Studio Diary; Return to the Figurative

in progress, July 2014

in progress, July 2014

An intense couple of months ending in a merciful bereavement has lead me back to the clear boundaries and challenges of Figurative sculpture. Portrait skills are hard won and need to be practiced regularly or they will be lost.

I’ve been playing around with the technique of building outwards from a framework that wont be hollowed out later and/or is a visible part of the form for a couple of years now and  I wanted to try it with naturalistic work.

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The River,a commission. 1.5 m high

The River,a commission. 1.5 m high

Half a Century II, 48cm H x 32cm W.

Half a Century II, 48cm H x 32cm W.

I started with the exercise Lloyd Lilly taught us at Boston Uni (about 300 years ago); Make the skeleton and layer on the muscles and skin. It is fascinating to do and hugely informative. These are the skills that give Abstract work presence.

Anyone who has taken one of my Workshops will tell you, with tears in their eyes, that the key to figurative work is organising the huge amount of information into manageable stages and that the Skeleton is just a stick figure with the perfect proportions simplified for you.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m not sure how I manage to be so thick but once again I made a clay armature for a bust that allowed the head to tip forward. Good thing I have that red broom on hand to prop it up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  With the 2nd one I made a much more interesting frame that would show in places.

in progress August 2014

in progress August 2014

It allowed me to work on the whole form from the outset  rather than build from the bottom up. I’m pushing myself hard to use new methods rather than fall into the same ol’ pitfalls and to be more expressive with the naturalistic format rather than only technical. I’ve done that many times before… but the results were pretty dire! This may also be yet anther very bad road but it’s the only route to get somewhere interesting. I’m aiming to integrate the figure with it’s landscape following the ideas of the Up Is Down Series. Wish me luck….!

Clay armature for a bust, aug 2014

Clay armature for a bust,  aug 2014

This clay armature is much stronger and the hollow spaces are more defined as part of the form good and early. The plan is to work towards integrating the Landscape work I’ve been doing with Cameraman Steve Foote using his stunning photographs.

Bracelet Bay, Mumbles, Swansea by Steve Foote

Bracelet Bay, Mumbles, Swansea by Steve Foote

Bracelet Bay, Mumbles, Swansea by Steve Foote

Bracelet Bay, Mumbles, Swansea by Steve Foote

Bracelet Bay, Mumbles, Swansea by Steve Foote.

Bracelet Bay, Mumbles, Swansea by Steve Foote.

Brecon Beacons, by Steve Foote.

Brecon Beacons, by Steve Foote.

Porth Yr Ogof Cave, Brecon Beacons, by Steve Foote.

Porth Yr Ogof Cave, Brecon Beacons, by Steve Foote.

This could take a while….

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