I come from a family of accomplished artists and have drawn faces as long as I can remember holding a pencil. Today, my passion is sculpting the human form in clay. My first hands-on experience with sculpting came when I was 13 years old. It was a school science project on the Evolution of Man… at a Catholic School… It didn’t go over very well.
Years later, while working as a financial consultant, I wanted to find something to do as a hobby in my spare time. I tried carving faces out of wood. I found if you make a mistake, just keep digging. So after several attempts, some frustration and a few stitches, I went back to drawing.
While at the Laguna Art Festival, I noticed a sculptor making masks out of water-based clay. I stood there fascinated, considering I had tried this in wood. In his process and having drawn faces, I noticed the left cheek wasn’t quite right. I watched with curiosity, as I knew very little about clay. When he noticed the flaw, he simply reached down, grabbed some clay and fixed it… just like that! That moment in time changed my life! Wow, it was like a five-alarm fire going off in my head! When I returned home, I bought 50 pounds of water-based clay and got my hands back in the mud for the first time in decades.
I didn’t know anything about clay, the drying or firing process, or for that matter, sculpting. I just kept creating busts and they just kept cracking. Several months later and very frustrated, I was introduced to ceramist, Larry Ortiz at Clay Arts Studio in Auburn, CA.
That began my quest to become a sculptor of clay. I read and watched everything I could find in books, the internet, YouTube, etc. anything that would give me more information about human anatomy, sculpting styles and techniques.
One day I came across the renowned sculptor, Philippe Faraut (PCF Studios in Honeoye, New York). His fast, easy teaching style and emphasis on expression and pose was exactly what I was looking for. I bought his tools, DVDs and books and eventually took classes from him in portraiture and figurative. As my work improved, Philippe and Larry encouraged me to start teaching sculpture.
I spend countless hours studying the human anatomy including Philippe’s workshops, books, classes with Andrew Cawrse at Anatomy Tools in Las Vegas, Anatomy for Sculptors books and the Complete Anatomy and Total Anatomy apps.
I teach small workshops using the methods Philippe taught me. My workshops and classes are held at JCLee Studios in Auburn (Northern CA) which include detailed lectures on anatomy, bone structure, muscles, skin and gesture as well as expression, age, gender and ethnicity.
I typically don’t use a model when I teach students new to sculpture. I found that a model makes the students compare each other’s work rather than focusing on, and creating their own.
I am a proud father of four and grandfather of three. My wonderful wife Karen and I spend time between the two fine towns of Meadow Vista, CA and San Clemente, CA.
Phone: (916) 878-0993
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