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(this post is a reprint from my blog dated February 8th, 2012)


An exciting week – all the Looks! have their new beautiful patinas and I am nearing completion of Leap!  On Friday, Relax! And Itchy! will be in the creative hands of Deb Bakel for their patinas as well so look for new photos of them all on my website by the end of the month.

So each week when I’m not sculpting – while surfing the internet, checking out potential galleries and what shows I would like to try to get juried into – always thinking about the wild horses (of course) which then occasionally leads me to think about politics…it’s interesting that they go together.  And I don’t really like to put my brain into political thinking mode because it usually is frustrating and depressing to me – there are so many things going on that cannot be seen, questions I think of that I cannot find straight answers for.  I didn’t think that in the beginning of my journey to sculpt our horses that I would be thinking about politics…but here I am, thinking about politics.  A lot.

I came across an interesting report published in 2006 by Taylor Jones and Mark Salvo titled “Mortgaging our Natural Heritage” – it begins:

     “What would you do if you owned 180 million acres of land in the American West? Would you lease almost 80 percent of it to livestock grazers (many of them corporations) for 10 percent of its market value, only to watch livestock shear off the native vegetation, erode the soil, degrade water quality, reduce water quantity, destroy riparian areas and harm endangered species, native plants, and wildlife? When grazing fees to use your land did not cover the cost of monitoring and protecting the natural resources, would you then pay millions of dollars of your own money every year to cover the shortfall?  And would you then stand by and watch as those abusing your land received additional millions of dollars in loans using the grazing privileges you granted as collateral for their debt?

     Bad news. You already are.

     On public lands owned by the American people and managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), federally subsidized livestock grazing is rapidly destroying the vitality of our native ecosystems. There are many good arguments against continuing federal public lands ranching, including myriad economic and fiscal arguments. This report details another one.

     What has only recently come to light is how individual grazing permittees, with the aid of lending institutions and the tacit complicity of theBLM, collateralize their federal grazing permits to finance their public lands grazing operations. Both the Forest Service and theBLMsanction the use of publicly owned federal grazing permits and leases as collateral for private bank loans.”

Collateral for private bank loans?…..interesting.

Speaking of politics L I came across this diagram:

It’s a bit outdated – not reflecting where our current president would be, or those running for the GOP nomination…but it isn’t too hard to figure out where to put them.

Speaking of Economic Elitists,   I came across this as well:

“Although Norwegians may not tell you about this the first time you meet them, the fact remains that their society’s high level of freedom and broadly-shared prosperity began when workers and farmers, along with middle class allies, waged a nonviolent struggle that empowered the people to govern for the common good.”

This is the last paragraph of an article written by George Lakey called “How Swedes and Norwegians Broke the Power of the ‘One Percent’”.

It’s thought provoking to be sure and this particular article is in a lot of places all over the internet – it seems that the Occupy Wall Street movement latched on to it.  Regardless of how you feel about OWS, though…read this article.

I believe history can teach us very relevant-to-today lessons.  This could be one.


Seriousness aside now:

ha ha ha ha ha!!!!


Back to the horses.

Have a great week!


It’s February!

(this is a reprint from my blog dated February 1, 2012)


So I’ve been working on several things this week in the studio. Got a Look! sculpture back from the patineur who will be doing the patinas on my sculpture – he is now a beautiful blue/green/brown with lacy white underneath.  I believe Deb said he has 7 different coats of various types of applications she used to get the effect.  Look! is very proud of his new “look”.

It is a beautiful patina for sure (and the photo below does not do it justice, but stay tuned…they will be on the website soon).

Thanks Deb!

bronze horse sculpture Look! Alex Alvis Sculpture

I have been working of Step High! as well, while waiting for various parts of Leap! to dry…since Step High! has only two feet on the ground, I am doing a lot of thinking about how to keep her free-standing.  It may not be possible to do until she is bronze, as the foundry could perhaps weigh her feet to keep her from falling over.

I cannot believe that it is February 1st already!  I have this voice that whispers that I must hurry…and so I do.  It is an exciting thing to have the time to work on the horses full-time and I love every minute I spend in the studio.

I got to spend time with real horses this week, as my cousins have a couple of them and we visited and groomed and it was a fun way to spend part of Sunday!  Thanks girls!

I finished reading “Straight from the Horse’s Heart” by R.T. Fitch.  If you love horses, it’s full of great stories and a portion of the proceeds from the book go to help Habitat for Horses help horses.

Every day horses are abused and across our borders (perhaps within our borders again soon) they are slaughtered.  There are proponents for and against the slaughter of horses.  Some people have the opinion that a quick death at a slaughter-house is preferable to a slow death from abandonment and abuse.  But is that really true?  Or is that just something we are told so that we will feel okay about it?  I think that they are just different sides of the same awful coin.

Rather than argue the ins and outs of how a horse dies in a slaughter-house (is it quick? Is it painless? …are you sure?) – I would simply argue that they are every bit (more so throughout history) as important a companion animal to us as dogs and cats.

Do we slaughter the dogs and cats no one can take care of and eat them?  Or ship their shrink wrapped bodies overseas so other people can eat them?  Does the thought of doing that make your stomach turn?  And since when do slaughter houses kill any animal in a “humane” or “painless” or non-terrifying-to-the animal way?

