Archives for Bronze

Three-Dimensional Delights

I made my first—and, as I recall, my last—attempts at sculpting when I was in elementary school. Those “works of art” consisted of an ashtray—why, I don’t know; neither of my parents smoked—and an elephant with several holes on its back, strategically placed to hold pencils. I quickly learned that art was not my calling and turned to other endeavors. Fortunately for us, the five artists we feature here did not give up so easily. Of course, they had the talent—and the fortitude—to pursue their dreams of becoming artists and, in the process, have brought immeasurable joy to countless art
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A Lifelong Journey

The first sculpture Bill Nebeker cast was of two mountain men. He had been crafting small clay pieces at his kitchen table in the evenings, after working all day with other artists at George Phippen’s Bear Paw Bronze Foundry in Skull Valley, near Nebeker’s home in Prescott, Arizona. “It was pretty crude,” Nebeker admits. But it sold. So did the others he made after it. It wasn’t long before he was making more selling sculptures than he was at the foundry, so he gave up his job and starting sculpting full time: cowboys, mostly, but also Native Americans and wildlife.
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‘My Best Years are Still Ahead’

The first few years after moving to the United States were the lowest in Mick Doellinger’s life. In 2003, he sold his home, his furniture, his taxidermy business, and his studio in Australia to come to America and become a wildlife sculptor. He certainly hadn’t expected it to be easy, but he didn’t realize how lonely it would be. “I had no resources, no family, no safety net,” Doellinger says. “But I knew that, if I wanted to be a full-time sculptor, the United States was where I needed to be.” He also knew that he couldn’t really go home:
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Doing it His Ways

Greg Woodard has been known as a carver, a sculptor and a falconer. He’s worked with wood, clay, bronze, and concrete. And he’s created everything from eagles and buffalo to cowboys and past presidents. “I like adventure,” Woodard admits. “Not many of my pieces are like the last.” One of his recent pieces is a sculpture representing President Ulysses S. Grant and the $50 bill. It’s a concrete column with Grant’s head at the top and then the words on the bill depicted almost like petroglyphs below. Woodard calls it a totem, in part because it represents the importance that
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The Studio of David Lemon

The old saying that “good things coming in small packages” could very well be applied to the studio in which Montana-based sculptor David Lemon creates his legendary Western bronzes. The intricate design and historically accurate detail in each piece belies the fact that these captivating images are being brought to life in a working space not even as large as the average bedroom, an area that Lemon describes as a “cozy space, one in which he is comfortable responding to his creative muses. David Lemon (Montana) The Protector Bronze 26″ High
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‘Plenty Left to Do’

Gerald Balciar and his wife Bonnie start every day with a walk around their property. They loop around the 10-acre plot near Parker, Colorado, three times, weaving between the trees they planted when they moved there 26 years ago. As they walk, Balciar counts bluebirds. “Most days we see eight or 10 of them,” he says. “When I get an idea, I grab a magic marker, a crayon, whatever I can find, and quickly sketch it out,” he says. “Sometimes, I just write it out. If I don’t, I’ll forget it, and I don’t want to do that.” Balciar has
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Spiritual Connection

Riding, roping, and sculpting are the things Greg Kelsey’s dreams are made of. Deep inside this sculptor beats the heart of a cowboy. He is the intrepid soul who likes to stand on the precipice of the future and hurl himself headlong over the edge to pursue his dreams. If it doesn’t always look real pretty, chalk it up to opportunities—not challenges—that have served well him during his 45 years on this earth. From childhood on, Kelsey was drawn to the natural world, coming from a long line of ranchers and rural dwellers. He also was drawn to art at
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Creative Freedom

“Right now, I have three life-sized brown bears in my studio,” reports Joshua Tobey, sounding far less perturbed than other people might be under similar circumstances. “I also have three different African table-top pieces in progress. And my job today is to push all that aside and conceptualize a new sculpture for my show in Oregon next month.” Brown bears in the studio, multiple works in various stages of progress, new pieces to dream up, a calendar full of trips to art shows and foundries—it’s a fairly representative slice of the life of the bronze artist, who has been creating
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Finding His Voice

While preparing for a massive show in 2013, Montana sculptor Tim Shinabarger found himself spending 70 hours a week in the studio. Stepping away from the show circuit maelstrom and what he describes as the marketing treadmill that consume so much of an artist’s time brought with it a wonderful surprise. Spending that much quality time in his studio put the sculptor in a new artistic space, a place of skill and confidence that was unprecedented for him. Even though Shinabarger’s past experience in taxidermy had provided him with an in-depth understanding of animal anatomy, this intense concentration reawakened his
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‘There’s an Honesty to Sculpture’

Before Rod Zullo became a fine artist, he was a fisherman. For 10 years, he worked on big sport fishing boats in the Caribbean, logging 14-hour days for months at a time. Those long hours of hard work served as great preparation for him, as he traveled the road to becoming the award-winning sculptor he is today. They allowed Zullo to save up enough money to enroll at Montana State University in Bozeman, where he studied studio arts. They provided an opportunity for him to learn how to schmooze with clients and enjoy the social side of work. They gave
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