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................