Sawyer Rose

  • Poppies on Red 36 x 24 inches 2014 The matilija poppy is the largest flower endemic to California. Unfortunately, is a threatened species. California Native Plant Society cites “urbanization, flood control, road widening, and road maintenance” as key factors in its continuing disappearance.
  • Poplar and Paintbrush 8 x 8 inches each 2013 This metalwork piece was an important turning point in my technique. It took days of work to perfect this beaded style-- to find the perfect soldering temp, amount of flux, angle of the iron, etc.
  • Twilight Blue 30 x 16 inches 2014 Continuing my development of the beaded metal style with this saucer magnolia, I also spent a lot of thought on the layering of the underpaint for this piece. After the final blue layer of paint dried I abraded the paint with steel wool to reveal the colors hiding beneath.
  • California Agave 36 x 24 inches 2013 The bold, sculptural form of the California agave lends itself perfectly to my technique of painting in hot metal drops and strokes.
  • Pt. Reyes Tule Elk 36 x 18 inches 2014 This lightbox depicts the tule elk, endemic to California. The breeding population, now in recovery, was at one point reduced to around 30 animals.
  • Lange's Metalmark Butterfly 16 x 12 inches 2012 The Lange’s metalmark butterfly is a Bay Area treasure. Found only in the Antioch Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, the Lange‘s metalmark is on the Federal Endangered Species List.
  • Mt. Diablo Fairy Lantern 14 x 11 inches 2012 The Mt. Diablo fairy lantern is a rare lily only found on the slopes of the Bay Area’s Mt. Diablo (in Contra Costa County) and nearby surrounding areas. This beauty is considered “an unofficial symbol of the mountain.”
  • Monterey Cypress 24 x 18 inches 2012 The Monterey cypress is native only to the central California coast, occurring naturally in two small populations in Pebble Beach and at Point Lobos. It is listed as critically imperiled, and while the Monterey cypress is often planted as a landscape tree, there are only two native, genetically distinct stands of trees remaining.
  • Sunset Agave 24 x 18 inches 2014 Native to the deserts of southern California, the inflorescence of the agave dots the dry, springtime landscape with drops of gold.
  • Indian Paintbrush 24 x 18 inches 2013 The Indian paintbrush embodies everything I love about California flora-- it's bright, bold of form, a bit audacious, really. Sadly, nearly half of California Indian paintbrush species are rare or endangered.

The plants and animals of the West are a treasure trove of subjects for my work. From the Mojave to the Sierras to the Mediterranean climate of the Bay Area, our native species offer a diverse mosaic of breathtaking beauty. My boldly colored, textured, three-dimensional metalworks and glass lightboxes explore the outrageously brash forms of wild California.

In my metalwork I use the soldering iron as a paintbrush, allowing the hot solder to set into a textured pattern that looks like tree bark. Then I add more dimension to the metal by strategically placing beads of solder to create depth and contrast. The whole piece is covered with a rich black patina, and burnished with steel wool to bring out shining highlights on the raised peaks, while leaving dark in the valleys. Finally, I abrade the painted panels with steel wool to let multiple layers of underpaint peek through.

I use the same soldering techniques in my lightboxes, but I overlay the work with thick, clear architectural glass, rich with bubbles and streaks. I use stained-glass techniques in my lightboxes, but I don’t use stained glass. As much as possible, I want everything to be made by my own hand. I paint the images with India ink on layers of specially treated Mylar, and stack them behind the glass, giving an illusion of depth. Flip the switch, and tiny lights behind the glass shine like fireflies or stars across the big, bold California sky.

With so many of California’s unique natives on the endangered species list, my work also serves as a reminder for us to protect the grandeur that surrounds us. With this in mind, I donate a portion of the proceeds from sales to the California Native Plant Society.

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  • Artist Info

    • Fairfax, CA
      US - Pacific
    • 4158062458

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