Artist Hank Nelson, left, and Stephen Formanek install Nelson’s sculpture “Wazmini III Courting His Bride” in front of the Langley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. Nelson recalls starting to work on the piece, made of Cascade Granite, in the late 1990s. (Photo provided)

Artist Hank Nelson, left, and Stephen Formanek install Nelson’s sculpture “Wazmini III Courting His Bride” in front of the Langley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. Nelson recalls starting to work on the piece, made of Cascade Granite, in the late 1990s. (Photo provided)

Langley visitors get a glimpse of Hank Nelson’s artistry

‘Use your imagination and don’t be in a rush to ascertain what you see’

A new piece of art placed in front of the Langley Visitor’s Center should make you stop and take a second look.

At least that’s what the artist, Hank Nelson, suggests you do in his not-so-subtle way.

“Use your imagination and don’t be in a rush to ascertain what you see,” said Nelson, a prolific man of stone propelled by a social justice purpose.

Made from Cascade Granite, the piece is titled “Wazmini III Courting His Bride.”

For the past two decades, Nelson has created hundreds of pieces of work on his 20-acre property near Freeland called Cloudstone Sculpture Park. It’s been open to the public twice a year but changes are in the works to allow private tours and allow more interaction with other artists and art students.

Nelson’s piece is on loan to the city of Langley for its rotating public art program and will remain in place through July 2020.

Nelson’s associate Stephen Formanek and a Hanson’s Building Supply boom truck guided the 1,000-pound sculpture into place.

“It’s important to note Hank almost never loans any of his stone pieces from Cloudstone as they are intended to be used for educational purposes on the property,” said Burt Beusch, on the board of the Cloudstone Sculpture Park Foundation that is pursuing non-profit status.

“By lending this piece to the city and the chamber, Hank sees this as an opportunity to extend the educational process beyond his sculpture park.”

Nelson also doesn’t usually reveal the names of his pieces of art so as not to influence the viewer’s perspective.

“In the case of ‘Wazmini III Courting His Bride,’ he reveals more than he likes but still encourages people to walk all around the piece to experience the full effect of three dimensional carving,” Beusch said.

It’s hoped the sculpture will draw attention to Nelson’s body of work and his sprawling art park that includes a gallery and other large installations made of rusted pipes, barrels and other scrap metal.

“The piece will be signed as to title and artist and we will encourage visitors to take in more of Hank’s work at Cloudstone via information to be displayed in the Visitor’s Center,” said Inge Morascini, Chamber of Commerce executive director. “There are plans to landscape the area surrounding the piece. We wanted to have it installed and let the piece tell us what it needed for a backdrop.”

Nelson first worked on the Wazmini III in the late 1990s but wasn’t sure he knew how to finish it, Beusch said.

“He had it moved into the forest next to his sculpture garden where it was forgotten about until it was found again just two or three years ago,” Beusch explained. “After considerable thought, Hank decided it was, in fact, complete enough to be displayed on a gravel pedestal next to the road that winds through Cloudstone.

“‘Wazmini III Courting His Bride’ is a one-of-a-kind piece and will never be replicated in any form of stone, although Hank will have it cast in bronze if a patron is interested.

“He encourages people to see if they can determine what portions of the piece are still unfinished.”

— Cloudstone Sculpture Park and Gallery will be open to the public on International Sculpture Days April 27 and 28. There is a charge of $10 per person or $35 for a group of four.

— For more information, visit the Cloudstone web site at www.cloudstonesculpture.com

— For private tours of Cloudstone Sculpture Park, email tour@cloudstonesculpture.com

Hank Nelson’s sculpture “Wazmini III Courting His Bride” is on loan and was recently installed in front of the Langley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Hank Nelson’s sculpture “Wazmini III Courting His Bride” is on loan and was recently installed in front of the Langley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

In the evening light and looking away from the Langley Visitor Center, the granite sculpture takes on a different dimension. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

In the evening light and looking away from the Langley Visitor Center, the granite sculpture takes on a different dimension. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Hank Nelson sits near one of the hundreds of pieces of art he created at Cloudstone Sculpture Park in Freeland over the past 20 years. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Hank Nelson sits near one of the hundreds of pieces of art he created at Cloudstone Sculpture Park in Freeland over the past 20 years. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

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