A Visit With Marie EvB Gibbons

Posted in Ceramic, Marie Gibbons on August 8th, 2012 by Alice – 2 Comments

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Marie EvB Gibbons

"Two" - Marie EvB Gibbons

When I was in Colorado, I dropped in to visit with Marie Gibbons in her Denver Colorado studio where I was delighted to be able to talk with her and be inspired by her and her work.

“TWO” is a re-visit in many ways to the first pieces that I created when I first began working in clay, intimate sizes (from 12 – 24″ in height) and completely hand built figures. As always, my inspiration for the work is my impressions, thoughts, experiences in life, this series looks at the relationships between 2. The ying and yang of a couple: friends, siblings, strangers, and the dichotomy found in one. Each couple has their own connection, they do not necessarily connect to the group as a whole, just their partner.”

My first encounter with Marie’s work was her “Float” series. It’s still my favorite work of Marie’s, I’m lucky to own one of the swimmers.

"Float" - Marie EvB Gibbons

"Float" - Marie EvB Gibbons

“FLOAT” is a series that began in 2004.  As in most of my work, it was spurred by actual life experiences that were part of my being at the time… 2 teenagers in the house, one in the height of ‘teenage angst’ and me trying to stay ‘a-float”  It dawned on me … the parallels between learning to swim (my roots to the ocean, growing up on Long Island, NY) — if you stay calm, relax, you become buoyant — your body floats to the surface.  If you freak out, you sink like a stone.  Same for getting through trying situations… stay calm, keep your head, and you can move through most anything, freak out and things only get worse.  The swimmers evolved from these thoughts, heads at different levels of buoyancy…. some fully up out of the water, others eyes only, then eyes, nose, then eyes nose and mouths…. different stages of surviving.”

Tidepool -Marie EvB Gibbons

Tidepool -Marie EvB Gibbons

“I worked on this series for about 6 years, it was shown in various site specific installations over the years.  The original, first grouping consisted of about 50 heads at various levels of buoyancy in a faux swimming pool that was 8′ x 16′, created from floor tile that was painted to create a watery surface, boardered with white tile.  The space had buckets of chlorine water hidden so that it smelt like a public swimming pool when you entered the gallery.  Another installation presented through 6 smaller pools, called “Tide Pools”  installed in the gallery at University of Northern Colorado, Greeley.”

Another fabulous collection featured on her website is sculpted books - figures incorporated into old books. Being a fan of both, I can’t help but be drawn to this series.

obsession - Marie EvB Gibbons

obsession - Marie EvB Gibbons

“Spindle, fold, cut … Combining old books and figurative elements in clay, this and that = words becoming more than an written inspiration, they also become part of the art. Ceramic doll parts, found objects, encased in beeswax and/or resin.”

words - Marie EvB Gibbons

words - Marie EvB Gibbons

Marie is a generous instructor as well. Each First Friday in her art filled studio she leads a group of lucky students in an exciting and fun ceramic project.

Turtles - EvB studio

Turtles - EvB studio

This Month is was turtles, next month will be something just as interesting and inviting. A couple of months ago it was rattles, I’m crazy about these guys.  If you are ever in Denver on a First Friday, you’ll want to be sure and check with Marie and see what she’s cooking up for you.

But you don’t have to make it there for First Friday, you can visit anytime. She even gives private parties at evb•studio – 4343 W. 44th Ave – Denver, CO 80212 - PH: 720-234-7337


You can also follow Marie on Facebook where she has over 500 photos of her work and others to inspire and encourage you.

Popularity: 30% [?]

The Incredible Automata Sculpture of Carlos Zapata

Posted in Automata, Characters, Metal, Wood on February 20th, 2011 by Alice – 7 Comments
Torsos - by artist Carlos Zapata

Torsos - by artist Carlos Zapata

I first came across a video of one of Carlos Zapata’s automata last year and then again last week I saw another video of his. I have been amazed at the intricate workings of his delightful sculptures.

I was lost with pure delight on Carlos’s website, it is full of pictures of his work including the Elephant sculpture below. I  was completely drawn in by the stories being told and the colorful figures. This jolly  group is 28″ high, made of wood and metal and is owned by a private collector.

Elephant by artist Carlos Zapata

Elephant by artist Carlos Zapata

All of his work stands by itself a visual works of art, but nothing does his sculptures justice like seeing them in motion, it’s what make them so unique.

