When I was in pre-school, I’d get home about noon. My mom would have my dad’s lunch in a sack, and she would have me bring it out to him. It was late winter, early spring in the Keweenaw Peninsula. I followed his footprints in the snow to where he was cutting. He always told me, “If the saw is running, stay away. Wait til I finish before approaching.”
On that day, he was cutting when I arrived, so i stayed away. I sat down on a rock pile which was exposed by the hot sun, and soon fell asleep. I awoke a very groggy, and hot little boy and without bringing my dad his lunch, walked straight home.
Well, my mom and dad asked me what happened, and I told them I fell asleep. They had a good laugh over that one, and told the story over the years.
Well, I kept remembering this story, and decided to see if I could go find that rock pile. I kind of remembered where it was, but I hadn’t seen it since I was a kid.
I found it! I decided to work with the stones. The contrast of green moss and gray of the non covered stone made sense to me, and this spiral is the result.
Moss covered stone, stone. April 2019..
Same Spiral, different view.
Stone Man On Lake Superior
Lake Stone. April 2019.
I made this on the same day I built the arch. The difference in weather and temperature from one side of the Keweenaw Peninsula to the other was remarkable. This side was calm, warm, and a good place to make this Stone Man.
Arch On Lake Superior - April
Lake Stone. April 2019
Same Arch as Before. Just a different view.
Arch On Lake Superior - April
Lake Stone. April 2019
I had never built an arch before, but had an idea that I’d like to build one near Eagle Harbor. The day I chose was wildly windy and the spray from the waves kept soaking me as worked with the stone.
Stone doesn’t reveal itself immediately. You need to play with it, and work with it, and get frustrated by it, before it will tell you how it likes to work together.
This was a cold day. This is a good arch.
Yin Yang in Sand
I made this years ago while sitting next to the Pacific Ocean in northern California. I was on a three month long road trip at the time, and I was just beginning to find my balance in life.
I get bored sitting on beaches, and more often than not, I start to play with what's on hand... I had just finished swimming in Lake Superior in early spring and the water was freezing... I took a moment to warm up on the hot black rocks, and began to form this snake.
I like finding art everywhere. This bag that held yeast had formed a jagged whole in it.. I saw the mouth immediately and it was easy to add the eyes and nose...
Rock Tower, Palouse River, WA
I watched a documentary about Andy Goldsworthy, a master of outdoor art. So Inspired, I set about to emulate him. I meant for this tower to be like one of Goldsworthy's giant eggs, but I soon learned I needed much more time working with stone to understand it's secrets... As it is, this tower was just over six feet high, and I was pleased in how it turned out.
I was hiking up a long desert arroyo in Mexico. I stopped for lunch in a shaded part of the arroyo to get out of the sun. As I was relaxing, I noticed the torso shaped rock lying on the ground. I picked it up, put it in place and was soon lost in flow of creation... This is the first of my rock men. The thing about this kind of art, my kind of art, really, is that it is very temporary. This might last for an hour, a minute, a couple days, I'll never know. I make it, enjoy it. It has always been my hope that some one else will happen by and it will catch their attention. I hope it makes them wonder, and to look more closely at nature and it's hidden art.
I was hiking through a tangle of Mexican desert when I happened upon an open flat piece of desert. It was very textured, but extremely soft and fragile. With the low angled light, I know it would be perfect for some kind of imprint, and rather than footsteps, I opted for my hands.
Rock Balance, Lake Superior, MI
I'm continually surprised at how well different varieties of rocks balance on top of one another. It's always a small thrill to find the perfect balance point, especially when the pieces start to gain height.
Rock Stack in River, Eagle River, MI
On the day I made this, this river was low and listless. It hadn't rained in awhile, and there was very little flow. It took me most of the day to piece it together, and when I finished, I liked it, but it wasn't really worth photographing. That night, a massive thunderstorm rolled through dropping a lot of much needed rain. When I woke up the next day, the river had transformed from a dry river bed to a healthy flowing stream. I grabbed my camera, set my tripod, and caught this image. I was worried it would fall over with the stream, but it lasted the rest of the summer.
I was sitting in a hot spring on side of a canyon wall in New Mexico. I am obsessed with hot springs. While I was soaking, I started fiddling around with pebbles and began to order them on this log. It became a game of finding the tiniest piece of rock and getting it in the right order.
Rock Stack and Waterfall, Oneota Creek, OR
I love the way the sound of falling water empties my mind. I love creating pieces next to rivers and creeks or the ocean. I get lost in Zen focus - trying to find a balance point. Being grounded. All the mindless chatter of the day disappears, and it's just me, and the rock, and the river.
I went for a run in Alert Bay, British Columbia. I followed the path until it reached this beach. As I caught my breath, I started working with the stones, and this progression was formed. My favorite part of this piece is the seeming regression that we must make before reaching our peak. I don't know why this is true in life, but it is.
Hot Air Ballon Pumpkin, Halloween 2015
Every year we hold a pumpkin carving contest, and the people I compete with take it very sincerely. I didn't really have a plan for my pumpkin, but I began hollowing it out until it was paper thin. I flipped it over, and realized it's potential as a hot air balloon. I had the perfect basket, and after some strategic placement of some LED lights to make it glow.. Voila! It took third place...
Small Stack, Iceland
I had just finished a wonderful four day trek in Iceland, and I was waiting for my shuttle back to Reykjavic. I had some time, so I put this small stack together before leaving that beautiful valley.
Sparrow in Chocolate Frosting
I just had a piece of chocolate cake. The left over frosting, was vaguely in the shape of a small bird, and so with a butter knife, I began to work with the chocolate... I like this. It's part of my "art everywhere" campaign.
At the end of my first yoga retreat in northern New York, I took a walk through the woods and found a large collection of stones. I decided I wanted to make a piece as a gift to my friends - not only to show them the possibility of all these stones, but to say thanks for getting me out of the rut I was in at the time. I hope this piece lasts for years, but one never knows...
Self Portrait in Potato and Salad
Play with your food.
I was backpacking the lost coast of California and was working with the stones at each of our campsites. This was the last of the rock men I made on that trip, and also my favorite. I love the balance between the crashing waves behind him and the calmness of the river in front.
I joined my friends in Gustavus, Alaska for a day off for them and a day on the beach for me. While the others built a sand dam, I built a sand woman... It oddly matches how I would draw someone though I was working in sand...
Cedar Cribbage Board
I made this for my friend's wedding. Lucy and Billy are both avid cribbage players and I thought this might be a unique gift... It took a long time to get the holes right. the wood burning went relatively smoothly - considering this is only the third wood burning I've ever done... I wish you could smell how amazing this peace smells...
Cribbage Board #4 - Yosemite
Cherry. Acrylic. This was commissioned in an exchange for a silk painting.
Working on "Cold Feet"
My latest stone work. Eagle River, Michigan
Cedar Soap Holder Outside
Wood Burned Scene
Cedar Soap Holder Inside
Wood Burned Inside Scene
Lupita and the Peso Tree
I was in Mexico. I had a pile of pesos built up from a lot of change I received. One night I sketched this woman playing a guitar in the park, and put my pile of pesos on the tree.