Monday, September 30, 2013

Sculpture and Siting Art - Saint Gaudens Studio, President Lincoln Portrait

Saint Gaudens monumental portrait of Lincoln is sited off off main courtyard.
The bust is tightly framed by a clipped hedge, that creates a tension in the space.
The tight approach feels as if you are having a private interview with President Lincoln.
(Who chose that bright blue paint for the pedestal though? Bad idea.)

The narrow space limits the number of people and creates a greater feeling of intimacy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sculpture and Siting Art - Saint Gaudens Studio, Pan and his pool...

This gilt bronze Pan figure is the focus of a small pool near Saint Gaudens studio.
The big leaves of the planting anchors the art and contributes to a feeling of primal lushness.
 The Pan figure is not large, maybe 3 feet tall? (I should have measured.)
Imagine this sculpture without those big leaves, it would appear insignificant, much less magical. 
You'd look at the house, or out past it to the forest.

The clever planting allows the art to change in emotional content throughout the year.
Think how differently Pan's music sounds in fall when those big leaves are tattered and yellow.
Imagine what flute notes he's playing when those strong shoots emerge from the ground 
(or the greenhouse) in late spring as if his music is charming them to unfurl.
Context matters with sculpture.
Context shapes Meaning.

Look at those lovely water spouts, one cast repeated four times. Leaping golden fish.

Across from this pool, there's a lovely bench, with another Pan and his pan pipes on either end.  
The better to pause and enjoy it all.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sculpture and Models #4 Models and Meanings

Having to lay on the floor to best see the work is informative.
Looking at the model let me realize how many different threads are woven into this piece....

I'm laughing that the model is a Cubist interpretation of a Sacred Grove!
Who knew this would happen?

The shelter had to be both Tree and House. Not one or the other, but both equally.
The geometric bent steel sheets = house, but the cut outs are organic tree shapes.
From this low viewpoint the tree is simultaneously growing vertically while it's actually horizontal.
That's a neat trick to accomplish.
I've spent my life studying birds and trees, caring for and drawing them.
These cut out shapes are a flock of birds in flight, settling into the tree for evening.
 The little cut outs add a sense of motion, and mimic dots of light coming through leaves.

Is it odd to be obsessed with making a physical object that is all about the play of light?
Is sun light the greatest story ever told?

Within the grove is a short stout old woman. She is a portrait of Babette,  she also represents Woman in Nature. Mother Nature, or any Oracle you'd care to name.

It may be a private joke, but this modern mash up of folk art paper cutting, Cubism, CorTen steel and wood carving is all about honoring the strength of women. That goes all the way back to
the Venus figurines. It doesn't get any more archetypal than that.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sculpture and Models #3 The viewing angles.

"Nice work if you can get it. And you can get it if you try."

Because this sculpture is so tall, the best way to check on this sculpture is to lay down on the floor.
Why hasn't this idea occurred to me before?
It's very comfy down here.

Radically changing your position, changing your physical relationship to your art has BIG benefits.
Seeing your work in different positions allows new potentials and meanings to appear.

Looking at this model from the comfort of the cool floor reminds me of how children and people shorter than 6 feet tall will see this art. Laying here allows me to study what works and what needs to change.

My college sculpture professor once told me, "The better you get, the more time you spend looking at your work." Wise advise.  I paint some, lay down and study the model, decide what needs to change, go change that. Come back lay down. LOOK. Repeat.

It's been a wonderful day.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sculpture and Models #2 Models and the Power of Paint

Next up: Mix up some poster paint. Paint, repaint, paid out, paint over.
It gets a notch better with each re-painting as I get clearer on what it needs to be.
 This model is almost NINE feet TALL!
8 feet 8 inches.

It's funny because my perception of it keeps changing....
It's HUGH. It's not so big. It's really big. It could be bigger....
The truth is I need to pare it down to the minimum size to keep costs down.

Yes, I am lying on the floor to take this picture.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sculpture and Models #1 Models and Scale

If designing something for the first time is difficult, why is doing it over even harder?
It should be easier. You've figured it out, right?

This morning, I can't wrap my mind around how to transfer the information from this little model to the full scale cardboard model. It's right there in front of me, but I don't know how to get it to the big model.
Sometimes people looking at my sculpture tell me, "I don't know how you do that!"
Today, I don't know either.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sculpture and the Magic Solution

The endless vine pattern is thousands of years old.
It's also a devilishly difficult balancing act.
Don't believe me?
Try designing your own and find out how quickly it turns into a visually impassible, clumsy thicket.
Ara Pacis 9th Century BCE
I called Theresa Cheek  of Art's the Answer to see if she knew of any book on "the vine."
She suggested researching sign painting books, they might teach this kind of patterning.

Any of you out there know of any good resource on the endless vine?
Second attempt, left, was used to transfer design to back of attempt #3. Cutting the mylar from the back gave a cleaner look.
 This wedding gift of the couple's initials took three iterations to get right. I've cut, patterned and tooled the gold mylar on card stock to distinguish letters from vine and cutout from background.

This morning, I realized (again) that only way out is through the work.

While I'd love a magic solution, working through each step of design and cutting tells me the next necessary step. It that means starting over, so be it. But now I have that knowledge from making that mistake.  
The Magic solution is work.

Here it is framed up and ready to be packed for the trip to the wedding in New Hampshire!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sculpture and Siting Art - Saint Gaudens Studio #3

This gold leafed bronze Mercury is in the cutting gardens near Saint Gaudens house.
This statue looks good year round because of that dark green hedge. The summer's flowers are in bloom, giving the siting an intimacy that disappears when the perennials die away. 
That's ok because current visitors don't linger in the garden the New Hampshire winter.

The make- do pedestal for Mercury is curious. A brick, a stone square, a concrete column.
Wonder if Saint Gaudens assembled it in a summer moment, and it's stayed that way for decades?