Category Archives: Sculpture

Figure Sculpture Workshop…

This March, I attended a figure sculpting workshop with sculptor Jim Lee hosted by Urban Arts OC, a studio in Newport Beach.

A couple years ago, I took a portrait sculpting workshop with Jim and found him to be a great instructor.

During this workshop, we had a model pose for us throughout the day as Jim guided us through measuring with calipers to keep our sculpture in scale, pointed out and described the anatomical reference points and structures, and helped us avoid the pitfalls of the porcelain clay medium.

I’m pleased with how my work turned out, and it should be ready to fire in May.

Once the work is fired, assuming it doesn’t crack in half, I plan to paint it as a polychrome work in naturalistic colors, preserving and slightly altering the model’s tattoos to add some conceptual layers and subtle social commentary to the work.

I’ll post another photo when I’m finished.

Self-Portrait Sculpture

Clay Self Portrait. Life-Sized. By Adam Maxwell Townsend
Clay Self Portrait. Life-Sized. By Adam Maxwell Townsend

This is a life-size self-portrait in porcelain clay that I finished this weekend under the instruction of Jim Lee, a sculptor from Northern California who held a workshop at the Jennifer Joyce Ceramic Art Studio in San Clemente.

The class was invaluable; I’ve already studied anatomy extensively in my study of paintings and stone carving, but there’s no way I could have come up with such a clean piece so quickly and accurately without the techniques, tips and shortcuts Jim teaches in his classes.

In the images posted here, the clay is still wet. The next steps include hollowing out the now-solid sculpture and removing the armature, allowing the drying process to finish, firing the clay to the hardness of porcelain, and then finishing the piece with paint and wax.

Not only was this class invaluable in teaching me sculpting/modeling technique, but it is also adding depth and perspective to my two-dimensional work.

I’ll publish another post in a few months when the piece is completely ready for presentation.




Foo Dog in Alabaster

This a Foo Dog, about 2'x2'x1' I sculpted out of alabaster. By Adam Maxwell Townsend
This a Foo Dog, about 2’x2’x1′ I sculpted out of alabaster. By Adam Maxwell Townsend

Last summer, I participated a stone carving workshop at Laguna Coast College of Art and Design. This is the latest sculpture I finished in April. It started out as a 100-lb chunk of pink alabaster quarried in New Mexico. It’s my interpretation of a Foo Dog, the mythical beast of China which guards banks and other edifices in the Far East. In China, they are known simply as “shi,” which means “lion.” The western “foo” may be a transliteration of “Fu” which means “Buddah,” though the exact origin of the name is unclear.

For this sculpture, I tried to combine anatomical elements of a lion, human and pit bull to create the celestial “Dog of Fu,” a divine animal that is instantly recognizable, but not quite quantifiable.

The stone I chose for this was the best I could afford, which means that, unfortunately, it was heavily veined. That’s why I was only able to do the front half of this sculpture; a large chunk of my stone calved off along a striation existing in the stone as I was carving (See photo).

In a disastrous turn of events, a large section of my sculpture calved off along an existing striation in the alabaster.

The green ball I bought already carved and polished. It’s made from calcite, I believe.

I smoothed the surface with finer and finer grit sandpaper and polishing materials, then I  buffed it with a paste of baking soda and water. Once I rinsed that off and let the sculpture dry thoroughly. I then rubbed the whole thing down with mineral oil, which is absorbed by the semi-porous stone and gives it a luster.

Right now I’m working on a small crucifix I’m carving out of the piece of stone that calved off in the photo above. There are also another couple small pieces that might be worth making some little figurines out of, but as for the foo dog, he’s finished and sitting in my living room.