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.
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).
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.
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