The layers of intricate mechanics is simply difficult to imagine figuring out.  Carlos is a self taught Automata artist and has his studio in Mabe, Cornwall. For the past 11 years he has been creating these fabulous kinetic or mechanical sculptures.

He often uses reclaimed wood and scraps or recycled metal in his work as he believes is contributes to the uniqueness of his piece, with a story behind the story.  And tell stories is one thing Carlos knows how to do.

The Automata Repairman by artist Carlos Zapata

The Automata Repairman by artist Carlos Zapata

In his own words, Carlos explains The Automata Repairman

“This man is cycling coming to repair your automata, he is getting old and he looks at the floor and then the horizon,.. but he keeps pedalling, he is carring his tools in his box. You can see all the tools that he is going to need.
Down inside the mechanisms you see this man flying and a fat cat watching him, while two hands are holding hammers moving in rhythmic way.
Down at the botton there is one collector looking at his automata and on the other side there is a dog that wonders what the fuss is about and turns its head to see you turning the handle. It’s 77 cm. High (30 Inches)”

His work has been exhibited in Museums around the world. Many of the ideas for his pieces have evolved and been taken from his own personal life experience. He often draws inspiration and is influenced by African, South American, Asian and British art.

Some of his work is very  large and contains full size figures with layers of activity below. This video Museo Parque De Las Ciencias G will give you a sense of the scale of his work.

I  can only  image how enjoyable it would be to have a piece of his wonderful sculpture to greet me each day. My favorite might very well be The Mask.

The Mask by artist Carlos Zapata

The Mask by artist Carlos Zapata

I’m happy to tell you that you can own your own coffee table book of Carlos’ work. He has self published an informative picture book that will give you a peek into his world.


Automata Carlos Zapata

Carlos often accepts commissions for his sculptures from both private and public collectors worldwide. But if you can’t wait that long, you can own one right away by visiting his website, Carlos Zapata Automata.

You can also spend hours watching his 48 videos on Youtube. While it’s not the same I’m sure, it’s the next best thing to seeing them in person.

He also has a new blog where hopefully we can get to know him even better.

Popularity: 72% [?]

Ben Heine’s Circlism and Pencil vs Camera

Posted in Uncategorized on August 14th, 2010 by Alice – 2 Comments
Bob Marley - Circlism by Ben Heine

Bob Marley - Circlism by Ben Heine

I came across this portrait of Bob Marley on Flickr. I jumped right over to the albums of Ben Heine and was excited by what I saw. His Flickr site is filled with over 1,300 images ranging  from digital portraits to illustrations, including photography and surrealism.

Ben  is a Belgian painter, illustrator, portraitist, caricaturist and photographer. He was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and is currently living and working in Brussels.

To quote Ben, ”What exactly is (Digital) Circlism ? This is a modern artistic expression, a mix between Pop Art and Pointillism. It is made with digital tools (this is just a personal definition).”

Self Portrait - Circlism - Ben Heine

Self Portrait - Circlism - Ben Heine

Ben went on to say, “In my opinion, the most important thing to focus on before starting that kind of project is to understand the dynamic movement of someone’s face. I usually apply each digital circle individually on a black background with a sharp round brush in Photoshop CS4 (it could be any other graphics creation software).”

“I usually make bigger circles in the lighter areas of the subject and smaller circles in the darker places. This gives more volume and a 3D illusion. There is no limit, it’s a new technique and I think there is much more to do with it.”

She is My Mona Lisa - Digital Circlism by Ben Heine

She is My Mona Lisa - Digital Circlism by Ben Heine

The other interesting thing that Ben is doing is called Pencil vs Camera. I  really enjoy these photo/drawings and know you will too.

Pencil vs Camera - 25

Pencil vs Camera - 25 - Ben Heine

Ben said in an interview for Newslite.tv, “I’ve been taking photos and drawing since almost 10 years. This “Pencil Vs Camera” series is nothing but the result of several years of graphic exploration and a logic consequence of my artistic evolution. But the real idea came while I was watching television and writing a letter at the same time a few weeks ago. Reading my letter before putting it in the envelope, I saw in transparency the television behind the paper. I then realize it would be great to make something similar in a single image showing 2 different actions.”

Pencil vs Camera - 4 - Ben Heine

Pencil vs Camera - 4 - Ben Heine

You can see all of Ben’s work on his flickr site and you can contact him at benheine@theartistery.com

Popularity: 95% [?]

The Intriguing Figurative Paintings of LISA G.

