Posts Tagged ‘father and son’

When I asked my youngest son Adam if he wanted to go to the Falls with me he said yes for the first time in a while.  Everyone has their busy schedules these days, but somehow our calendars intersected on this day.  We went after supper when there was still a couple of hours of good light left.

Adam asked me if I had a fort out here like last year?  You know, the one with all the Styrofoam in it and if so, are we going there?  Barely were the words out of his mouth when he walked into my studio site.  Everything was as I left it except for the big helmeted figure which had fallen over.  In a way, this piece has become the figurehead of my driftwood boat for this season and as my unofficial mascot I respectfully stood it back up.

Adam wanted to go exploring around my area and while he did that I made this quick figure.  Two pieces of found polystyrene, coal eyes, plastic pen cap nose, wooden ears, plastic mouth, a plastic neck collar, and five sharpened sticks along with a foam letter “A” comprise the materials used to make this guy.  By the time Adam got back from circling around the site it was time to go…but first we could make a few photos along the way.

Of the pictures I took of the “Mister A” figure, this was my favorite.  The wrecked cooler adds a lot of formal interest.  Adam was getting hot and thirsty and so it was time to move on home.  I thanked him for coming along and promised him a cold sports drink at the next convenient store down the street.  Maybe it won’t be so hot the next time we explore together and we can stay longer?  Here’s one more shot before closing.

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My son Adam surprised me the other day by wanting to accompany me to the Falls.  It turned out to be gorgeous and sunny and we shared this moment together.  In his mind, we each had a distinct role to play.  I was to be the “artist” and he would be the “explorer”.  In reality, those roles frequently overlapped and I think it’s fun and interesting when those distinctions blur anyway. 

We walked down to the water’s edge to see if anything cool had washed ashore.  Adam got sidetracked when he came up with the idea of writing his name in the sand.  He found a stick that felt good in his hands and set about the business of making his mark on the world.  Judging from how large the final result was, I’m guessing Adam has big ambitions for his life.  Or, as his father, it might just be me projecting my own hopes into gestural lines drawn in the sand.

We found an old motorcycle helmet which Adam immediately claimed.  He did, however, remove the Styrofoam lining and he gave that to me.  I once made a nice turtle using a similar foam lining from a discarded bicycle helmet and he remembered that.  Wearing old jeans (aptly named high waters), Adam allowed the river to wash over his feet and he was surprised by the still frigid water and the stickiness of the mud.

Here’s a picture of Adam the “Log Rider”!  The yellow handlebars are from some riding toy we found in the sand.  This is Adam’s favorite picture from this day and he wanted me to be sure to include this one.

Once we found a good place to rest and eat our chocolate chip cookies, I dumped the contents of this collecting bag onto the sand.  From a previous foray, I had pre-stashed some foam chunks near this spot.  While Adam played, I worked on a large figure to help us mark this day.  I had relocated an especially large piece of Styrofoam that I had previously used to make two other figures.  This would be the first time I have re-re-recycled something.  I asked Adam to take my picture while I worked, and here I am in action.  The wooden stairs I’m sitting on washed up here last year.

Who knew that this artist has such a big head!  The mouth on this one is a reflector from a bicycle wheel.  The nose is the horn from another bicycle I had found months earlier.  The eyes are large fishing floats.  The ears are made from found wood and that yellowish object on top is the plastic part of a lawn dart.  When Adam and I finished assembling the entire figure, I took his picture next to it so it can help you judge scale.  All in all, it was a wonderful day for father and son and we need to do this again soon.  Maybe next time, we can convince older brother to come along too?   Peace!

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Adam's self-portrait, 9/09

You can tell by looking at this photo that Adam is the life of the party!  I hand my son the camera and the first picture he takes is of himself!  The two of us went to the Falls the other day.  We hiked around and then made some art together.  Here are a few words and images recording our adventure.

Adam crossing over, 9/09

The river is in its summer pool meaning that it’s low this time of year.  The water in this photo is barely ankle to knee deep (and that’s if you step into a hole).  I usually wade over to get to the fossil beds on the Kentucky side.  Adam decided that he prefered the challenge of walking across this old telephone pole someone else had laid across the water and it was a good test of balance.  That’s what I like about walking over driftwood.  You need to pay attention to where you are going.  As we were exploring, Adam came across a piece of wood that reminded him of a dragon’s head and he decided to see if he could make the rest of it from other found materials.  I wonder where he got that idea?

