Mysteries Unfolding At Milkwood
- A Charleston Romance
It began for me, Leo E. Osborne in 1988. When living in Maine, I made the commitment to go to South Carolina in February for my first Southeastern Wildlife Art Exposition.
My work was shipped prior to flying to Charleston. When I got there the morning of the show’s opening night, no one knew where my work had been stored! I was hanging around the Hibernian Hall, where the sculptors were to exhibit and I met a tall blond lovely woman named Arla Holroyd who came up to me and asked if I knew a painter named Nolan and I told her I did. She had a print to give to him, as she had owned a bed and breakfast in Mount Pleasant which she then used to give rooms to artists who were coming for the SEWE event weekend. It was the year before that Nolan had stayed with her. I told her I would point him out when I saw him and I told her what I was doing at the moment, waiting to have someone find my work in storage. She could not believe that no one knew where my work was and she took it upon herself to find out! Within two hours she had made the right calls and sure enough the right person found my work. The whole thing was upsetting of course as the show was about to go on! I got my work hung as wall sculptures, for they were my unique wall sculptures that looked like rocks with carved birds on them and shadows crossing the stone surfaces. They were in place not five minutes before the doors opened for the night’s preview. Thank You Arla!!!!
The weekend was great and my wall sculptures were a hit and stood out among the works on display, for there was nothing else like them.
I returned the following year, and so in 1990 received the First Place Purchase Award and the Third Place in Decorative Wood Sculpture. In 1992 I was to receive the First Place in Interpretive Sculpture.
Then in 1994, a longtime friend who had art gallery experience with my work in Maine where we had met, gave me a call. She was a captain of her own sailing vessel and sailed the Maine waters in the summer and on to the Caribbean waters in the winter. She had made a decision to return to Charleston, her original home and there began her first art gallery at Yellow Dog Art Gallery in partnership with another woman. Soon Candace Martin opened her own gallery as The Martin Gallery on Queen Street. Candace had called to ask if I would show my work with her, of which I agreed immediately.
Thus continued my longtime connection and love affair with Charleston, South Carolina. I returned each year for the SEWE and to show work and have special openings at Martin Gallery. This went on for a number of years until I decided to stop doing the Wildlife Festival and concentrated on doing special exhibits with the gallery.
Since then it has been a wonderfully remarkable story. I love Charleston, C~City as I affectionately call it and for years stayed with my good friend and dear soul Arla in Mount Pleasant. The stories that I could tell around our relationship are many and her beautiful mind of knowledge as a public teacher gave me much to know about the history and the people of this magnificent place and city.
As years went on the Martin Gallery took possession of one of the finest old buildings of the city, The People’s Building. My works in wood sculpture, bronze limited editions, and unique paintings were on continual display and I am very grateful to not only love Charleston, but to see that Charleston loves me and my work! We have had an ongoing fine and delightful time and relationship.
This brings me to February 2015 when once again I was personally in Charleston for a very special show, RIPPLE EFFECT. I was working in conjunction with The South Carolina Aquarium and their magnificent Turtle Hospital to create a Gala for The Turtles. A percentage of proceeds from sales were donated to the Aquarium for the new turtle hospital expansion.
This exhibition was preceded by my presence on January 30th at Brookgreen Gardens, Pawley’s Beach where they opened the touring museum exhibition ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT. This show was created in part from a phone conversation of mine with curator David Wagner, twenty years after we had shown works representing the horrific events of the Valdez Oil spill and then we were in the clutches of the Gulf Oil Spill. This show was organized by David and has now toured numerous museums across the United States. This exhibition is scheduled to once again go on a museum tour in 2019.
All of this is due to the many years of support that I have been gifted with by the people of the Low Country. The interchange that I have had through my art with the folks who have so loved and supported it, has caused me to find in my heart a wonderful love of this place of belonging.
In 2016, the famous Brookgreen Gardens mentioned earlier has honored me by the Board of Directors accepting into their permanent outdoor sculpture collection my life size WHISTLING ST. FRANCIS bronze. This piece will be shown at the gallery in Brookgreen Gardens, the home of the National Sculture Societies annual exhibitions. The sculpture will then be located permanently in the gardens, once again having The Low Country responding to the work of my artistry.
- A FEW OF 2017 EVENTS FOR LEO
SOME 2017 GOINGS ON!!!!
The news right now is that I have just completed a commissioned painting for a couple in Anacortes and for the Month of May I shall have about 27 paintings and several new sculptures showing at the Scot-Milo Gallery here in Anacortes. It is exciting, because it has been many years since I did a large show of my work locally. The only shipping will be my transporting the work across the Guemes Channel.
THE Madrona Grove Sculpture Exhibit, another local Anacortes event, holds one of my large bronze water fountain pieces, WALKING TRIADS. It will be on display thru December 31, 2017.
