2006: I spent my Fourth of July weekend creating sketches and eventually a wax maquette for a potential sculpture commission. I had been contacted by a
corporate buyer's aide to submit a proposal for a limited edition (of 50) bronze for a board of directors gift. The theme was "Warrior Spirit" but I was told
it did not necessarily need to involve the traditional Southwest/American Indian art that the term brought to mind. I asked for other specifications, including
deadline, budget, and past gifts to give me a better idea of the taste of this audience. I began to have some vague ideas and started drawing.
Then, before the weekend got going, I called my bronze foundry to make sure this project could be done and that I had thought of all of their considerations in making this work.
While researching the concept of "Warrior Spirit" I found references to Chinese martial arts, American Indian philosophies, and even yoga practices.
While the term 'warrior' seems to conjure up images relating to aggression, this is not what I found in most of my research. Instead, I read phrases such as "moving
through fear," "embracing limitations," living a "joyful, courageous life," "disciplines the mind, body, and spirit," and "leads to compassion."
A warrior develops spiritual, martial, and ethical skills. He works to obtain an impeccable character in order to serve his community and expand his
consciousness. He changes his perceptions about confrontation and creates his own destiny. His strength and compassion make others feel at ease with him, which
reduces conflict. In effect, the ideal goal is that he becomes one with the world around him.
I do not have much personal experience with the American Indians, but I have always had an interest in birds, flight, and bonding with nature. I also
loved watching the falconers with raptors at the Renaissance fairs. Their connection always struck me as romantic and absolutely beautiful.
In the interest of time, I decided to cast a wax of my sculpture Eric.
I then softened him, cut and moved parts and rewelded the wax into the general shape you see here.
I did not win the commission. That is life. But by this time, I really liked my composition and decided to finish the idea. My hurried wax would not have survived the casting process since I had
not created a proper armature for him. I decided the best approach was to start fresh, so I built an armature and began to apply plastilina (a wax-based clay that never dries)
until I had plenty of detail and a known pose. In the meantime, I had hired a new (to me) model so that I could put the finishing touches on my new artwork.
Later, I called my friend, sculptor Hap Hagood, to ask about the details on the red-tailed hawk that I could not find in my research. He is an expert on
birds of prey and a super guy.