Posted in Contemporary, Fabric, mixed media, Oil, Oil on Fabric, Painting, textile on April 7th, 2010 by Alice – 3 Comments
The Fair Angel - LISA G

The Fair Angel - LISA G

LISA G is a contact of mine on Facebook. Her work is beautiful, playful, thoughtful and engaging. I just can’t spend enough time with her work.

Many of her paintings are oil on fabric. I’d love to see them in person. Her colors are so rich and vibrant, they truly sing.

Tomorrow, one will see well - LISA G

Tomorrow, one will see well - LISA G

LISA G  was born in Montreal Canada and painted for many years. She is a self taught artist. She says “In fact I believe that I can express myself only through form and painting. It is a universal language by which all  my emotions passes from my mind. It is my way of existing, my breath.”

I take you along to the sea - LISA G

I take you along to the sea - LISA G

Many of her painting tell interesting stories that hold your attention, I’m often afraid I might miss something if I don’t take my time. It seems she is a prolific artist with much to say.  Her work has a dream like quality that carries you to a different place if only for a heartbeat. Isn’t that what art is meant to do? Take us outside of ourselves?

The Thoughts Baroques - LISA G

The Thoughts Baroques - LISA G

There seems to be a fish, bird or some animal in each piece. Many times all are flying, contributing to the other worldly feeling evoked by her art.

the black ribbon - LISA G

the black ribbon - LISA G

There are so many piece of work to choose from, it was difficult for me to decide which ones to share with you here. If you enjoyed these, I know you’ll enjoy her blog. The site is in French, you can enter the address into this translator to read it in your language.

Many thanks to Lisa for allowing me to share her work with you.  You can become her fan on facebook.

Popularity: 88% [?]

Derek Kinzett’s Wire Sculpture Revisited

Posted in Wire Artists on March 31st, 2010 by Alice – 12 Comments

Derek Kinzett was one of the first artists that I featured on The Figurative Artbeat. He recently email me to let me know he had a new video featuring the installation of four commissioned wire sculptures for Newstead Abbey, Nottingham. I wanted to share this new video with you.

I am continually amazed by the detail Derek achieves with wire alone. It would be so interesting to be able to observe him working.

Lady and the Bicycle - Derek Kinzett

Lady and the Bicycle - Derek Kinzett

Even more recent than the fabulous gardeners in the Rose Garden of Newstead Abbey is the first in his new “Love And Femininity” Collection, 2010. Titled “Lady and the Bicycle”.

Lady and the Bicycle - Derek Kinzett

Lady and the Bicycle - Derek Kinzett

From another angle she is just as amazing. I can’t wait to see the next sculpture in this series.

Visit the Inner Spirit Sculptures website for more information or to contact Derek.

Popularity: 62% [?]

New Work by Michaela Groeblacher – Menopause

Posted in Ceramic, Realistic on February 19th, 2010 by Alice – 2 Comments
In a Flash

In a Flash - Michaela Valli Groeblacher

I received an email from Michaela with pictures of her new series “Menopause“. I just had to share it with you, I know there are many of us out there who can relate. If not because of our own experiences with menopause, then our being there with our mothers, wives, sisters or friends.

Flood Waters Rising

Flood Waters Rising - Michaela Valli Groeblacher

Michaela is such a talented artist, I’m so thrilled to post this update to my previous post about her work. I don’t think these new pieces are even shown on her website yet.  So I’m thrilled to be able to show them to you here.

I know what I don't remember - Michaela Valli Groeblacher

I know what I don't remember - Michaela Valli Groeblacher

Michaela and a friend, poet Kim Stanley, have teamed up for what they are hoping will be several exhibits featuring many of Michaela’s sculptures, including the menopause pieces.

The first show titled “Parallel Tones” will be April 17 – May 29 at the Manhattan Art Center in Manhattan, Kansas.

Their work complements each other’s perfectly. Plus, together they have 104 years experience of what it means to be a woman.

If you happen to be in Kansas at that time and have the opportunity to view this fabulous exhibit, say hello for me.

Popularity: 70% [?]

Maureen Carlson’s Polymer Clay Characters

Posted in art dolls, Characters, polymer clay on January 13th, 2010 by Alice – 7 Comments

Story Box #15

When I first started getting interested in polymer clay, it was because I wanted very badly to sculpt! Faces! There were a few artists that had been working in polymer for years and had published a few books. Maureen Carlson was one of them. I bought her book, Family and Friends in Polymer Clay, I loved this book.   Maureen is, and I believe always will be, a storyteller. Her newest work above is a tribute to her fabulous imagination and ability to engage you, the viewer, with the tapestry of her stories. Couple this with the color and texture of the clay and you have delightful, entertaining story to read in 3D. This Storybox might be my favorite work of hers to date.