On the 10th of June, the National Sculpture Society opens the exhibit A BLESSING OF ANIMALS at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in NYC. The exhibit will move from there in September to the Botanical Gardens in Naples, Florida. My work in bronze, RAINFOREST DREAM, the blue/gold macaw will be in this exhibition.
On September 8th, the WESTERN VISIONS show will open at the National Wildlife Art Museum in Jackson, Wyoming. My new work in a maple burl WINTER’S EMBRACE, together with the new bronze limited edition SPIRALING RELEASE shall be my 2 entries for that show. The day prior I shall do a one day visitation program at the RARE Art Gallery in Jackson, who represent my work in Wyoming.
- Medal of Excellence Received From Artists For Conservation
- 2016 REFLECTIONS AND 2017 ANTICIPATIONS
2016 saw many changes in the world and here in the United States. We had the most divisive Presidential Election ever witnessed on the planet.
Along with that weirdness, I experienced another wonderful year at my art. I was invited or juried into numerous shows and exhibitions. There was the local ART IN BLOOM invitational and once again my work was featured in the wonderful Wenatchee Washington ART ON THE AVENUE exhibition. The SOCIETY OF ANIMAL ARTISTS saw my sea turtle THE GREAT ESCAPE. THE ARTISTS FOR CONSERVATION exhibited my sea turtle bronze RETURN TO TURTLE ISLAND which also won an AWARD OF EXCELLENCE in the Vancouver, BC Exhibition. WESTERN VISIONS at the famous NATIONAL WILDLIFE ART MUSEUM in Jackson, Wyoming sold my series of RED BISON’S and painting PRIMORDIAL WANDERERS. The LOYALHANNA WATERSHED ASSOCIATION in Ligonier, Pennsylvania auctioned my CEREMONIAL VESSEL at their annual auction benefit. I was invited to show at the LOVELAND ART MUSEUM in Colorado for their Society of Animal Artists’ exhibit of ANIMALIA. I was also included in the UNCLAD exhibit in Seattle, Washington.
This year also saw me once again represented locally in the City of Anacortes at the SCOTT MILO GALLERY. This is the first time in quite a while that I have shown locally, wanting to ‘bring it home’ so to speak and resume a fine relationship with Kathline Khile at her gallery here in town.
At the MARY MARTIN GALLERY of Charleston, South Carolina I was honored with a large showing of my works during the month of November which included and featured my life size bronze of WHISTLING ST. FRANCIS. I am so honored, as it is about to be placed permanently at THE BROOKGREEN GARDENS in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina in their magnificent and renowned sculpture gardens.
Numerous works were shown and sold at the HARBOR SQUARE GALLERY in Rockland, Maine where I have shown with the owner and fine jeweler Tom O’Donovan for over 35 years now! We are discussing the possibility of doing a retrospective show in the not so distant future.
I also had a nice run of showing with an old painter friend from years back, JENNIFER BELLINGER GALLERY in Ketch-um, Idaho. Jennifer had a fine gallery and sold a number of my works in sculpture and then as she found her desires to spend more time at her painting, she closed the gallery. Jennifer is however still doing some special events with collectors from her past and I too will continue to send a few works to Jennifer for some of these upcoming events in 2017.
I have just released a small bronze of a bird in flight, SPIRALING RELEASE and it is jumping off the pedestals on it’s arrival!!! Along with that bronze, this year past has seen me create yet more pieces in wood, both large and small works.
I have begun a new relationship with a Santa Fe gallery, the SUGARMAN-PETERSON GALLERY. That relationship began with an immediate sale of a wooden sea turtle to a client from Portland, Oregon.
This past fall I also began a relationship with THE PHINNEY GALLERY in Joseph, Oregon, one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Along with the aforementioned, I continue to exhibit and be represented by THE COLUMBINE GALLERY of Loveland, Colorado, HOWARD MANDVILLE GALLERY of Kirkland, Washington. SCULPTURE WORKS of Texas who exhibit my work around the country at various library venues and RARE GALLERY of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Everything considered, it has been a great year, even though it was ‘an election year’….and the weirdest one ever! We shall see what the future holds for ‘everything’!!!!
Now we are looking to 2017 right ahead!
I have lots to consider and to look at. As an artist with work in their permanent collection, I have been invited to exhibit at WESTERN VISIONS in September. This is the 30th Anniversary Year for the museum and therefore I do plan to attend the show with my Jane who also loves the museum and the folks involved with it.
For the past year and a half, I have been writing an illustrated poetry/story book. I have painted 24 illustrations and 15 drawings for this book. I am anticipating finding a publisher for it this year. Once published, I will plan a show of the entire group of illustrations and a book signing at a gallery of my choosing at that time. A very dear and close friend is my Editor and she has just sent the book off to a publisher for consideration. She is in the throws of a possible move herself and with that hopes to open her first art gallery which will feature my works. Once we know everything is in place for this gallery, we will release this information to the public!
