Sunday, March 24, 2019

Fencing the Mystic Valley Sculpture Park

We are embarking on an ambitious project of fencing in our new 40 acre sculpture park! This means 1 mile of fence that Kyle will most likely build by himself! The project calls for 300+ wooden posts, 4 miles of barbed wire as well as miscellaneous fencing tools and supplies. 



This project is fully founded by two independent artists - Kyle and myself. We are looking for creative ways to keep the momentum going so I am releasing a limited edition print of 'Blanca Massif Alpenglow' inspired by the view seen from our park. 

The proceeds from this archival, hand signed and numbered print will partially fund the completion of the fencing project. Buy Print Here Until April 15, 2019 there is a Pre-Order Special which means you can get print at a discount.



If you are not unfamiliar with the Mystic Valley Sculpture Park, below is a small glimpse into the humble beginnings of our greatest creative endeavor!



In the summer of 2018, my partner Kyle, our son Ethan and I decided to embark on the wild journey of building a sculpture park in Southern Colorado in close proximity to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. We acquired 40 acres of wild, high alpine dessert land with nothing on it - no structures, no electricity, no water - we are starting completely from scratch with a 1 year old boy in tow to set the pace.



So far we have created and installed 5 mosaic sculptures and have 10 more lined up for the Spring season alone! We've cleared a small road that leads to what we consider the epicenter of the project. Everything will expand from there. 





We've built a shaded patio as well as three campsites with picnic tables and fire pits for our family and visitors to stay at. One of the sites even has a tiny A-Frame on it. We hope to add more artistic structures as our project grows. We've even added what some folks have referred to as the cutest outhouse ever - it has three stained glass windows in it to really set the mood!



Part of the roof of the A-Frame opens up to an unobstructed, panoramic view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Sand Dunes.



The first set of sculptures we created is inspired by the animals of the San Luis Valley which our land is part of. 



Thus far, we have created bunnies to pay tribute to the all the jack rabbits that sprint across the property while we work, bears to pay homage to the ones that roam the near by mountains and coyotes who howel and yip as the sun sets for the day. Our son Ethan is eager to help with everything and loves inspecting our progress -too bad he is not quite ready to help with the fencing.



We've made good progress with limited resources on the creative side of things. Now to keep the momentum of the project going we need to start adding more serious infrastructure, a fence being crucial. Right now, the best way to support the project is by purchasing a limited edition print - Buy One Here: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/product/blanca-massif-alpenglow-pre-order/ 


The prints of the above mosaic will never be printed again so its a unique opportunity to grab one at a below retail value while supporting something very special in its early stages of development 

Incase you are wondering why do we need a fence ... take a look below =)  As beautiful as the free range cattle and the wild horses are, we can't have them roam the sculpture park as we are trying to fill it with art, plant native shrubbery and plants for conservation and to have a nice clean park for our visitors.


Kyle has been making great progress and has already completed a quarter of a mile of fence. With the sales of the 'Blanca Massif Alpenglow' print we'll be able to complete the mile by the end of the summer.


This is the print of the above mosaic. Buy via the Kasia Art Shop: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/product/blanca-massif-alpenglow-pre-order/



Thank You and spread the word if you know anyone who would be interested in our project. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Alpine Lake ~ Rocky Mountains

Alpine Lake
a framed stained glass mosaic, 24" x 48"

Does this mosaic bring you back to an alpine lake you've hiked up to? It brings me back to the countless mountain lake hikes I've been lucky enough to treck up to in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado where I live. These memories span far beyond to Wyoming, Utah, Montana and Idaho where I've gone on adventurous road trips and quests to see and to enjoy natural wonders new to me.

Natural pattern in the blue glass? Well, not really ... it was inspired by nature for sure but I actually hand embellished the solid, blue glass to spice it up a bit and to add my special, painterly touch.
Alpine lakes may be my favorite hiking destinations. When I lived in Boulder, I loved all the lake hikes in the Rocky Mountain National Park but especially in the Indian Peaks Wilderness which was much closer to the canyon where I used to live.


Me standing on top of one of the 13,000ft granite peaks surrounded by mountains that cradle all sorts of pristine alpine lakes that I got to enjoy during that time.
My favorite lake hike in this area was Blue Lake which actually inspired this mosaic. The entire hike is postcard perfect. Finally when you arrive at the lake, you are encircled by the prettiest peaks. It feels surreal after walking the most colorful wildflower trail to end up encompassed in gray and blue. Its like you arrive in granite cathedral. Its very humbling and awe inspiring.



Today when I look up at the Sangre de Cristo mountains which are the local range near Alamosa where I currently live, I think of all those special bodies of water that are nestled among the high peaks - they truly are magical, mystical places.

Angle view from the left.

Angle view of the lake.
Every time that I get to hike to a place like this, I realize how fortunate I am to be here. These are very, very special places and I am privileged to be here and I am a very aware of that. Every step to get closer is so very meaningful to me.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

American Gothic Rabbit Style

These bunnies are part of my Animals of the San Luis Valley Sculpture Series - Doodle Style Project. The gist of the project is to create sculptures off of rough sketches, not polished drawings. I wanted to see kid like drawings of animals scattered through out this High Dessert Valley. Why? I like to think of it more as 'Why Not?'

The front of the sculpture is covered in a glass mosaic that I built in my Alamosa studio near the sculpture park.

Above you can see my rabbit doodle. The actual sketch is only a few inches tall. I scanned it into the computer to create my color palette. Next to the sketch you can see the realized 8ft sculpture installed in Mosca, Colorado.

