New Mexican Sculptor

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New Mexico, United States
I'm living in New Mexico where I sculpt and paint. After a long absence from art, I am now creating smaller bronze figures. This blog is mainly devoted to that work.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Balance and Advice

New Sculpture. I've worked on this for 45 days so it isn't new to me.I've just got a little bit more to go, and will begin to make the mold most likely tomorrow.

So this is a photograph of my latest piece-- which began as the "swimmer" there is indeed a lot of difference (I feel).  At a late stage, I placed her on her feet, and changed the "story." It may be more mundane, but that's okay with me. Here are a few (not so good) photos. That's it for 45 days.


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 In that artistic people cruising the internet are usually looking for art tips and advice, I'll share a little of what I have learned so far about the process of creating a sculpture like this.

First, you need a stable, well measured armature. I've had a little measurement difficulties leading to complicated surgeries with sticks, metal, wire. If you've seen X-rays of Degas' was sculptures, you will see that everything that is possible to put into a clay work is usually in there. I used to only go for threaded rod, but now my favorite materials are bamboo skewers and chopsticks. You can also get paper mache balls, eggs, boxes at crafts stores to use as "stuffing."

Auto body filler. Whatever brand you use, this is magic stuff. It sticks things together, fills spaces, dries hard and lends stability quickly  to anything you want to stick together. Glue or resin epoxy do not cut it as far s quick drying time and "body." One thing I have learned and will use for my next sculpture is you can make an almost clay-like substance if you add talcum powder to auto body filler to stiffen it up even more. Only catalyze a small amount at  time. Do not add the catalyst until you have mixed the filler and talc. Kneed it in thoroughly with fingers. It will set very quickly, so know exactly where it goes.

In sculpting, you need to go through an "ugly" stage. The same happens in any artistic project. Many people get frustrated at this stage, or give up, or say it is done when it is not. In order to be a sculptor, with a few exceptions, an artist needs to have quite a reserve of patience. When I was working on the pieces last year, I thought about what I was doing now that I did not do when I attempted to sculpt in the past. One is that I made a stable armature, and another was that I gave the piece time to evolve. I was not afraid to "kill my darlings" which is a term used in writing to express major editing of pieces that do not serve the whole of the piece, but for some reason of artistic ego, you want to hang onto.

I think the last, and most important thing that I have learned is to not be hard on myself, and understand that each piece has its own problems and difficulties, and I have to be flexible enough to figure it out. Do not expect perfection, or to please all people all the time. The whole idea of getting a system down is to have a "short cut" method so you can work faster, stronger, and with less mistakes and dead end ideas. Every artist does not just do one or two pieces, though some are often "known" for such. An artist needs to continually create hundreds of pieces. Some of these pieces are great, some lacking in some way. It is true that all artists wish to be perfect and to have all works they produce result in perfection, but the truth is that we only see the "best" of most of art. Quite often there is a store room of works that do not get into the public record.

I feel that by late July I will have to stop most art creation. I am announcing now that I will be taking off in a tractor trailer truck and driving around for a while. Maybe it is to see the country. Mostly it is to gather money to buy a little home and shop so I can live mostly rent free. I'm finishing up with my latest piece, and will no doubt be making the molds by tomorrow. (It was supposed to be last week, but I held off because someone wanted to see it). I am going to start the armatures and clays for possibly 2 more sculptures to do next year any time I come home from driving the truck.