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  #1  
Old 07-22-2008, 02:30 PM
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Buster Buster is offline
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Weekend sketch

You can never have too much practice. I have a whole folder full of faces of people I work with that I pull out from time to time to do practice studies. They are a lot of fun, but my goal is to loosen up a bit. Still not nearly as loose as I wanted it, but here's the one I did last weekend. 1/2 life size, ceramic.
Working from photos is ok, but the next one I'll have to have the person over for a few hours to sit for me.
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2008, 12:01 PM
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Re: Weekend sketch

Heidi, that's a great little sketch. They're really good for improving skills, speed and observation. You're a great sculptor with a lot of talent. I've lurked around your forum from time to time and I really like your work and your creativity and ingenuity is something to be admired.

Good Job,

Alfred
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  #3  
Old 07-23-2008, 02:08 PM
Peter Murphy Peter Murphy is offline
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Re: Weekend sketch

thats a sketch? It looks great.
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  #4  
Old 07-24-2008, 07:01 PM
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Re: Weekend sketch

Thanks for the kind comments Alfred and Peter.
I know it's a little too "done" to classify as a sketch, but I refer to it that way since I only worked on it a couple of days as opposed to the usual couple of months for a commission.
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  #5  
Old 08-03-2008, 04:30 PM
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Re: Weekend sketch

This study made me go back to your website and look over your work again. The thought occurred to me that you seem to have a contemporary neoclassical style... in the rendering, in the way you compose the head and lower extremities as well as the forms which you use to describe the hair. Never having noticed this correlation before, I was wanting to ask whether or not this had occurred to you as well or if in fact that type of sculpture had influenced you. The American Neoclassical movement especially comes to mind when I looked at the newer works on your site. Hiram Powers and those who would bring an American twist to the French version may be more what I am thinking of. Anyway, just wondering. Very nice study.
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  #6  
Old 08-03-2008, 05:05 PM
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Re: Weekend sketch

Hi Jason,
Interesting comment. I think what bothers me about my own work is that it seems to lack style altogether. One reason I want to do more quick studies is to let whatever tendencies I have natrually come out so I can observe and develop further the things that please me. I don't like doing refined work, but that's how most of the pieces always end up - usually because the clients I have want extreme detail.
My first true influence was back in 1977 when I was able to visit Italy and be inspired by the classic Italian sculptors - Bernini, Michelangelo, etc. Loved what I saw. More recently, I very much admire the portrait works of some of the English Sculptors such as Mark Richards and Karen Newman. Love the very loose and fresh style of their work and would like to evolve my "style" more to this type of rendering.
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  #7  
Old 08-03-2008, 07:27 PM
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Re: Weekend sketch

Buster, your demonstrated skills seem as good as it gets- you've conquered all that - and your desire to transcend said skills and venture what you perceive as something more personally unique proves you are headed in the right direction. In the stratosphere of you and your brethern the stylistic differences are ownable by even subtleties. Your command of new territory might only be perceptible to you. I think you're well beyond classifications and comparisons...probably just a few major/ambitious undertakings from being right where you would like (But I'm afraid the clientele should have nothing to do with these).

Regarding the quickness or time-spent...not an issue. Time spent on a given piece is an illusion. Often, when something takes a long, long time its because you spent more time thinking (judging, assessing, criticizing..."repairing") than usual. So think less and watch as the muscle and bone take care of things. It'll turn out great.
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  #8  
Old 08-03-2008, 09:57 PM
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Re: Weekend sketch

I'm wondering if the clients you have really want extreme detail or want a good likeness but don't know how else to communicate that. You may want to show them some photos of Augustus Saint Gauden's portraits as part of a campaign to educate your clients. Let them know that a portrait can be a work of art, and that involves the magic ingredient of the unimpaired artist's vison at work. Then prove it by trusting your instincts more rather than believing you must conform to a standard that is not true to your higest ideals.
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  #9  
Old 08-04-2008, 01:47 AM
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Re: Weekend sketch

Good point Glenn. I wondered the same thing and lately had been showing the clients photos of different styles of work early on to get a feel for what they prefer. In all cases so far, the client prefers the most realistic pieces where everything is spelled out and nothing is left to interpretation. I find that most people who hire portrait sculptors (or at least the ones who contact me) really don’t know much about art, or care. They just want a realistic duplication of a certain person – be it life size, or miniature. In some cases, right down to the skin pores. I had someone want a miniature bust wearing a tiny cluster of medals, and the text of the medals engraved on these pieces of clay no bigger than a pin head. Can’t believe I was even able to pull that one off, but did it and he was very pleased with the result.

I’m sure there are people out there who would prefer a more artistic interpretation. I think if I removed most works from my site that are too refined and put up a body of work that I prefer, then the people who contact me will be the ones who want more artistic portraiture.


Evaldart, thanks for that. I think no matter what type of sculpture we make, we are all constantly striving for improvement in our work. It’s what motivates us to keep sculpting.

I agree that artists spend way too much time reworking and “repairing” a piece as you say. Sometimes it is the client who requests the rework, but most of the time I do it because I’m overly critical. I recently spent months on a bust and had enthusiastic approval from the client to mold it. I couldn’t bring myself to mold it and instead, reworked the entire piece from the skull back out. I thought the second attempt a much better effort and did mold that version.