The bunnies installed at their new, permanent location. In the distance you can see the two bears who are part of this series. Each set of animals designates a campsite in the tiny campground part of the sculpture park that my parter Kyle and I are designing and building. 

Here the concrete in the pedestal has set and the bunnies are finally free to enjoy their new home, watching the sunset over the San Juan Mountains in the distance to the West of the park.

My son and I are standing next to the sculpture for scale. With the added height of the pedestal, the tip of the bunny ears reaches 9ft. Behind us, not too far from our park is the Sand Dunes National Park, a true work of art - one of the most incredible landscapes in all of Colorado.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Blanca Massif Alpenglow

Blanca Massif Alpenglow
a framed stained glass mosaic, 19.25" x 32.5", 2019 ~SOLD

Sierra Blanca Massif is a compact cluster of mountain peaks, with the tallest one being Blanca Peak measuring a soaring 14,351ft making it the 4th tallest mountain in the state of Colorado. This formation is part of the dramatic Sangre de Cristo Range running along the Eastern side of the valley where I live. The sky over these mountains is known for an incredible display of colors both at sunrise and at sunset. 


Me with the finished mosaic outside at sunset with Blanca Massif not far in the background.
The above photo was taken at the 40 acre parcel of land where I am building a sculpture park with my partner Kyle Cunniff. The view of these mountains is pretty much unobstructed from anywhere in the valley - this is very special for the people who live here as well as the ones who visit.

As inspiration, I used the purple and pink vail of light illuminating the mountains in this photo I took.
I get to enjoy this view everyday on my evening walks. I particularly love the imagery when the mountains have a bright, white snow-pack that is illuminated with the setting sun. When the sun sets across in the West, it leaves a gentle, rosy trail of colors over Blanca. The subtle violets and pinks of winter's alpenglow perfectly frame this most prominent feature seen for miles in every corner of the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado. 

I also used aspects of this photo, particularly the pinkish/violet sky and the lighter snow in the foreground.
As you can see, I combined various effect I experienced to create the atmosphere in my mosaic. 


I used a black and white printout of one of my photos as a general blue print.
I matched up the pieces of glass for the sky to create a painterly effect.
The mosaic is custom framed in my studio - I choose stains for the wood to best highlight the artwork.
More photos and details of the finished artwork coming later this week!

Don't miss the Pre-Order Sale on the Limited Edition Giclee Print of Blanca Massif Alpenglow: https://www.kasiapolkowskashop.com/product/blanca-massif-alpenglow-pre-order/



Monday, March 4, 2019

Reflection of Inner Self

Reflection of Inner Self, a solid foam and concrete form covered in a hand cut stained glass mosaic, 6ft x 29in x 29", 2019

The exterior of our home may rarely reflect our true self. This colorful house is an expression of personal identity. Wouldn't our neighborhoods be more interesting places, if for instance, each house would be uniquely representational of some aspect of its inhabitants' personality? Wouldn't it make things more fun if you could learn something special about your neighbor just by looking at the exterior of his or her home, a true extension of their complex inner-selves?

Detail of the hand cut mosaic.
I created "Reflection of Inner Self" to represents the inhabitant's many layers. This house has numerous windows on various levels for the dweller to gaze out at the surrounding world from different perspectives and for outsiders to get a tiny glimpse into their neighbor's inner being.

My 16 month old son loves playing around this whimsical sculpture.
Four Views of the Sculpture
A different angle of the sculpture.
Below are a few process shots including one of the digital concept sketches for the sculpture. First I hand sketched various ideas for the house, different shapes and proportions. Then I sketched a wraparound design for the form which I scanned into the computer and colored in. All of this was then used by my partner Kyle Cunniff to create a 3d model of my concept. 

From Concept to Reality
I worked on realizing my concept into an actual 3D form with Kyle. He put together the general shape for me. I then carved away the foam to create the funky walls and roof.

Kyle layering the polystyrene.
I used a sheer form to do the sculpting part of this project. I carved away whole sections of the four-sided form to create four additional walls, making this an irregular octagonal form.

The carved form before being covered in mesh and cement foam coat.
Once the form was ready, I fitted it with paper on all sides. That is where I hand drew my sketch from my original concept.

I felt like a seamstress doing this part. The sketching was fun, the paper fitting was the worst part of this project.
I numbered each section of the blue print, 16 in total. Then I chose my glass color palette according to my sketches and proceeded to hand cut all the shapes to create the glass armor for this sculpture. Even though I worked on top of my sketch, this was a free from type of project.

Finally, the mosaic part of the project.
Four section arranged, taped and ready to glue.
Kyle layering foam coat over the mesh covered form.
We applied two coats of foam coat prior to adhering the mosaic to it.
Me with my 'Reflection of Inner Self'

Monday, February 18, 2019

Sangres at Dusk

Sangres at Dusk, a stained glass mosaic, 29"x26", 2019 
Available for Sale: Kasia's Online Art Shop
This is my latest landscape depicting the Sangre De Cristo Mountains, an unbelievable backdrop in the high dessert valley where I live in Southern Colorado  I see these every where I go as they loom above me, with peaks over 14,000 and 13,000ft.


Detail of the light hitting the glass.
Sense of scale prior to custom framing.
Custom framed in my studio.
The wood is nailed and glued onto the in-house built substrate that the mosaic is glued onto.
I matched the stain used for the oak framing boards to the reds in the glass in the foreground.
I love how the stained wood brings out and highlights the colors of the glass.
One more close up.