I once pursued a serious love of sculpture, taking classes in life-modelling and drawing, visiting museums and sculpture gardens, and reading and studying about sculpture. I had a modest talent for clay figure modelling. I wanted to move into stone carving, but the demands of raising my family prevented me from devoting the time needed to it. I was fascinated by casting in plastics. Artists in San Francisco particularly inspired me; but the investment needed to work in plastic was beyond my means (plastic fumes are toxic, shops need extensive - expensive - venting equipment). So my apprenticeship was limited to clay.
I did not have enough artistic ability to consider elevating my interest to an avocation. I had no ability whatsoever in drawing and was once dropped from a life-drawing class by the instructor because he thought I was wasting space in the limited enrollment course. I did have enough ability in sculpture to appreciate the achievement of the artists. I was captivated by the greatest Western sculptors of the human form - Phidias, Michelangelo, Rodin, and Moore. I add Augustus Saint-Gaudens to this group, though in the main he excelled at allegory and usually worked with costume rather than form, per se. I took every opportunity on my travels to view exhibitions of their sculptures. I kept a working journal, making detailed observations and comments intended to help me improve my effort to be a sculptor. My main regret is that I did not have extended stays in Paris and Florence, which would have given me the time needed to study the masterpieces there and compose my thoughts in my journal.
I love the work of Henry Moore. It was my fondest wish personally to meet this wonderful sculptor. I was in England before he died; but I was too humble to take the steps to visit him. Instead, I visited the street where his Hampstead house was located in the first year of the blitz, 1939-1940, and tried imaginatively to recreate the dramatic wartime setting from his autobiographical sketches. I wanted to tour the great landscape investments of Moore's pieces, but did not have the opportunity, being restricted to photography books about them.
Both Moore and Saint-Gaudens have had an important spiritual and moral influence on me. When I visited Boston with my children, I took them to view Saint-Gauden's Shaw Memorial across from the State House. I photographed them sitting on the bench in front of the Memorial. These photographs hang framed in the entryway to my home to commemorate the value of moral obligation by which I guided my family's life.