Sculpting from Life pt 2...

African American Portrait bust in progress ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

As I stated in my earlier post, my friend Carron stopped by my studio and posed for me for a life session as she graded papers and studied for her advanced degree. She's a busy lady; a teacher, mom and she helps her husband run their family urban farm so she posed straight from work with her straightened hair in a ponytail. The next time she stopped by she had just had her lovely hair cut and sported her natural curls, which I'm partial to ;-) 

So when I continued sculpting in her absence I studied the work that I had done. I had already sculpted in the ponytail mass and nearly completed both ears but I loved the geometric volumes of the her hair so decided to cut off the work that I had done and resculpt in the mass of curls. Working from memory means that it may not be exactly right (true to life for that particular day) however it also allows for creative license and the freedom to make the composition and balance read well while being true to the personality of the subject. 

African American Portrait bust in progress ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

With this profile angle, now is a good time to talk about angles and relationships. When you are creating representational art there are many methods to getting good proportion and likeness. Some are very strict measuring principals using calipers and others are more organic and relational. When we  took a trip down to Arizona a few years ago we spent some time touring the Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West Museum. It was lovely and fascinating and I remember the tour guide explaining Wright's theories of repetition being a form of beauty. He used repetition of shapes and angles in all of his work and it certainly was stunning. That made me think back to my days studying at Ringling College of Art and Design and learning about figure drawing. One of those keys was the relationship of angles present in the human form and how relating them makes the work more cohesive. Of course not all relationships are hard and fast rules but what they do is teach you to look for those relationships to keep your work on track. It is very easy to fall in love with something in your work and bring it up to a lovely finish - but if it isn't in the right relationship to the overall work then it will be 'off' no matter how perfectly you sculpted it. 

Visiting Taliesin, a beautiful architect's vision in the desert, reminded me to look for repeating patterns and angles wherever I look to make my work more solid. In the photo above I have highlighted where I see these repeating angles and patterns. One hidden one is the angle of the ear - it would have been very similar to the green angles of the cheek, and forehead if not covered by the hair. 

African American Portrait bust in progress ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy
African American Portrait bust in progress ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

The clay that I am using for this portrait is Clayette Soft by Chavant.  Work is life-size and when complete will be cast in Forton or Aqua Resin.


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