Daddy's Christmas Angel

Friday, August 20, 2021

Painting and Sculpture, Loving Both to Make Art


Vermont Marble ©MMSikes

While studying in the Studio Art Department at the College of William & Mary, I fell in love with both sculpture and painting with acrylics. Back then, I met Thomas Thorne who was a proud graduate of Yale University and talked often of his days there. “Dr.” Thorne was especially enamored with thick, juicy acrylic paints that were fairly new at the time. The results when working on stretched canvas were somewhat similar to using oil paints. Dr. Thorne was excited and encouraged me to learn as much about them as I could. Although he was brusque, he took an interest in me and suggested books that I bought and that remain in my art library today.

"Mother and Child"
 I was enrolled in the college and, instead of signing up for regularly scheduled art classes, I took studio art each semester. My class could be studio painting, studio sculpture, studio printmaking, etc. It was art heaven for me, so I took two studio classes each semester, painting and sculpture.

I’m not sure what drew me to sculpture at W&M except I enjoyed ceramics classes and working in three-dimension. I was happy to get to know Carl Roseburg who was an amazing instructor. In his classes, I learned to create busts using plaster casts over the Plasticine clay that I had sculpted. I also learned how to weld metal support systems to use for building up cement sculptures. The sculpture, "Mother and Child", is 5 1/2 feet tall and is among my most prized art collection.

While at William & Mary, I worked with Vermont marble for many months, sculpting an abstract piece, using the subtraction process. I discovered how to work with chisels and files. During my research, I was especially influenced by British sculptor Henry Moore which is especially noticeable in the blocky forms I created with Keene's cement.

Eventually, I realized the difficulties that came with making sculpture. Most of it, I could not move by myself. It was awkward to keep and store. Although I have sometimes carved Montana talc and worked with Celuclay, I decided that painting is the medium for me. When you love color, that's the place to be.

Mary Montague Sikes