Saturday, January 2, 2010


Clay, Life size portrait of Jenny before it was cast, from the Sherman St studio.
click on photos to enlarge

I began this sculpture simply as a demonstration of a head for a friend's students using my daughter as  subject. She was in high school at the time. Later in my studio I gradually extended the sculpture to include more of the body but due to the limitations of the armature I was forced to restrict the pose and improvise as best I could. My plan is to rework another variation of this pose, turning and tilting the head into the raised arm to give movement. and perhaps reposition the upper arm - also allowing room also for a base.

This time of year I remember a truly great melody composed by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johny Mercer. Good really for any occasion but very appropriate for our 2010 New Year:

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium's
Liable to walk upon the scene

To illustrate my last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do just when everything looked so dark?

(Man, they said "We'd better accentuate the positive")
("Eliminate the negative")
("And latch on to the affirmative")
Don't mess with Mister In-Between (No!)
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

(Ya got to spread joy up to the maximum)
(Bring gloom down to the minimum)
(Have faith or pandemonium's)
(Liable to walk upon the scene)

I've heard it sung by Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters,  Al Jarreau - all  great and fun to dance to.

My immediate agenda this new year is to replenish my clay. Tomorrow or Monday - a trip to near by Oakville Pottery to buy some nice red clay, not too soft, not too hard, not too sticky. It sounds a bit like porridge perhaps.

Happy New Year All!!!


  1. What a beautiful portrait!! I love the look on her face and how you've got her posed. Really well done!

    Okay...accentuating.... :)

    Best of everything to you and Happy New Year!!

  2. Hi Melinda,
    I'm very happy that you like the portrait!
    Yes, accentuating - with five syllables. I love the pop and jazz music of that period. It's a good thing if it helps keep one buoyant.
    You mentioned being in the bass section of your Grand Canyon. But have you ever listened to Mahler's - Das Lied von der Erde. He loved to compose for the brass and wind sections of the orchestra. In this symphony for voice and orchestra there are beautiful, deep, resonant lows and soaring highs. You might find some nice accompaniment for that rhapsodic painting of yours.

    Happy New Year to you!!
    xo Marcia

  3. Hi Marcia,

    Beautiful portrait. Can this be the little girl I have in pictures sliding on a yellow sprinkler slide? She is a braveheart posing for you! Love your work, and your sentiment. Right on baby! Accentuate the positive. I might add to myself, put that novel away!

    Love Barbara

  4. I don't think I have heard the piece you mentioned by Mahler, but I'll check it out. If it helps with painting...that would be great. I used to listen to a lot of classical. Can't remember what happened.

    You're an inspiration to keep going and to listen to Mahler again.

    Virtual hug--

  5. wishing you all the best in this New Year Cohen. this is a wonderful pose and expression, mesmerising. i have never had the courage to try clay. when painting, i wish i had a few more dimensions to work with:)

  6. Thank you Barbara. She may have been a brave heart but she was impatient and merciless when it came to sitting. I had to plead for even five minutes with her, making do with catch as catch can. Now she’s far too busy to sit. I've tried both bribing her and guilt - nothing works.
    What are you reading?
    Love, M

  7. Hi Melinda 
Your painting is so beautiful and stunning it leaps off the page! 
Don't get me wrong. I don’t make the assumption that everyone wants to listen to music while they work. Many find it a distraction interfering with their thought processes - preferring silence. I, personally find though, that music shares a common language with painting and the visual world so I’m fascinated by it. Mahler happens to be one of my favorites – both for his symphonic work and his art song.

    virtual hug!


  8. Hi Rahina
    Thank you and Happy New Year to you!
    I think you’d do well with clay, in fact I think you’d fly with it! In some ways it’s easier then painting because you don’t have to think about light and colour – it’s all one colour. I hope and urge you to give it a try.
    Best to you,