Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wax off to foundry for bronze

Murphy's Law strikes again. When I started "Loss" (working title) in waterbased clay over an armature I was planning on sculpting quickly and getting her to the moldmaker quickly before the clay dried. Then my publisher called with illustration work and deadline after deadline meant that the clay sat for long periods without work and parts dried and cracked before I could get her to the moldmaker.

Consequently, the mold isn't the best and required copious amount of sculpting in wax to repair. Naturally that is when my thermostat regulator that I use to dial down the heat (on my wood-burning tool that I use for wax chasing) died.

That meant that the tool now had two settings: Off and Vaporize. I do mean *POOF!* - touch that hot tip to wax and it disappears into a noxious cloud. So I spent many hours warming metal tools against the hot tool and then trying to sculpt the wax. Not the best system, but what I had available.

So - the chased wax has been delivered to the foundry and appointments set for the Metal Chaser and Patina Artist to follow - next up is taking he base template into the base shop to have the cut while I'm waiting for the bronze to be made.

Monday, June 24, 2013

New Patina for Harriet Tubman Bronze Bust

I absolutely love the new patina on my portrait bust bronze "Fierce, the Triumph of Harriet Tubman"! Simplicity is my new mantra. The simplicity of the Chinese Brown patina is warm and human and I'm thrilled with the results.

The act of patination of bronze is so very different from my patina of transparent glazes on fired ceramic. I found that what glowed with beauty and subtle depth through glazing on my clay work didn't always translate the same when hot patina was applied to bronze. The color and nuances in hot patina are completely different. So rather than try to emulate my glazes on ceramic, I decided to work in more traditional bronze patinas and have learned that these choices are indeed, the more subtle approach that I love and allow the beauty of the bronze and the tooling of the the sculpture to shine.

Every day is a new lesson in sculpting and how every component impacts the piece, from the size of the sculpt to the choice of clay for expressiveness to the attitude of the subject, the patina that colors it, down to the base that supports it.... all these decisions are so important to the beauty and balance and statement of the final art.

Harriet Tubman, Conductor of the Underground Railroad is being honored in 2013 - the 100th anniversary of the death on an American hero.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Sculpting Loss - off to moldmaker

Been crazy busy - lots of illustration work, daughter graduating and folks visiting!
I finished up sculpting the emotion of 'loss' and got her to the moldmaker. It was an experiment in sculpting water-based clay over armature for bronze. I really enjoy sculpting in waterclay - but with the extended time that took, it dried out several times, which is quite problematic.

Also, there was some cracking in thinner areas that will all have to be fixed each and every time in that will be a chore.

So, if I do waterclay again, it will need to be done on a faster time schedule to keep those problems at bay.

 The photos are quite awful, but I didn't have time to get better ones.Currently the sculpt is now at the mold-makers so we can get the first wax poured and off to the foundry.
15" tall x 4" wide x 15" long.

This sculpture represents the emotion of loss and pain. The base is the shadow of the woman - depicting the feeling of despair stretching ahead of us, darkening our path. The small hole in the base is her heart...