UVW’s Tour of the Creative Process, With Artist Dennis Smith

February 15th marked the day of UVW’s field trip to the Alpine Art Museum. With a slightly larger showing than expected, we met with Dennis Smith for a behind-the-scenes tour. Dennis Smith is a world-renowned sculptor with art displays all over the US and in many different countries. Born and raised in the Alpine area, Dennis attended The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Denmark. As a new, struggling, artist, Dennis had to make the decision to keep pushing forward with his sculpting, or to call it quits and get a ‘real’ job. Dennis was determined to keep creating. He used his father’s old barn as a studio and dug his own firing pit into the side of the hill, piecing it together with whatever scraps he could find. Dennis drew much of his inspiration from his childhood, and with patience and diligence his hard work turned into a lifelong career.

Though most known for his sculpting, Dennis is also accomplished with paints and mixed media, and many of his artworks are on display in the Alpine Art Museum. Today, Dennis does much of his work at the museum, in a large studio that he shares with like-minds.

Creative Minds Tour the Facility

The UVW tour followed Dennis as he explained the process of sculpting room by room. Along the way, we had a chance to see some of his current works in progress, starting with clay molds and wax casts, all the way to pieces that are in the final stages of completion. It was a tour for all the senses, where we learned not only through sight and sound, but a lot of touching as well.

After our walk through the inner workings of the Alpine Art Museum, Dennis let us into his studio, a true artist’s haven. With just about every wall surface covered, and even a few of his own contraptions hanging from the ceiling, there was plenty to look at and enjoy as he talked about his own creative process and took questions from the group.

One didn’t have to have personal investment in 3D arts to enjoy the creative merit of the tour. Dennis was very friendly, laid back, and informative and it was a great opportunity to hear from an artist who has turned his craft into a successful living. It’s safe to say the UVW members attending enjoyed the tour immensely for it’s mix of fascinating details, inspiration, and a good scattering of humor. We’d like to thank Dennis for a wonderful evening and we hope that anyone who missed it will catch it next time, when we inevitably do it again.

NaNoWriMo Workshop, or How to Get Your Story Idea Made Into a Novel in Ten(ish) Easy Steps.

November is the month for writers! Hot chocolate, notebooks and window seats, the change of leaves, and pumpkin spice everything (am I right, ladies?)! Time to lock the chilly weather outside and hunker down for lengthy evenings of prose. It’s picture perfect, right? The only thing left to do is to stop dreaming of writing and actually write!

And that’s where NaNoWriMo has got your back!

With thousands of other writers gearing up, it’s a lot harder to make excuses or miss out on the excitement. Fifty thousand words in 30 days. That’s nearly a novel in a month. To some, that sounds impossible. Others have no idea what they’re in for. No matter where you stand, November is the perfect time to amp up your writing game. Do that thing you always say you’re going to do. Write the book. Show your family and friends you’re not just another starving artist!

But NaNoWriMo is notoriously difficult, posing challenges even experienced writers struggle with. So UVW is here to step in and start things off right. Come learn methods, tips and tricks on the important stuff, like:

Pulling a plot together (even if you didn’t have one until just this very moment!)

Quick characterization that will keep the reader – and the writer – from getting bored.

How to keep going even when you want to huck your laptop out the window! (note: Don’t do that)

How to stop yourself from burning it all once it’s done!

And the prizes! (because sometimes self satisfaction isn’t enough)

It’s a 30 day race to success and the writers who have gone before you are living proof that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Join their ranks, get that book written, and be the next success story. So don’t miss the UVW’s mini-educational on October 19 at the Orem Public Library.

Even for those who have no idea what NaNoWriMo is, or have no desire to participate in it, this workshop will be full of helpful writing exercises.

Live to write another day!

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month. Post courtesy of Jessica Allred.


Jennifer Moore to Speak on Research for Fiction Writers

Imagine a Civil War tale where the women of the house greeted all male visitors with a warm hug at the door? Or a story about a modern day girl who makes a friend in North Korea through Facebook? Some writers might try to claim creative license, but how long would you keep reading either of these stories with their cringe-worthy mistakes? The devil is in the details, so don’t let a lack of research ruin your story.

But what’s the best way to do research? What kind of details do you need to look for? And when is enough, enough? Jennifer Moore has got your bases covered and will be presenting to the UVW to expand on research of all types including language, setting, culture, and time period.

Jennifer Moore is a passionate reader and writer of all things romance due to the need to balance the rest of her world that includes a perpetually traveling husband and four active sons, who create heaps of laundry that are anything but romantic. She suffers from an acute addiction to 18th and 19th century military history and literature. Jennifer has a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Utah and is a Guitar Hero champion. She lives in northern Utah with her family, but most of the time wishes she was on board a frigate during the Age of Sail. Check out her website here!

Come listen and learn on Thursday, September 14th at 7 p.m. in the Orem Public Library Storytelling Wing!