World-Class Rural Virginia Artist

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The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep. ~ Paul Strand

“Gee, I thought the place would be more ostentacious than this given the artists’ reputation,” I thought as we drove up and parked outside the gallery of internationally known sculpture artists William H Turner and his son David H Turner on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake in northern Virginia. However, inside the father and son’s work was exhibited in abundance. The 4,000 square feet of gallery space made for great browsing. I didn’t realize until later that a foundry, metal shops, a wood shop, wax shop, mold room and storage in nine separate buildings were also on site. The Turner’s have the assistance of 20 skilled artisans they supervise throughout the multi-step process.

Their limited edition sculpture includes more than 400 designs. Birds of prey, game birds, deer and other American wildlife and animals seen on safari are among them. Smaller pieces include rodents, frogs, turtles, fish and other marine life. More than 100 public installations of Turner Sculpture are located on some of the finest college campuses, in aquariums, nature conservancies, zoos, museums and botanic gardens throughout the country. The father and son have even presented a piece of their art to President George Bush, Sr. at The White House.

heron signed

duck signed

rams head signed

bass fish signed

As I perused the gallery, I got a very real sense of the importance of passing along the craft of sculpture making to younger generations of Turners as well as an appreciation for other mediums of art. One display space was dedicated to cast sculptures that grandchildren had created. A large number of canvases painted by various family members hang throughout the gallery space.

children turner signed

Writing and independent publishing is just another aspect of William H Turner’s talents. His rural farm-boy voice is prevalent throughout his book Memoirs of a Farm Boy as well as in the Turner Sculpture “Tracks” newsletter. Stories such as Mrs. Chrysler and the Pickle Barrel, which is excerpted in one of the newsletters, is a charming recounting of his artist/client relationship with a wealthy woman and her appreciation of his work. His books also include East of the Chesapeake and Of An Evening.

turner books signed

For a farm boy from Virginia, born in 1935, many roads have been traveled and explored to reach the notable status that the father and son enjoy together as world class sculpture artists.  William H. Turner’s life after college began as a dentist.

Vaarious signed

pheasant signed

pelican in progress signed

It was a privilege to speak with  William H. Turner, Sr. in person and he told me that many of their sculptures are permanently exhibited at the Benson Sculpture Gardens in Loveland, Colorado.

And I was taken by great surprise when I saw the work of artist Wick Ahrens in the gallery. I was familiar with his whale sculptures, as he resided in Peru, Vermont for decades. Peru is the town right next to my thirty-year place of residence in Bondville.

boy on stilts signed

My favorite piece was from their childhood memories collection “A Boy on Stilts.” I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to  Turner Sculpture and was so very impressed with their craftsmanship and skilled artistry.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. Check in on us on Monday on All Things Fulfilling!

Book Award Results!

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Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.” ~Alexander Pope

“Sue,” my sister said, peaking out of our guest room door yesterday morning, “what are you doing up at this hour?”

I was sitting on the sofa with the computer on my lap. “It’s 4:30 in the morning. I thought we had agreed that you’d wake me at 5:30 to leave by 6:00 am to go to the Denver airport. Go back to bed!” my sister said, not too pleased that she had been awoken when she heard the teapot whistling.

“I couldn’t wait any longer to check my email,” I said to my sister. “I want to see the results of the EVVY Book awards.” My twin sister was visiting from Maryland and we were spending our first birthday in more than 30 years together. Since family rates first in my book, I decided to give my twin sister the gift of not shortchanging her vacation by trekking into Denver for the EVVY book awards over the weekend. My publisher Joe McDaniel of http://www.bookcrafters.net had promised to email me after the book awards were over with the results.

“Did you win anything?” my sister asked, peaking over my shoulder, rubbing her sleepy eyes as she looked at my computer.

“Yep!” I said, as I read directly from Joe McDaniel’s email. ” Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected was awarded 2nd prize in the Audio book category and Merit Award in the Anthology category.”  Of course, hugs followed.

“That’s so, so great, Sue, two prizes!” My sister said.

“I can’t believe it!” I replied, “I am so glad I decided to publish the story.” What started as recording  just a few childhood memories to send to my family somehow became a full-fledged anthology of published stories contending among 274 other entries in the 20th annual Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY book award contest!

Although I wrote the story, I’d like to say “Congratulations to my twin sister Jan, and the rest of my family too” because in part, it’s their life story too! My life and the tale would not be nearly as fulfilling without all of them in it.

And then, there’s the real star – Fanny. What a character. She left an indelible mark on my life and is leaving the same kind of impression on the readers’ hearts. The voice in this award-winning memoir holds the real treasure. But I am more confident than ever that if you prefer to read the paperback or e-book format, you’ll still enjoy the story!

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. Please return tomorrow. I will be posting some information about people who were very instrumental in helping me to publish a high quality publication, worthy of merit and two awards.  I wish to say thank you.

Eggs in the grass

Finally!  A birthday together after more than 30 years! (Jan on left, Sue on right).

quotes about life storiesThis blog brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For more information on the memoir “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected,” please visit this link http://amzn.to/1tIG0PI