Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sculpting Wind

Dear Art Lover,
Kitchen as art studio bas-relief sculpture compressed form
Kitchen as Art Studio
     The last time I showed you a progress image on my new bas-relief sculpture project, “Wind and Wisteria,” was in my post on 18 June, when I was still in a cast for a broken right wrist.  I started the piece with my left hand.  The cast was removed on 30 June, and I have done a bit of work since then. 

     I asked my landlord and my neighbor to lift the big board into my kitchen just before we got a few days of decent [certainly better than nothing!] showers.  This is how far I had gotten with my non-dominant hand.  I wanted the piece more vertical so that I could start developing it.

     Bas-relief is not “puffy painting” as I once thought before meeting Eugene Daub and Vasily Fedorouk.  It is compressed form.  That is a HUGE difference.  What I mean by “puffy painting” is possibly similar to quilt making…where one defines the boundary of a shape and then puts stuffing inside of it.  It is a look, but it is not bas-relief sculpture.

Lighting is important when creating bas-relief sculpture compressed form
Side lighting from kitchen door

Lighting is important when creating bas-relief sculpture compressed form
Harsh top lighting, but you see the difference from above?
Male model young boy in bas-relief sculpture Borsheim Art
     So, I prefer to create a bas-relief sculpture with an overhead light that helps me to see where the material is in relation to other parts.  However, this green plastilina [an oil-based clay] does not seem to have enough oil in it to stick well to the wood board, and I woke one morning to see that the boy’s face and broken away from the composition and slid down.  Luckily it was not damaged much.  I have since developed the form more anyway.  [You may see in the close-up shape here that I still have work to do.  For example, the lips have to be refined.  There is too much harsh light outlining the lips.  I need to fill-in some placed with clay, soften shapes, and think of the form of the mouth barrel.  I hope to make the mouth more kind and youthful.]

     Clay absorbs much more light than metal does.  If something looks contrasty in the clay, it will be so much worse in reflective metal!

     Lately, I have been creating the individual petals of the wisteria.  It is past time for the real blooms on my gate, although I have a few random flowers that are confused by the watering and drought.  Trying to understand them as models, but I am also using images as references.  Mamma mia, what a lot of work!  I find myself intimidated wondering if I can create the airiness of wind blowing in dangling petals in a thin sculpture.  When I feel this way, I often force myself to work and accept that it will go slowly as I figure out how to do what I think I want.  And another part of the day, I start a new project, because starting is always fun, as one sees change and development move along quickly.  I have learned that this is the only way I can get through the hump of the tough times.

Starting to model wisteria in bas-relief sculpture Borsheim Art

Artist working in kitchen during hot summer on bas-relief sculpture in clay

Wind personified as woman in bas relief sculpture
      For the head of the wind, I am also struggling.  I am not sure that I am capturing the idea that she is blowing, ie that SHE is creating the wind, or she is the wind personified.  And I chose to make a composition that will be empty inside the shape, allowing the wall to show through once hung.  This means that I have fewer things around her to show the effects of wind.  Maybe not the smartest idea, compositionally speaking?  Piano, piano as they say too often in Italy, “slowly, slowly.”


Kelly Borsheim, artist

P.S. Look at my cool phone case that I ordered for myself as a gift for moving into the modern age of smart phones.  You may find your own desired cover design, or other products here:

Il Dono - Borsheim Art on iPhone 5c case -choose yours
Il Dono - Borsheim Art on iPhone 5c case -choose yours