My Sweet Spot

I had a model out to the studio today for the first time in what feels like forever. It was, and usually is, challenging to position him in just the right way so that his figure had balance, tension, and was not too uncomfortable for. Once we identified the perfect pose, I moved the armature…

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Vocations: Mother & Artist, Learning to be Both

Mother When my daughter arrived here from India in 2009, I was elated beyond measure. I felt powerful, woman, incredible. I was so in love, so captivated, so full of light. Then I spiraled into a deep, black place. Postpartum depression is not just something biological mothers face. On my way down, I saw all the ways…

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A Little at a Time

“When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.” Isak Dinesen

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A Voice in Ramah

This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.” Jeremiah 31:15 and Matthew 2:18 A Voice in Ramah Sarah Hempel Irani Half-life size, plaster with faux bronze patina, 2008 $6720.00 INTERNET PRICE:  $5,900.00…

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Rejection, Get Up Again

Dear Sarah, Thank you for entering the — Competition 2013. With over three thousand entries in all media, the decisions were difficult to make. The judges met in late March and chose a small group of semifinalists. We are sorry to tell you that your work was not selected by the jury. We hope that you…

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One Shovelful at a Time

Reprinted from my old blog, Nine Tons of Marble, on May 9, 2009. My uncle tells this beautiful parable about achieving a monumental task. Many years ago, he and his young son had to lay a sewer line in the back yard. They had to dig a forty-foot trench by hand, too poor to afford…

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An Aesthetic Experience

I was watching 60 Minutes last night and they reported on a most remarkable orchestra in the Congo. The Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra is the only symphony orchestra in Central Africa and the only all-black orchestra in the world. The musicians are all volunteers, some walking 90 minutes each way to get to rehearsal. I don’t know much…

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Good Friday

  John 18:1 – 19:42 The Passion 18After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3So Judas brought…

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Portraiture as Art

On July 3, 2006 I went to the National Portrait Gallery with Erik. They were celebrating a re-opening after a long renovation and it was the opening of the big portrait competition, which I entered this year. I did a portrait of Asha in only two weeks. It was very intense. I even made a…

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The Story of Hempel Studios, Part IV

The following is a reprint of an article that I wrote for Lutheran Forum Magazine, Winter 2007. It has appeared here in several parts. Read PartI, Part II, and Part III first. This is the final installment. When I was a child, I thought that art was superfluous in the church: mere decoration, a distraction from worship.…

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