An artist with concrete skills
Amy Lennard Gmelin does amazing things with cement mix.
Glowing Stone 9” x 9”
Talk about a hard act to follow. Amy Lennard Gmelin does business as Mystery Stone Sculpture and experiments with a “wonderful alchemy of Portland Cement and sand” to create colorful geode-like “Glowing Stones” and other imaginative sculptures.
“I use the cracks, crevices and textures to create what I consider impressionistic sculptures,” she explained.
She also told us how she makes impressions in the concrete before it sets and adds color with acid stains, acrylic paint and metallic powders after the pieces cure. In many of her pieces, elements of distressed architecture and other allusions to antiquity evoke her signature mystery and enchantment.
Her “Glowing Stones” are vessels that can hold water and a floating candle to accentuate the metallic powders and illuminate the inside of the vessel.
One of Gmelin’s Glowing Stones and mixed media piece “A Dream Come True” are currently on exhibit at CC Fine Arts in Ocala, which will host an open house to celebrate their grand opening from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16. She also will be featured in the annual Fine Arts For Ocala (FAFO) Festival returning this year on the weekend of Oct. 22-23.
The intrepid sculptor is also a regular on the fall/winter/spring art-fest circuit and claims that Florida is the best state for artists who sell their works in festivals. She has a full slate of shows starting this month and likes to rib her contemporaries for not taking to the road as often as she does.
“I’ve known Cheryl (Ritter, co-owner of CC Fine Arts) for years — we met on the road doing art shows,” Gmelin said. “I call her lazy all the time because she’ll only do maybe three a year and I’ll do close to 30.”
Cheeky humor aside, Gmelin channels heavier emotions into her works, too.
“One of the pieces that I just made is called ‘Summer of 22,’” she said. “I know that sounds idyllic and beautiful but it was created during a horrible time that I’ve been going through, so I don’t necessarily mean it in a good way. The crumbling exterior has the number 22 and then I put this crack going down the foundation right between the twos. So, it’s kind of symbolic. I’m putting a line through 22. Let’s just cross this out and let’s get to 23 already.”
Newly single, Gmelin recently moved from New Port Richey to Wildwood, where she found a landlord willing to accommodate her dusty creative process with an extra bedroom. The upheaval offered a luminous silver lining during an otherwise dark time, inspiring one of the most productive periods of her career.
“I’ve been here for a little over a month, so it was kind of a sad circumstance,” she explained. “But I’ve got to tell you, I’ve made more artwork this past month that maybe I’ll make in half a year or a year. It’s been kind of like therapy for me, I guess. Art therapy.”
Gmelin was born in Queens and raised in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. She graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s of fine art in photography and initially supplemented her career in the arts as an X-ray technician.
In 2011, she started working full-time as a professional artist and has amassed jury prizes and other honors over the past decade. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and private collections worldwide.
Learn more about Amy Lennard Gmelin and her upcoming festival appearances at mysterystonesculpture.com.