About those statues on the Square . . .
You might not be familiar with Georgetown resident Lucas Adams, but if you’ve visited the Square in the last few years, you’re probably familiar with his work. Lucas is the sculptor of the Georgetown Square’s bronze statues of Three-Legged Willie and Dan Moody.
The statue of Robert McAlpin Williamson, most commonly known as Three-Legged Willie, was installed in front of the Williamson Museum four years ago. Dan Moody’s statue is the Square’s newest addition. Unveiled last fall, this statue graces the southeast corner of the courthouse lawn next to the historical marker commemorating the KKK trials he successfully prosecuted in Georgetown’s courthouse.
Lucas credits many teachers for his interest and education in art. “I was ten or eleven at the Boys & Girls Club in Odessa when I made my first sculpture,” he recalls, but he doesn’t remember why he enjoyed the work so much. “Maybe it was trying to make something look like something else.”
Lucas may not have known then what he liked about sculpting, but now he knows he likes the challenge. Each statue took Lucas nine months to complete—“three months to sculpt, the rest of the time in mold-making and foundry work.”
To fashion a sculpture’s likeness, Lucas does his research, which often begins behind a camera. “I went to the Moody Museum in Taylor, and I took pictures of everything that had Dan Moody’s picture on it,” Lucas says. “I was able to get lots of different photos of slightly different angles.” Lucas creates layers of the photographs and his model in Photoshop. “You overlap the two, size them, and then you make one layer transparent.” The transparent layer is his guide to match his work with the picture.
Of course, Lucas didn’t have as much photographic evidence for the statue of Three-Legged Willie as he did for the Dan Moody work. In those cases, Lucas says, “You get as close as you can. You create the face straight on, but you have to guess the profiles.”
Lucas didn’t have a problem with Dan Moody’s profile, but he did have difficulties with his clothes. “I couldn’t get the fabric to hang right,” he says. Lucas sculpted a young Dan Moody, imagining how the attorney might have stood outside of the courthouse during the trials. “I thought that it would just be more representative. His shirt sleeves rolled up getting ready to go to work, he’s carrying his law book, he has his straw hat in hand.”
The problem of Moody’s clothes was still bothering Lucas when his wife, Ellen Davis, decided it was time to take a vacation. With a wry smile, Lucas admits he wasn’t very happy with her suggestion, although he says his wife always plans the best vacations. “We’ve visited some incredible art museums on our vacations, always inspiring!”
Last summer was no exception. Lucas and Ellen traveled to the east coast and visited the homes and studios of sculptors Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who commemorated many Civil War heroes, and Daniel Chester French, best known for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Their work was the inspiration Lucas needed to finish his own statue. Lucas says that upon returning home, “I knew exactly what was wrong and fixed it.”
Lucas purposely made both statues “pedestrian-friendly,” expecting people to photograph them and kids to climb on them. Some people wonder why the statue of Three-Legged Willie faces the museum instead of looking out over the Square. Mickie Ross, director of the Williamson Museum, explains: “We had him placed with his back to the street so that people who were curious would stop and come see what he’s all about.”
Lucas likes the way the statues interact with the community. Mickie agrees. Three-Legged Willie and Dan Moody are proving themselves to be ambassadors of Georgetown and, as Mickie says, “engaging folks in the history of the community in a fun way.”