Adam's Dragon head, 9/09

As you can see, Adam has a pretty good eye.  This old beat up piece of wood does resemble a dragon’s head or snapping turtle skull (that was my vote).  The eye socket is in about the right place and it does have a complete mouth with maxilla and mandible.  The other side looks just as good too!  Adam carried his driftwood from the river’s edge to the site that has served as my outdoor studio for months now.  Recently, I did a little “house” cleaning by rearranging  all my found materials.  While I worked on my piece, Adam was busy working on his.  Little Styrofoam people watched from a safe distance and from behind a tree.

Adam working on his dragon, 9/09

Finding material for the body and limbs was on hand, but there was the challenge of what to use for the wings.  Adam did a little scouting around and found this blue, foam-like mat that he cut in half with my knife.  The wings are pegged to the body to hold them in place.  I did help him when he asked for it…which was when we hammered the legs into the body with another piece of wood.  As we worked, I asked him how third grade was going and other topics of conversation, but there were also periods of silence as we focused on our projects.  I heard that’s how you can tell when men are comfortable with one another….when time goes by and neither utters a word to each other.  They don’t need to.

Adam's Dragon, facing right, 9/09

At last the dragon is finished and the beast seems to be roaring its approval.   Adam seemed happy with his efforts.  I’m pleased that for now, he still thinks its fun to come out with Dad to explore, make things, and use our imaginations.  I can’t conceive of  how a person can develop a love for nature unless you have some experience in it?  The outdoors can help nourish the body and spirit in ways that are hard to replicate in school.  We had some fun playing with the dragon which is a dangerous thing to do because they are proud and fickle beasts and one can never completely relax around them.  If you do… than this can happen!

Adam bitten by the dragon, 9/09

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plug at the bottom of the river, 5/09

Sunday was absolutely glorious and the river level had dropped as quickly as it had risen.  My youngest son Adam came with me today and we shared an adventure in exploring and creating art.  After the river goes down, it’s always fun to see how the landscape has been changed and what new stuff has washed up.  Here’s an image of Adam and the “giant plug from the bottom of the river”.  The air was full of cottonwood fluff and birds were everywhere.  Saw two more new species for me, the Red-eyed Vireo and the Black-throated Green Warbler.  Both are supposedly common species, but you would be surprised at how little they show themselves.

Adam, sand drawing, 5/09

Adam is the artist in the family and has an amazing ability to focus on projects when he wants to.  Lately, he has been on an extended Godzilla, King  of the Monsters kick.  He collects the action figures and watches the movies and makes all kinds of art based on the characters and story lines.  Today he started things off with a sand drawing.

Adam and Godzilla figure, 5/09

He has seen me make stuff from Styrofoam for years and naturally he has to try his hand at it too.  We call these small sculptures “Foamies” and here is his Godzilla…now in three dimensions.  It’s made from polystyrene, sticks, and nuts.  I helped where the use of a knife was needed.  Adam’s older brother, Michael used to come out with me when he was younger and we would have similar adventures making things.  It’s important to bring your kids outdoors if you ever expect them to develop a love for it.

Time Keeper w/rope, 5/09

Adam wasn’t the only one enjoying himself!  I gathered materials and made this figure I called the “Time Keeper” based on the plastic clock filled with water hanging around his neck.  The riverbank is still muddy in places.  If you are not careful you can walk right out of your stuck in the mud shoes.  The first photos I took of this figure were by this barge rope.  I’m not sure what the blue material its body is composed of, but it’s not true polystyrene foam.  I was able to locate many of the larger pieces I had put away for safe keeping…the river did move them, but not far away.

Time Keeper, final location, 5/09

This is where I left the “Time Keeper”.  I wonder when I next return to the Falls if he will still be there?  His body was water-logged and he needs to dry out a bit.  He’s in the Willow Habitat by the fixed wier dam.  The coming week promises a few good days and we shall see!

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