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Fleet Admiral Nimitz

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DSC02456Since we are about to send Fleet Admiral Nimitz off to Hawaii, we thought we would share some history of this remarkable man.

Fleet Admiral Nimitz enjoyed an illustrious Naval career. Born on February 24, 1885, in Fredericksburg, TX, he hoped to start his Army career by attending West Point. When this didn’t materialize, he tested for selection to Annapolis and was appointed. After graduation, he fulfilled his required two years of sea duty in the Far East and upon returning to the U. S., was ordered to submarine duty. ManyDSC02458 years later he returned to land duty where he was assigned to diesel engine training; then back to sea duty to set up a submarine base in Pearl Harbor. Following this, he was assigned to the Naval War College, where his varied expertise was put to good use studying Pacific Ocean war logistics.

At the height of World War II, he was promoted to Fleet Admiral—one among only four. When the Japanese surrendered on September  2, 1945, on board the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Fleet Admiral Nimitz signed the surrender document on behalf of the United States.

Following the war, he became a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations and worked to repair relations with Japan by raising funds to restore the Japanese memorial ship, Mikasa, and encouraging the return of any ancestral Samurai swords that had been acquired during the war. He believed in the importance of turning “swords into plowshares”. Post World War II, he turned down his many offers of prestigious positions in consideration of “how the Gold Star Mothers might feel”.

Fleet Admiral Nimitz died at his home in San Francisco on February 20, 1966. He was the last surviving five-star admiral. If you’d like to learn more about Fleet Admiral Nimitz, click here.

Rip considers it an honor to have been selected to memorialize Fleet Admiral Nimitz in bronze. We invite you to join us as we celebrate the completion of this sculpture. Read more here about the planned festivities.

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The Ascension of Christ project

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Rip and his son Chad have recently returned from a trip to Italy, where they studied the work of Renaissance masters Michelangelo and Bernini, among others. After this trip, Rip is more passionate than ever to transfer his fresh inspiration into the Ascending Christ monument he is currently sculpting.

According to Rip, “I studied figurative sculpture in Italy in 2001, but on this trip I realized how much my capacity had grown over the last decade of working on the human form. I was able to see things in the old masters works with more artistically mature eyes, including subtle nuances that I’m very excited to incorporate into my own work moving forward. My commitment to continually develop and pursue excellence in my art was reaffirmed as I looked at the greatness of these David_von_Michelangeloartist works. It is a pursuit—you never really achieve it, but this is how the growth happens. It was especially wonderful this time to share and teach my son Chad what I was observing as we toured. The joy of watching a young artist become inspired and to be a part of that development is equally gratifying. I believe we really haven’t learned anything until we can teach it to another. One candle lighting another makes the room brighter for everyone.”

This is the third commission Rip has received from the Diocese of Wichita. He was selected after a nationwide search more than a year ago to create two original sculptures as part of the 18-month renovation of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.Ascension “Mary and Joseph” and “The Crucifixion” each stand over seven feet in height.

“The Ascension of Christ is the third monument completes the circle. We began with Mary standing with Joseph, looking across the cathedral to her Son on the cross, we then portrayed Christ’s decision and sacrifice with the Crucifixion—now we’ll demonstrate the victorious Christ ascending triumphantly into heaven.”

The Ascension Cemetery is located ten miles from the Cathedral in Wichita. It is visited by over 10,000 people annually. The new sculpture will be placed at the north end of a plaza on the cemetery grounds. It is a gathering place for ceremony and remembrance. The design of the contemporary plaza includes 12 black marble columns varying in height, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The columns gradually rise toward the tallest in the center, which stands at a height of 18 feet. The Ascending Christ will be placed atop this column, standing a dramatic 30 feet in the air above the plaza below.

Chad Caswell will act as Rip’s assistant during the sculpting on the Ascending Christ. “Over  the next few months of work we will relive our trip as we develop the clay figure of Christ and peruse our best efforts.”

Be sure to visit the Gallery and watch the process as Rip sculpts this magnificent monument.

Portrait commissions by Cynthia Feustel

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The Gift_24x18

The Gift

We have been showing the portrait oil paintings of artist Cynthia Feustel for the past two months. Cynthia has agreed to be our “go to” portrait artist which is very exciting since we have not had a portrait artist of her caliber and reputation to refer our clients until now. If you haven’t been to the Gallery to see her exquisite work, be sure to do so. With that in mind, we have asked Cynthia to write a little about what to expect when commissioning a portrait, so read on!

