Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ecorche - back muscles

Today I'm layering in the muscles of the back in this ecorche study. I'm following the gain of the muscle fibers as I place the clay- emphasizing the shape, form and function of the muscle.  Once I've built up the form of the muscle, I'll go back and refine it a bit. Time-consuming but effective way to build the figure.
I'm using Jmac Classic clay in medium and working 1/3 life size.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ecorche - anatomy study of muscles in clay

 I'm continuing with my self-study, refresher of anatomy. This 1/2 life sized sculpture is being created by layering on the clay as muscles. As I work on the piece, I'm considering the role of the muscle - how round or flat is it? What is the function of the muscle and how does it effect the surface shapes when flexed?

Yes, this is a tedious exercise - and well worth every minute. It's so tempting to stop and go to surface forms, but that would defeat the purpose. Forcing yourself to really place the muscle, with it's origins and insertions, leads to greater understanding of the body....and understanding the body frees you to sculpt with confidence.

Jmac classic clay medium.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ecorche' - Sculpting the muscles of the face


ey-kawr-shey  - noun
an anatomical model of part or all of the human body with the skin removed, to allow study of the underlying musculature.

 Anatomy....If you plan on sculpting the human figure then make no bones about it (....*groan*...pun intended ;-) you really need to know and understand anatomy.

It's a good idea to to try your hand at sculpting individual muscles in order to truly gain an understanding of what is happening under the skin. This exercise pays huge dividends when you sculpt because as you make the forms, you'll begin to understand how these bones, muscles and tendons give life, emotion and expression to your art.

This will infuse your work with greater authority and sculpting from life, or your imagination will become easier.

You can take workshops or classes if you have the time and availability, but if that isn't feasible, roll up your sleeves and get to work on your own.

Some books that I find useful for anatomy:

The Human Figure (David K. Rubins)
Classic Human Anatomy* (Valerie Winslow)
Anatomy for the Artist (Sarah Simblet)

*I especially like how this book is broken down and the phonetic help.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bald is beautiful...well it needs to be for a successful sculpt

 I'm back in the studio and the weather is cooling down here in northern Colorado. That means more heating of the clay in order to work ;-)

Picked up where I left off in enlarging "A Good Read" from my original small maquette. It's starting to take shape now and soon will start coming together nicely. It's so tempting to get in there an caress the features of the face but to do so now would be counter-productive. It's like dessert - you really should save the caress for last.

And hair ;-) Hair adds so much to a sculpture but if you cheat and put hair on too soon you can lull yourself into thinking that the work is stronger than it is. The sculpture should really look good without the lovely decorations or hair or clothes. If it looks good before these additions, the work will be even better after. So all you sculptors out there - suffer through the ugly phases - leave them bare until you really work out forms - it's worth the pain in the long run.

Next I'll be working on making hand armatures and adding the hands before moving forward with any more mass or detail to the head or body.
 This is sculpted at 1/2 life size using Jmac Classic clay firm and medium.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Correcting facial proportions in clay

 I'm back in my studio now and working on "A Good Read". Still blocking in the basic musculature and forms. While working, I could see that the lips were too close to the nose, giving too much chin to the face. So I have shown how to fix this problem.

First I took my sharp metal shaper and cut upwards towards the nose to cut the lips off. Then I removed the lips. Next I replaced the lips onto the sculpt only slightly lower.

After the lips are in place, I rolled out a small coil of clay and placed it above the upper lip to fill in the crack. Then I continued sculpting and adding more forms to the clay.

You can see that everything is very rough and that I am not concentrating on any one area. As I work on the piece I'm constantly moving around the and working front, back, side and adding clay as I go to keep the piece moving along.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Taking family time off...

My mother-in-law passed away suddenly - so I am taking some time off for my family. When I come back into my studio - I will be sculpting again and posting regularly. I hope you will check back soon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Enlarging the clay maquette

A few weeks ago I sculpted a small maquette (clay sketch) that was inspired by my daughter. She's never, I mean never, without a book. She reads constantly and often absently fiddles with her necklace while absorbed. The sketch was originally titled "The Pageturner".

I have have decided to rename the piece "A Good Read" instead and do a similar piece featuring a boy and used "The Pageturner" for that one instead. I'm looking forward to that one, but for now I have decided to enlarge this one.

