Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stone Expansion Art

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Often the view you would see the least is the one that gives the most useful information about the form in sculpture. Here I show you the bird’s eye view so that you may see just how large the skull really is in comparison to the rest of the figure, “The Gymnast.”

Although I am a bit cautious about cutting away too much stone, stone expansion -- a term I believe was coined by sculptor Scott Owens -- seems to come into play a lot. I find at some point, I have a difficult seeing the proper proportions of my figure because there is simply too much stone in the way.

I have been carving away at the marble feet, shaping as I go along. I realized that I could not sculpt the hands until I saw more clearly the size and position of the feet, because the ankles (among other things) helped me to define the size and positioning of the legs, upon which the hands are resting.

In the same way, I began to have a difficult time reducing the arms until I got the head carved smaller. Somehow small hands on a body with a large head messes with my mind and vision.

And this is why it is important to work the entire piece instead of focusing too much on the"Bath Tub Technique.” This is what I call it when one starts to work a piece from top and then moves lower and lower until reaching the bottom of the artwork, in the way that your body would be revealed as the water is slowly drained away in the tub (if you were sitting in the tub, of course).

In this final image, you may see my markings for the next cutting. I am refining the line of the trapezius at the shoulder and needing to remove material under the right arm along the drawn-in rib cage. And in a brown crayon, you may see the width of the skull, marked along the uncarved shoulder blades so I can keep my measurements for a while longer.

I wish the days were warmer and that I had some anti-vibration gloves.

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