Thursday, May 24, 2012

Re-sculpting the figure

 Well, I had my time to pout, eat chocolate and have a glass of wine. Then it was off to the hardware store for supplies and home to start re-sculpting the smashed figure.

First I had to fix the armature base and reassemble the rod. Next I cut the clay off her legs from the knee down where I found that the wire was badly bent and rounded. Then I took pliers and straightened out the legs.

Then I cut her head off at the clavicle. The entire neck region had smashed and reworked the armature there before putting her head back on and lengthening her neck back into proportion.

Overall the entire figure rolled around in the box, so everything was a bit compressed, so I spent some time getting her stretched back out a bit.

Finally, I put her back onto the armature stand and started to put the clay back on her and begin the process of resculpting the figure. I started with giving her new feet and legs, then pulling out her right arm and working it and finally, starting to give her a face again. I'll try and get a little more done today and tomorrow but then will be out of my office for the holiday.

I'm still very unhappy about the shipping accident, but it feels good to start making the repairs - I was very excited about this sculpt and am looking forward to continuing the work.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Shipping disaster - or how to destroy a sculpture...

 How utterly disappointing. I was looking forward to finishing "Waiting on the #9" this week following the National Sculpture Society's Celebration Weekend in Loveland. I had this sculpture professionally packed and shipped from a shipper near Brookgreen Gardens.

When I got the box, all looked great - from the outside. Not a dent and it indeed was carried to my door right side up. When I opened it, however, this is the what I found. The sculpt had come completely off the vertical armature post. The screw was stripped and the sculpture was lying face down, ripped off at the ankles.

Obviously it had rolled around hard because the armature wire from the ankles down was torqued and bent. The whole thing is badly smashed.

The sculpting base had been screwed to the plywood under the inside box (it was double boxed) so the base was secure. I can see that the sculpture stand base is compromised, the vertical support pipe is loose and the bolt tightening it will no longer hold it tight because the board where the pipe fits has been weakened, so the pipe will no longer be sturdy on this armature. You can see the stripped pipe treads and how it has metal burs coming off on my hands.

This is sickening and I can't deal with it today because I'm too disappointed, not to mention behind my projected schedule to finish and get to the foundry. Instead, I'll head to the hardware store to collect items for a new armature and assess if anything can be salvaged tomorrow when I'm not as angry over this $150 shipping nightmare....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Adding clothes to the female form in sculpture

 The pose was classical nude, but I wanted to sculpt something a bit more casual, contemporary and fresh. When I began sculpting this figure, the attitude of the stance gave me the impression of someone waiting - caught between patience and impatience - you know - when you've been waiting patiently but now are beginning to get just a bit antsy because there is really someplace you want to be....

This summer we took a trip to Switzerland and Italy and I was enthralled by the public transportation there. Buses and trains, in addition to walking and bikes are an everyday mode of getting around and people are so cavalier about getting where they want to go in this manner. As we don't have commuter trains and not a very convenient bus route/time in my town, this was fascinating to me. Especially because we love trains!

So this young woman is representative of that feeling - she's "Waiting on the #9".

The model brought in a beach dress, but I wanted something that looked more like a dress you'd wear in the city - so I created one that I liked and gave her casual flip flops. Next, I'll be adding a sweet and sassy little handbag casually draped from her fingers behind her back.

I never got into dressing up Barbies when I was a girl - I was more interested in making them climb trees, fly like superheros or ride horses - clothes or not! Therefore I'm a bit surprised about how giddy I am at 'designing' outfits and dressing my sculpt...something my 8th grade Home Ec. teacher would be amazed at considering what a total, dismal failure I was (am) with anything to do with sewing ;-) Well - clay is easier in my world so I think I'll stick with that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Continuing the rough in of standing figure

This is a continuation of blocking in the standing figure on day 3. I'm using my ipad to take quick photos as I go so the quality of photo isn't very good, especially the lighting.
After I took these photos, I raised up her support bar on the armature stand so I could add some additional clay under her feet. I felt it was too thin, plus I had decided that I wanted to have her wearing flip flops and a dress and needed room to put her shoes. Also the slightly larger base will give the piece more support - both in bronze and also when I ship the soft clay across the country back home to continue working.

I find the darker red clays are a bit more difficult to see the form over the lighter tan clays. Not everyone will agree with me on that, but it's a personal preference.
I made many changes as I worked quickly and didn't have the opportunity to photo those changes. I cut her head off twice to raise and lengthen her neck. It was correct by the proportions of the model, but didn't feel quite right on my piece, for the attitude that I was going to convey. So those changes were quite satisfying to make. When sculpting for yourself, you're quite free to change proportions and faces and hair - something I do quite often. That's not the case for a true portrait, of course, where you need to represent the client accurately. However, as I'm deciding the course of this particular piece it's quite liberating to create her however pleases me. Tomorrow I will post photos of the piece as I've started to sculpt her clothes and  shoes - which I enjoyed tremendously.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Standing woman figure sculpture

I'm back from my trip to Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina where I attended a sculpting workshop by John Sherrill Houser. If you have the chance to visit Brookgreen, the grounds and sculptures on display are lovely and I wished that I had more time to really take it all in. The lighting, however was very difficult to work under, a combination of small spot lights and skylights. When the clouds drifted in the lighting was reduced. We had a week-long pose with a wonderful model that we worked from and the last day, we had the model bring in some dresses. I have been wanting to work on clothing so was pleased that the class agreed to this approach.

 We had and armature and board and were sculpting using Chavant's Le Beau Touche. I've worked with Chavant clay before and it's quite good. Brookgreen had a warming box and when warm, it is easy to manipulate.

I would add, however, for the way that I work, I think that this clay is better suited to larger pieces. Since we were working with a 16" armature, the clay was a bit soft for my style of working. At a larger size, I would think it would be well manipulated by fingers and would work quite well. It did stick to tools quite a bit and I found that I had to keep baby wipes handy to to clean my tools down quite a lot.

The images shown here are at the end of day two and I have probably about 10 hours of work.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Brookgreen Gardens Sculpting Workshop

Lucky me! I'm packing up for a week-long sculpting workshop at Brookgreen Gardens with John Houser on Anatomy and Structure of the Figure. It will be intensive and exhausting and I'm really looking forward to all I can learn~