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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2022 Fall Members Exhibition

Selected by Lee Ann Scotto Adams, esteemed awards judge, artist and administrator Providence Art Club hosted their 2022 Fall Members Exhibition from August 28th, 2022 to September 15th, 2022. Open only to Providence Art Club’s Exhibiting Artist members, there are approximately 120 artworks in this show produced in an array of various media. This show … Read more

2022 National Open Juried Exhibition

Selected by Dr. Claire C. Whitner, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of European Art at the Worcester Art Museum Providence Art Club hosted their Annual National Open Exhibition from June 19th, 2022 to July 14th, 2022. This call was open to artists nationwide, as well as our own club members and staff. This show … Read more

2022 College Scholarship Exhibition

Selected by Michael Rose, Providence Art Club Gallery Manager and Well-Known Fine Art Professional Providence Art Club hosted their 2022 College Scholarship Exhibition during February of 2022. This call was open to aspiring student artists residing in the state of Rhode Island. This special exhibition featured a variety of works in a broad range of … Read more

2022 Winter Members Exhibition

Juried by Lucy Fernandez, Director of Gangway Gallery in Newport, RI Providence Art Club hosted their 2022 Winter Members Exhibition during January and February of 2022. This call was open to Providence Art Club members only. This annual exhibition featured a variety of works in a broad range of media, and over $6,000 in cash … Read more

An Annotated Bibliography on Edward Mitchell Bannister and Christiana Carteaux Bannister

This annotated bibliography is the result of a collaboration between the Providence Art Club and historian-teacher (and owner of the blog "Historia Magistra"), Michael McGuigan. What started out as a simple partnership to prepare some teacher resources about the Bannisters and the time period they lived in, ended with, not only teacher resources, but this detailed and constantly-growing bibliography.

You can access the bibliography on Providence Art Club's beloved founder and his wife here.

Sculpture Details: The Clothing

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Time to dress and accessorize!

With armature fixed, I began to bulk up the cores, and prepare for clothing. Chelsea boots went on. I began to set a base lines for end lines on appendages. I realized that I would need to start working on the sketch pad now. How it would sit in the hands, and what space it would occupy would be effected by the mass of the clothing. I knew for the casting process it would be better for the foundry if the hands and pad were removable to be cast separately.


I used 1/8 deep silicone baking mats to make separate layers of wax sheets. I pressed these together into the sketchbook, adhering the top, curled section to the main body with a sheet of wax dipped fabric. Otherwise, it would always be falling off. It looks like I will need to attach the left hand to the sketchbook as one unit, which will slide past the left leg, and into the left cuff. The right hand will be by itself, and slide into the right cuff, to rest on top of the sketchbook.

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I would need to figure out how the wrists would join with the cuffs without getting bound by the legs or clothing.

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I am attaching a second cuff to the wrists. I thought it was a neat detail to show that men's shirts would button a starched cuff over their shirt cuff to be seen from their coat sleeve.

The Victorians were full of layers.

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Still working on the vest... I'm blocking out the lines for the sack coat, and bulking out mass of the pant legs. The literature describes Bannister as slender. The only almost full body images I’ve found of him back this up. He was fit, an avid sailor.

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Still, walking around the piece, I start to see a need to build up his torso. The challenge of full bodied, clothed figures, is keeping the gesture of the form while you pile on layers of clothing. You have to keep your lines, carry the tension of the fabric throughout the different relating forms, and maintain a feeling of the clothing’s material. But first, before you fiddle with details, you need to get as much mass on the figure you can, make sure it flows, and keeps up with the feel of the portrait head.

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Public Gathering: Thursday, September 15 at Market Square

Thursday September 15, 2022 | 5:30pm On September 15th, 2022, the Bannister Community Art Project Steering Committee teamed up with the Downtown Providence Parks Network to co-host and present an informative display at the projected build site. With approximately 50 people in attendance, attendees were treated to a performance of Edward Bannister himself in conjunction … Read more