Lion Head in Plaster of Paris

Early in my sculpting days, a bunch of fellow artists and myself would get together and hire models at Alameda Artworks. One of my sculpting friends, John, was a former public school teacher with an infectious laugh and fantastic attitude. One day some dear person brought in a box of See’s chocolates. No surprise, they vanished quickly. My friend John seemed so disappointed when they were gone that I vowed to myself to help him out.

In those days I was using a beautiful brown version of Classic Clay, which consists of clay, wax, and oil.  So I carefully sculpted a fresh candy, complete with a little swirl on top, and placed it in the candy box. It looked delicious and very chocolaty.

A short time later I saw John across the room chewing vigorously with a perplexed expression. The texture, I am told, was like a chewy carremel. The taste, on the other hand, was bland.

John looked at me across the room, trying not to laugh. “LANCE,” he bellowed accusingly but without his usual perfect enunciation. How did he know it was me? It’s 10 years later.and I am still laughing. I guess that that was my most realistic sculpture ever.

The pose we were working on had the model leaning on a folding chair. I could not simply sculpt a folding chair so I, naturally, had her leaning on a lion’s head. Since she was about to get her teaching degree, I gave her a book. I called the piece The Lady of the Book.


The Lady of the Book

I have never cast this piece in bronze, but at one point I took off the lion head, made a mold, and cast a plaster of Paris replica as you see here.

Lion head in plaster of Paris

My Mom was a painter and often painted my Father’s paper mâché creations. My Dad, like me, was an engineer first and an artist second. He worked in the Defense industry and his paper mâché works were made from shredded classified documents. This gave me the idea to ask my Mom to paint the lion head on one of her visits to California.

My Mom
My Mom painting the lion head

This is the only joint work between my Mom and me, which, as you can imagine, makes it very very special.