Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Assembling the plaster maquette

Having cast the base to plaster, I re-scribe the outline of the map and cut registration holes in for the figure etc

I cut the inscription 'CAPT. MATTHEW FLINDERS 1774 - 1814' into the plaster

I place Trim the cat on the base.  I had originally felt that Trim might look good being closer to Matthew; perhaps leaning in against his leg in that cat affectionate way that cats have.  But I could not make it work without un-balancing the feeling in the figure.  This seems to work a lot better...and also balances the contact points.  See later pic.

Thinking about mapping instruments as relief design.  I am trying all kinds of combinations, but feel that the base is beginning to look too cluttered.  I have decided to simplify things for the time being and keep only Trim and a telescope. 

The yellow stain is, believe it or not, pigeon poo.  Yesterday, a pigeon flew down my chimney and into the studio with a theatrical flourish. What kind of bird flies down a dark chimney on a sunny day? It panicked and shat everywhere...narrowly missing me but hitting the base just as I was filling in some chipped sections on the side.  

And lastly, at Castle Fine Arts Foundry with manager Steve Page discussing the casting to bronze.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Finished clay

I am happy with the movements and volumes in the clay figure.  Here are some pictures.


I now cast the figure into plaster.  This will mean I can refine the surface, tighten up some of the forms and offer the figure onto the base as the design develops.

Brass shim is inserted into the clay to make seams.

Plaster is flicked on - the dark is a 'colour coat'...see later.

The mould is complete and strengthening irons are added


The pieces of the mould are removed.  The dark 'colour coat' is the first layer of plaster and is there so that, when we chip the mould off from the to be cast plaster positive, we can see what is mould and what is form.

The next step is to fill the mould with white plaster...then

The mould is chipped off...

..the plaster positive of the clay.

Now I offer the figure up to a new, deeper base and plot the map so that the divider points marry with a part of the coastline.  I then trace the map outline through onto the clay.

Having worked the plaster figure cast up and cleaned the seams, the design of the mapping instruments begins before the relief modelling on the base.

I am modelling the cat, Trim, from our own at home and will introduce him(?) into the design relief on the weekend.  

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Girdle and buttocks

The changes I have made this week have been too small to show up in photographs so no images on this one.  I prefer to give you an example of decisions I have been grappling with.

Every figure composition presents key areas around which the mood swings.  With this statue, I think it is important to communicate certain aspects of Matthew Flinders and what he is up to.  I want to show his dynamism....he has been described as a powerful personality and you certainly don't sail to Australia and spend months mapping a coastline, pre-GPS, without possessing a determined and dynamic approach to life.  I am getting this across with the lean and turn of the pose in general and in the angle of the left leg and, as it will develop, the left arm and hand in particular.  Staying with the leg, it was working from the front and the side, but the back view looked flaccid....bit of a mystery.   When I got the model back, I noticed that he was uncomfortable putting his weight on his right heel. To ease this, he had let his buttocks slip over the heel so that the shoe was effectively wedged in his bum crack (see rear view in post below).  The effect of this was to weaken the sense of purpose from the back and his right side.  Now I have seen and corrected this, the dynamism is there.  The pelvic girdle now marries up with left leg.  The left leg has a lovely turn to it which not only sets up a good diagonal for the overall bell tent composition but conveys a sense of forward movement.  When I get onto the subtleties of the shoulders and right arm, I will write further about what I am trying to do there.

This is an example of why maquettes are so important...you can get to know the composition and make changes comparatively swiftly.  And by the time the full-size happens, you have an understanding of your sculpture and what you want to convey of your subject.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Clay Wednesday

Today I have been starting to bring the clay out to volume and tighten up the form.

Frustrating areas include turn on left leg, balance of pelvic girdle and still the right shoulder.

I have taken the left hand off to see the leg unhindered.  Although the figure will be mostly draped in clothes and I can make do with a fairly broad approach to the anatomy, it is important to get the movement right.

Clay Tuesday

I have added the base...thicker than it will be..see earlier post.

My first thought is that the base is too big for the figure...

...but that could be because the figure is yet to fill out to volume.  

fragment of history

Matthew takes part in The Battle of Brest (aka the Glorious First of June), the first major battle of the 22 year war between England and Revolutionary France.
After some nifty tacking around the back of the French ships,'our first fire was directed on a large frigate which brought up the enemy's rear, but she soon made sail and went windward of the next ship (Revolutionnaire) on whom we immediately pointed our guns.  In a few minutes she returned it with great spirit...'.


 Horatio Nelson loses his right eye in Corsica.
Men of Harlech is published.