We spent a week at the
The school is very different than a college or special arts institute. SAM says “modern old-fashioned fun.” It was invigorating to me. It reminded us that there is still a whole world of wonderful people, arts and things to learn out of cell phone range and off the Internet matrix, like when SAM and I were growing up. The accommodations, food (all fresh), quality of the classrooms, wonderful instructors, and the “atmosphere” were all so nourishing for us. We’re goin’ back!
I took a wood carving course with Pete LeClair. This man, and my fellow students, have added immensely to my life. Carving wood figures and portraits balances my love of human faces and wood, the fascinating material we engaged in shaping. Subtractive sculpting – where you remove the wood that is not going to be part of your portrait – is a huge challenge to this now largely digital artist. It is analog, like the old days with paper ink pen and brushes, but it is also 3D, and there is very little you can do to “fix” a mistake. So planning is key and care in the process is essential – a special challenge for my impatient nature. Pete was one of the most methodical artists I have ever met. He was very patient and let me make my mistakes. Most artists are self-taught. Fundamentals and theory can provide a useful framework, but in the end, it is practice, practice, and more practice. While we practice it is essential that we enjoy the activity or we become discouraged and stop practicing. I have a lot to learn. I can hardly wait.
Like most creative arts there is also the necessity of tools. Pete de-emphasized this aspect telling me you only really need a sharp knife, and maybe a few gouges and something to sharpen them with. We’ll see how that goes…
Pete was always the first one there and stayed late each night for extra time and help. His enthusiasm, his joy in his craft, was inspiring. He is a happy man bringing smiles to our world. (3rd from left, back row with the hat.)
“Keep your thumb on the wood!”
See more of Pete LeClair on YouTube.