Saturday, March 13, 2010

Crash and Smash

Sorry - no photos today. You'd think I'd remember the camera on my phone ;-)
This week I did a standing 3/4 nude on a large scale. It was hard to keep the clay from slumping on such a large scale (about 26-30"). I was determined that on this piece I would do a better job with the paper core to avoid having to cut and hollow the piece. My goal was to allow for a lot more freshness and looseness on this piece. I probably got about 1 1/2 hours done on Wednesday. On Friday, I found that the sculpt had compressed a bit, the movement to the pose and back were still quite nice, however. Throughout the next three hours I was furiously and managed to get her nearly complete, including her hands, face and hair. The piece had a roughness and grace to it and I really made progress in keeping that fresh, painterly feel.

Since we'll be going on Spring Break, I needed to take the sculpt home. Bad call...while I was successful in transporting the other sculptures, this one probably had about 30 pounds of wet, top-heavy clay. Even with good bolstering in the car, she broke and collapsed on the way home. I was unsuccessful in fixing this time. Wish I'd have photoed before I transported.

Oh well, I went into the class expecting everything to crash, explode or fail, just to make myself do the work for the sake of learning, and doing the work. Very freeing and I'm glad that I'm sticking to that goal...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Plus-sized nude model

We had a plus-sized model this week. Again, I had just a little over 4 hours with the live model. I took the sculpt home and worked another 7-8 hours from memory - including time to cut her into pieces, hollow out and reassemble.

I was too excited to start sculpting and forgot Andi's paper cores...I started sculpting her solid and once I'd gotten a ways it was too late to turn back. So I went ahead and sculpted solid for a little while, then cut her into three pieces for hollowing out. I'll be sure to try and be more restrained on the next piece and really try to get the paper core down and this time, with thicker walls of clay to better support and have less problem with paper coming through to the surface... ;-)

The large model was a new challenge for me. I've never worked with heavy models before and the mass and weight and gravity were new and interesting. It was a different way to sculpt and see things since I usually work with more muscular or thinner more angular figures.

Another area for me to work on is my photography. Granted, these were done quickly to document the stages of work, but the photos aren't very good. Hopefully I'll get some better photos done when I fire and do the patina.

I also wish that I was able to keep the freshness. I'm at war with myself; one part of me wants to really work out the anatomy and the other part of me wants a looseness and spontaneous feel. While I like the mass and roundness of this piece, I think I missed the mark with going for a more artistic feel. I think that having to cut into pieces for hollowing and then repair the damage from the cutting encourages me to get too fussy over the finish and obliterates the stokes and marks of the clay - making it too 'rendered'. Well, there's always the next one...always the challenge...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nude and Drapery Sculpture Study

This week, at the sculpture class with Andi Mascarenas at the Denver Art Student's League, we did a nude study using some drapery. I had about 3 1/2 hours with the model and then continued the work at home for another 4 hours. The drapery was challenging, as every time the model took a break the drapery was different when she came back to model. I had the usual challenge of the paper core coming through and a few places where the wall of clay was very thin. When I got the sculpt home, I endeavored the remove the paper and had quite a bit of breakage that needed repair. I think it goes to show that I'm starting with the wall of clay too thin from the start, so will try to correct that problem on the next sculpt.

Another problem that I encountered was slumping. Because we're trying to work so fast, since we have limited class and model time, there isn't enough time for the clay to firm up much before we sculpt. I found that the weight of the top part of the sculpt was causing the bottom, her legs, to smash down. In order to correct that problem, I had to add more paper and then more clay to the base in order to bring the overall height back up. Unfortunately, I also over-corrected for that slumpage and you may notice that her lower torso is elongated. The proportion of the lower torso being too long isn't terribly unpleasing, at least to me, which is surprising since I tend to be a perfectionist.

But then, that is something that I've been working to overcome and one of the main reasons that I'm taking Andi's class. Good art isn't perfect. It's beautiful or evocative, or interesting, but not really perfect. So I'm trying to force myself to produce a lot more art and to learn something from each piece and to try to find the interest or emotion, or thought for each one, instead of the exact reproduction of what is already there.