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I spent my first figurative sculpting weekend with Andrew Sinclair and Diane Coates at The Sculpture School in Devon. It was a fantastic experience! The weekend was so much fun and I made new friends along the way.
The two-day workshop consisted of sculpting a full figure, in this case the female form. We explored the human body as a design. Andrew emphasized just how important anatomical knowledge is when sculpting the female figure.
Andrew explained that everything in the human body is connected through dynamic curves. Sound knowledge of human anatomy allows you to ‘start from a point of perfection’. With this sculpture we began with a profile, in part because we see in 2D and starting from a profile makes it easier to be specific regarding proportions and is faster to assimilate.
Dynamic curves are the life of a model. It’s essential to understand that a person is always moving despite a static pose, so it’s vital to capture a sense of imminent movement in your sculpture. When working from a model you should never be too constrained by anatomical processes but rather always be looking for the energy curve.
As an artist you are looking for dynamic beauty in the body. This might be in the form of curves or triangles but they are always interconnected as one, working in harmony with one another.
It is always important to consider three factors when beginning a new figurative sculpture:
Anatomy will never flow correctly if the base design isn’t right. We explored the thirty-four muscles and associated muscle groups of the human figure as well as their relationships with one another.
Some of the notes I took during our anatomy breakdown:
Andrew emphasised that we are not clinical like doctors. Instead we should bring our sculpture to life with real passion for the curves and beauty of the human body.
When working, adding ‘sausages’ of clay is important to laying out raw foundations and structure. A sausage of clay, as opposed to a ball of clay, gives us rhythm and line. This is essential when creating dynamic curves.
We covered a huge amount of ground in just two days. We learned how to ‘sketch’ out our sculpture, with dynamic curves and anatomical structure. Once this is in play (Our sketch), you can then begin to truly sculpt. We were taught so much during the workshop that I will continue to practice and refine what I learnt over the coming months.
Andrew Sinclair is a phenomenal teacher. He is generous with his wealth of knowledge and conveys it so that everyone can understand. It was a privilege to be taught by Andrew and truly an inspiring experience.
Just want to say a BIG thank you to Andrew, Diane, Angela (our life model) and everyone who attended the weekend! I had an absolute blast!! I’ll definitely be back for more!
I’d also like to give Paul and Muriel a quick shout at Nichols Nymet House B&B, good digs and good breakfasts!
Additional Photos from the day:
Really happy with the main forms now. When I return from LA, I’ll work back in on the details more and start refining his subtle facial features. It’s tricky since I have to translate PJ Lynch’s brilliant 2D imagery into 3D. The key thing for me was to maintain the appeal of PJ’s original painting. For those of you who know the book, you’ll know which piece of artwork I refer to! Eye direction was important to, it’s not easy to see from this angle but I have eyes balls in the sculpt that I can rotate and point as necessary. I’ll update this post with a 3 quarter angle soon.
Had a great time last night, setting up and doing a practice sculpting session for Julie Douglas’s Draw-In Symposium. I decided on a creature maquette design for this one as opposed to maybe a bust. System check called for, tools check, material check, crew check… everything was good. Need to keep an eye on the pot though, it likes to cook my clay into soup, in this case, Chavant soup. Yum. Big shout out to Lisa for donating her cooking pot to a good cause! It’s keeping my clay warm like no other. Judith did a great job on camera and Julie, thanks for the photos!
I made a relatively quick concept in Photoshop, for the night’s exercise.
After making the armature, I lay out the main forms with clay, starting with the bigger masses and working my way around the character. I’m forever adjusting the pose as I go…I’m still using my sketch as reference. In these shots I’m working on getting the hips better,watching the shift in weight and trying to get a counter balance between the shoulders and hips and get as much of a dynamic pose as i can, despite the fact I’m trying to keep it quite relaxed. Get in there!
I had a short time to work on this fella, so he will be continued this week.
Managed to get more sculpting time in tonight and further roughed out Frankenstein’s main forms. In hinds sight, it might have been better to sculpt direct from Boris himself, and add the ‘prosthetics’ afterwards! He has proven tricky, the jaw is a real gotcha, but he’s slowly… coming out of the clay to say, … “boo!”
It’s been fun. Working in Wed is great, allowing the clay to dry is okay, it can be softened again with water. Various paint brushes are handy to paint in water in some smaller areas, like wrinkle lines. Looking forwards to signing off on the main forms and start detailing alittle.
In the meantime, I need to keep him wet!