Lawrence Heyda - Bronze Portrait Sculpture

I grew up in the lap of Norman Rockwell. Or, better put, Norman Rockwell’s art was so often in my lap in my youth as my eager little eyes devoured his illustrations on the covers of the Saturday Evening Post and Boy’s Life, which found a happy residence in our home. Oh, how I craved to emulate that great chronicle-maker of the American scene! To tell wonderful stories with brush and canvas. Norman Rockwell was only one of my idols—there was also Howard Pyle, and his brilliant student, N.C. Wyeth, whose book illustrations of ruddy buccaneers, Robin Hood’s men, and valiant colonial soldiers transported my young mind into the realms of fantasy, noble deeds, and unsullied heroism. Oh, how I wanted to paint like them! I never thought I would become a sculptor.

But my fascination with the work of these artists relied much on their peerless mastery of the art of portraiture. Who can fail to remember Rockwell’s character studies in the “Four Freedoms,” or the innocent faces of his blushing young schoolgirls? Rockwell used to say that the face tells the most about a person; the hands second.

Some say the eyes are the windows to the soul. But there are many more beacons to the heart of a man than the eyes alone. In fact, every crease in the jaw, every turn of the brow, and every nuance of expression that calls to us from the landscape of the face contains volumes of meaning that enable a sensitive observer to unlock the secrets of the man within. The eyes may be the windows, but the rest of the house reveals the nature of the sanctuary that cradles the soul.

So, in my development as an artist, the face became my altar of communion with the pulsating core of the human psyche. My increasing addiction to its beauty and mystery, and the stories it told, moved me inexorably to take up the fine and venerable art of portraiture in all of its forms.

Portraits became my life—and my bread and butter. In my college days, how many sororities and fraternities did I visit regularly to record the fresh young faces of the Kappa Delta’s and the Alpha Chi’s? Summers were spent at the Aspen Inn in Colorado as the resident portrait artist. When I finally graduated, with two degrees under my belt, I headed to California to broaden my perspectives and see where my talents would lead me.

Soon enough my skill at the portrait found a ready audience, and a number of excellent opportunities.. Movieland Wax Museum hired me to make life-like statues of the stars. The Franklin Mint, and other figurine companies brought me so much work. So began my life as a sculptor; and I felt totally in my element. That magical resonance I felt when the clay beneath my fingers began to harmonize with the likeness of my sitter, energized me every time, and convinced me that I had found my purpose in life. They are all displayed here. I hope you enjoy the tour.

Lawrence Heyda

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