Article by Starlight Communication’s Author. Published in the Fort Bend Lifestyles and Home Magazine.
“Can you imagine waking up in the morning and not hearing any birds all day long,” said Bob Pack, Sugar Land’s renowned sculptor, as he casually spoke about the launch of his next series of bronze sculptures focused on the beauty of birds. Art works of this highly acclaimed Texas-based sculptor has been collected worldwide, ranging from small collectibles to life-sized monumental pieces of art. His energy level and artistic abilities appear just as boundless as the life-size bronze monuments that he diligently sculpts. Bob will launch his new collection focused on the theme of birds in Fort Bend County at an exhibit scheduled to open on May 28th at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in Sugar Land. “It’s a perfect marriage for me to be able to do this exhibit in Fort Bend County,” explained Bob referring to Fort Bend’s rich culture of bird watching.
Texas is fortunate to be home to over 620 species of some of God’s most beautiful and interesting creations—birds. Approximately half of these species can be seen in Fort Bend County during some parts of the year. Brazos Bend is a popular State park suggested for bird watchers. More than 300 species of birds have been sighted at Brazos Bend alone. When asked where Bob likes to go for bird watching, he enthusiastically led the way to the lake at his Sugar Land home and said, “My favorite spot for bird watching is right here in my backyard.”
Ever wondered what triggers an artist to select what his or her next theme will be? According to Bob, “When you forget about the time and the hours, and get into the flow of painting or sculpting, and then you stop for a mid morning break and it’s already 5:30 in the evening … then, you know what your next theme is going to be.” In the last thirty-five years, Bob’s themes have generally focused on concepts such as golf, hunting, life size monuments, and now birds. “I work on a theme for so long that after a while I want to try something that has not been done before,” he says. When he sees something that catches his eye, he immediately begins sketching it on whatever he sees nearby, even paper napkins. What ever an artist creates, Bob says, “It has to be close to the heart, it has to be original, and it has to be something that really moves him.”
With birding or bird watching being one of Bob’s passions for the last twenty-five years, it is natural that he turned his artistic eyes towards birds. Working together with the help of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Bob was able to study specimens of various Fort Bend species to insure accuracy in the anatomy of each bird’s creation. Each piece Bob creates requires almost six months for production: three months study (measuring, photographing, and drafting in wax), and approximately three months on the actual sculpting (mold making and casting the piece in bronze). As of date, the exhibit at HMNS will display eight species of bird, with two sculptures of each- one in a brown patina and one in a polychrome (painted) patina. Approximately four additional species will be exhibited in the final clay model stage prior to casting. These models are an attempt to give viewers a glimpse of the meticulous process of sculpting. This exhibit should be educational and a feast for the eyes as viewers will indulge in the beauty of birds. Additionally, the illustrated panels around the exhibit should be an informative representation of the general theme of birds that call Fort Bend County their home.
Bob began sculpting in 1976 and specializes in realistic bronze figures ranging from small collectibles to life-sized monumental pieces of art. He has about twenty-five life sized works on display around the world, as well as pieces in the permanent collections of seven museums. Fort Bend’s residents are probably familiar with his sculpture of the Stephen F. Austin monument at Sugar Land Town Square. The monument depicts Austin emerging from the Brazos River on horseback. His horse rearing, Austin struggles to lead a packhorse stumbling in the river’s current, represented by the surrounding fountain waters. A portrayal of the struggles of settlement and colonization, this monument pays homage to Austin, whose original Texas colony encompassed what is today Fort Bend County. Other local examples of Bob’s work can be seen at the Sugar Land Police Station and Sugar Land First Methodist Church.
For the next seven to ten years, Bob plans to focus his attention on illustrating the beauty of birds through his new bronze collectibles. When asked if he is a full time artist, Bob modestly said, “This is all I do … I have never done anything else!”