So my year long hiatus from sculpting is coming to an end. A self imposed break I took because of the frustration I felt because of the lack of production. The method of sculpting I was using was simply taking too long to accomplish any work on a regular basis. The sculpting itself wasn't the problem, it was the bronze casting of the work that was the hold up. Once I sculpted the piece, then came all the mold making; rubber mold, plaster shell, wax copy, clay shell and then the casting and then finally finishing up with all the grinding and polishing needed to make the bronze all purty. This of course depends on whether or not the process actually gets to that point. There's so many different ways the process can go wrong and make me return to the beginning to start over again. Frustrated with the whole thing, it was at the urging of my wife I decided to switch to painting for a year and see how that would go.
And lo, it was good. Seriously, it has worked out really well in a number of different ways. The first, is I can produce a lot more work by painting than I can by bronze casting. And it's a lot easier. And the second is the mind set that happens because when I'm painting there's very little “donkey work”. Prime a panel, paint the painting and then frame it. Most of my time is spent creating the art rather than screwing around with the work that needs to be done in order to create a piece. That is far more satisfying. If I was rich and famous I'd pay someone else to do all that work but I'm not famous and I'm definitely not rich. So during the period that I've been having all these good times painting, thoughts of sculpture have been incubating in my brain and I think I've found a way to get sculpture done without quite so much blood, sweat and tears. My painting has opened up my mind to a different style of work and that's translating into my sculpture. It's not so much a new style but one I've known about for several years now but only started working in it just before I took my break. The problem was I was working in the old, labor intensive way and so as much as I liked the work it was still going to be a pain in the butt to produce. And so, with several works in the, almost ready to be poured stage, I packed them away and switched to painting. Some day when I'm in full swing again I might go back and pour them. They're not going anywhere, but for now I've got a style and a method which suits the kind of person I am. An easily distracted type. The new method has a large amount of the old work taken out of the process so there'll be a lot less time spent making molds and more time making sculpture.
Also, as I'm going to continue painting, I won't feel the need to have a high production rate of sculpture in order to feel that I am a serious, not a leisure artist.
As I write this blog, I've got my first sculpture in a year, in the workshop where I'm layering on the ceramic shell for the eventual casting. The piece does have a name, “Angel on the Run” and I'll post a photo of it when it's done. Till next time, enjoy life.