Monday, December 14, 2009
Marble Sculpture Process
Cari Amici (Dear Friends),
Today was a beautiful day, much warmer than lately. I was able to get in several more hours of stone carving. At first when I stood before “The Gymnast” I worried that I had already cut too much stone from the forearms. But I had forgotten a little about “stone expansion,” a term that sculptor Scott Owens coined to explain how stone seems to grow overnight.
Stone carving is an interesting dance: too much cut and there are no second chances, other than redesign. But there are the evenings when you feel you removed the right amount of stone, only to wake up the next morning and see that you still have a ways to go. Such is the subtractive process.
Generally when I sculpt the figure, I need to get the pelvis situated, then the rib cage, and then the rest seems to fall into place for me. It is a process, with the destination becoming more visible with each mile marker passed. However, in this case, the hips were at the bottom of the composition. And I was a little bit worried about cutting the bottom so much that the stone might become stressed in that area as I worked the upper parts. Stumped.
However, I hear the voice of my friend Vasily Fedorouk often when I carve. When I am not sure what to do next, I remember him saying, “Define your line, your idea, and then make all else work with that line.” I also know that I cannot always work the way I was taught to do. If something bugs me, I just need to take care of it so I can focus. So, I decided to refine the line of the hips. I needed to start the curves that had inspired me in the first place.
In the second image here, you can see the brown crayon I used to draw the curves of the hips up into the legs. I have also loosely sketched in the hamstrings. The back of the leg does not the silhouette make from this view.
As the day started to close, I stopped my diamond blade and looked up to the light streaming in through the trees. The stone dust flying away emphasized the effect. I hope you find this image as beautiful as I do.
Finally, I have worked more angles than I show here, but the line is starting to clean up.
Stay tuned and hope for a warm winter.