Monday, April 28, 2014

Mustang Project. How do you go about sculpting a monumental Mustang? Part IV: Building with Clay

Probably because I started my career sculpting wood with knives, chisels and rotary tools, today I sculpt using my bare hands whenever possible. I enjoy the tactile immediacy with my chosen medium and prefer the fluid effect achieved when  loose clay-work is cast in bronze.

 As the Mustang began taking shape, I continued to visualize the mass and movement of the horse while adding layer upon layer of clay. Much of my day was spent tapping into subconscious memories of mustangs, high desert sunlight, wind, the sounds of fighting stallions, and the smell of dust and sagebrush. These memories helped mentally transport me away from my temporary warehouse studio and back into the field. Wedging and applying clay provided my rhythm.

Whenever I was unsure how to proceed, I referenced Stubbs equine anatomy drawings, a half dozen or so of Becky's photographs, and of course my five foot tall Mustang in clay.     As days turned into weeks the Mustang looked more and more alive. I saved details of face and hooves until the anatomy and gesture were almost complete. When I added those details the sculpture came together and then it was time to slow down,to consider each and every stroke before application.

 How do you know when the sculpture is finished? That is an important question, and the answer is difficult to put into words. My method is to visualize what I want, look at the sculpture from all angles, and when I can not figure out how to make it better without ruining what is already there, I stop. I walk away, and if after two or three weeks I still can not find a way to make it better, then the sculpture is finished.


1 comment:

  1. Fantastic, thanks for that great description of the process.