Saturday, December 19, 2009

Don't let this happen to you!

Yesterday, I discovered that a sculpture which had been almost ready for casting had spontaneously self destructed. Because I waited so long, and it had to be kept moist, the plywood base rotted and pulled apart. The sculpture separated from the feet and fell over. There are numerous breaks and the gluteal area is a total loss. Also, the ankles, feet and hands. The pose of the legs will have to be reset. Luckily, the piece was able to be re-mounted and the restoration can begin. The moral of the story is not to delay making the mold once you complete something, use longer screws to attach the flange to the base which should be waterproofed! Here are a few pics of the devastation.

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Drawings

Here are two drawings that I did recently at the Digipen open studio and the Gage Academy drawing jam. The first is in Sanguine chalk pencil with white highlights and the second is in olive-green Lyra pencil with chalk highlights. Both are on toned Canson paper.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sneak Preview

Here are two low resolution phone snapshots of my current work in progress. It's a male reclining figure about 1/3 to 1/2 life size. Since he didn't require an armature, it will be possible to fire him in a kiln rather than cast him. This will be a lot less work and expense, but dangerous since there's always the possibility that the piece could break or even explode during the firing process. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish the sculpting with about six additional hours and then he'll have t0 be gradually dried to "leather hard" and hollowed out. Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Yma is home

On Friday, I finally made it down to the foundry to approve the metalwork and choose a patina. It was a bit nerve wracking to drive by the site of my near demise last week, but the car behaved very well. 

At the foundry, Danella, the artist in charge of the reassembly and chasing handed me a sharpie to note any areas for revision. After a few polishing touches, the sculpture was sandblasted again and taken to Steve the patinator. We discussed the various options and I chose a medium-dark version of a patina known as "French Brown". 

Steve bolted the piece onto a revolving stand,  heated it with a blow torch, and sprayed it with a coat of "liver of sulfur" or sulfurated potash. This turned it almost black. The next step was to rinse it with water, give it a quick blow dry and wipe back the darkness from the higher areas before massaging the whole thing with loose sand which gave it a nice burnished effect. In order to create  more depth and richness, we heated it again with an even larger blow torch and sprayed it with ferric nitrate which produced a warm red overtone. 

While the sculpture was still hot, Steve brushed it with wax. It would take another half hour for it to cool before the final coat of wax and buffing so I had a chance to witness a different piece being poured in the forge area before heading home. I'll post photos of the finished sculpture next week, in the meantime, enjoy the images from the final stage of the process!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Yma is cast!

Yesterday I was excited to receive news (and photos) that Yma has been cast, reassembled, chased and is ready for a patina. In these photos you can see that bronze, in its natural state is really not very attractive so I need to decide what color she should be; probably a fairly traditional dark brown.

I was looking forward to finishing this process today, but on the way to the foundry in Tacoma my car broke down on the freeway and I had to spend the rest of the afternoon waiting for the tow truck, taking my car back to Seattle and then getting home. Hopefully, the car will be fixed in time to try again next week...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Waiting for the next step

We had a faculty meeting yesterday afternoon, so I wasn't able to go see the casting. It was a hard decision whether to ask the foundry to go ahead without me since I'm eager to see the finished product or ask them to wait in order to get some photos. In the end, I didn't want to disarrange their schedule since they had quite generously planned to cast yesterday for my convenience. I'll plan to get some pictures of the next sculpture after investment and as it's poured.

The next stage for Yma, after casting, will be reassembly, and chasing to get rid of seams etc. Then I'll have to choose what color the patina will be. In the meantime, I'm working on re-hydrating and finishing up "Brian" and "Zoey"  so that their molds can be made.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wax Pattern Chased and Ready to Cast!

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon chasing (touching up) the wax casting of the "Yma" sculpture. The foundry casts the wax pattern using a dark brown wax that is quite durable. To resculpt or smooth certain areas I also used a softer red wax and for filling in air bubbles, a very soft white wax which you can see in the photos which Kevin the foundry owner kindly took for me. The arms don't need to be reattached as they will be cast separately.
In the background, you can see the mold. It was made in several pieces using a high quality silicone rubber on the inside, with a plaster shell for support.

Next, the foundry will cut her in half (again!) so that the bronze will be hollow, attach sprues and do about 12 to 15 coats of ceramic investment. Hopefully, we'll be able to pour the metal by next Friday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Welcome Class of 2013!

Welcome Freshmen! If you found my blog, you are probably wondering who is this person who will be teaching you Art History and drawing. Since I am generally an obliging sort of person I thought I'd satisfy your curiosity with a few images of my work:

Latest sculpture now at the foundry

I was very happy last week to finish my latest sculpture and take her to the foundry in Tacoma to be cast in bronze.  For those of you wondering why the hands are dark in the photo, it is because they are made with brown plasticene (oil based clay) rather than "vashon white" water clay like the rest of the sculpture.  Hands on a 20 inch figure are just too fragile for water clay and will inevitably dry out, crack and lose fingers before the rest of the body is "leather hard" which is the necessary consistency for mold making. The clay should not be so damp that the brush will damage it as you apply the silicone rubber, but if it's too dry it will crack, shrink and distort. The foundry's mold maker should be finished in another week at the latest an then they will cast a wax copy of the sculpture out of it. 

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Welcome to my blog

Well, I finally decided to join the 21st century and create a blog. Here are a few images of my work in progress