Monthly Archives: July 2010

Long Live Butchers Wax!

Contrary to rumor, the Butcher’s Wax Company is still alive and doing business. Several of my local hardware stores told me recently that the company had gone out of business and tried to sell me other, inferior waxes! Where these rumors came from I don’t know, but if you find yourself in the same situation you can order direct from the company’s website. I recommend Renaissance Wax for metals and plaster, but the basic clear bowling alley wax is great for outdoor use. I have used it for decades for maintaining outdoor bronze sculptures.

Patricia Leguen: immerse yourself in your work

“Every ephemeral sculpture is a challenge. You have to create a piece outdoors in a set amount time in all kinds of weather. You have to learn how far you can go with the material before it falls down or collapses. But it is as if time stands still, you are in a different state of mind, a state of elation where you do not feel the pains and aches, where you forget about the intense cold or heat. You immerse yourself in your work, you are always testing yourself. …And as soon as you finish it, you distance yourself from it and you do not even think about what will happen to it. You are already thinking about the next one…”

Patricia Leguen lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and is originally from Saint-Nazaire, France. Leguen studied Fine Arts at the University of Saskatchewan  and then at the École des Beaux-Arts, in Nantes, France.

Patricia has been sculpting snow, ice, sand, and fire at numerous international competitions, including events in Canada, Norway, Italy, Russia, the United States, Greenland, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, France, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, and Mexico. Some recent awards at international festivals include: “Best Hand Built Solo Sculpture” at the  International Tournament of Sand Sculpture Champions in Harrison Hot Springs (BC, Canada); a bronze medal at the International Ice Carving Competition (Harbin, China) for a sculpture of Gabriel Dumont; and first place/jury choice at the International Snow Sculpture Festival in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy,  to name just a very few.

Leguen was featured in a Bravo Channel documentary series “Landscape as Muse,” as she created a 15-foot fire sculpture on the edge of an icy Canadian lake.

Pictured: Patricia Leguen (center), still from “Landscape as Muse” season one, 2006.


Maria Sol Escobar (b. May 22, 1930), otherwise known simply as Marisol, was born in Paris to Venezuelan parents. During her life Marisol’s mother (Josefina Escobar) was a well-known patron of the arts in Venezuela. Marisol studied in Paris, France in 1949, returning to study in New York in 1950.

From 1951 to 1954 she took courses at the New School for Social Research with her most influential mentor,  Hans Hofmann. Marisol became acquainted with notions of the “push and pull” dynamic: of forcing dichotomies between raw and finished states. During this period, Marisol was introduced to New York’s Cedar Tavern, the chief watering hole for many of the leading Abstract Expressionists with whom Marisol became friends. Her first show, with Leo Castelli  in 1958, met with wide success.

Marisol then  developed an interest in Mexican, Pre-Columbian and American folk art and turned her attention to sculpture. In her early work she fashioned small, animated figurines out of bronze, terracotta and wood, often placing these pieces in compartmentalized, glass-fronted boxes. In 1961 she began to incorporate drawing, painting, and objets trouvés into complex, life-size figure arrangements. Cast fragments of her own body and images of her face frequently appear in her works from this decade, many of which address the position of women in modern society. Women and Dog (1964; New York, Whitney) depicts a group of fashionable middle-class housewives parading in public wearing blank, masklike expressions; other works depict farm women and socialites in similarly constrained poses.

Marisol’s images of contemporary culture, at once deadpan and satirical in tone, were produced in the context of Pop art; the personal, enigmatic, often primitive elements of her work, however, set it apart from the mainstream of the movement. In the early 1970s she carved small, exotic fishes out of mahogany, with her own face on their polished, colorful bodies, and produced a series of prints and drawings with erotic, often violent overtones. In the 1980s she returned to large-scale figural assemblages, creating a series of portrait ‘homages’ to well-known contemporary artists and personalities.

Marisol herself speaks little of her career.  She claims, “I was born an artist. Afterwards, I had to explain to everyone just what that meant.”  She lives and works in New York, in Tribeca.

Source: Nancy Ring, Grove Art Online, © 2009 Oxford University Press

Pictured: Family, 1962, collection Museum of Modern Art, New York.