In this issue...
  • Chesterwood 2008
  • The Noble Elephant
  • Finish and Patina
  • Maxi-Basic
  • Here and There
  • New Work

  • Bulls or Bears (or Elephants), a durable sculpture withstands the market and the climate!
    Enhance Your Garden with Sculpture
    Summer/Fall 2008


    Greetings from Sculpturedale.

    Another busy season in the studio. My sculpture heads off to enliven more spaces in more states. Even with an economic downturn, people are finding that art is a good place to invest. Especially so, in very durable sculpture, an investment that can be enjoyed every time you look out your window all year round. Gardens are increasingly an important feature of home properties, and the ultimate "staycation" is right on your own turf. All of this adds up to more work for me, and fortunately nothing makes me happier than spending my hours in my studio. Even though steel and bronze is rising in price, I have so far been determined to keep my prices steady, at least for the time being.

    Denis Curtiss

    Article1 Chesterwood 2008

    I am proud to have been selected to have not one, but two, sculptures included in "Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood 2008." Chesterwood is a National Trust for Historic Preservation, which was the home and studio of one of America's foremost sculptors, Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the Lincoln monument, the Concord Minuteman, and much more created a landscape of gardens and woodland walks for rest and contemplation where sculptures frame and enhance his vision and add a counterpoint to nature's forms and patterns. See http://www.Chesterwood.org. It is a beautiful landscape in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. "This year, Chesterwood launches the 30th anniversary of Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood and again provides visitors the opportunity to experience outdoor art amidst the serenity and beauty of the Chesterwood landscape. Through the inspired vision of Guest Curator, Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the De Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park, this year's exhibition captures the essence of Chesterwood through a variety of fun, intriguing and thoughtful works of art." My lion crouches on a stone wall, and my hopping rabbit greets all visitors at the gate. The show is open daily from June 28 until October 15.

    Article2 The Noble Elephant

    The elephant is the noblest of beasts, but none more than this particular one. Noble Horizons is a premiere facility in Salisbury, Connecticut that provides all levels of care and services to the elderly. Noble, as it is known, has beautiful grounds and buildings, with a lake stretching round the back. This year, Friends of the Noble Elephant was formed to successfuly raise the funds to purchase this sculpture to create a "memory garden" on a spot at the entrance. "She will oversee everyone who comes and goes out of Noble from now on, memorializing the memories of those we love and those we've lost. Our Elephant will be there for all to see; the guardian of memories."

    Inspired by the saying that "elephants never forget", the Friends of the Noble Elephant hosted a dedication ceremony. Mentioned was the fitting explanation of where the phrase "an elephant never forgets" originated. In the words of Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins: "The origin of the phrase seems to go back to obsevations that elephants follow the same paths and even hand down genetic memories of directions and places grounds across generations. Each elephant clan has a certain burial place, like many human communities, and always help the dying ones get back there if they are not killed traumatically first. In addition to their travel and burial patterns, it has been demonstrated in the 20th centruy that elephants also have a high friendship skill with humans, as well as developing lasting relationships with other elephants, and in fact do remember individuals of the human and their own species even when separated for decades."

    The Memory Garden at Noble Horizons will be a meaningful place for the families of loved ones living there to spend quiet time as they remember so much of their lives together. It is happy, upbeat spot, where smiles outnumber tears. This is the twentieth elephant that has left my studio for a new home, and it is the most meaningful. In the Spring, the feet of the Noble Elephant will be dancing in forget-me-not flowers that have sprung from the seeds strewn by those it bears memories for through the future years.

    2008 section 3 Finish and Patina

    I am often asked what care is needed for a sculpture after purchase. The simple answer is nothing, really. The natural finish of oxiidized steel will last indefinitely just as is, getting some shades darker over years of exposure. (I make vent holes in all sections so that there can be no moisture trapped inside, so the rusting process does not happen from both sides). Still, there is a step that can be easily taken to insure that the surface tone will not develop further if that is desired. Penetrol is a paint conditioner that may be applied to hold the present color of the rust and add a certain gloss tone. If you like this finish, it would need to be applied about once a year. If you tire of the look, just leave the piece alone and it will return to the original in about eighteen months. Penetrol can be purchased at any good paint department and can be easily applied with a brush (it shows no brush marks). And what about painting? Some buyers have requested that their sculpture be a certain painted color. This is a process that requires sandblasting and professional spraying and baking. I can get an estimate of the cost of this for the buyer to consider adding to the price of the piece. Special care must afterwards be taken to avoid nicks or scratches, just as you must do with your car. Pictured here is one of a pair of black crows that sits on a fence guarding the garden.

