Where Do You Keep Your Owl/Not-Owl ?

I tried the fireplace first, but you can see it’s already pretty crowded.

Owl/Not-Owl with Fireplace Friends
Owl/Not-Owl with Fireplace Friends

I bought a long new redwood 4” x 12” beam just to have it around.  By and by, I started carving it for sculpture projects.  Some worked out, some didn’t.  When you have a beam and the project goes sour, well, you still have a beam.

So, I used one of those second chance boards to make this “owl / not owl” piece. 

It’s considered a “self-portrait without a face,” which means it’s made out of old things, parts and materials that are uniquely mine.  So, if you know me, you’d know that piece is mine without having to be told.

Materials:   mixed media carving, mostly redwood with plexiglas
about 24″ tall (as shown); and

When assembled with 8-leg wooden base it stands about 6′ tall.  The slender legs are the adjustable portion of a retired picnic table umbrella.  And, 

When the legs are pulled together, the owl looks like it is sitting atop a large bush.

These parts and materials are left over from my previous projects.

owl / not owl – self-portrait without face
redwood sculpture with plexiglas

Indoor Wood Sculptures May 2013 – Class Photo

You can see here that the Face Blind influence finds its way into most of my sculptures.

Wood Sculptures by Peter Neibert, 2013
Wood Sculptures by Peter Neibert, 2013

These are sculptures for indoor display.  The major piece missing is “Head Case” which is on exhibit at the Marin Civic Center for most of the summer, this year.  Meanwhile, I have posted it on Etsy,

Don’t overlook the brick fireplace in the picture.  I removed the fire insert (700 pounds) and refinished the bricks in hard acrylics.  Yes, I did.


Face Blind: 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 16 ~ Wood Sculpture

I do better carving images of people than talking to them.

“Face Blind” means I don’t recognize people I’ve met.  I usually ignore them because I don’t know who they are.  They, of course, know who they are, know me, and they really don’t like to be ignored.

face blind multiples with eyes, without noses, mouths or chins
Face Blind: 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 16 — wood sculpture by Peter Neibert 2013. click on photo to enlarge.

That’s what I show in my “Face Blind” sculpture — my multiple face blind images 0.5, 1, 2, 4 & 16 at left and below.

My face blind carving shows faces with foreheads, eyes, glabella (upper bridge of the nose), upper cheeks but no nose, mouth or chin.

Brainy people  tell us the nose, mouth and chin are key to the brain, that the brain uses these features in combination to recognize other people (and, yes, oneself).

Except sometimes it doesn’t work.

This brain disability is called prosopagnosis, its simple name is “face blindness.”

Figures carved in my multiple sculpture show no noses, mouths or chins — by now, the meaning is intuitively obvious to the casual observer (you).

But the progression in sizes, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 16 … what’s happening there?  Let your brain work on that.

face blind multiples with eyes, without noses, mouths or chins
Face blind image 1 with forehead, eyes, nose bridge and upper cheeks.








Wood Sculpture “Head Case” on Display at Marin Civic Center

head case on used barrel ~ 3 wood carvings inspired by Nara period gigaku masks.  Sculptor Peter Neibert. Click on photo to enlarge.
“Head Case” on used barrel pedestal ~ 3 wood carvings in gold light inspired by Nara period gigaku masks. Sculptor Peter Neibert. Click on photo to enlarge.

“Head Case” is this Media Container for three wooden carvings, inspired by 7th Century Japanese theatrical masks.

It’s mostly made of reclaimed redwood, and it’s on view, free, at the first floor gallery of the Marin Civic Center (just walk-in the South entrance, and you will come to it right away).

For a preview and description, go now to Wood Sculpture in Gold Light.

Head Case on display at Marin Civic Center with Yukiko Neibert
Head Case on display at Marin Civic Center

This COM (College of Marin) Student Art Exhibition includes wood, stone, steel, bronze and papier mache sculptures.

Wood Sculpture in Gold Light ~ Head Case

Sculptures change even as you look at them.  Carvings differ from one time to another, under one light source or another, in one media or another — both the image and the original thing itself change.

This web optimized photo of a sculpture I made in wood was inspired by a Nara period theatrical mask.

sculpture inspired by Nara period theatrical mask
Wood Sculpture by Peter.
Click on photo to enlarge.

Here you see it on the web, but the sculptured mask is already different from the photographic image: the wooden carving’s physical image changes with countless shifts in light and shadow.  It’s one of three installed in my Head Case.

Head Case ~ Media Container

It holds upright three original sculptures of Japanese theatrical masks.

Gold is their color (more or less).  It survives as aging paint to embellish the carvings, and as filtered light passing through translucent yellow panels — one on the front for visitors to look inside, and one on the top to admit light from overhead, sun, moon and, yes, electric lights.

head case, japanese wood sculpture masks in gold light
Head Case with translucent gold panels, gold reflective walls & 3 masks mounted. Turn the table (at bottom), see multiple images of the masks and gold light change at the control of your finger.

