SculptureFest 2011– Featured Artist
SculptureFest 2011 Featured Artist’s Photo Journal
Here are the two birches that I successfully formed into the “fiddle head” shape that I chose for the sculptural elements. I made the trip back to Portsmouth without mishap, just weird looks from the passersby on Route 101. Where to find more birch trees……
Step 2: Honestly, I was a bit discouraged by my lack of success at harvesting my first birch trees. Loaded with the two that survived,I drove into the parking lot of the Button Factory where my studio is located (way up on the third floor), I was beginning to have second thoughts. However, serendipity prevailed, for just then a man stepped out of his pick-upand said lightheartedly, “I’ve got tons more of those birches if you need more!” I thought he was poking fun at me, but he was completely serious. As added encouragement to continue with my project, a friend happened to pull into the parking lot just then to help me carry the first two trees up to the third floor. I spent the next couple of weeks pretending to be Paul Bunyan and hand cut birches and hauled nineteen trees up three flights of stairs up to my studio. I then used a come-along to tension the trees into graceful curves leaving them to season as I prepared the next step….
Goldenberg shown stacking a few of the birch “fiddle heads” to dry in the hall near his studio.
Step three: The birch sculptural elements were stacked in the hallway near my studio and in the adjacent studio of Rita Fabbricatore, who generously offered me the use to of her space in which to store the birch ‘saplings.’ In reality, they were enormous trees. The elipses that I bent at the skinny ends of the birches had been temporarily lashed with strips of rags and clothesline rope. Each elipse had to be lashed permanently with 1/4″ manilla rope. I used a technique called shear lashing and then whipped the end of each lash with fine waxed thread. There were hundreds of these to do. Once this task was completed, the birch fiddle heads could then be left to dry….but not for long….
Step four: These birch trees were ungainly to handle. I had already moved each tree about five times. Each elipse was to contain a two-sided painting. I had chosen watercolor paper. Yes, that is right, watercolor paper. (a fellow participant a SculptureFest 2011recently quipped that I just wanted to make the project “a little more dicey!” So now the task at hand was trace each elipse onto watercolor paper. One by one I laid the trees out on the floor in the hallway and traced the approximate shape of each painting onto the paper. There were 19 birch elements, two of which had two elipses because I had taken advantage of a fork in the tree. The total number of elipses was 21, making forty-two paintings that I had to create. I had alotted about two and one-half weeks to accomplish this step.
Pictured above are the roughed out pieces of watercolor paper that Goldenberg traced with magic marker directly from the elipses he (channeling Paul Bunyan) bent in the birch trees. They are ready to paint!
Goldenberg is painting the images with Zootie the Remarkable Cat casting a critical eye. Below left: In progress paintings with some elipses still untouched.
Goldenberg used every available space in his studio; the floor, walls and table tops. Not all of the watercolor pieces could be laid out at one time. He had to cycle through them, rearranging their placement in cue.