Portrait Commissions
Commissioning a portrait begins with a meeting to discuss the mood, setting and size of the painting. An important aspect of this meeting is to get to know you and establish a genuine sense of what you wish to capture in the portrait.

Attire, pose and facial expression have always played a central role in portraiture and it is attention to these details that make a portrait believable and vibrant with life.

Clothing selection for the most part is of personal taste. It really can be anything from draped fabric, as in my figurative works, to full costuming that represents someone’s heritage, interests or lifestyle. It is usually best to choose something without too much pattern so as not to distract from the main focus of the portrait, which is the face. I prefer to work from photos that I take myself so I can adjust the composition and lighting to meet my needs for the painting.  Several outfits can be chosen for the photo shoot in order to explore different options.

A portrait should be authentic and true to the individuality of the person, based on what they love and how they see themselves. Every person has some gesture or demeanor that defines them in some way. It is capturing that defining moment that makes a portrait alive and believable. The choice of a formal or informal setting often depends on personality, age or even where the painting is going to hang. Once the photos are taken I will chose several exceptional ones and together we will make the final selection. In the event of a posthumous portrait or one depicting a past event, I will do my best work with your photos.

Due to the many variables of each client’s vision for their portrait, the painting is priced on an individual basis. We will discuss the various price ranges and options at our first meeting. Once we finalize all those details, a down payment will be required to begin the portrait process. The price does not include framing, shipping, taxes or travel expenses.

My goal is to bring a fresh, innovative approach to portraiture, capturing the personality and energy that makes each of my subjects unique. Although people often say that my work looks like a photograph, I feel that is far from the truth. By using a simplified composition, with a sense of light, atmosphere and texture, I add my own interpretation and vision to create something that is hopefully far more real than the limitations of photography.

I use traditional oil painting techniques on museum quality Belgium linen and archival oil paints to create a treasured heirloom to last for generations. Above all, your satisfaction is of utmost importance to me and I look forward to working with you.

Commissioning a portrait sculpture

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At Caswell Gallery we have a lot of interest in portrait commissions. They are fairly commonplace, but somewhat complex in nature. No worries though, we’re going to break it down for you and answer all your questions.

sculpting Athena's portrait - CopyThe first thing clients think of when entertaining a commission is cost. Commissioned portraits can be affordable, but it’s always best to know your budget. This a topic to discuss at the very beginning so you know what to expect. Details that will be considered when the artist gives a quote include number of subjects, size of the finished sculpture, time frame (additional charges usually apply for a rush order), patinas, bases, travel if the artist has to come to you, or vice versa (this is a charge you will incur), shipping if necessary; approximate time it takes to sculpt, and number of requested proofing sessions. Since every commission brings its own special set of circumstances there might be other considerations in addition to those mentioned. Be sure to ask as many questions as you feel necessary, earlier than later is always best. Any question is relevant as it pertains to your piece. It’s important that you establish trust with the artist and have a clear understanding of the process and expectations.

Portrait sculptures are commissioned to portray a variety of subjects–children, grandchildren, grandparents, and pets; sometimes inTPark_2121_030312 memoriam, but always with affection. You may even find yourself spearheading a movement to commission a portrait of a public figure. When considering a portrait commission give some thought how you want your subject portrayed. Do you want a bust, torso, or full body depiction? How many people will be sculpted? For the sake of budget, to a certain extent regard each individual a separate commission. Next would be the size–miniature, life-size, and monuments are all options.

Figuring out these details are all part of the consultation process for which there is no charge. Because portrait sculptures are a reflection of the subject and traits specific to them, be prepared to share anecdotes, hobbies, personality  characteristics, and sometimes even props. These details can make all the difference in the success of the final piece. Remember you are interviewing the sculptor as well, so you want the relationship to be one of mutual respect and collaboration. Once the decision has been made on the above details, the rest of the process will begin. Standard practice will require a deposit and which point the artist will begin your sculpture.

Most often the artist  will have a sitting where the subject will be posed and have their pictures taken from several angles. Facial and other necessary measurements will be noted. In the case of a deceased subject, be prepared to provide pictures from several angles, if at all possible. From there the artist will start sculpting. Once substantial progress has been made on the piece, you will come in to proof and discuss any changes. At this point there may be a series of meetings until the changes have been made to your satisfaction. The artist will then finalize the sculpture and you will come in one last time to approve the piece before it goes to the foundry for casting. The final step in a bronze sculpture commission will be to decide on the patina and whether or not you will have your piece put on a base.