Why are the only alternatives to unwanted horses abuse, neglect or …slaughter?

Could it be because there is potential profit made from horses being slaughtered?


As it says at the end of R.T.’s book, “If these issues speak to your heart and soul contact Habitat for Horses and become a part of the movement to stop the shipping of horses across our borders for slaughter, save the wild Mustangs from extinction, and educate your family and friends on the plight of the American Horse in general.”

Do What You Love!

(this post is a reprint of one of the first posts on my original blog)

Not very many years ago, I was not doing as much art as I would have liked.  I certainly wasn’t doing art with an eye toward making a business from it, making a living from creating art.  I am blessed by the fact that I have so much time to devote to it now, and a bit overwhelmed by the business aspects of making it a business.  I am also blessed that I have a clear vision of what my sculpture is supposed to look like and that it is unique in many ways.

So what do you do when you must do something to make a living that does not particularly make you feel alive?  Are you convinced that you cannot make a living doing something you love and so you go on making a living doing something you hate?

How do you find your way free from that?  You have bills to pay, right?

Well, here are some suggestions:

Think about what you liked doing most when you were a kid.

What made you happiest while you were doing it?

What about later in life?  What were you doing when you were happiest?

If you have hobbies, what are they?

Think about where you work now and what kind of people you are happiest working with and doing things for?

If you work for a company, what is it you are doing that benefits your company the most?

Can you make a business doing that freelancing?

If you are a great negotiator…can you be a negotiating consultant?

If you have a great strategy for selling anything, can you market and sell that?

There are people every day that worked for someone doing what they are doing now, and now own their own business doing that very thing.  I spoke today with someone I want to do the patinas on all my sculpture and her enthusiasm for what she does is evident.  Well, after working for foundries for years, she started her own business doing patinas.  Her work is a work of art all on its own.

Think about when you were in school, what did you do best?  What was your favorite subject and why.  It may not have had anything to do with your major.  I was a psychology major, for heaven’s sake, also a mom, also a spouse…all the time while I was in college.  But I always took an art elective when I could, I always did something creative, maybe I made a birthday gift for someone instead of buying something, or I might have searched for a really great sounding recipe and cooked it for dinner.

Think about all the times you are having the most fun with other people.  What the heck are you doing?  When you are having the most fun by yourself, what are you doing?

You have had an unusually “fun” day at your crappy job…why was it fun?

You love organizing your finances and paying your bills.  Do you know how many people in the world  really hate to do that?  Could your business be to do that for the people who hate doing it for themselves?

How about organizing stuff?  You are the best organizer of stuff you know – there are people who are hired to organize stuff.

And if you know for sure what you would love to do most, you don’t have to jump right into doing it.  You don’t have to be radical, quit your job – whatever.

Maybe you love fixing bikes – why not work at a bike shop one day a week?   What if you love bread?  Why not learn how to make artisan bread – take a class.

Find out about other people who have started a business based on what they love to do and how they did that.  Especially if they started a business doing the same thing you love to do.

Do you love to shop at thrift stores?  Why not start collecting the coolest things you can find, use that money from the job you hate to rent a storage unit and put it all in there and then open a shop and sell it.  How much fun will you have just finding the stuff in the first place?  I know someone who loved to go to garage sales and one day started re-selling her great finds on e-bay.  She started an antique store.  Another friend of mine’s mom loved sea shells.  She started a business after years of waitressing called She Loves Sea Shells and other shops.  This same friend, is an artist as well, you can see her beautiful original ceramic mermaids and buy them on Etsy and in art galleries in Florida.

The point really is, if you hate what you have to do for “work”.  Don’t despair!  Be proactive!  Set aside a certain amount of time a day (15 minutes…30 minutes) to think about what IT is that you might love to do.  Then think about how any of those things can be profitable.  Make a plan – a map of the steps you need to take to get there.

When you are working at something you genuinely enjoy, it is an inspiration.  You may feel guilty about it, as though you are just playing.  That is how I feel when I am sculpting the horses.  I am playing, just like I did when I was a kid.  And when I’m finished with a horse I am amazed by it.  I don’t know how it happened, not really.  But that is what happens.  One day it is there before you and the love and passion that went into it is evident.

Just as art that is most inspirational is the art that is a genuine reflection of the passion of the artist who creates it – while it may take a lot of time and work to find your own unique voice, and put that toward whatever it is you want to do, the intrinsic rewards it will bring you will be well worth the effort.

It also pays forward things for others that you would never be able to imagine (and may never know about).  Film actress Colleen Moore built a dollhouse that I saw in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago on a school field trip when I was a kid.  It is there still on permanent display.  She worked on it until she died.  It is incredible.

She made a genuine contribution to the world, (if you haven’t seen it you are probably thinking…a dollhouse?  This isn’t just any dollhouse – its beyond what you might ever imagine) but making any contribution to the world was not the reason she did it.

We are constantly hearing in the media voices all around us that we deserve this that or the other thing.  But, I think that what we deserve to give most of our attention to is what we love most.  Whatever follows that will be of no consequence to us when we are gone, but perhaps it will be a great deal of consequence to someone else.

So why not make what you do as great as you can?