Monday, January 23, 2012

Lightening thought

I was working on a mule deer the other day and realized I have a definite method of working in clay that I had not realized after all these years.

I find that I work based on angles, and silhouettes. I began thinking as I worked what it is I look for in identifying an animal whether in the mountains during good light or at dusk only suggesting a form in the distance.  Bingo - exactly! Outline or silhouette is what you instantly search out for identification. You are looking for familiarity of form, length of ears, shape of body, curve of horn even stance.

That is where knowing your subject backwards and forwards comes into play and why if you walk into your working studio and something just does not look right it is because you are looking for that familiar outline or profile in your clay piece in progress. Always remember that the longer you work on a problem area the more your mind and eye get used to seeing it that way so in essence it looks normal to you when it really isn't. This is the point where you know something is not right so you either cover it up for a week or so then go back and by then it will be obvious to you or you place it in front of your corner mirrors (remember I mentioned that I have my pedestal in the corner with each wall having a mirror so that I see it from all angles) or another thing would be to slowly rotate it each day to the angle you see the minute you walk into the room and the minute you walk in and say "hey that is all wrong" you will know that the profile is not right in your minds eye from the vantage point you are looking at it so that will be where you need to make the corrections...(my English teacher would freak out looking at all my run on sentences).

One last thing I want to leave you with (you know my love of quotes!)

"Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you". Henry Ward Beecher

If it does not look right to you, keep at it until you are happy because you know what you are trying to depict and what you want to convey to a patron. Don't get in a hurry, don't compromise because you are on a schedule and have deadlines or the kids need picking up from school or the phone is ringing (turn it off while sculpting), if you don't have time to do it the best you can be then DON'T. Don't ever let something leave your hands with regret on your mind...GET ER DONE!

As always I love feedback or comments................

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Refuge in the Wetlands

Refuge In The Wetlands
 This piece was created after a volunteer job for the Division of Wildlife.  This was not a pleasant job but it gave me the closeup, hands on feel for a duck.

My son and I teamed up with a DOW office and two gentleman from Ducks Unlimited to pick up dead or dieing ducks of botulism.   This occurs with certain weather conditions and is not preventable but everyone on lakes all over hurry to remove the infected ducks before they are eaten by predators or spread to other birds. (We did find a few crane dead also). We carried them out by the hundreds as we walked in chest waders dragging a contractors trash bag behind in our wake.

This is exact measurements of a mallard (life size) drake and I depicted him banded to honor those dedicated to preserving and tracking waterfowl.  Our DOW volunteers work hard to assist the Division of Wildlife in anyway possible and when it comes to ducks, work right alongside state biologist and groups such as DU. I have been busy lately and need to get back into volunteering with DOW in order to give something back.

The cattails were difficult in this piece considering the weight they had to support of the incoming mallard.  Hopefully it gives the illusion of flying into the cattails. As in a lot of my pieces these two forms were never married in clay but welded together only after casting in bronze.

I used tiny balsa wood pieces and wood dowels to cover with clay before molding and by surrounding an upside down paper cup it maintained its shape and formed great support in the circle of cattails depicted. This was constructed so that it could be placed in a pond outside on a metal plate or on the base shown in an entryway. The stray reed arching over in front broke up the upward motion nicely. It sits on dark green stone to portray water.