Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Short Strokes

At this point, the form is essentially resolved. It's a frustrating moment, because the piece looks more or less like it's going to look, except that it needs another 50 hours of work.

My friend Robin Mandel once told me that he doesn't like painting a room because he hates knowing that he's going to have to touch every inch of every wall, twice. That's something I think about a lot at this stage. Whole days are spent like a bumblebee, flitting between one detail and the next. Fix this seam. Work that fold. Fool with the fingernail. Back to the seam...

I changed left hand because I wasn't crazy about how the finger was pointing, and also because it didn't seem to communicate the tension I'm looking for. So I used my wife's little paw, instead. JB has tiny, thin hands, and that delicacy really creates a nice contrast against the rigidity and bulkiness of the rest of the figure.

The helmet has been the most difficult aspect so far. It's the one element that's oriented back in space, rather than working across the horizontal plane, so getting the depth to work against the rest of the figure has been tricky. Plus, it's an unfamiliar form (most people haven't seen a fencing helmet tipped back), so it's got to read particularly clearly.

I've modified with right hand quite a bit - opting to give her a modified lacrosse glove, which I think works better with rigidity of the folds, and makes a more direct reference to gauntlets and armor.

Part of what's been interesting this time around is building this piece around the idea of what the bottom half will look like, but without actually having anything concrete to work against. I've been using these books for reference, trying to get a sense of how the bottom "dress" will look. I started with the Dover book of classic ornaments, but have since moved over the amazing (and much more expensive) Carved Splendor, which has some amazing examples of Gothic foliage that are going to be my guide for the next stage.

Having a sense of how visually busy the next stage is going to be has led me to simplify the upper half. Also, working in such a Late Gothic vein, I've wanted the folds to have some of the rigid, geometric feel that fabric Gothic Sculpture tends to have. Nothing too direct (too stylized would look weird), but recognizably referential.

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