Category Archives: sculpture

monuments to Confederate generals finally gone

not my photo

Yesterday one of my best friends rode with me to D.C. and we had a nice time driving and talking. She’s a black lady I knew for 30 years or more. We worked together at different places in Richmond. There were years we didn’t see each other but we always reconnected.

One topic that came up was the monuments to the Confederate generals being taken down. There might be another one still standing, I’m not sure, but the one I’m thinking about isn’t on Monument Ave. Since I left Richmond 4 years ago and they have messed up Broad St. so bad with rerouting the street it’s really difficult to drive. but that’s a complaint for another day. I rarely drive through Richmond these days.

The thing about the monuments is, when I moved to Richmond from PA. in 1976, one of the first things that concerned me was the Confederate monuments. I knew they would have to come down that long ago and I told people it would be a big problem eventually if they kept them. They told me the monuments belong to the state not the city. As if the city didn’t want to take responsibility for them.

In this photo people are praying for peace.

I wonder why the HMFICs waited until things got really bad before they took the monuments down when I knew it 40 years ago. They knew as well as I did. What? They didn’t want to hear backlash from die hard Confederates? They got some worse backlash than they would have had from Confederates.

I hope this means the Civil War is finally over. (150 years too late)

And as a damn Yankee who was born to rebel, those generals were never my heroes. I hope they replace the monuments with nonpolitical subjects like cool stuff, angels, dragons, dogs and cats, or even crappy modern art would be better than freakin’ dead Confederate generals.

Amazing Sand Castles @ Neptune Festival part 2

People’s Choice by Abe Waterman from Canada

They titled it People’s choice because it has something for everyone. There’s a ballot box for you to vote on your favorite but I didn’t hear that the votes are counted yet.

Don’t those scales look great?

also in “People’s Choice”

A happy dog with a job.

on another corner of “People’s Choice”

Cute free kittens in a box

another side of “People’s Choice”

One side is a dragon. And you can see right through the door of castle on top.

another side of “People’s Choice”

This side gives you an eagle with a snake. That’s for our military. One side is a mermaid, one side a dragon, one side an eagle, a dog, kittens, and there is an angel but she’s hidden by all the awards this won.

4th place

sculptor’s choice

Neptune’s choice.

“In the Depths of Dreams” by Ilya Filimonstev from Russia

This is a close up of the dreamer.

a view of “In the depths of Dreams”
close up from “In the depths of Dreams”

Check out that amazing stick like texture next to a wavy texture!

These are inspiring me to do a sand sculpture. I’ll have to work on a smaller scale. I wonder if the use of Elmer’s glue is permitted to be mixed in the sand when it’s wet. Also, I wonder if it’s allowed to glue sand on sticks or something for that texture.

And like the one in the previous post with the keyhole, did they make a frame in the keyhole shape and build around it instead of carving the keyhole all the way through?

There are 18 sand sculptures in the show. You pay $5 to get in and $10 for the parking but it’s worth it. There are a lot of tents set up for a mile or so up the boardwalk (which is made of cement) next to the beach with stands selling art, and the community sponsors of the festival, souvenirs etc. There are free concerts too. I’d go back to see 10,000 Maniacs but I’ve had enough of being in a crowd for now. 10,000 Maniacs, I love the the singer’s voice and just last week was listening to them on Spotify so I was happy to see they’re playing here this weekend.

Amazing Sand Sculptures @ the Neptune Festival

The Lost Kitty of Atlantis by Meredith and Dan Doubleday from Florida

This photo doesn’t show the lost kitty.

a close up with tiny Atlantean petting giant tortoise
There’s the lost kitty in a seashell behind the tortoise.

This won a Neptune’s Choice award.

Reigning Cats and Dogs by Peter Vogelarr from Canada

Cats and dogs were popular subjects this year. I saw them on a few of the sculptures. Here are a couple cool cats lounging around their castle.

the dogs of Reigning Cats and Dogs.