Most sculptors wouldn’t have the luxury to be able to do that because time is money. Because I don’t sculpt for a living, that gives me the freedom to take as much time as needed on a piece until both the client and I are satisfied with the modeling. It also gives me the freedom to turn down jobs that don’t interest me – which I find myself doing more and more often these days. Nothing wrong with being a hobby artist who sculpts for enjoyment instead of for money (although the green stuff really comes in handy!)
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  #10  
Old 08-05-2008, 09:49 PM
mountshang mountshang is offline
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Re: Weekend sketch

The issue for me in all these portraits- both studies and finished - is connectivity (which is the same issue I have with Hiram Powers - or the work done for Jeff Koons )

All of the above exhibit a certain exceptional skill in refining the details -- but all those details seem to live independently of each other -- as if each detail were saying "I am a nostril", "I am an ear lobe", "I am an eye lid" etc.

Of course, some people -- maybe even most people -- prefer that effect -- but I don't think it's what makes the portraits of Houdon or Berninini or Laurana so exceptional.
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  #11  
Old 08-06-2008, 06:23 PM
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Re: Weekend sketch

Mountshang, that perspective calls for an extremely high-level reading of the work, that I think goes beyond this thread. These threads do meander as they age, but if you (or others) would like to take that point further, my suggestion is that it be done in a new thread. (Clearly if Buster herself wishes to reply here, that is her right.)
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Old 08-09-2008, 08:02 PM
mountshang mountshang is offline
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Re: Weekend sketch

Quote:
Originally Posted by fritchie View Post
Mountshang, that perspective calls for an extremely high-level reading of the work, that I think goes beyond this thread. These threads do meander as they age, but if you (or others) would like to take that point further, my suggestion is that it be done in a new thread. (Clearly if Buster herself wishes to reply here, that is her right.)
I've been thinking about your suggestion, Fritchie, but eventually concluded that discussions of aesthetics (as opposed to techniques) need to center on objects rather than ideas -- because aesthetic ideas are so darned slippery - with each word offering a wide variety of reasonable interpretation.

I just came across this quote from Oscar Wilde:


"Classicism is the subordination of the parts to the whole; decadence is the subordination of the whole to the parts."

So my preferences, as presented in this thread, might be called Classical -- although decadence does have its appealing moments-- especially in one's personal life ( even if it might eventually lead to a bad day at the Cadogan Hotel.)
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  #13  
Old 08-09-2008, 08:17 PM
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Re: Weekend sketch

I appreciate your taking the time to consider my suggestion, but now you seem to be quoting Oscar Wilde to the effect that Buster's work is decadent. It's that sort of classification I consider inappropriate here, especially with a relative newcomer many have described accurately as highly talented and accomplished.
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  #14  
Old 08-12-2008, 12:39 PM
mountshang mountshang is offline
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Re: Weekend sketch

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Originally Posted by fritchie View Post
I appreciate your taking the time to consider my suggestion, but now you seem to be quoting Oscar Wilde to the effect that Buster's work is decadent. It's that sort of classification I consider inappropriate here, especially with a relative newcomer many have described accurately as highly talented and accomplished.

I was hoping that others might share my irony concerning what that famous member of the "decadent movement" (as Wikipedia informs us) had to say about "decadence" -- and since Buster herself told us that her work "lacks style" -- I suspect that she is probably her most severe critic (which is why she's progressed as far as she has)

Actually, I just saw a performance of Oscar Wilde's "Ideal Husband" last Summer -- which I would call a real masterpiece of classic theater -- and an example of unity/connectivity that every sculptor should emulate.
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  #15  
Old 08-12-2008, 01:08 PM
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Re: Weekend sketch

Yes indeed, as third-tier aesthetes go (writers) Wilde doesn't let you down. Picture of Dorian Gray is my fave...and the movie version inspired one of the greatest paintings of all time by I van Albright - its a masterful wreckage of brushwork...phrenetic physicality co-existing with obsessive hyper-realism.
"Style" is an anthill of a word when applied to this mountainous effort (and if you think Albright gave a damn about Wilde or the damn movie, you're missing the whole point).
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  #16  
Old 08-12-2008, 04:19 PM
rika rika is offline
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Re: Weekend sketch

I tend to agree somewhat with mountsheng. Buster, you have wonderful skills (wow!), but I think the problem may be the portrait is too perfect. Imperfections are that give character to a portrait (in my opinion anyway). But this style won't allow imperfections. What if you tried clay with grog instead? It would help in loosening your style. I started working in clay paper mache for the same reason, and I like the results so far.
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  #17  
Old 08-13-2008, 12:39 PM
mountshang mountshang is offline
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Re: Weekend sketch

Quote:
Originally Posted by evaldart View Post
Yes indeed, as third-tier aesthetes go (writers) Wilde doesn't let you down. Picture of Dorian Gray is my fave...and the movie version inspired one of the greatest paintings of all time by Ivan Albright - its a masterful wreckage of brushwork...phrenetic physicality co-existing with obsessive hyper-realism.
"Style" is an anthill of a word when applied to this mountainous effort (and if you think Albright gave a damn about Wilde or the damn movie, you're missing the whole point).

Living in Chicago, the paintings of Ivan Albright are quite familiar to me -- just saw his life size "Satan" that used to hang over the bar at Ricardo's - and I love/hate them -- sort of like the work of Dr. Kevorkian -- which is unforgettable -- but also over-the-top ugly and creepy. "Connectivity" ? Yes -- his paintings have it intensely -- but its on the surface of his forms -- like a skin disease. Ugh!

On the other hand -- Ivan had a twin brother, Zsissly, who was a sculptor I like a lot:

http://bp0.blogger.com/_u_KW4nuKg9k/...h/albright.jpg


Poor Zissley never got to be famous -- but like his brother -- he married a wealthy woman so he never had to worry about selling his work. (I suspect that their father, Adam Albright, who was a professional genre painter, gave his sons some good advice)
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