I went to Guatemala the first time in search for exotic hard woods. I had been sculpting with them for years but the sources dried up as the third world countries began to realize that the money was in veneering .They kept the logs at home and set embargoes against shipping anything bigger than 5/4 thick off shore.

Some of the practices made no sense. For example: Brazilian Rosewood is a beautiful wood and it would be in great demand around the world if it was available. Problem is you will go to jail if you cut down a rosewood tree … unless you are a rancher in the Amazon basin .They are allowed to cut down acres of these trees to make room for cattle grazing. That sounds like a good solution but they are forced to burn them because there is an embargo that won’t let them be shipped out of the country. It’s ridiculous…

My logging friends in Guatemala told me they could probably get me some large pieces of Lignum Vitae but they would have to cut it in Mexico, ship it down rivers and exported it out of Belize. No thank you. Some how I could see some trouble in doing that.

Back to Guatemala. In a previous post I made it clear that I became infatuated with this place. After my first trip I carved a life sized abstract figure out of cherry wood .The average full grown woman in the hills only comes to the middle of my chest. I kept this piece for some time as you see it.

This sculpture was carved from Cerry wod

Guatemala Lady #2 Cherry wood 51″

After a later trip I was captured by the colorful wardrobe that these women wore every day .The cherry wood just wasn’t telling the story so I decided to paint it. If the Chinese and Egyptians could paint wood sculpture why couldn’t I. It felt pretty risky when the first brush stroke hit the piece . I could really screw it up if it didn’t go right and I was working without any preliminary drawings. I just started at the top and worked down . Like most of my work I was approaching the problem with the premise of “I wonder what would happen if….”.  It took a while to get it right and I ended up with this piece.

Guatemala Lady #2 Painted

I’ve haven’t done anything like it since so this piece has been in my personal collection since it was completed 25 years ago .

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