They’re in the castle yard. I guess the cats rule. It won 5th place.

The Destiny by Bagrat Stepanyan and Alexey Vazhnsky from Russia and Ukraine

That keyhole cut out is a masterpiece of sand carving. I wonder how they did that.

the front of The Destiny

They give you this quote from William Shakespeare, “It’s not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

I have more sand sculpture pix. I’ll try to sort them out and post more later.

Washed Ashore @ Norfolk Botanical Garden

Water Bottle Jelly / nylon ropes, water bottles, bottle caps, buoys, stitched water bottle bottoms

It stopped raining and it’s not too hot so I went to Norfolk Botanical to walk and took my camera because I wanted to have another look at these sculptures made from beach litter.

Octavia the Octopus / disposable lighters, bottle caps, beach toys, dog leash, buoys, plastic chair, plastic cooler, plastic goose decoy

You can look in under her legs and see more stuff arranged.

This looks like a lot of fun to make these junk sculptures and I hear it’s a big trend these days. I’d join in but I don’t have the space to make sculpture. When I was young I thought sculpture was more fun than drawing and painting. It’s just not practical for me to get into.

Sebastian the Puffin / bottle caps, flip flops, shoe soles, tires, disposable lighters, toy truck wheels, car oil bottles

Rufus the Triggerfish / 8 umbrella handles, flip flop factory discards, toy shovels, bottle caps, chair back, 2 legs of chairs, parts of plastic baskets, water bottles

Daisy the Polar Bear / daisies on her cheeks, cooler lids, floats, water bottles, umbrella handles, toothbrushes, soap pump, hard hat, toy tires

I couldn’t spot the daisies.

Finn the Maco Shark / toy boat, toothbrushes, spray bottle top, eyeglasses, bottle caps, lighters, tent spikes, knife handles, fan blades

Gum drop Jelly Reef / toy truck, tires, bucket, sand toys, spray bottle, golf balls, car bumper, brushes, tool box lid

Greta the Great White Shark / toy car bumper, shovel, water bottles, face mask, lighter, bottle caps, beach toys,

looking into Greta’s mouth

This is my favorite photo from today.

That’s a lot of bronze


photo lifted from stock

This is just one of many in question. Do they have any plans for all the statues? I have an idea.

Why not open a contest to artists for plans for new statues? I think the metal can be recycled. Is that possible? Would it make it less expensive to make new statues if they could recycle the bronze? Is anyone going to the public meetings on the fate of the statues? I’m not going, but if you’re going to the meetings, maybe you could suggest it.

I’d work up a small clay model of something non offensive and enter the contest if there was no charge to enter.  Like a dragon, that would be cool, or a mermaid because I live at the beach.

They should make the contest free to enter and let the public decide what they want on the pedestals. That would be fair. The public arts commission shouldn’t be trusted to make the decision because they have really bad taste sometimes and might give us something lame because one of their friends entered it and they need to return a favor.   In fact, maybe the public arts commission should be disbanded for letting the monuments stay there until they got torn down. I mean, how out of touch can they get?

If some old confederate wants to buy the monuments and would pay the cities for them. that would be fair too. Then the buyer  could keep the bronze.

Hey, I’m a damn Yankee, I always knew they’d have to come down some day and the confederate generals are not my heroes either. You can ask my friends in Richmond. I told them there would be a big problem and no one could take any responsibility for doing something about it. That would be proactive. It would never happen.

Lego sculptures @ Norfolk Botanical Garden


Gardener with Grandchild – 76,840 legos, 740 hours to buildIMG_2437

Birdbath – 14,802 legos, 200 hoursIMG_2438

Peacock – 68,827 legos, 200 hoursIMG_2439

Giant Bloom of Violet Pansy – 29,314 legos, 740 hoursIMG_2440

Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly – 27,788 legos, 515 hoursIMG_2441

Bonus photo , daffodils. Looks like it might be an early spring here. I’m going back this week to sketch a Magnolia branch so I can use those studies of magnolia flowers I did last year in a finished pastel drawing.