While I plan to cast the maquette as a small bronze edition and perhaps in resin later on, I also wanted to work larger for a change. I could make my own armature, like I did for the maquette, but I have been wanting to try the Truform armature, so I picked one up at Sculpture Depot and got started on working at 1/2 life size.
The Truform armature is very lightweight and the hard foam has good 'tooth' to grab the clay. I warmed the Jmac in my elcheapo hotbox and started working. Here you can see the original maquette and the first stages of laying on the clay. I'll post photos throughout the process to show the progress.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to make a cheap hot box

Oil based clay comes in differing degrees of firmness. If you live in Colorado have your studio located in the basement, you'll find that even extremely soft clay will be very hard when cold. You could warm the clay in the microwave, as I've done in in the past, but inevitably you will end up getting burned when you squeeze a block of microwaved clay that seems firm on the outside but is a pool of molten lava on the inside. Enter the hot box.

There are a lot of different ways to make a hot box to warm your oil based clay. Tuck Langland has a very nice one that he makes from an old fridge. But you can also go very low tech, as I did here. I simply went to the dollar store and purchased a styrofoam cooler for $1. I also got 3 aluminum disposable pans for $1.

 I turned the cooler on its side and traced around the dome of a cheap shop light. Next I cut out the circle I traced using a sharp knife - being sure to cut 1/2" INSIDE the circle. I placed a 40watt bulb in the lamp and place it on top of the cooler. Since the circle that I cut out is a bit smaller than the lap - I sits just on top of the cooler.

Finally I took some cold, hard chunks of jmac classic clay and tossed them into one of the pans and slid it into the cooler and closed the door (which is really the top of the cooler). Within 10-15 minutes I have warmed clay.

This isn't perfect - it's kind of small and the center chunks of clay get melted while the outer chunks warm less - but for $2 and a lamp I already had, it sure beat sore hands from trying to use cold, hard clay or burned hands from lava-melted clay.

Yes - I know that the old, hot lightbulbs may be be a thing of the past and hard to find soon - but I imagine that I can get creative and find another heat source in the future - for now, this is great for smaller budgets, smaller space and smaller amount of working clay fast.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lori Kiplinger Pandy Sculpture

Lori Kiplinger PandyLori-5AscensionAscensionAscension - Lori Kiplinger PandyAscension  - Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Ascension - Lori Kiplinger PandyDaughter Portrait - Lori Kiplinger Pandypatina1heather1contempate3patina5
Waiting on the #9 - Lori Kiplinger PandyWaiting on the #9 - Lori Kiplinger PandyWaiting on the #9 - Lori Kiplinger PandyWaiting on the #9 - Lori Kiplinger Pandylori-sierra-1j3
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Collection of sculpture by Lori Kiplinger Pandy

Here is "Waiting on the #9" in bronze. She stands 17.5" tall x 6.5" wide x 9" deep and has a shaped mahogany wood base.

You can look back at previous posts to see this sculpt develop. I really had to re-sculpt most of her after she was broken in shipping and in the process, I tried different hairstyles on her. Her first hair was a short, sassy 'do but when I came closer to making the mold for bronze, I opted to give her longer hair with flow and movement to echo the flow and movement of her little dress - caught in the draft of the passing transportation.

The inspiration for this piece was from watching all the lovely European women waiting for trains to go about their day. I love trains and we take an occasional train ride her in the states, but in Europe, especially Switzerland, the train is an everyday fixture of daily life and therefore, the people are calm and cavalier about their travels.

I projected my wishes into this piece a bit - hopefully the next time I'm in Switzerland or Italy, I'll be better versed at rail travel so I can exude such casual confidence. As it was,  I had a nervous look as I squinted at platform numbers and realized in dismay that the train I was supposed to be riding was pulling away without me from a different platform. The closest I come to 'being' this woman is the cute little 'date purse' that I gave her. My tiny favorite purse doesn't hold all my usual everyday stuff, therefore it's relegated to those fun nights out with my husband. And while we may not take a train into Old Town Fort Collins, I do enjoy draping that sassy little bag from one finger while we wait for an outside table at one of our cafe's.....and pretending that I look as adorable as my sculpture ;-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sold - Harriet Tubman in bronze

This weekend was the Loveland sculpture Invitational held in Loveland, Colorado. While quite hot on Friday and Saturday, it was a comfortable on Sunday.

I had a very good response to my sculptures and was especially glad that I paid the rush fees to get my bust of Harriet Tubman finished in time for the show, as she seemed to be a favorite not only of mine, but of the people that viewed her at the show.

I have named the bronze of Harriet  #1 of 9 edition- "Fierce", as she was indeed fierce, brave and very smart. She's been carefully packed and is en route to the collector in Kansas City, Mo.

A new order for the #2 of 9 of "Fierce" will be going in next week.

Now that the show is over, I'm going to take a few days off for some much needed family time before starting back up in the studio on Monday, Aug 20th.