Story Behind the Artwork

The Creation of “City of Orlando”

Why I created the Sculpture Relief: “City of Orlando.”

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Orlando Museum of Art’s First Thursday’s Competition for January 5, 2012 was entitled “Sculpture, the Ultimate Process.” Remembering the brick pavers surrounding the Orlando Museum of Art, I thought, “Why not enter the competition with a streetscape scene from the Museum grounds. That would be a form of “Pop Art” based on common objects: a manhole cover and surrounding bricks that museum visitors walk over to enter its hallowed walls.

Orlando Museum of Art (Florida, USA)

Two references were needed: close-up photos of the bricks which were provided by Jamieson and a rubbing of the manhole cover which Susan Raff cheerfully delivered. Here she is on the museum grounds, sweeping off the manhole cover, preparing for the rubbing.

Susan Raff  “Grate Works Apprentice”

Manhole Cover Rubbing used for reference.

A blank foam background is as intimidating as a fresh canvas is to a painter. The circle was drawn and the letters were formed.

Once the letters and grids were added, the art work took shape. It looked OK.

To create the bricks pavers, the grout tracks were cut out and the Individual brick edges were beveled. For protection the bricks were bandaged with plaster gauze: the kind used for broken-bone casts. Cement and acrylic paint were brushed on for brick texture.


For the arrow placement, I called upon my husband, Al to use his Mechanical and Architectural Drawing Skills. He sketched the “Parking Lot Arrow” and I painted the area. Stage One of the sculpture relief looks finished except for two problems, artistically speaking:  See if you can discover them?

The Colors were too intense and the letters of the manhole cover needed rotating to create artistic tension. This created frustrating challenges. Every single brick had to be recolored and then antiqued. The arrow was affected too. Now that it was more subdued, I hesitated to add opaque paint. So I completed the arrow image with glue and sprinkled sand.


To rotate the manhole cover was a major  job.  Together Al and I cut around the  cover edges, gently prying up the cover.  We rotated it left forty-five degrees and I glued it back in place. The only problem was that a few gaps appeared around the edges.  Guess how I solved that?…  By adding simulated moss and actual cinders from our street.


So many steps, so many challenges… Yes!

“Sculpture is the Ultimate Process!”