Gold light plays on the 3 masks as they turn and change their images on the 3 reflective surfaces.  This head case measures about 20″ on each side of the cube – big enough to rotate three full-size masks on the turntable.

The outside of the case is reclaimed redwood from my old fence.  When I need more wood, I just take another board off the fence,

Then, the image I originally had in mind — hasn’t that changed, too?

n.b.  If you want to see original Nara period masks and other fine carvings of the period, start with volumes 3 and 4 of Genshoku Nihon no Bijutsu.


Future Back ~ Haute Couture Returns to Present

“Back to the Future” fashions appeared recently in one of the Sunday magazines.  But something was weird, I looked closer.

Yes, the photo editor had stretched the model to be nine feet tall (so tall he cut her feet off the bottom of the picture).  Wow.  Is this how fashionistas like to see themselves?  The photo showed only the front. I wondered what a nine foot tall model looks like from the back.  So, I carved one, my front and back photo:

Redwood sculpture of nine foot tall high fashion model.
Redwood sculpture of nine foot tall high fashion model.

Most sculptors need some sort of rationale to do their job, even if they have to make it up.  Here’s mine.

  • Anthropologists’ dig (a thousand or two thousand years from now) unearths a funerary model from the tomb of a 21st century fashion king or queen.
  • Aboriginal Burial Commission directs the model be sent back to the 21st century.
  • And here it is, showing the effects of 1 or 2 millenia in the royal burial tomb.  Back from the future, back and all.


Funerary carving is about 32″ tall – I am fresh out of 9 foot redwood logs.



Matador Awaiting Bull

Wood sculpture with fabric connected by knots.  Fir carving is about bout 20″ tall, fabric trails about 4′.

Image inspired by Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon.

Sometimes the three matadors stand together as they await the first bull of the afternoon.  Sometimes the first matador stands alone.

This piece was carved from doug fir kd 4 x 4 , painted in acrylic.

Bipolar Switch – Photo Demonstration

Bipolar Switch is a wood sculpture of connection, enabled by a common bolt as shown in open position, here.

Bipolar Switch in open position
Bipolar Switch in open position

Manic mode appears below in right photo.

Turn Bipolar Switch upside down to see Depressive mode, left.


Switch from one mode to the other manually, there is no electrical connection.

It is, after all, dysfunctional.


Category:  Sculpture in Marin


Indoor Sculpture with Outdoor Wood & Stains

fir-sculpture of face-between-vases, blended stains, tung oil
Wood sculpture carved from Douglas fir beam : 15″ x 10.5″ x 5.4″ ~ blended oil stains, tung oil: Marin County, California

Douglas fir sculpture with stains:

I bought a Douglas Fir beam (6″ x 12″ x 12′) at Rafael Lumber yard in San Rafael.  They cut it into pieces to fit inside my Jeep.  I took it home to my shed/studio and let it dry for about six weeks, which looked and felt about right for wood sculpture .

Then, I carved an abstract sculpture in wood:  Fir Face & Vases,  at left, 15″ x 10.5″ x 5.4″ ~ colored with blended oil stains (Old Masters), and tung oil – all rubbed with rags.

Now I’m carving the remainder of the Doug fir beam here in my studio in Kentfield, Marin County.

From time to time I post photographs of my sculpture on this blog, Neibert.com/portfolio 

“Genshoku Nihon no Bijutsu” 30 Big Volumes of Japanese Art & Antquities — Exquisite Color Printing

I collected the 30 volumes of Genshoku Nihon no Bjijtsu — 29 of them when I was a poor student in Tokyo from 1966.

Japanese art and antiquities photographed for Meiji Centenary
Japanese art and antiquities photographed for Meiji Centenary

These 11″ by 14″  pages of large color photographs of Japanese cultural treasures (over a hundred in each volume) were stunning when they were first published and have held their full color integrity throughout.

To read the reading, you will need to do so in Japanese.

Over the intervening years I have looked at the pictures often and studied many.  Right now I am “into,” as we have learned to say, early Nara Period wood sculpture (about 7th Century AD).  It’s time to find them a new keeper.

Maybe you.

The books need nearly four linear feet of shelving and justify a custom built book case.  I had one built into my house, so that book case stays with me in California.

Last year I tracked down the last volume (actually, number 26) .  I have posted the complete 30-volume collection for sale as a single “lot” on e-Bay, including description and statement of condition.  If interested, you may see it here.

If the selling process drags on long enough, i will post representative detail of contents on this blog.



Redwood Fence Post Sculpture in Marin

What do these fence posts do?

Hand carved redwood posts emerge from my fence in Kentfield, Marin County, California.

fence posts hand carved by Peter Neibert, Kentfield, Marin County
Fence post(s) Sculpture(s) in Marin


Have they moved?

Fence posts move closer.


















Some redwood posts get cut-up before they’re carved-up:  here’s an example.