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  #1  
Old 09-18-2007, 10:12 PM
grommet grommet is offline
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gentle critique of WIP please

This is a part of a wall piece I'm working on. I'm hoping for a basic critique identifying glaring errors and crudeness of forms. I've never had a figure sculpture class, so am drawing on skills I don't really own for this one. Always good to stretch a little...
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  #2  
Old 09-18-2007, 11:36 PM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

Hello Grommet,

It's good to get out to avoid "studio fever."

That's an appealing face, I guess it is a woman with an attractive face in the sense of having lived and experienced and come to term with the inevitable and the possible. A fleeting smile and looking somewhere... where?

It would be useful to know a bit more about the project, the size, etc.

I wonder why you did not start on the hair? and why you are making a face out of context? Will there be a body? or just faces? What style, purpose? We need to know more to give you feedback. Besides, I think that faces should be built in context (at least in situ on the body rather on the sculptor's knees) to be well integrated rather then plopped in.

Tell us more. I want to know more about that face. Perhaps I wish she had a little less wind in the nostrils, but then again it depends on the context or maybe it is just the angle of the picture.

Cheers - Z
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  #3  
Old 09-19-2007, 12:27 AM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

Hey Grommet, I'll be gentle but honest. I think the frontal lobe of her forehead is a bit large, as are her cheek bones and nostrils. Different angles would help to clarify the forms and possibly catch other things that are out of place. For now, I say take down the forehead a bit, re-examine the size of the cheek bones, and bring the nostrils in a bit. If you're using a model, take out you calipers, they will be your most honest critic. Don't add hair until you get the skull shape right, it will look bad and possibly alien if the skull underneath the hair is not right.

Good Luck,

Alfred
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  #4  
Old 09-19-2007, 06:45 AM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

Another thing that I would add of what alfred pointed out is to look at the corners of the mouth, particularly at the outside edges of the upper lip. Depending upon the expression, the surface of the lip possibly should be narrowing to the point of nearly disappearing into that corner, with a curveous , convex flap of skin helping to define the corner. You have those flaps somewhat established already, it is now a very subtle and trick adjustment to better define the transition between the upper lip and that flap.

It is a great start, especially given your expressed lack of experience in portraits.
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  #5  
Old 09-19-2007, 07:33 AM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

As gently as possible.... WOW! very nice! I think it's outstanding!
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  #6  
Old 09-19-2007, 09:27 AM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

Keep in mind that the figurative sculptors on this forum seek perfection in human forms while forgetting that people come in many varieties of shape--mostly full of imperfections. If something is glaring, it may be worth correcting, otherwise it may be just nit picky. Its your piece you be the judge. I see nothing unusual.
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  #7  
Old 09-19-2007, 10:15 AM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

Yes, people come in a variety of shapes and sizes and I've seen those exact cheek bones on people and also, a nose with largish nostrils (on a elderly lady though).
I agree with the corners of the mouth needing a bit of flesh because that is an anatomical structure of every face. Where 3 of the muscles of the face converge is right there at the corner of the mouth and so you'll have a puff of skin and then of course, an indention where the corner of the mouth starts.

Another anatomical point of every face is that the upper eyelid will stand out (easily viewed from side angle) in front of the lower eyelid on a verticle plane. Also, the eye lid will follow the form of the eyeball exactly.

I think you've done a wonderful job on her! Keep it up!

~Tamara
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  #8  
Old 09-19-2007, 12:29 PM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

Thanks for all the helpful comments. I need to consider them in the context of what I intend for the final outcome. Joe- you're my idol, but I will make some changes based on the "read" that people get from the pictured phase. There will be no body on this one, and the hair will be umm... metal. and I don't really do pretty at this time, in the traditional sense. Traditions are for other people.
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  #9  
Old 09-19-2007, 01:27 PM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

I'm glad that you took the comments in their intended form. I don't seek perfection in fugurative sculpture, because I have not achieved perfection, nor do I believe I ever will. I simply try to help those who seek help, and if that makes their work better, then I'm glad for them. I don't try to make other people sculpt like me or expect them to only make "pretty" or "beautiful" sculptures. I know quite well that people come in all shapes and sizes, I've sculpted countless numbers of models in all shapes and forms and ages.

Grommet, you have the right attitude and I hope your work is a success. I'm working on my own series of wall sculptures right now, so I'm interested in seeing what you do with yours.

Alfred
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  #10  
Old 09-19-2007, 02:38 PM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

Good sense of an underlying bone structure, and of the facial muscles and formal angles of the face. Some intentional exaggeration?
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  #11  
Old 09-19-2007, 03:15 PM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

Grommet,

Before rendering any sort of comments on your piece...I was wondering if you were working strictly from a model (I assume, but know better) and if so...could you supply a picture of the real thing?
I could weigh in without the reference, but in the instance that this is a living and breathing person...and as you are obviously interested in improving your perceptive abilities...I think it would be invaluable to compare and contrast real changes in form rather than generalized ones.

That being said, doing "pretty" isn't traditional if the person is actually attractive. Don't let a perceived idea or feeling about what you think a "traditional" approach is blind you from seeing the beauy in all things. Finding that beauty...the rhythms and connections between forms in any object...is one of the most important aspects of any figurative work...and one often times missed in favor of merely documenting landmarks of flesh and bone.
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  #12  
Old 09-19-2007, 09:59 PM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

I have no model, just working directly in the clay. I have actually exaggerated some things to promote a particular interpretation, but I don't want it to be too obtrusive.

