With my exhibition opening this Friday (22 August 2014) I start to present the artwork here for those who can’t attend the opening in person.
Part of the aim of the exhibition is to add an educational angle. This has been requested by the Gallery. It is to provide some insight into traditional sculptural techniques.
For this reason I have kept all the work that usually gets discarded once the artwork is finished. So here it goes:
A sculpture can be created in three ways.
1/ By careful planning, great preparation and extensive study. The result is decided and the stone carving stage of the creation is just copying the preconceived form.
2/ By “freeforming” – a process where nothing is certain and the sculptor finds the form by carving the stone.
Whilst the first approach builds a good foundation, it kills the flow. And while the second approach has a great flow, carving stone is hard labour, takes a long time and is expensive. Not many can afford the time, effort and expense to see if it works.
I work using the third method, which is the combination of the two above. In a partnership. I like to know where I am headed, I like to know and understand the form to a point where I am saturated with it and mostly don’t have to rely on preparatory drawings or clay models.
Then I regard the stone. I form a relationship to it. I invite it to share the journey. To have it’s say. And then I pick up the chisel.
These days an imposed restlessness rules any occupation. It is a restlessness of productivity. Things have to have great value and have to be accomplished immediately. And so, often even artwork can be infected by demands of the “more and faster”. However we, the artists, are in luck because that which needs to be expressed can neither be rushed nor ruled.
The sandstone carving I want to start with here is a testimonial to the above.
I had some stored up imagery that was on my mind when thinking of carving this particular block of stone. The choice was of course limited to an extent by the size of the block. Here are a few sketches working out the volume of the stone.
After that I did a few anatomy studies. You may notice how the design slightly changes with the restrictions imposed by the size of the stone.
The next stage was to transfer the ideas in the drawings into the 3 dimensional model in clay. Once I decided to do the clay model I made sure it is approximately the same size as what the volume of the stone would permit – approximately 55 cm (21.6 in).
The clay model worked fine. Pleased with the expression I set out with great gusto to carve the block. It was too heavy to lift on a stand so I carved it on the ground often kneeling down.
When I got to the stage of roughing out the head I could not get past the bearded man. I tried several times to adhere to the clay model, but the stone itself was imposing its solidness and stature and was turning into an old man. As I was carving a few pieces at the same time I was able to leave the man alone for a couple of days. When I returned to work on him, the assumed course did not change.
To be continued..