Tuesday, September 16, 2014

'Coffee Pot Light' by Bill Osmundsen at Fine Art America


 'Coffee Pot Light' also known as the Orient Point Light.
 US National Register of Historic Places.

Located off Orient Point:- I frequently viewed this light from the Cross Sound Ferry which travels from New London CT. to Orient Point, located on the eastern tip of the north fork of Long Island. 



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Progress on Alexandra's portrait as a Clay Model

on a rather elaborate armature...

I found myself sculpting right off my preconceived armature, which is the form you use to hold the wet clay model in place.  My sculpture professor at Trinity University, Philip John Evett who was English,  used to talk about Sir Jacob Epstein, sculptor, who he said frequently ended up sculpting right off the form (planned armature) sometimes including the sculpture table as well.  In this case I sculpted right off the supporting 'pipe' to finally arrive where I was happy.  Of course all of the supports will be cut out in the mold making process which I have begun.  See the pic's below to view the beginning of the mold making process.

the clay form is divided for mold separation, shallacked,
and is now ready for 6 - 8 coats of latex molding compound.

Ps:- Evett continues on at age 91....he was vibrant, thoughtful, humorous and inspirational as a professor.  During class breaks we would breakout his sabres, fencing masks and we would duel in the outdoor courtyard.  I was happy to find his u-tube presentation in the form of a monologue given at age 89;-

    Philip John Evett at Blue Star

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Steam-Sail Yachts, a bygone era, "Sultana"


"Sultana" by Antonio Jacobsen

My cousins and I have been going over some old family photo's.  Some have been over 100 years old.  And typical of many, there is nothing written on them, to define them.  We have been trying to piece different bits of information to try to fill in the full story.  My Grandfather, Osmund (Oscar) Osmundsen is one of the most interesting subjects in that he sailed out of Stavanger, Norway as a 'Carpenters Apprentice', later settling in Bay ridge, Brooklyn, he became an expert rigger and yacht captain.
  I  know his first captains license was issued around 1911, the year my father was born.  In those days, photo's were rather scarce and mostly formally posed.  On the backs they are frequently printed up as 'post cards' (a penny stamp will do).  So it was unusual to find an old card with 'Pop' (as we all called him) as a hard working crew member on board 'Sultana'.  I had heard that name on the lips of both my father and grandfather and this picture-card must have predated 1911.  Also, the name Harriman, had been mentioned in various conversations I had overheard as a boy.

                                              Oscar Osmundsen, second row from top, first left from rail

The 'Sultana' was built in 1889 by Henderson & Robbins at Erie Basin (Brooklyn) NY for Trenor Park who was a 'silk merchant' and Harvard graduate.  Sultana's launching was witnessed by 500 guests and 1000 spectators.
The New York Times covered the launching of the 187 foot, 3 mast, topsail schooner which cost an estimated $150,000. Mr. & Mrs. Park plans were to sail it around the world  with a group of friends. (The New York Times, pub. Dec. 19, 1889).  Mrs. Park who later sold the boat on her husbands death in 1907, was quoted to have spent her honeymoon aboard the yacht and stated they crossed the Atlantic around 75 times.
In 1907 Mrs. E.H. Harriman of  NYC, became owner.  She was the widow of railroad baron, E.H. Harriman. The life preserver in the picture above was hand labeled with an old style fountain pen 'Sultana' 'N.Y.Y.C. which signified  New York Yacht Club.

 The 'Times' stated the 'Sultana' was launched under the white-starred burgee of the Corinthian Yacht Club of NY, a club founded in 1871.   Park was also member of the NYYC and Commadore of the American Yacht Club. Mrs.Harriman was elected into the NYYC in 1910;-  in any event there are pictures and references sighting the 'Sultana' flew the NYYC burgee.

"Sultana" anchored 1892 

In 1917 the 390 ton yacht was lent under free lease, by Mrs. Harriman to the U S Navy during WWI and outfitted with four 3" guns and two machine guns.  As the USS Sultana (Sp-134) she sailed in a task force to France, arriving on July 4th, 1917,   where she rescued 45 survivors of the merchant ship Orleans which had been torpedoed the day before. USS Sultana landed the survivors in Brest, France where she remained on duty till December 5, 1918.  She was decommissioned and returned to Mrs. Harriman on February 17, 1919.
USS Sultana (Sp-134) during her service in WWI 

Interesting where an old post card photograph can lead. Drop me a line if you know any of the other men on board 'Sultana', pictured above or have any pics of the ship.  We understand the yacht transfered hands 9 times after Harriman sold it.  

Best wishes, Bill

Friday, February 21, 2014

Grand kids make great subjects for portrait sculpture

I'm a little prejudice on the subject of depicting these little darlings.  I have been creating childrens' portrait 'heads' and 'busts' for over 40 years.  I have made portraits of some of my collectors grand kids but this is the first time I have worked on my own granddaughters sculpture.  Alexandra and her mother, Caroline have been
Ali sits at my 'Down Under Art Studio' in Portsmouth, NH
coming down to my studio in Portsmouth to sit for Ali's 'head'.  (A portrait 'head' differs from a portrait 'bust' in that the 'head' is sans shoulders and is a bit more informal in it's presentation.) The finished cast 'head' is mounted on a handsome block of marble or hardwood which will appoint the sculpture work. These pictures show the sculpture process about half-way through the sculpting or modeling process. Clay work unlike carving wood or stone which is only subtractive is the process of adding and subtracting; much like painting it allows a lot of subtlety and refinement to the completed work. The 'clay model' then has a negative mother mold made on it. From there a 'cast stone' or 'lost wax bronze' is created.

As you can see my subject doesn't really stay real still or pose
and posing is not really necessary.

I like to work from life, usually 3 or 4 two-hour sessions are all that is required. The sittings are filled in with photo's that I take at different stages of the sculpture. In other cases I work completely from photo's. The duel busts of 2 sisters pictured below was completed only from photographs supplied by my client. Notice the 'polychrome' patina. The 'patina' being the coloration of the sculpture and polychrome indicating a number of various colors. Finishing the sculpture in this way is really a look back to the way the ancients; Greeks would finish their marble carvings and bronze casts. I also could have completed this work in a variety of traditional bronze 'greens' or 'browns' which were typically arrived from by the washing of 'copper nitrate' for blue-green or 'ferric nitrate' for brown. The 'Sisters' are cast in 'stone' which has the advantage of being about half the overall cost of a 'lost wax bronze'.
"Sisters"   Cast Stone     (c) William Barth Osmundsen

Visit my "Down Under Art Studio"
at the
Ben Franklin Block Building
75 Congress St.,
Suite LO2
Portsmouth, NH