The legos are making me want to buy a set. What a fun inspiration for kids of all ages!

sand sculptures from the Neptune Festival


This one won two first prizes. It’s called “Worshippers of the Point” by Karlise Ile from Latvia.IMG_2113

In this photo you can see the little worshippers and one is going up the ramp to the goddess.IMG_2115

This one is a team effort by Sue McGrew and Kirk Rademaker  from Washington and California titled “Blackberry Blossom”. How did they do that multi layered intricate carving? IMG_2121

This is the other side of Blackberry Blossom. IMG_2116

This one is titled “150 % Organic” by Jakob Zimacek  and Jan Zelinka from the Czech Republic. It looks like the broccoli is going to eat the people.IMG_2117

This one is “Emerge” by Jonathan Bouchard and Jacinthe Trudel from Canada.IMG_2120

The other side of Emerge.

This is only a few of my favorites. They have 22 in all. What an inspiration! I always wished I could do sand castles like that!

Bald Eagle charcoal sketch


My model is made of bronze. This is just a start. I couldn’t draw small enough to fit the whole bird on the page so I want to transfer it to a larger paper and go back tomorrow if the nice weather holds out. When I go back I’ll make some corrections. I’ll finish the feathers more and draw white feathers on him. I should look up eagles to be sure because the sculpture doesn’t have the white feathers colored white.

There are so many beautiful bronze animals around here. This one is at Norfolk Botanical. I bet they’re all made by David Turner. I love that guy’s work. At Seashore State Park they have a beautiful red fox in bronze which I also want to draw.

I’m one of those artists who think there’s nothing more beautiful than nature and it should be represented in art as closely as possible to reality.


otter / charcoal and chalk


My model is made of bronze. He’s at Norfolk Botanical Garden where I found a whole bunch of bronze birds and animals.

It was nice out this morning, not too hot and humid. I found a great place to stand and draw under a magnolia that is starting to bloom. When the weather gets warm I look for a shady place to sketch. There was a little breeze and the otter was in the sun.

It’s only drawing practice. I might never use this sketch in a painting, but if I ever want an otter for a painting I have one.

Wine makes her happy


When I started drawing this statue I thought she looks high. She’s smiling and her eyes are half closed. Then I saw she has grape leaves in her hair. She must be drunk!


This is my model. She’s in a large formal garden at Norfolk Botanical. I’m still doing portrait practice by sketching statues because they’re free and they don’t move. My friends and family don’t want to pose long enough for me to get a finished drawing. At least if I do find a free live model some time in the future, the time I’ve spent sketching statues will help me get a likeness.

After sketching a bunch of statues of male artists, it was nice to draw a pretty girl. I’ll go back to the sculpture garden with the famous dead guys again and do more of them but I took a little break from them.IMG_2049

This is another pretty girl in the same formal garden. Unfortunately, her nose is broken which will make it more of a challenge to draw her. I’ll have to use the magic of art to fix her nose after I get a little better at portraiture.

About ten years ago I practiced figure drawing and portraiture in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. I got the inspiration to draw the stone angels and was working on that for about six weeks when a good friend died suddenly and I was totally shattered. I hung around in the cemetery a lot for a couple years and drew most of the angels. It was the best therapy for me. Every day I was reminded that I’m still alive because I was standing over all these dead people. Hollywood Cemetery is very special. I’m not superstitious. I never saw a ghost, but the cemetery was my refuge from the world and it made a better artist out of me. And it helped me recover in some weird way, when my life went down the tubes back then.

After spending a lot of time sketching in the cemetery I wanted to draw some angels that were broken. I figured out how to draw a missing hand on a broken angel by copying a hand of another angel to fit. I felt like I kind of fixed the broken one when I could do that, and I knew my drawing skill was improving. That’s why I want to try again by putting a nose on this broken statue’s face.

I was very happy to find all these statues at Norfolk Botanical so I can continue to what I started ten years ago.