Nearly two decades ago, I attended a gallery opening with my then-boyfriend Sabin Howard.

Sabin introduced a slim, bright-eyed man with an elfin, perspicacious gleam. Sabin said, “John is a painter.” Sotto voce, to me alone, he added, “A good one.”

Chardin meets Melendez by John Morra

Rare words of praise from my discerning husband. Sabin evaluates other artists solely on the basis of the merits of their work: their draughtsmanship, their form sense, their compositions, their design sense. He isn’t swayed by the trappings of renown, the monkey-see-monkey-do glitz of the artiste of the month, or such pretensions as ‘historical importance.’ Sabin cares only about…

Sabin Howard’s A Soldier’s Journey
Sabin Howard’s A Soldier’s Journey
Sabin Howard’s entire A Soldier’s Journey with the first 11 figures sculpted to completion, photo by Andrew Holtz

Eleven figures from Sabin Howard’s A Soldier’s Journey have set forth on their voyage to the foundry overseas. Everyone in the studio felt the absence of our loved and sculpted friends: the Daughter, Kneeling Dad, Standing Mom, Heroic Mom, Departing Dad, and the various sprightly doughboys.

Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming The drums rum — tumming everywhere.
-“Over There” by George M. Cohan, 1917

Sculptor Sabin Howard is preparing to ship eight doughboys, a little girl, and two iterations of a mother figure back to the foundry in England for molding and casting into bronze.

Sabin Howard’s A Soldier’s Journey, initial scene
Sabin Howard’s A Soldier’s Journey, initial scene
Sabin Howard’s A Soldier’s Journey, beginning scene, photo by Andrew Holtz

It’s been a treacherous slog through the malefic synchronicity of the global pandemic as Sabin and his team sculpted the first eleven figures of A Soldier’s Journey, the sculptural heart of the National WWI Memorial…

Two years ago, 23andMe informed me that I was fully, shockingly, 26.1% Ashkenazim Jewish. One-quarter. I had a Jewish grandparent.

My personal story of discovering that I wasn’t who I thought I was, because my father wasn’t who he thought he was, and perhaps that was the reason he was a damaged and destructive man, tagged along with me like a little dog wagging its tail when I picked up Dani Shapiro’s memoir Inheritance.

I had the happy fortune to meet Budd Hopkins before he died. We shared a mutual friend, an elderly journalist, a skeptic, who had read the Project Blue Book materials with Budd.

I met Budd again through the auspices of my husband sculptor Sabin Howard. Many people know Budd Hopkins was a prominent UFOlogist; fewer are aware that Budd was an accomplished artist whose abstract expressionist paintings hang in the MOMA. …

In 2015, I watched a YouTube video of an unhinged Yale mob confronting a professor. One young woman in particular screamed wildly and then stormed away in tears.

The young woman’s distress was palpable, heart-wrenching.

So was the mob’s unreasoning rage toward a professor who was doing his best to be respectful while not bowing to their despotic chaos.

Photo by Markus Leo on Unsplash

The ugliness erupted over an email about Halloween costumes. Students were worried about costumes that “threaten our sense of community,” that is, racist costumes. …

Five months into principle sculpture on A Soldier’s Journey, the 58’ long figurative relief commemorating WWI, we have settled into a warm rhythm in the studio. Workday mornings start with coffee and conversation around the kitchen area. Then the models peel off to change into their uniforms while the sculptors arrange the props and adaptations necessary for the models to hold their poses for long periods.

Sculptor Sabin Howard, photo by Crystal Cox

The studio boasts three gifted sculptors: my husband Sabin Howard, the lead sculptor; Raymond, an articulate and devoted classicist; and Charlie Mostow, the youngest of the artists, whose talent and determination are a force…

Through the good auspices of two young actor friends, Luke Slattery and Paul-Emile Cendron, I attended a screening of 1917 at the Director’s Guild of America.

1917 tells the story of two soldiers on a near-suicide mission to prevent the slaughter of sixteen hundred of their brothers-in-arms. Their journey through the trenches and a fiery inferno of enemy-infested land is harrowing and mesmerizing. I was completely absorbed.

This is a great movie. It’s deeply moving, visually arresting, and historically accurate.

The Great War has been the focus of my consciousness for the last three years. My husband Sabin Howard is…

The rather brilliant Milene Fernandez hosted an evocative panel Friday night at the Salmagundi Club in Manhattan. The topic concerned “The Responsibility of the Artist in the 21st Century.”

From the Salmagundi Club’s website

Milene’s panelists were Judith Kudlow, a painter and founder of the atelier The Harlem Studio of Art; portrait artist and painter Dan Thompson; and my husband sculptor Sabin Howard. These are acclaimed, experienced artists. They have something thoughtful to say about the nature of the artist’s responsibility in the world.

Sabin is the sculptor for the National WWI Memorial, a 58’ long bronze relief to be set in Pershing Park, Washington…

Opening Scenes of A Soldier’s Journey

Four years of design and fabrication preparation, struggle through a byzantine government agency process, angst about not making art, and contentious negotiations came to a close. This week my husband Sabin Howard opened a new chapter in the sculpting of the National WWI Memorial: principle sculpture commenced. Sabin put a serrated-edged tool to clay.

He chafed like a thoroughbred finally taken out of pasture to race, as he was born to do.

Traci L. Slatton

Traci L. Slatton is an international, award-winning, best-selling author. Her novel IMMORTAL is set to be made into a miniseries.

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