Wee Folk

Maureen’s designs are about imagination and whimsy and the joy of recognizing a glint of understanding in the eyes of a wee clay creature. Wee Folk Creations is a company that specializes in designs, artwork and stories created by Maureen.

Wall Doll

Wall Doll

In 1999, Maureen and her husband Dan opened Maureen Carlson’s Center for Creative Arts, in Jordan, Minnesota, just 35 miles southwest of Minneapolis.  In this small town setting, perched on the edge of a small meandering creek, students and retreat participants have opportunities to learn, to share and to explore their creative interests.

All My Life's A Circle

All My Life's A Circle

On her website, Maureen has many galleries full of work from the beginning to today. The theme of her newest work is faces, which is why I am continually drawn to Maureen and her characters. I just love this “Circle” girl. She tells the story of herself, on herself as we all do if one looks close enough.

Be Still

Be Still

In keeping with a story telling, on her website she shares this about her sculpture, Be Still.

“My sculptures usually come from words and phrases that pair themselves with images. Such is the case with this piece.  I heard once that there is great value in being still, that action is not the only choice.  In fact, there might be great harm in doing something just to do it, or in being busy just to prove one’s worth. I paired that thought with these words that a student posted on the quotation wall at my retreat center: You can’t keep the birds from flying overhead but you don’t have to let them nest in your hair.”  You can read the rest of Maureen’s thoughts about Be Still here.

Talking Stick

Talking Stick

I asked Maureen if she had anything that she would like my readers to know. She answered, ”One of the things that I know about my work is that I still love my little whimsical wee folk at the same time that I’m thoroughly enjoying the process of making the newer pieces that tell stories and ask questions.  Haven’t gotten bored yet!”

“It’s been 30 years now that I’ve been making and marketing my characters and I’m still learning new things. So many things yet that I want to explore.”

Maureen continues to produce books and many other products to educate those of us who want to learn more about polymer clay. You can access all of Maureen’s products and information on her website, Maureen Carlson’s Center For Creative Arts.

Popularity: 94% [?]

Containing Len Cowgill’s Figures

Posted in Drawings, Glass, Printer Trays on December 12th, 2009 by Alice – 2 Comments
THIS IS MILES He Has A Note From School

THIS IS MILES He Has A Note From School

Len Cowgill is another of my contacts from Flickr. I first saw his figures in a bottle surrounded by writting and was intrigued. He steps away from the traditional frame to other means of containing his drawings.  I love the bottles, he is adding a twist to the old “message in a bottle”.

Monday the 15th

Monday the 15th

His printer trays really captured me. Don’t you just love this? The drawings are contained but at the same time are a part of the whole. Telling a story and making you want to know more.

My father was a printer and I spent many hours setting type for him. Printer trays take me right back there and make me feel connected to my past.

I asked Len what made him choose the tray for his drawings. He answered, “I’ve always enjoyed the act of drawing, creating textures with ink and graphite. I like setting up story lines within the work that the viewer can add to.”

“Conventional frames didn’t add anything to my work, so I began containing my drawings in different ways to heighten their impact. Printers trays are a challenge because of their numerous tiny spaces.  I enjoy expanding the storytelling by making words part of the image; when the drawing is finished I add the handwritten text around it. I also use various boxes and bottles to contain the drawings.”

54 Dead Comedians

54 Dead Comedians

This is a project that Len began  in August 2009 and is still adding to it. The picture above is from the beginning.


54 Dead Comedians 11-15-09

This is how the tray looked in November 2009. The drawing below is the latest posted by Len and is another memory from my childhood and everyone else who is over 50 years old. Alfalfa, Spanky, saturday mornings and black and white TV.

This was-Alfafa

This Was Alfafa

You can follow his progress as he continues to fill the tray. He also has printer trays with Men and Women, American Kids, and Artists..  You can see them all on his Flickr site. I know you will enjoy your stay there.

Take My VoiceHe has an collection of collages on his Flickr site as well. He has this to say about his newest pleasure. “I started making collages a few years ago for fun, more of an exercise in design than anything else. I don’t sell the collages, they are just for enjoyment.” Well they aren’t  just for his enjoyment, I spent quite awhile with this set of images.”

