Copper in the Arts

July 2011

Jan Rosetta: Capturing the Natural Beauty of Wildlife

By Nancy Ballou

Lynx Lynx at Laurel Elementary School of Art and Technology in Fort Collins, CO. Installed February 2010.

Photograph courtesy of Jan Rosetta

As a child, Jan Rosetta enjoyed carving animal figures out of soap. However, formal training at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles led her to 20 years of hand lettering logos and trademarks as a commercial graphic artist. During this time she only made a few three-dimensional clay busts, but, when a painter friend saw one, they decided to sculpt and paint each other for fun. She tried to get the clay bust of him bronzed at a local community college's foundry, but then decided to just sign up for a casting class and learn to do it herself.

"We did every step of the casting process ourselves for a one-off casting and, when I pressed the small portrait head of my friend up against the polishing wheel and that sensuous golden bronze glow appeared over the surfaces of my creation, I simply fell in love with the medium,” she recalls. “I was hooked!"

Now a full-time sculptor, Rosetta recently spent two weeks on her fourth safari in Africa where she was able to get up close and personal with many of the powerful, noble wild felines that she especially loves. Her clay sculptures express this beauty and grace in animal form and present stylized renditions of spirit, pose and anatomy. She calls this "interpretive realism."

"Sculpture designs first take shape in my imagination based on what I know and feel about the animal,” she says. “My initial physical rendering is a small, rough 3-D clay "sketch" to establish movement and proportions. This small study allows me to make changes quickly and easily. It establishes the form enough to show me what armature I will need for a larger rendition. I use "classic" dark brown clay with hard consistency for both sketches and final clay sculptures because it doesn't sag and holds my crisp edges and subtle smooth shapes so well.”

Running Cheeta Running Cheetah, bronze sculpture by Jan Rosetta

Photograph by Nadia Borowski Scott

"Once my clay original is completed, I leave the rest of the casting processes to the very skilled professionals in the foundries and the independent contractors here in Loveland, though I do check the chased wax and metal before sending them on for the final steps. I create the ever-important patina with Pat Kipper, a master of patinas with whom I have worked for almost 20 years, to complete my vision for the piece," she concludes.

Her sculptures vary from miniature to monumental and even include masks. Though most of her creations are felines, she does do other animals. Her heron fountain makes a beautiful addition to a garden or yard. She does public and private commissions and has won numerous awards.

Rosetta is a fellow and former board member of the National Sculpture Society, and a current members of the Northwest Rendezvous Group. She currently has a show at the Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning, New York's, and upcoming exhibits at the InSight Gallery in Fredericksburg, TX and at Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, MI.


Rosetta, 405 8th St. S.E. #15, Loveland, CO, (970) 667-6265

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