Quote:
That being said, doing "pretty" isn't traditional if the person is actually attractive.
Again, I'll leave that whole thing for someone else who wants it. I am not striving for beauty, I am interested in strength and tenacity and wisdom and peace. If someone finds that beautiful then that's just a bonus.

Back to work, or maybe bed.
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  #13  
Old 09-19-2007, 10:31 PM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

Grommet,

I think your choice of going from your imagination a worthy thing in and of itself.

Since you are taking that route, I would venture a comment that perhaps the face is more frontalized than it should be from the cheekbones up. There is usually a more distinct angle back from about the mid-eyebrow to the temporal area. I second some of the remarks about eye lids, nostrils and cheek bones. Too, the edges of the mouth usually extend no further than an imaginary line that comes down from the middle of the pupil.

I think exaggeration is a good thing if used carefully...if "strength and tenacity and wisdom and peace" are what you seek to transmit, the less "caricature" more "character" these exaggerations reflect the better.

Considering your experience is nil in this area, I think you are doing a very good job. Your drawing experience is paying off.
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  #14  
Old 09-20-2007, 06:23 PM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

I wasn't on the forum yesterday, so I missed all your earlier discussion, but my take is that this is an excellent interpretation of a face that is more or less purely imagined.

I do agree with JasonG that it is easy to slip into caricature, and generally my impression is of an American Indian form, by the wide cheekbones. The nose is largish but not excesively so. Remarks about the corners of the lips seem accurate. The eyelids strike me as somewhat vaguely defined, and the central brow (general skull form) as protruding to an unusual degree.

Continuing at the upper skull, it strikes me that the transition from fleshy eyebrows to the relatively unfleshed skull is unusually long. More commonly, I find this transition is quite short.

But overall, as many have said, this is an excellent rendition from imagination.
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  #15  
Old 09-20-2007, 11:27 PM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

I don't have much to add that hasn't been said, but to me at least the right temple looks a bit jutting and could be taken in just a little as it doesn't seem to fit quite right with the overall facial expression.

Nice work.

Steven
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  #16  
Old 09-25-2007, 09:50 AM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

A bit further along. Still some rough spots. Some things may be more correct, but I'm not pleased with the overall read, I'll have to work on that.
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  #17  
Old 09-25-2007, 09:59 AM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

How did you want it to read?
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  #18  
Old 09-25-2007, 10:10 AM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

Well, I'm getting haughty from it right now... That wasn't the plan.
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  #19  
Old 09-25-2007, 10:52 AM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

You are probably experiencing the remarkable difference that the subtlest of physical changes to form can create in an expression. Well accomplished portraiture may look easy to some, but getting a good meaningful expression is not.

Be sure to step away from it from time to time, long enough to see it with a fresh eye so you can zero in on what needs adjustment.
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  #20  
Old 09-25-2007, 11:12 AM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

I agree with Glen's advice and will add this - use a mirror to see the reflection of the piece. It's like looking at it for the first time. You'll see all kinds of things that you wouldn't have otherwise. Keep at it.

Alfred
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  #21  
Old 09-25-2007, 12:09 PM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

I too agree that just the slightest movement of flesh and you have a different mood expressed. There is a little muscle beside the nose and when it's pulled upwards slightly, you have a snarl and snooty look. I had that on one of my faces and realized that it needed to go downwards. There is a shadow or something beside the nostrol on your sculpt and that could be adding to a "haughty" expression.

I did a quickie photoshop transformation of your sculpt just to see how moving certain areas would effect the mood. I like to do this on my own sculpts to see if I like instead of reworking the real thing and finding I don't like it. :-)

It's not the mood you are likely going after but at least the "haughty" is taken out of it, I think. I lowered the eyebrows, lowered the bottom lip, removed the mark/shadow next to the nostril, turned up the corner of the lips. Now she looks sweet. Of course, that's my usual style, to go for sweet and pretty/beautiful. But you want wise, peaceful and strong. It sure is a challenge to strive for certain expression and get it. That's the fun of process. :-)

~Tamara

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  #22  
Old 09-25-2007, 05:35 PM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

I'm not even going to comment further on this, except to say you have made general improvement, and that your goal certainly is a difficult one.

Alfred's advice to look at the face in a mirror is excellent. Someone told me about that trick years ago, and I always use it in my pieces.
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Old 09-25-2007, 07:05 PM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

You know Grommet, this thing looks just fine. you've got plenty of ability. Perhaps since you are new at this it might be better to conclude and get excited about the next one. In the beginning you learn from the volume - churning out the work. And clay can kill a sculpture by the endless possibilities for revision.
Hints, tricks, books, calipers, classes, professors, and mentors are all well and good but nothing is as valuable as experience, seeing them through - one after the other. You just worry about churning them out, each with a little self-administerd challenge thrown in and you'll make great things. So whats next?
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  #24  
Old 09-26-2007, 12:29 AM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

It's true what evaldart is saying. Just like you can work a painting to death, the same can be done with a figurative sculpt.

If this is something for your own enjoyment and to learn by, you can play with and try for different expressions as a challenge. Phillipe Faraut has videos that show him transforming a face from young person to older, different ethnicities, various moods. It's an exercise that can teach a lot.
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  #25  
Old 09-26-2007, 02:42 AM
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Re: gentle critique of WIP please

Looks very good Grommet
If I could suggest that you look at being a little more gentle with the pupil, it seems quite harsh. (Perhaps that is what you want) By making it more shallow there will be less contrast and she will be less likely to appear to be staring. Also finish the hair as this will make a very big difference to how she looks. The cloth is nice perhaps you want to cover her head.
Nice work
Blake
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