Friday, April 20, 2012

Don't Think, Do...

plinth with removable armature
You all know the saying, "Life is what happens while you're making other plans...."  The April OVERWHELM is behind me, done in by focus on this wonderful and challenging two-figure sculpture that I've been working on steadily for almost 2 weeks.  The whole question was settled by the cold that developed into bronchitis that precluded even moderate physical exertion in the great Spring outdoors, and left me sitting happily under the skylight in my studio with my clay. I wired  my to-measure armature  onto the sturdy and versatile plinth delivered by my sculpture guy Brian , with a separate (less sturdy) armature for the female figure - both figures are to be 1/4 life-size - he, at 6'2", comes to 18.5", and she, at exactly 5' tall, would be 15", and they are seated, she on his lap. The cross pieces mark his shoulders and hips, and his "backbone" locks into its seat but can be lifted out. Her armature will bear no weight so needs to flexible, not so sturdy.
Using a hard Plastilene clay(oil-based), I blocked in both figures, maintaining the  proportions as much as possible,
clay of two nude figures, the female sitting in the male's lap with my photographs and measurements for reference. Establishing the gesture and proportions are the focus here as the clay becomes quite solid and intractable, the more that is added.  After somewhat developing the figure and face of the female, the problem that remained was making the two fit together in the way that flesh does naturally - it flows in and out and around other opposing flesh. At that point, I cut up two old little paintings (needing the plywood that made the cradle for the painting surface), and glued and sanded them to fashion a simple bench for the seat. I made a slot in it, to allow it to slip under the male and around the pole supporting him. The top of the bench would require building up to meet his bottom
Moving on to the male figure, I began to realize that in order to work with them and fit them together perfectly I would have to remove the arms, all four of them, on order to perfect the bodies, simplify the molds, and make it easier to work them separately.

That done, I began to work on the detail of the male figure. And here's where I am at this point. (Actually I'm a bit further along, but more about that later). The piece is called "Golden Anniversary".

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