Another event that I am part of thus far for 2017 is the NATIONAL SCULPTURE SOCIETY’S invitational A BLESSING OF ANIMALS exhibition which will start at THE CATHEDRAL OF SAINT JOHN THE DIVINE in NYC and then it will proceed to THE NAPLES BOTANICAL GARDENS in Florida. My piece RAINFOREST DREAM, a blue/gold macaw will be the work shown at this classical event of animal art.
I will also have a one person show of paintings and sculptures with THE SCOTT MILO GALLERY here in Anacortes in the month of May and in March I will have several works included in the local Skagit Valley, SMITH & VALLEE GALLERY exhibit, THE BIRD INVITATIONAL in Edison, Washington.
I have just finished painting a collection of works from my visit to Monet’s Gardens in Giverney, France. I am excited about these paintings as I have longed to do this since I was a child dreaming of becoming a painter. Seeing, feeling and stealing some seed from his gardens was a major delight for me and very inspirational. I had the opportunity to meet a sweet artist who has spent his life painting and living in Giverney, he was very inspiring. While at Monet’s place I could feel his presence there with me, hence I have titled this collection, MY MOMENTS WITH MONET. I will soon make a decision as to where I will first show these paintings.
It was a very productive year, well spent and as you can see I have lots to do this year coming, both in work and in organizing my shows and life! And then too, there are my grand kids to think of. Joshua five and Lily three both visit here at Milkwood often and when here, the first thing Josh asks is: “Can we do an art project?” Often he has something in mind: “ Bubba, lets make an Osprey or Golden Eagle”. He loves wildlife and he already refers to himself as an artist. So there ya have it, I am now also a teacher.
- The Ripple Effect
Aka…Leo’s Flying Turtle Circus!
I love a sense of wonder! And magic!
This exhibition of my work I trust will provide that. It is doing so for me right now as I create the imagery for this show at Martin Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina.
It began for me years ago when I did my first wooden turtle in maple burlwood. A burl has always seemed to me to be the perfect natural shape for these great long living creatures of the sea. One of those wooden turtles was cast into bronze and both the original and one of the limited bronzes were gifted to The Brookgreen Gardens of Pawley’s Island, SC. This is one of the finest and oldest sculpture gardens in North America and it was and remains a great honor to have my work there amidst so many sculptor heroes of the past.
The work for this show has taken over a year for creating and it will open on February 5th for the monthly art walk in the French Quarter of old Charleston. This gala event is going to be in conjunction with and a percentage of the sales will be donated to the South Carolina Aquarium which is expanding its amazing sea turtle hospital so that the public may be more closely involved with it.
On January 30th the exhibition ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT will be opening at the Brookgreen Gardens and I will be present for that opening, followed the next day by a lecture about the show and my work represented within that exhibit. That following week Jane and I will be staying at a studio apartment in downtown Charleston and get time to enjoy a Charleston city fix! With the opening of RIPPLE EFFECT at Martin Gallery I will spend time meeting clients, old friends, and also doing a lecture at the Aquarium about creating a sea turtle in my famous burlwood style. By the time the show opens I hope to have a number of completed new turtle sculptures and several paintings. I have also created a number of small turtle hatchlings in bronze. These have been sculpted directly in wax and cast without a mold, so that each one is a one- of-a-kind bronze, something very unusual and unique.
Other works of mine will be a part of this event and fundraiser, like the life size mermaid SPLASH, which too will create a ripple effect. Ripples are a poignant part of this show. We see how one point of a raised turtle head from underwater sends forth ripples that navigate the world’s oceans.
This is a wonderful opportunity for me, who has been loved in Charleston for my art for many years, to show in return how much I love that city and its inhabitants, including sea turtles. This too is part of the ripple effect that art has on the world and that the world has on the artists.
Burls; these old growth, knarly, encrusted nobs of wood, have emerging out of them, evolving old world species, sea turtle forms, and I have several in the sculpting studio in various stages. I feel like I am in the midst of a turtle-rama with me floating on the mists of the sea with these old soul mates swimming along with me. It is pretty easy to drift away when I consider that the outdoor studio is only a few hundred feet from the salty waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the mouth of the Salish Sea. With the tides low, the scent of the sea comes to my nostrils and the turtles seem to almost raise their own heads in awareness of home.
- Chosen For People’s Choice Award In Olympia Two Years In A Row
A WICKEDLY WILD DOUBLE WHAMMY
So, in 2013 I had RAINFOREST DREAM, a blue/gold macaw on a pedestal chosen to be in the City of Olympia’s, Percival Plinth Outdoor Sculpture Project.
The piece was on display for a year and it was the winner of The People’s Choice Award and was purchased by the City of Olympia to adorn the Capital City of Washington State forever!
This year I was pleased to have accepted into this same exhibition the bronze ILLUMINATED ONE, a cormorant on a pedestal with barnacles sculpted into it. I am totally pleased to say that once again the public voted my piece as THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE and it too will now remain in the City of Olympia.
How cool is that!!!! A double whammy!!
Thank You City of Olympia and the public with such discerning eyes!!!!