Now that the clay sketch for the standing pose is underway I make another armature and begin adding clay to it. The goal is to explore the option of the seated pose. I loved the symbolism of Fannie Mae actually owning the very counter that she was denied visiting as a customer due to the racism of the time. I love the fact that once she owned that counter she turned it from an example of exclusion to a one of inclusion at her cafe and club. The pose had possibilities for interesting use of angles, counterbalancing of weight and flow.


But I had some qualms with the pose too. So for that reason, I went into much less detail for this sketch at 12” high and quickly roughed in the basic anatomy and then added the suggestion of clothing, hat, stool, counter and coffee cup. My goal was to give me the basic form so I could analyze how well it performed in sculpted 3d form and to evaluate the overall composition in the round by looking at it from all angles.


After viewing it from different angles now that it was in rough form clay I decided not to pursue sculpting this sketch to a higher finish. This level of finish was enough form and shape to help me make my decision. While the pose itself is fine and certainly could be developed further with more refining, exaggerating the S curve of the pose and relaxing the pose a bit more, in the end it didn’t really portray “Everybody Welcome” in an active manner. It could be made more welcoming, of course, but it would be in a passive manner as in ‘sit with me and have a cup of coffee and a chat’. That’s nice. I’m sure she would have been lovely to sit with and have a cup of coffee. But the subtle stance doesn’t hold up as well for the goal of this public work.

This clay sketch is interesting enough that I’ll put it up on a shelf and return to it with a fresh approach and different subject someday. It was good to try out this option and see it in clay form versus from a sketch which only shows the image from one viewpoint.

In my next blog post I’ll show a tried and true method for determining the overall strength of design for a sculpture and then I will return to the standing clay sketch to bring it to a higher finish.

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