Capturing the spirit
If you go to Sleepy Hollow, just west of Chautauqua Park, you'll find three, bronzed little girls in antique dresses, playing just as though the last eighty years had vanished in a whiff of time.
In a way, time does stand still here now. On Tuesday, landscape architect Robert Satter of Clear Lake placed the three bronze statues to honor the memory of three Paxton girls, Maxine, Margaret, and Marjorie, who played along the same northern shore of Storm Lake early in the last century.
The sculptures are the work of L'Deane Trueblood, a southern Utah artist, known for the lifelike facial expressions of her work. She also knows something about the images of childhood - with three children and nine grandchildren of her own. Her bronze works are featured in private collections and public monuments worldwide. "To me, the face reveals the history of the soul. A sculptor must reveal the spirit within."
Capturing the innocence of childhood for Storm Lake's park is a process as spiritual as it is artistic. "I have a strong conviction the universe is filled with love and wonder."
Trueblood's art often appeals to children - they will touch the statues' faces, peer into the eyes, even sometimes hug them or kiss their cheeks as if they were real playmates.
The architects hope that the site, with its "seatwall," quarried limestone, cobblestone, lights subtly hidden in the evergreen cover, and perennial garden, will serve as a place of joy and contemplation.
The sculptures were placed in a slightly elevated area that makes use of the natural landscape. While there is no deliberate intent to have any of the three sculptures portray specific Paxton girls, there could well be a similarity in spirit. The sculptures are aptly named Spring Time, Twirl, and Garden Sprite, and all three bronzes are adorned with period clothing typical to when the Paxton sisters were young girls, just prior to World War I.
Spring Time holds her hat filled with daisies, Twirl touches the hem of her timeless dress as if caught in mid-dance, while Garden Sprite sits upon a rock, reading a book.
Satter spoke of a sense of movement and spirit of place where the sculptures were placed. "I hope everybody enjoys it," Satter said. "We're trying to capture the spirit of place. Within six months, hopefully this will look like it's been there forever."
Satter said Del's Garden Center of Spencer did the landscaping of the area, an elevated "V" shape that enhances the placement of the three bronzes.
The Paxton Family Trust, established by the Paxton sisters for the beautification of Storm Lake parks, approved creation of the park and the purchase and placing of the sculptures.
Julie Mooney, trust officer with Citizens 1st National Bank, said the Paxton Family Trust will soon make an announcement about a contribution by the trust to Project AWAYSIS.