"The Expedition of Rock River Valley"
10 years, 10 Sculptures, Oregon, IL

To continue a legacy that began where the Eagle Nest Art Colony founded their group in Oregon, Illinois in 1898, with notable sculptor Lorado Taft, a group of Oregon citizens has formed the Community Art Legacy (CAL) with the intent of installing "10 Sculptures in 10 Years."

I have received the honor by the CAL committee to complete the tenth and last sculpture in the series for the project. I am especially excited to be a part of this project. Oregon is where I had spent my early youth. It was a heartful and idealistic place to spend my early years. It has much to do with my appreciation of the natural world still today. I still have family living there and always look forward to visiting with them and seeing the old sites when I am in the area.

My piece depicts the town of Oregon's founder John Phelps in 1833. The image shows Phelps as he and fellow traveler, Stephen A. St. Cyr, explore the Rock River Valley by canoe. Mr. Phelps was not only looking for a location for his future home and farm, but he intended to create a road to Chicago from the northwest part of the state. He founded the location that is now Oregon a fitting place to cross over the Rock River on the way to Chicago.

The sculpture is constructed out of clay, in the "bas-relief technique". Above are images showing the process and the many layers that go into creating a bas-relief from the construction of the base or armature to sculpting the final clay layer with detail and depth.

My studio in southern Maine could not accommodate the size of the piece. So to the rescue came fellow artists and friends, Jeff and Lindley Briggs of Newburyport, Massachusetts. They have been creating wonderful sculpture for over forty years and offered to share the use of their beautiful studio for my project. Not only are they generously sharing their space but also their expertise and support.

Once I complete the sculpture, it will be shipped to the inBronze Foundry in Mt. Morris, Illinois. There, they will oversee the difficult process of casting the finished clay into bronze. The completed bronze will be on display in Oregon for the summer of 2015.