I have been working in my studio, plugging away on a project that has been ever so slow to take shape. I often do start an art project without a final vision, and this current sculpture project is no exception. But now I have fixed on a final shape, and the work progresses daily my three figures finally shape up!
This is a three part sculpture, each being valid alone, but designed to fit together for a stronger impact. My working title is “Not Out of the Woods Yet”, and I hope it works on several levels. Here are currently available previews:
There is still plenty more work to do on this, but I know how to mount everything. Well that should be “sort of”, as it is still tricky to get the figures mounted without too much clutter & mess. I did not plan adequately, but now I do know that I can figure it out.
I still have not selected the pothole to be printed and applied to the last section, but it may be one with my own shadowy reflection prominent. There are several of these to choose from, and so many other favorite potholes also!
I finished the first figure in July, but I didn’t finished the third tree until earlier this month. By then I had part of the final plan. However I only came up with the three part sectional base with Surprisingly Artistic Potholes of Port Townsend in the middle of November, and now my three figures finally shape up!
Sometimes I get stalled on an art project, and I can procrastinate tackling the issues. Sometimes photography is easier! It is creative and seductively convenient: no muss, no fuss! I just click away. There is the need to transfer and sort images, which is tedious, but easy enough. And I can get lost for hours with a bit of digital touch up or major transformations. Am I just wasting my time? Ah, that is not possible; how can we waste time? What is or is not a “waste”?
I enjoy my images, and perhaps that is sufficient. Here are two of my slightly touched up photos with the more heavily manipulated versions. The last image is a seasonal “leaf print” on a sidewalk, also cleaned up a bit …
It is possible that Not Out of the Woods Yet is the work in progress that has been pending all too long. I have finally completed one of three planned trees to accompany my three Walkers: the three heartless? walking figures I completed about two months ago. This title came to me recently, and may help me bring this artwork to completion! I do hope so!
This work has been problematic: full of uncertainty and difficult to implement. I have had to repair two of the figures because the material is applied so thinly over the armature, and the figures are not yet mounted or stable standing up. The trees take time, and I find working on them somewhat unsatisfying, but I have recently added something that interests me more. Do you like the recent addition of old pennies as symbolic leaves?
However there are more trees to complete, and then the environment for these figures. So I am not out of the woods yet!
Sometimes broken is better, or at least fine! This piece began as a template for a low relief sculpture, but then became a piece of itself. But then broke, was badly repaired, didn’t matter, but too amusing to discard. Now it has been retrieved from the yard, embedded in fresh resin with some bits and bobs, and mounted for a return to the yard!
This figure of a draped and barefoot worker is a familiar one in recent art pieces; he appears in a number of different guises and media. Here he is rendered in rich metallic copper paint on clear acrylic that is slightly muddied with blue. The image above right is, of course, the digitally foiled version of this piece. Here he is now mounted in the front yard for all to see.
Call it digital magic, digital pixel dust, or just digital messing about! Whatever you decide to call it, this is sometimes fun, sometimes frustrating, and a terrible time sink! It is the work of a moment, and great fun, to click – click – click the phone camera on my daily walks!
But there is a bit more to my digital messing about: I load dozens of photos onto my desktop hard drive, categorize them, delete some (but not nearly enough!) and start editing. I have frequently spent hours trying to bring a bit of magic to an inadequate but somehow interesting photo, only to give up in despair. At other times the magic is already there, or is just a crop and tweak away!
My digital manipulations may be simple tweaks, that may include: boosting or lowering the saturation, modifying the hue or contrast, or a bit of cropping or straightening. At other times I go wild with digital effects applied to the whole or just part of an image. While I may be able to apply a digital transformation with one click, this is rarely the end of the process! Generally I continue to modify the results, and may get lost for hours. Sometimes to conclude that the original unmodified image is really the best, or to decide to discard the original along with the edits!
My plan for a three walkers sculpture piece is starting to come together (I think!). Some hours of setup and work for photo shoots of the figures is helping me think about how these figures will interact. However it remains a concept that may yet change completely. This is proving to be a painfully slow process, but this is just how it goes sometimes. It can’t be all fun and easy!
I still think the trees will be part of the piece, but I seem to be procrastinating on completing them! And I have not figured out the base either, but have several options in mind. Check back later, maybe quite a bit later, to see how I resolve this dilemma!
Currently I have three walking figures in work. I am creating a set of three strange human figures to be displayed together in an environment. These are hollow chested Walkers, and these thin distorted figures will walk in an equally odd grove of trees.
I consider my first Walker a prototype; I am not too fond of it! This figure uses walking poles for balance, and is already mounted to a modest wooden base and on display in my yard. I did add a layer of transparent red oxide acrylic paint to this figure, which may not be very durable out of doors. The sculpture itself should last a long time, per the material specifications. So this figure will be a test.
Two of the new Walkers are a dark brown, and the third in this group is a pewter grey. The idea is to use the chest openings in some way, but I also like them just left open. I may use the padlocks and keys as part of this work, TBD.
I have made three few individual cast of figures from The Mediation piece, now that I have a good material for the purpose. So I am considering exactly where and how these two will appear in a new work. One way I experiment is to use my computer. I place the figures in various existing or modified “scenes” from my photos and drawings. Also I arrange and photograph the actual cast figures on various backgrounds.
Sometimes I enjoy the photos of these temporary arrangements, or the digitally manipulated variations of the photos. I could even use a printed background for the actual figures, to be determined! So here are images of various arrangements; all unlikely to be finalized as more than prints.
One dilemma has been my desire to make a durable outdoor piece. I cast the figures with a water/weather proof material, which should quite durable outside. Although very thin and brittle, they will be strong enough mounted on an appropriate surface. I do like them on some of my existing images, but I can’t use those for an outdoor piece. They may provide inspiration. I will resolve the dilemma, one way or another, when I place these two into their “right” environment.
I like the figures in the heavy oval frame … but no. The size is wrong because these figures just need to be further apart. The frame size forces them too close together. And although I thought I would enjoy using one of my bones prints, these do not seem right either. Eventually I will find where these two figures from The Mediation really belong or I will set them aside and move on.
And the work continues, or maybe my making small figures two is just for pleasure! Anyway there is indeed more progress and more figures are nearing completion. I have two Sentinels, two completed Walkers, and another Walker under way.
There are all too many projects going in my studio currently. In addition to the Walkers & Sentinels, I am using the same sturdy material (Apoxie Sculpt) to make low relief casts of the individual “angels” in the mold of my “Mediation” piece. This is so much easier than building dams around the figures to cast them in clear resin! And the results have wonderful detail and can be mounted into/onto almost anything!
I have wanted these casts of my two favorite angels from this piece all along, as these two are the primary figures in the original interaction/mediation. The middle figure, the mediator, stands back in the center of the original work. I have not been quite satisfied with that figure. I may be able to use the mold of this center figure then modify it. Stand by to see if I can create a mediator that I like better!
But really the two powerful outside figures can interact on their own in a very interesting and satisfying way in the right context. I love the piece I have with these two figures in clear resin, mounted on acrylic; it works well for me. That piece is shown below. May I love the one I plan to create with the metallic tinted opaque figures also!