Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fruits of the Firings

Here are a few pieces (front and back views) from my most recent wood and soda kiln firings. They range from 6 inches to 18 inches tall.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Our Reviving Little Overnight Getaway

     Today, Michele and I returned from a relaxing overnight stay in Prescott at one of the most pleasant bed and breakfasts we have visited. Prescott Log Cabin Bed and Breakfast had everything we needed for a peaceful retreat. This place is just around the corner from Watson Lake, my absolute favorite birding spot in the Prescott area. The environment outside our Suite Solitude was perfect for close encounters with the flora and fauna of the Granite Dells. I had forgotten my binoculars but, to my pleasant surprise, the birds were most accommodating and moved fearlessly through the surrounding trees and bushes so that I enjoyed excellent unaided views of Western Tanagers (Michele's favorite), Black-headed Grosbeaks, Orange-crowned Warblers, American Robins and their young, mated pairs of Gambel's Quail, and an assortment of hummingbirds. There were also chipmunks, rock squirrels and a multitude of lizards in assorted sizes and colors. Our host, Gary and his beautiful golden retriever, Alex made us feel like we were family. By the way, Gary makes a fantastic breakfast!
     Our itinerary included lunch on the way down from Flagstaff in Sedona at Coffee Pot Restaurant on their gorgeous shaded back patio, dinner in Prescott at Murphy's, the leisurely perusal of Prescott's shops and antique stores, and a shady hike along the West Fork of Oak Creek on the way back to Flagstaff.
     Here are a few photos that highlight our little vacation:
     The front drive is adorned with a montage of authentic mining tools that speak to the living history of the Prescott area.
     An interior and exterior panoramic view of our room show its comfortable softer side and natural charm.

     While relaxing before dinner I had the pleasure of losing myself in the mind of the Lizard King sunning himself on the back porch. I lay on the floor inside the opened glass patio door and we regarded each other from our respective environs for the better part of an hour.
     Our last stop, before dragging ourselves back to our routine life, afforded a cooling of the feet in the flowing snow-melt of Oak Creek. Michele tried her hand at an environmental portrait of yours truly and succeeded easily.
     We were so relaxed, I never even thought about the iPod, Facebook, or what we'd do next. We just lived every moment as it unfolded. Next time we're staying two nights!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Death and Life in the Ponderosa Forest

     Early this morning I set out to hike in the the nearby forest. The ground still wet from recent weather was drying quickly. I stepped across a fence line broken by a giant fallen snag. A few yards past the fence was an ominously placed elk hide hanging in the branches of a tree. It must have been there for a long while as the smell of death was barely present.

     Shaking off the heebee jeebees, I left the scene to explore the recent slash and burn areas nearby. There at the edge of the blackened earth I found a fallen bird nest. I have always loved collecting nests. they represent a connection with another world for me, a world of flight. They also signify an intimate relationship with the environment that is stripped to its bare essentials.
     As I made my way back along the fence line, I was stopped in my tracks by a dark lizard lying still in the grass. Unwilling to break his solar trance, he sat for a long while as I examined him, photographed him, and stroked his back. I thought I could lift him briefly, so as to photograph his blue belly.
     I was wrong. He squirmed through my fingers and ran up my arm onto my back where I couldn't see or touch him. With some creative reaching I managed to guide him down my other arm for one last photo and comfortable release to the grass, where he promptly resumed his sunny repose.
     After all, home again, happy and hungry.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tecolote, a site specific, place based art installation

     The following is documentation of an installation I did for a class on site specific, place based art installation. The subject of the course was cultural and ecological genocide in Arizona. I chose to address the issues surrounding the border between Arizona and Mexico. For a review of the installation check out Dave Laplander's blog. Special thanks to my classmates, my professor Shawn Skabelund, NAU Cline Library, and Dr. Tad Theimer and the NAU Biology Department's specimen library.


by Eugene Brosseau, BFA

     Current political and social actions and activism surrounding the Arizona and Mexico border impact a broad spectrum of human and animal relations and ecosystems. In an effort to address real and far reaching issues surrounding our borderlands, sweeping changes have been made to Arizona and U.S. policy and practice without sufficient regard for, or protection of, the rights of the inhabitants of our borderlands. This site specific art installation is intended to provoke questions within the viewer about our place in history, the commonality of human experience, and our role in the ecology of the borderlands.

On evenings dark
a lonesome sound
betrays the heart

from amidst trees
on the banks of arroyos
calls to would be companions

eyes alive
in the murk and midnight
watch the stillness

hearing and hailing 
all homesick hunters

     In summary, the owls, being nocturnal, represent the human migrants who move across the border at night. They also represent the universality of human experience on either side of the border.The topography of Arizona shows the southern border with Mexico. The absence of topography of Mexico illustrates the out-of-sight-out-of-mind state of affairs concerning the inhabitants south of the border and their status as the "other" or the "them" in the discourse. I deliberately chose topography and scientific specimens to associate the piece with the library environment. It was my intent to create a quiet artwork that united itself to its surroundings and invited the viewer's curiosity.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Inspired by visiting artist, Priscilla Mouritzen, I had taken up my carving tool and attempted to create some linoleum block prints. The process was not yielding any favorable results. I had the thought, while still in bed this morning, to try mono-printing. The results are very promising and I plan to continue the process. Pictured below is a print I made this morning using a motif I had explored in pencil and in oils last summer.

"Mute", a mono-print with black ink on hand crafted paper.

Friday, May 6, 2011

We unloaded the wood kiln this morning. Overall the firing was successful. The only exception being the failure of two shelves in the back stack which triggered a massive collapse of the upper shelves of that section into the fire-box during the firing. The back door of the fire-box had to be opened while the kiln was still being fired and pieces of broken shelves and pots had to be pulled out while red-hot so as not to block the primary air intakes. While the carnage was impressive the kiln gave up some real treasures, including a few pieces from the fire-box, covered in chunky ash, an effect usually achieved in a very different style of kiln. Here are some before-and-after pics along with a shot of a couple of artifacts of the destruction.

Jason, Priscilla, and unloaded wares

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

At the Feet of the Master

Today, I was afforded the honor of accompanying Paula Rice, Priscilla Mouritzen, and Candice Methe to visit the home and studio of my absolute favorite artist, Don Reitz. He gave us a whirlwind tour of his studio, kiln shed, and home. I could have sat for days soaking it all in. It was a blissful encounter with the life of a prolific and legendary artist. Incidentally, Don makes a perfect "Arnold Palmer" (lemonade and iced-tea).
Don and his "girlfriend"
Don describing his kilns to Priscilla
Don's Studio

Monday, May 2, 2011

Time with Priscilla

Today we loaded the wood fired catenary arch kiln with visiting artist Priscilla Mouritzen. Priscilla is a prolific artist from Denmark. When she's not making beautiful ceramic objects she's bicycling around town, sketching, making lino-cut prints, or sneaking about with her camera stealing pictures for her blog. It's been a joy spending time with her and I've learned more than a few lasting things from our conversations and her practice.

(L to R) Steve Schaeffer, Jason Hess, Priscilla Mouritzen
Priscilla's pinched porcelain hand decorated bowls (middle shelf)

The kiln, fully loaded

A new sculpture of mine amidst Jason's bottles and Priscilla's bowls