that all the others can be gauged by it. It assures that every succeeding casting will be exactly like it. Proofs are assumed to be the most perfect of all castings in the edition.
There aren't any hard and fast rules. It depends on the artist. Most of my sculptor friends and I agree that ten percent of the total edition is fair. This means that there can be a "mini-edition" of three artist's proofs in addition to a numbered edition of 30.
This might be controversial, but I believe it would. It is a smaller, more exclusive edition in itself and it is assumed that artist's proofs or copies are held to a higher standard and so are more "perfect."
It used to be because in the old days, when we used gelatin molds, only three waxes could be pulled from a mold. So, one of the three waxes would be used to make another gelatin mold. This continued for perhaps 6 or 7 molds. As you can imagine, the detail would become less and less as each copy of a copy was molded.
Today, we use silicone rubber molds, which don't deteriorate very fast. All the waxes are made from this one mold. While it is possible that a final wax can be less perfect that the first, nowadays the last few bronzes are more perfect than the first!
Fine art bronze casting is an imprecise science. We can't afford multiple millions of dollars to engineer perfect molds and perfect casting techniques for every sculpture. Because it's just everyone's best guess how to mold, gate and pour each casting, as the edition goes along, the inevitable problems get worked out.
Similarly, the wax caster and the welder-chasers who put the metal back together after casting, get to know each particular sculpture and they can do a better job after having completed several, too.
GAIL is a bronze sculptor who started sculpting bronze in the early 1980's. Before that she did one-of-a-kind relief carvings that were cast in paper. Today she lives in a log cabin in the Rim Country (Zane Gray wrote about this area) of northern Arizona.
It can be any number of complicated long-chain polymers or polyols. It is always a two-part liquid to begin with; one being the base and the other being the "activator." The resin used to reproduce GAIL's wall sculptures is the same polyol used commonly in the furniture industry as a wood substitute.
Absolutely! My first love was horses and we always had several; it was a hands-on approach. Later, for the brief time I lived in Minnesota I was privileged to see loons, moose and wolves in the wild as well as captive animals. I have elk coming near my property in Arizona as well as smaller deer, eagles and others I have not committed to sculpture as yet.
No. The bronze itself really is that color. Since bronze is made mostly of copper and copper oxidizes many different colors, depending upon its environment, bronze can be made many different colors. This is called "patina."
With the use of chemical acids and heat, the oxidation of the metal can be speeded up and controlled. Usually, the acids are applied with a brush, but they may be sprayed on or the bronze may be dunked into a solution or even buried for a time in sawdust and water or exposed to fumes.
Most patina chemicals have been around for centuries. The basis for the dark brown color most of us associate with bronze is nitric acid.
The liquid and crystal forms of the acids can be dangerous. Copper will kill plants, though I know of no reason anyone could have for disposing of the material. It gets used up in patination altogether too quickly. If you make your own patinas, you might have nitric acid on hand and of course, caution must be taken in handling and storage.
Inhaling the fumes that result during the patination process can be dangerous. After the patina is completed, there is no danger.
Even though the process has been around for hundreds of years, someone is always coming up with a new twist.
There are only a few "workhorse" acids that are most useful on bronze: cupric nitrate, ferric nitrate and liver of sulfur. Cupric nitrate results in an blue-green color and is very opaque. Put on burnished bronze lightly, it will result in a yellowish, transparent color. Put on sandblasted metal, it is the usual blue-green. It is often the base for other colors. Too much heat will result in blue-black.
Ferric nitrate ranges from yellowish and transparent to rusty brown to dark brown and black depending upon how much acid and how much heat is applied.
"liver of sulfur" or sulfured potash is a cold patina. It is applied to cool metal and must be rinsed. It results in a warm black.
Various layers of these acids result in a variety of colors.
After the patina is completed, the metal is sealed with either wax or lacquer to prevent further oxidation.