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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.