Passion for Life
Sculptor Warren Arnold and his wife, Maile, live close to the earth, close to the heart
By Suzanne Daly
From the gardens of the Charles Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa to Bodega Bayss Doran Beach, the sculptures that Warren Arnold has created during 45 of his 75 years can be seen throughout Sonoma County. Surfers have named the break at Doran "Statues," and, Warren says, "I'm as proud of that as of anything in the world—that a counterculture has named that spot after my whale sculpture."
As the founding father of Sebastopol's Sculpture Jam, an active board member and last year's president of the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Arnold aims to spread visual art throughout the community. Residents of Sebastopol, Warren and his wife, Maile, stay fit and youthful by growing most of their own food, working in their gardens raising animals and creating art and landscapes for others to enjoy. Both hold master degrees in Environmental Education and cite nature as a major inspiration for their work. "We've chosen this lifestyle—it's who we are," Maile says. "We are able to stay healthy because of what we raise and what we eat."
Every evening while Maile cooks dinner—almost all homegrown and made from scratch—Warren reads her poetry. Seamus Heaney is a favorite, Maile says, because "he relates to how it feels to be on the land, digging peat and planting potatoes." The kitchen stove transforms into sculpture with the addition of a marble and hardwood volcano.
An abundance of art by the Arnolds' friends grace their home, especially paintings by Bill Wheeler. Much of the furniture and three of the doors are handcrafted by master woodworker, James Stadig. This cherry wood door features a nude echoing a woodcut by Wheeler.
Warren sculpts stone at his home studio into a variety of subjects, including dolphins, octopi, nudes and abstract landscapes. He names Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi and Constantine Brancusi as sculptors whose spare styles have influenced his work.
Working primarily with marbles from California, Canada, India, and Carrara, Italy, the source of the highly valued stone Michelangelo used for David, Warren has gone through more than 44,000 pounds of rock. Also imported from Carrara are the nine-inch industrial grade diamond saw blades with a recessed hub. "I wouldn't be cutting stone without one," he says.
Every Valentine's Day, Warren carves a heart for Maile, whom he calls "my true inspiration and muse," from a different red or pink stone. "After all these years, it's getting harder and harder to find new stone to carve," Warren laughs. The kukui lei is made from the shells of the state tree of Hawaii, Maile's birthplace, and is a symbol of enlightenment, protection and peace, qualities found throughout the Arnolds' home and lifestyle.
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