Len Cowgill lives and works at the Tamarack Gallery in Omena, Michigan. Tamarack has shown his work for over 10 years. Visit the Tamarack Gallery’s website and see what Len is offering today.

Popularity: 46% [?]

The Characters of Bill Nelson

Posted in art dolls, Illustration, Puppets, Ventriloquist figure on November 24th, 2009 by Alice – 2 Comments


Bill Nelson is a Facebook friend of mine. He’s always posting something wonderful to look at. He is an illustrator, a sculptor and a ventriloquist figure maker. His work makes me laugh and wish I had just a tiny bit of his talent.

Some of Bill Nelson’s figures have found homes with people we’ve heard of before, Demi Moore, Whoopie Goldberg, David Copperfield and the list goes on.


HIs illustrations have won over 900 awards. You might have seen Bill’s work on the covers for CQ Weekly, The Atlantic Monthly, or Lands’ End.

Bill is listed in Who’s Who in America and created a series of Big Band Illustrations for the Untied States Postal Service stamps.

7519_136276183138_817063138_2511600_771867_n.jpgHe told me that Super Sculpey was his favorite material to use to sculpt his characters.

I wanted to know what he enjoyed most about creating his people. He said, “Bringing the face to life by tinting and coloring, that’s my favorite part. Wigging is almost as much fun because they both bring the character to life.”

I mean, look at these faces……….


Bill said that he doesn’t have any kind of regular schedule for creating his characters unless he has a commission.


He spends part of his time teaching an entire curriculum on the art of dollmaking online at That Creative Place. He also teaches workshops in his home in North Carolina.

Not only will you learn from a master, I think Bill is the kind of guy that will make your learning experience extremely entertaining.

There is more to learn about this amazing artist, so you might want to visit his website, which by the way is one of the coolest I’ve seen.  You’ll be entertained by his work for sure.

I’m leaving you with this one, it makes me laugh out loud. It’s “Boris Karloff between takes”, but all I see is Frank kickin’ back. I’m laughing now.


Popularity: 100% [?]

The Figurative Paintings of michel guerin

Posted in mixed media, Oil, Painting on November 9th, 2009 by Alice – 2 Comments
le chapeau cloche 9 - the cloche hat

le chapeau cloche 9 – the cloche hat

I came across  michel guerin’s painting through my Filckr site. His work captured my imagination the minute I saw it. It made me think of the 20′s, of France in the 20′, of people and romance in the 20′s. At least how I have always imagined the 20′s to be.

At the same time his paintings are contemporary in their subject matter, the human condition. Both in groups and in the solitary figure.

A Tanger

A Tanger

michel told me that he is 69 years old and has been a professional painter since 1975. He has a MA and a PhD in literature  from University in Aix en Provence. At the same time he was attending Escole Nationale des Arts Deco.  He taught for a few years and then decided he wanted to see the world. He worked for TWA as a purser and was based in Rome where he began to paint.

He said, ” I began as an abstract painter, but I got fed up trying to paint ideas. I decided I wanted to paint things and human beings.”

les beaux jours 17

les beaux jours 17 - beautiful days

michel has had exhibitions around the world and now lives in Italy. He is a resident of the Riviera where “I find the kind of landscapes I like.”



It was so very hard for me to choose which paintings to share with you. michel is nothing if not prolific. His flickr site is full of his interesting work.

chez GabyHe portrays people being people, living, drinking, loving, singing, dancing, he show us it all. He truly reveals that he loves people and show us to ourselves.

dans l'atelier

dans l'atelier

This is a photo of  michel in his work space. On his flickr site under this photo he wrote..

  1. My favourite colour is RED
  2. I believe in friendship
  3. I only have female friends
  4. I’ve been married for 44years(same wife)
  5. I hate sports
  6. I love dogs and cats
  7. I’m utterly pessimistic
  8. I hate cities and crowds,so I live in a small village of the Italian Riviera (27 inhabitants)
  9. Went to an art school, was a teacher, was a purser on TWA, became a professional painter in 75 with my  first show in Paris, lived 7 years in London, 4 years in Tangiers and finally Italy
  10. I’m painting because I want to stay alive
ne me quitte pas - do not leave me

ne me quitte pas - do not leave me

He left me with this last thought, “Oh yes, I forgot, I’m French, love the sea and women, (married 44 years with the same one!!)”.

Unfortunately, there is no website, but you can see over 100 fabulous paintings of michel’s on his flickr site.

Leave him a comment there, I know he’s loved to hear from you. Tell him I sent you!

Popularity: 65% [?]