That Love Called Charlee

The shining face of innocence and beauty. The steel "flower" stands larger than life at 7' tall. Each and every flower bud was painfully glued on. An incredibly detailed work trumpeting the beginning of an entirely new phase for the artist.

Steel, Dental Cement, Liquid Nails, Acrylic Sculpting Paste, Silk and Paint.

7' tall


    Shes going in for surgery now to have her spleen removed.  Cancer got the best of her.  The doctor said it was doubtful she would live,  but I didn't give up.
    Charlee was quite a person, so to speak.  One that everybody loved to be around because of her good nature and the ease in her presence.  She was also wise.  I was truly grateful to have this light in my life.  She was a very good friend; she was my dog. 
    During surgery I was in the next room visualizing her recovery in a sort of meditative state.  In the midst of it, I saw a very large flower with this incredible face smiling upon me and looking into my eyes as if she knew me and radiating an aura of orange and yellow.  I know it sounds crazy, but I saw it crystal clear.  I felt as though I was dreaming, but I was awake.  With my eyes still closed, I stared at her for a few more seconds and opened them.  I could still see her.  I had chills up and down my spine.  I was blown away.  I closed my eyes again in disbelief at what I was seeing, and the image vanished.  I wished I hadn't closed them.  I wanted to see her again, but she was gone.
    When her surgery had finished, Charlee was in the recovery room.  I stayed with her the whole time.  But around 45 minutes later, I left the room for just a moment, and she stopped breathing.  The doctor tried desperately to revive her, but she was gone.  I was so incredibly devastated.  I lost my friend.  I loved her like no other pet I'd ever had, indeed so much more.
     As time passed in the following weeks, I realized how fortunate I was for the time I had had with her.  I was quite empowered, and knew the flower in my waking dream was  truly the essence of what Charlee was made of.  Pure love… 

    I wanted to build this piece to honor her memory.  I'd need the right face to cast though, so I waited. 
    A year had passed since Charlee died, and I met a girl named Abby.  She taught meditation and yoga among other things.  But it was uncanny how close the resemblance of her face was to that of the flower in my dream.  She was a wonderful, centered human being with all these great attributes inside and out.  Abby really felt and conveyed in her face the same tranquility I saw in that flower.  She was truly the one.  
    I had a clear picture of the piece, but building it was another story.  The hair, which took one month to complete, was a painfully tedious process.  It was very hard to remain patient during that period. 
    This sculpture from start to finish took over 4 months to contemplate and build.  The end result for me was deeply gratifying.

    Some friendships transcend time and boundaries.  And some even transcend form.  Its those that shine on forever in our hearts.  


    The petals of this metal sculpture were made from 1/4” steel pencil rod, bent to the outer shape and welded to a 1/4” steel plate.  The center of the petals were filled with perforated steel. The inside of the petals were then filled with 19 tubes of liquid nails for strength and flexibility.  Later, an acrylic paste was brushed on to form petal lines.  The back of the flower was constructed with 1/8” plate and 5/16” steel tubing cut and tapered, welded and carved to form the shape.  The face, flower petals and flower back were welded together revealing no connections.  The stem was made from 1 1/4” round steel tubing.  It’s shape was formed from many bends and saw cuts that were welded and ground smooth.  The flower separates from the stem to allow both pieces to fit through doorways.

    I made a mold of this wonderful girls face.  She held this expression for 20 minutes with straws in her nose for oxygen.  From that I made the face out of dental cement with bolts submerged in back of her head.  I made the flower buds from silk daises.  I took them apart, cut them to a point in 4 petal sections, which removed the frayed edges.  I painted them with 2 colors, held a bead on a needle, and glued the petals around the bead.  I then implanted eyebrows and eyelashes and stamens into the brows and buds.  There are about 432 buds total.  I had to use a respirator to glue the buds and stamens in.  Tints, dyes, paint and lacquer were used for color.  It took one month to make and implant the stamens and flower buds making up her hair.