Chas Martin Art

sculpture - painting - mentorship

sketch

The Persistence of Rivers

Poppy Dully

Rivers and river canyons have been a recurring theme through my 40 years of painting and sculpture. It started while driving the Kancamagus Highway along the Swift River in New Hampshire. One sketch led to another.

The twisting, converging tributaries recur throughout nature: tree structures, root systems, arteries, appendages and antlers.

River sketch 1977

River sketch 1977

Canyon Layers, ceramic 1984

Canyon Layers, ceramic 1984

Fragile Surface, reductive 5-color block print 1985

Fragile Surface, reductive 5-color block print 1985

River sketch, 1975

River sketch, 1975

Rivers are a primal configuration symbolizing connectivity and confluence. To explore a river is to follow each tributary to its source, then find your way back to the main river channel.  

I’ve never followed a duplicate tributary. Each is unique. The exploration, like jazz, is a journey to the origin of the passage and then to abstraction before returning to the central theme. At the source, you understand another perspective, a new insight of the passage.  

River canyons carve passages through time. It is such and fundamental theme from which to tell a story – once upon a time....

 

Canyon in Three Parts, plaster 1986

Canyon in Three Parts, plaster 1986

Canyon in Three parts (detail)

Canyon in Three parts (detail)

Man Turning into Clouds

Poppy Dully

This piece is still in progress. It started a few weeks ago as a quick graphite and watercolor sketch. I know instantly it would have to become three dimensional. I've been exploring sculpture for several months. This in not new territory. In the early 1980s I did a number of dioramas and free-standing sculptures. I always found it far more engaging to work with images in real space.

After the first sketch came a series of variations in graphite. Once I committed to creating the sculpture, I also decided to take my time and enjoy the process. The sculpture was build from left to right. The base rock was cut from layers of plywood. Next was a brass rod structure to provide a rigid armature for the body. The skeletal structure was added as a construction of wire and rigid cardboard to establish proportions. That was bent and twisted countless times as the two dimensional sketch began to find its spacial form.

The head, chest, pelvis, arm, wing, and legs each move on a different axis. As the body was formed from corrugated cardboard, the final pose took shape. At this point, I was still building left to right. The leg positions were still being changed every time I looked at it. The sculpture did not stand up until the legs were in place. The balance was finally established

Once the legs were finalized, I had to solve the cloud problem. I did not know what material I would use or how I would make it stable enough to last. Experiments with assorted fabrics and media resulted in a cloud-like look that is very rigid.

Creating the surface and attaching the clouds are the final steps. As this reaches completion, I now have a model for additional watercolors.

This piece and its component stages will all be on display for the Portland Open Studios Tour on October 10, 11, 18 and 18.

Visit my studio during those days to see this and other characters in development.

Intersections, Collisions, Coincidences, Fate, etc.

Poppy Dully

When I lived in San Anselmo, California, in the late 70s, I became good friends with Rick Wheeler, a fellow painter. We showed together at a suspicious gallery appropriately named, "The Guilty Bystander." That's another story.  At some point, we designed a set together for a modern dance performance. We also had a show at the "Blue Sky Gallery" in Ashland, Oregon in 1981. During the few years in California, we had many interesting conversations about art, physics, travel.  I lost the connection with him after he helped me move to Oregon in 1981.

Yesterday, I thought about the Blue Sky Gallery. Following whatever instinct kicks in when the latte hits the brain, I searched for and located Rick. And, coincidentally, we have already arranged to meet up again when I'm in Arizona in a few weeks. This road trip was already planned a month or two ago will include Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. I am very much looking forward to sharing perspectives again with a painter whose vision was always so unique. 

I first started painting watercolor on my last trip through the Four Corners - 1980. I am posting a few of these as I look at them again myself. And I'm wondering how time and space has altered my vision and my ability to render it. Or better yet, how to speak through the visual language of pigments, water and paper to express the heartbeat of the earth.