If you keep these things in mind you will be thrilled with your one of a kind sculpture that is sure to become a treasured family heirloom.

Last chance to see Nimitz sculpture before it goes to the Firebird Bronze

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Rip is putting the finishing touches on Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. As most of you know by now, Rip was first contacted by the Naval Order of the United States to sculpt this esteemed Naval figure.

If you haven’t seen this sculpture in a while, or at all, we encourage you to make a trip to the Gallery before the Admiral  heads to Firebird Bronze for casting. While you’re visiting the Gallery be sure to sign up to see the sculpture in bronze once he is finished and before the piece is sent off to Hawaii.

NimitzSome history on Fleet Admiral Nimitz
Fleet Admiral Nimitz enjoyed an illustrious Naval career. At the height of World War II, he was promoted to fleet admiral—one among only four.  When the Japanese surrendered on September  2, 1945, on board the battleship Missouri, in Tokyo Bay, Fleet Admiral Nimitz signed the surrender document on behalf of the United States. Following the war, he was honored for his wartime service both here and abroad. He became a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations, working to repair relations with Japan by raising funds to restore the Japanese memorial ship, Mikasa, and encouraging the return of any ancestral samurai swords that had been acquired during the war. Post World War II, he was often approached with business opportunities and prestigious positions, turning them down in consideration of “how the Gold Star Mothers might feel”. Fleet Admiral Nimitz died at his home in San Francisco on February 20, 1966. He was the last surviving five-star admiral. If you’d like to learn more about Fleet Admiral Nimitz, click here.

The Naval Order of the United States is the oldest American hereditary, exclusively naval society and has a dedicated interest in Naval history. It encourages the recording and preservation of that history. Rip has created this memorial in 1.25 life scale or about 8 feet tall.  The monument will be installed at the USS Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii in late summer 2013.

Rip’s latest commission

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As we celebrate Veterans Day, we are delighted to announce that Rip’s latest commission will be a sculpture of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. Rip was first contacted by the Naval Order of the United States, whose mission is to preserve and honor maritime military history, over a year ago. Many emails and phone calls were exchanged during the selection process, including a meeting with delegates from the Order who knew Fleet Admiral Nimitz personally. They spent a day with Rip touring his studio and learning more about him as an artist. This meeting was the final step in securing the commission and Rip has now been officially selected to create this anticipated sculpture.

Fleet Admiral Nimitz enjoyed an illustrious Naval career. He was born on February 24, 1885, in Fredericksburg, TX. He hoped to start his Army career by attending West Point. When this didn’t materialize, he tested for selection to Annapolis and was appointed. After graduation, he fulfilled his required two years of sea duty in the Far East and upon returning to the U. S., was ordered to submarine duty. Many years later he returned to land duty where he was assigned to diesel engine training; then back to sea duty to set up a submarine base in Pearl Harbor. Following this, he was assigned to the Naval War College, where his varied expertise was put to use studying Pacific Ocean war logistics.

At the height of World War II, he was promoted to fleet admiral—one among only four.  When the Japanese surrendered on September  2, 1945, on board the battleship Missouri, in Tokyo Bay, Fleet Admiral Nimitz signed the surrender document on behalf of the United States. Following the war, he was honored for his wartime service both here and abroad. He became a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations and worked to repair relations with Japan by raising funds to restore the Japanese memorial ship, Mikasa, and encouraging the return of any ancestral samurai swords that had been acquired during the war. He believed in the importance of turning “swords into plowshares”. Post World War II, he was often approached with business opportunities and prestigious positions, turning them down in consideration of “how the Gold Star Mothers might feel”. Fleet Admiral Nimitz died at his home in San Francisco on February 20, 1966. He was the last surviving five-star admiral. If you’d like to learn more about Fleet Admiral Nimitz, click here.

The Naval Order of the United States is the oldest American hereditary, exclusively naval society and has a dedicated interest in Naval history. It encourages the recording and preservation of that history. Rip will be creating this memorial to Fleet Admiral Nimitz in 1.25 life scale or about 8 feet tall and will be sculpting this piece at his studio in Troutdale. It will be installed at the USS Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii in late summer 2013.

To learn more about Veterans Day, visit the US Department of Veterans Affairs.