Friday, 2 January 2015

At the Beckett call of the forge...

Images of the final piece

Photographed by the very talented Edel Kelly

Photographed by the much less talented Seán Forsyth

Original Post Below
So as the holidays were quite long over the Christmas period this year, I decided to try my hand at making another clay piece, with the potential for casting it in bronze if it turns out reasonably okay. I ordered some clay from Cork Art Supplies before the holiday started, and it arrived in the nick o' time. Go me!

As the previous piece had been a woman (and I always struggle with those - yeah, even when sculpting them), I decided to go for a male this time. I went with Samuel Beckett, because let's face it, the man's an Irish icon and has a face carved out of wood.
Drift wood.
Ancient drift wood that's been left to rot.
And then got chopped a bit with an axe for good measure.

I mean, yeah, I'm not a particularly big fan of his work, but you gotta love that face!

First things first. Reverence! No. Wait. Reference. Yeah, that's the one - reference.
I searched the Mighty Interweb (bows obsequiously), and made up a quick page of what I deemed to be enough to get me going and created a jpg of it with the intention to print it. I then discovered my printer is out of toner (curse you printer gods!), so I had to make do with putting it on my tablet and leaving that beside me as reference. Not ideal. Especially as I had recently learned the power of calipers and constant measuring, and this was pretty much out of the question now. Anyway, I pressed on and decided I'd just have to eyeball the whole damned thing,

Fig 1. Ooh, lookee! Reference!

With that in hand, I started roughing out some shapes, as seen below. I have no idea how big his head actually was, so I just based the overall measurement close to my own (fame by vague association - AT LAST!).

 Fig 2. Yeeeaaah.... that really IS blocky. Makes you wonder why I didn't just use a cube, right? 
(Note to self: get more cubes...)

By about 2 or 3 hours later I was at the stage where I had blocked in most of the larger details and was still just working on overall form.

Fig 3. Starting to get some rough detail in place.

As you can see, not much done yet, but I'll keep posting to this thread as I get through it. 

What an abrupt end to a post. 

I know, right?

Part II

So today (03 Jan 2015 - yep, that's the first time I wrote 2015 this year, always a special moment), I picked up where I left off yesterday and made some more progress. After another couple of hours I was here:

Fig 4. Just coz all figs should have a number.

And a few hours later I was fairly happy with the overall form and started to smooth things out a little so I can see what's going on that bit more clearly. It's probably a bit early to be doing it, but I actually prefer it, as it really helps me see things clearer and also makes it relatively easy to keep a cleaner sculpt from here on in, regardless of whether the changes are big or not.

Fig 5. Crappy photo time. White balance anyone?

Fig. 6 Again with the lack of white balance. On the plus side, it's clickable for extra bonus resolution (as are all the images above, but I'm just tryin' to make this one feel special, alright? Throw me a bone here).

And that, my friends, is where I'm leaving it at for today, for my back aches and my bones are brittle. Not entirely sure why the brittle thing matters, but it seemed important to pass that on.

Part III

So I've had another day off and so had the time to have another afternoon and evening at it. Have decided to open his eyes and work on the hair a bit. Also added in a lot of the skin texture. As you can see, going for a traditional likeness here. Hopefully he's not veering too much off as I start getting caught up in details (which, let's face it*, often happens).

* Get it?

Fig 7. Mr Craggy starting to crack

Fig 8. Just another angle. Pretty worthless maybe. But still, I've uploaded it now.

Part IV

Okay, so today I messed up. 

I think. 

I had a look at this this afternoon and hated the hair. It was too 'safe', too boring. When I see people sculpting something, I often prefer to see the thing mid-sculpt. I like seeing the tooling marks, the thumbprints, the thought process, and I thought to myself, why not do just that? Why not just leave it loose like so many other sculpts I've seen in bronze? I mean I've seen stuff as rough as a bear's arse and liked it, so screw it, I basically rubbed out the hair and started again, this time just loosely tooling it to see if I preferred the look. 

Heres the before and after:
Fig 9. Before and after, reading left to right. Which do you prefer?

Mistake, right? Coz now it looks like I did a face and got bored when I got to the hair and am seeing what I can get away with. It was all or nothing deal really. And as I'm a bit reluctant to change the face now, the only option is to redo the hair with at least some form of texture. Shame, coz I prefer the half-sculpted look. Maybe next time I'll call it done earlier and keep the whole thing rougher.

Feel like an idiot now Seán? 

Yeah, little bit.... little bit....

<sighs and trudges off back to the eh... I was gonna say drawing board, but I guess it's the modelling board, right? Sounds a little strange though. Anyway, there was trudging and sighing, that's the  important thing.>

So yeah. tune in later for what will hopefully be a final update. Getting bored now and want to start on something new...

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