Blog

Charlottesville: St. Paul’s, First Baptist, “Unite the Right” Rally, Friday & Saturday, August 11-12, 2017

Posted by on Aug 14, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Charlottesville: St. Paul’s, First Baptist, “Unite the Right” Rally, Friday & Saturday, August 11-12, 2017

I attended a “Mass Prayer Service” on Friday evening at St. Paul’s Church in Charlottesville, with my brother Stefan, his son Milo, and friend Nick, in preparation for the anticipated “Unite the Right” rallies the next morning at Emancipation Park, site of the Lee statue, and at McIntyre Park. I was delighted to greet, and hug, Catherine Taylor, pastor of our Blacksburg Presbyterian Church coming up the steps, with her husband, Robert Dean. She’d said, the previous Sunday, that they would be...

read more

Richmond public meeting: the future of Monument Avenue

Posted by on Aug 13, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Richmond public meeting: the future of Monument Avenue

After my delightful time in the Charlottesville Historical Society researching the Lee Statue, and lunch with my brother, author Stefan Bechtel, I drove to Richmond for the public meeting on the future of Monument Avenue and its Confederate monuments, which was to be held in the Virginia Historical Society building (adjacent to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts). I arrived about 4:30, two hours ahead of the scheduled meeting time.  Coming up to the entrance, I was puzzled, then moved by this remarkable  sculpture on the plaza. What a bony,...

read more

Lee Statue research continued: 1924 dedication event

Posted by on Aug 11, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Lee Statue research continued: 1924 dedication event

Having found and examined William Shrady’s model for the Lee statue, housed in the Jefferson Madison Library, my next ambition was to locate the text of Edwin A. Alderman remarks at the dedication ceremony for the Lee statue on May 21, 1924, deep in the Jim Crow era. Alderman was President of the University of Virginia at the time, and a “noted public speaker.” I fully expected to find his remarks laced with racial bias. I also expected to have to go to the University of Virginia Library, where his collected papers were...

read more

Robert E. Lee Equestrian Statue, Emancipation Park

Posted by on Aug 10, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Robert E. Lee Equestrian Statue, Emancipation Park

As I described in a recent Facebook post, I was in Charlottesville on Wednesday, August 9th, to do some research on the Lee Statue in Emancipation Park, which has become the focal point of so much controversy lately, and will be so again this Saturday, August 12th, when various alt right groups are scheduled to gather for a rally. Because of the number of people projected to be present–either to join this rally or oppose it–the city has moved the site from Emancipation Park, to McIntyre Park–a move which has prompted an ACLU...

read more

Back in the studio!

Posted by on Aug 7, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Back in the studio!

After months of working on my historical novel, “Angels Shall Not Keep Me,” and finally having gotten it to a sufficiently finished state that I felt comfortable sending it to agents and publishers, I was able finally, in good conscience, to get back out to my studio in Ann’s Garden, and do sculpture again. Wow, did that feel good! So much time writing–an early morning daily regimen–had the effect of making me feel like, “oh, this is my true calling–writing,” and wondering whether my patient...

read more

Praise the Lord, for the life of Nannie Mae Berger Hairston

Posted by on Jul 27, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Praise the Lord, for the life of Nannie Mae Berger Hairston

The funeral service for Nannie Mae Berger Hairston took place on Friday, July 21, 2017, at the Jubilee Center in Radford. Officiated by Nathaniel L. Bishop, President of Jefferson College of Health Sciences, in Roanoke, it was a remarkable service, which lasted for three hours, and was a mix of song, and praise, and Scripture, personal remembrance by  family members, and a sermon by the Reverend Lee Suggs, of Schaeffer Memorial Baptist Church. When the pallbearers, at the beginning of the service, closed the casket, I knew that I would never...

read more

Nannie B. Hairston, in memoriam

Posted by on Jul 16, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Nannie B. Hairston, in memoriam

This past Friday, July 14th, 2017, Mrs. Nannie B. Hairston passed away. She was 95, and ailing, but nevertheless the news was a shock, because her spirit was so strong that I had somehow supposed mere physical difficulties could not bring her life to a close. Yet it had. Gone, too, was the opportunity to express in fullness my gratitude to her. So now the expression must come after the fact. Again and again, she marvelled at our friendship, crossing boundaries of race and class and privilege, and I at last began to marvel, too. Again and...

read more

Shopworks: Jacob wrestling the Angel

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Shopworks: Jacob wrestling the Angel

This work is “in process”–again. Because over the years, I have attempted to render this story in sculpture three times. The story comes from the book of Genesis, and tells how Jacob, on his way to see his brother Esau, “passed over the ford, Jabbok,” and there, “wrestled a man  . . . until the breaking of the day.” In their contest, the man “touched the hollow of [Jacob’s] thigh,” putting it out of joint, but still he continued to wrestle. Finally, the man said, “let me go,...

read more

Memorial for Enslaved Laborers at The University of Virginia

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Memorial for Enslaved Laborers at The University of Virginia

This past Monday evening, February 27th, 2017, I attended a Public Forum at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, in Charlottesville, VA, for the proposed “Memorial for Enslaved Laborers at The University of Virginia.” I am keenly interested in this project, because–because I think I have some good ideas for it!  And these ideas go back a ways, back to 2004, when I began work on a portrait bust of Thomas Jefferson. After reading Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History, by Fawn Brodie, I knew that I would...

read more

Abstract Painting Workshop, Day 3

Posted by on Feb 26, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Abstract Painting Workshop, Day 3

On this third and final day of the Abstract Painting Workshop, Rita Montrose led us through an exercise in developing an abstract painting using repetition and variation of shapes; or rather, the task was to use just one shape, in various sizes, repeated, altered, or otherwise experimented with. She again began with a demo, and after a bit, I began sketching rectangles, in an overlapping pattern; shortly, this pattern developed an “infrastructure” kind of look for me: structures, reminiscent for of sculpture armatures, linked...

read more