Sheep may safely graze

Sheep may safely graze
Sheep may safely graze

Sheep May Safely Graze is a bit of a sad tale. My best friend for decades and the person who introduced me to figurative art was Matt Zimet. He was a fantastic artist. He did professional book illustrations and an occasional sculpture. (We once, like Hebrew slaves in Egypt, hauled a 350 lbs block of marble up 6 flights to his apartment.) In his day job as a professor he taught comparative anatomy so, as you can imagine, his animals were quite excellent.

Matt enticed me into figurative drawing when I was a freshman in college with the following proposition,

“Hey Lance, you have $5?”
“Sure, why?”
“Then let’s go down to the student union where a co-ed will take off her clothes and we can draw for 2 to 3 hours and then go out for beer.”

What could I say? So began my serious study of figurative drawing.

Matt and I had numerous adventures. We did drawings for the U. Mass science fiction club fanzine. We played bridge until dawn. We ventured over 1000 miles in canoe expeditions. Too many stories. For instance, what is the message inside a canoe when two Ph.D.s tear it in half on a rock in the rapids? Sorry, not today’s subject.


Matt Zimet
Matt Zimet

In an unfair twist of fate, Matt was diagnosed with cancer, cutting short the life of a beautiful person. The best eulogy I can give is that at his funeral at least four people called him their best friend for decades. Here is a drawing I did of him a few months before he passed.


Matt Zimet
Matt Zimet

The last time I visited him he was working on a sheep sculpture.


He was fading and was upset that he would not have the strength and coordination to finish the work. I said that I would see it done. Some months later I received this in the mail.

Sheep parts
Sheep parts in wax

The first challenge was that I work in clay, not wax, and couldn’t make the wax look good. Luckily, Classic Clay has a lot of wax in the mixture and I was able to work them together. The other challenge, of course, was the composition. I knew vaguely what Matt wanted, but no details. Nevertheless I got to work and here you see the melding of the two materials into a composition. The light part is clay and the dark part is wax.


Sheep–half wax half clay

The forrest of feet made this particularly difficult and expensive to cast, but we got it done.

Lance and Matt on a canoe trip in Maine