    If you own one of my sculptures that stands directly on the ground, I suggest that you place bricks or blocks or stone beneath its feet to keep the heavy sculpture from sinking into the ground and getting its feet constantly wet. These materials flush with the ground will hardly be noticeable but add protection and height to the work.

    2008 section 4 Maxi-Basic

    There are life-size sculptures, and then there were "basics", the small style of simple lines that were asked for by people in apartments. Then came requests for something a bit larger, not to be statements in a large landscaped area. Thus did the "maxi-basic" line emerge! Could I make the Basic Giraffe about four feet tall, a size for a certain feature in a suburban garden? Could I make a terrier to mark the grave of a beloved pet? Like the Basics, this size is just right for certain places or situations. Several "Maxi-Basic" dogs have been easily shipped afar. One, now standing vigil in a memorial garden in Chicago, brought these words back to me: "Denis: Thank you so much! The sculpture exceeded all of our expectations. It is beautiful. We unveiled it this morning - several of our neighbors and my partner's parents were with us - everyone loved her. Commissioning the sculpture and creating a memory book of Maddie and Pepper have been excellent ways to work through grief and to remember our girls.We'll always look at your sculpture as a permanent reminder of Maddie and Pepper . . . especially those wonderful days when they chased squirrels and each other in our yard."

    2008 section 5 Here and There

    Here: lots of visitors! I always welcome people to walk around our gardens and to come into the studio. We are here virtually every weekend, but if you are passing by, take a chance and see if I'm working. Many gardeners enjoyed a "tour" of my wife's gardens, including the Open Garden troopers who found me in their guidebook. I also was discovered at the Trade Secrets day, where three of my pieces drew crowds for a break from the plant sales, who later sought Sculpturedale out to view the entire available collection here. I seem to have become a favorite destination for area senior centers...two towns have returned with busloads of folks who really enjoy walking amid the sculpture for a day's outing. And I'll be an auction item again for the Rotary Club's fundraiser, since last year's Open Studio/Wine and Cheese party was such a success.

    There: Another of my elephants has performed a noble deed. The Darien Nature Center in Darien, CT, organized a wonderful event to educate people about the plight of elephants and to raise funds for the Elephant Sancturary in Tennessee (see www.elephants.com ). One of my elephants was asked to be the centerpiece in their exhibit for the spring show. A different sort of project was making a large key to be ceremoniously presented by the town of Cornwall to the town historian in commemoration of his many years of service and research. It was a symbol to show how he had been "a key to Cornwall's past". And pictured here is something from much farther from Sculpturedale. The editor of a magazine in England, "Windsor This Month", saw my deer and asked if a photo of it could be used on the winter cover. (see www.ascotthismonth.co.uk). The publisher, Alexandra Brown, also author of "Windsor Ablaze!", the story of the Windsor Castle fire and restoration ten years on, thought the deer was a perfect image for this upscale glossy magazine.

    2008 sect 6 New Work

    Crows, a duck, a pouncing cat, a litter of maxi-basics, a greyound, a whippet, a baby elephant, a bronze dancer, and two pigs? What do these creatures have in common? They were all created in my studio since the last newsletter. Have a look at the New Work section of my website for photos and sizes. And check back there once in awhile, because there are several almost complete pieces that are yet to be photographed and displayed. One very big, heavy one is just about to emerge, though I have to take the double door apart to get him out into the light of day!

    Follow up Links
  • www.NewEnglandAiredaleRescue.org
  • www.DenisCurtissSculptor.com
  • www.TheDogShow.biz
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