In the Studio: Memorial Day weekend

I finished up a number of small works this weekend. Here’s a gallery of the works; as before, click on the thumbnails for larger images.

I’m satisfied with the way most of these turned out. I’ve been waffling on how to mount and present these small ceramic works since firing them. Part of me wants them to stand alone — and some of them will — but at the same time a number of them just don’t seem comfortable or finished to me by themselves. This may also be a subconscious desire to mix media. Contrast is a significant interest of mine and I do this in part through the mixing of media.

The one small piece, it’s about 5-6 inches tall, that I’m not sure of is the orange one mounted on a rock that I found in an alley. On the two darkest wall-hung works the thickly applied acrylic paint on the board bubbled as it dried. I usually do this with oils and have no problem. I used acrylic from my small box of paints because it dries so much more quickly and the colors were more like what I was after.

To reiterate, these forms are inspired by my years of observing storm clouds on the prairie. I’m also working with an idea of creating a modern icon, an idea that’s been simmering in my mind in some form or fashion for nearly a decade now but has yet to put down roots. Thirdly, as always, I’m aiming for what seems to me beautiful forms and surfaces. I don’t feel the need to infuse meaning, symbolism, irony — although these are all good things — into every sculpture.

I’m jonesing to actually go photographing storms. There have been a few decent ones nearby in the last week, but I was without a car and there are just so few good places in these hills and trees to observe them. I’d like to do some ink and brush drawings en plein air as well if I can catch a good thunderstorm this summer, and being able to sculpt while watching one would be even better.

We’ll see if I can make that happen.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

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