Sculpture Details: Making Some Revisions

A Perfectionist's work is never done...

The left hand, holding the sketchpad, felt awkward once I really paid attention to the gesture line from wrist, past the radius, through the humorous, and up into the front lean of the shoulder. I tried sitting in the position while holding the pad. It just wasn’t natural. So, as I’ve done to most pieces of the sculpture, numerous times, I melted it down to try again.

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What’s funny, is that most of the hand is hidden by the pad and leg of the piece. No one will easily see it. It still matters, though. Everyone knows what a human looks like and will process something is off subconsciously even if they can’t put a finger on it.

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I looked at a lot of photos of Victorian men in vests. I wanted to see how they pulled and draped. What I kept seeing was 5 button vests. The 7 button vest was not very common. The more I looked at the torso, the more I felt the 7 buttons were too regular and busy. It felt more like a washboard than a soft vest. I cleaned off my pallet knives and jumped back in, filling in all of my vest work to build out his torso, re-evaluate the pull of his coat, and help the flow.

A little bit of details about the process...

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The first photo is just a shot of how I cool my wax for hand building. It’s kind of like working with chocolate. All the work I was going to do on the coat and sleeves would require rolling the wax into soft bars to lay out fold lines. I lay out the line in the flow of the fabric, and press it into shape with my fingers.

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At a certain point of the process I take down all of my photos and drawings of the model I use for figurative dimensions. I have pages of measurements, angles, thicknesses, etc. I put it all away, along with a lot of the fear and anxiety I work with for months, trying to correctly represent the anatomy and mass the subject will take up in the world. I let go of all of that, and just work from the piece relating to itself.

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I keep photos of Bannister on the walls to keep me company, and I print up some of his paintings to look at while I work. This is the most enjoyable and exciting time for me. Now, every little nudge and addition has big effects. I can just start to see Mr. Bannister looking back at me.

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