Theodore Roosevelt in the Park

Images and Commentary

The development and prep work for
the proposed monument for Theodore Roosevelt
in San Luis Obispo, California.

About a year ago I was invited to participate
in the creation of a monument of Theodore Roosevelt
in San Luis Obispo, California. The proposed location
is a small park situated near the center of the town.

In 1903, when TR was president, he made a tour of the
West, visiting and speaking along the way. He spoke
in San Luis Obispo, in Mitchell Park, shortly after the new

Cal Poly
University had opened. 10,000 people
showed up to hear and see him.

On this tour he began speaking in earnest about
the need to protect the wild lands and wonders
of the United States of America.

Theodore Roosevelt was a complicated character...
but the more I read about him, the more I like him.
He was refined and gracious; stood up to
for people's rights; he was loud, hearty,
and read voraciously. You can tell by this photo
that his horse liked him...

There are things he did and said that I don't agree
with, but he also was responsible for things that
are important to me,  such as creating the Antiquities
Act which makes  possible tthe saving of wonderful
places such as Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, or Yosemite,
without having to wait for Congress to decide on them; 
and saving the Buffalo from extinction by making possible
the creation of a series of reserves that allowed
the herds to be viable again...

He cared about children of all races, and was
deeply concerned that future generations have
a healthy environment, and the beauty of wild
lands and wild life to inspire them.

This is a privately funded community art
project for the City of San Luis Obispo.
Arts Obispo is providing fiscal

The following images and comments are about
the work I've been doing to prepare for the
I'll keep adding to it as I go along...
the progress starts at the bottom of this page,
and works on up...

January , 2017

This is as far as I'm taking this study. From here I'm going to see what happens when I try doing a couple of small maquettes of the whole figure.

Most of the photos show TR wearing his pince-nez ("ponce-NAY").
His pince-nez glasses case helped to save his life during an assassination attempt.
The portrait of him on Mt. Rushmore shows him wearing them, but I like the look
of him wearing what was called "Riding Bow" glasses, for active people, that often
rode horseback. I used to wear an antique pair back in my hippie days...
wait, didn't John Lennon wear something like that too?

January , 2017

Here he is, nearly finished for this maquette, I think his skull needs to be a bit longer, from front to back, but will leave that for later.
Now the last thing I want to tackle on this one is, the glasses....

January , 2017


TR wore it styled conservatively but with a touch of the flair of the times, a bit longer on the top, and shorter on the sides.

I am reminded by this photo that the ear needs more work...

January , 2017

Here's the jacket, and more hair on his head. You can see my own bandana as model for how the knot would be tied, as well as the photo close up, taken at Yosemite with John Muir on my trusty laptop.

January , 2017

Here you can see some of the shapes that will form the hair. I got tired of working on it, so decided to start his jacket and neckerchief. A bit later I realized that he wore it OVER his jacket, so I had to build the jacket up first,  it was okay, the scarf gave a good reference for the placement of the collar.

January , 2017

I've been shown the wisdom of working from the skeleton on out, rather than just working with the surface features... we'll put a jacket on him pretty soon.

Here the hair is starting to go on over his skull. I'm looking at photos from various public photos, as well as hair styles of the time to understand it better .

January , 2017

Here the study is continuing with more shaping, I keep adding, and then taking away, looking for reference at as many photos of TR as I can find from around the time period of his 1903 Loop Tour.  Good thing I'm working in clay, not stone.  (That's why people do studies before tackling the final piece!)


October 22, 2016

I liked the lighting on this
photo, again, this is a study,
so I'm not concerned at this
moment with his glasses, or
what kind of a hat he might be

(The tall white cylinder to the
right is a roll of paper towels,
not a candle!)

I'm experimenting with
showing a smile on his face,
not a huge grin like he's known
for, with lots of teeth when he's
totally dee-lighted, but happy
and engaged. This shows the
study several days ago.
Since then I've worked more
on the face and hair.
So interesting to me, I love
doing this!

Next, after I finish the face a bit
more, some hair, and I'll figure
out how I want to show the
round, nearly rimless glasses
that he used to wear.

 I'm starting to do some nearly life sized studies
of his head and face, working from photos, and
video footage of him. This is his "serious look".
Next I'm working on one with a bit of a smile.


September 13, 2016

Usually my work is more
stylized, but for this piece,
I want to
capture his likeness.

September 5th, 2016

Here are some of the sketches
from photos that have been
helpful to do, to become more
familiar with his looks.

I began by reading about TR,
to learn more about him than
what I thought I already knew.
I've barely made a dent in
all there is to know about him.

August15th, 2016

"Theodore at Harvard"

Just horsing around,
an e
mbelished photo of
Theodore as a young gent
at Harvard...He was a stylish,
progressive guy, I thought he
might of enjoyed being
represented so colorfully...

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