Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

In Process...

The art I make for clients has deadlines and design parameters.  I design, I do, I'm done.  The art that I make for myself isn't so easy.  Sometimes people comment that it must be hard to do commissioned work, but honestly, that's easier because the possibilities are confined, if not strictly speaking, limited.  Because art for myself involves so many possible choices, and so few deadlines, I'm amazed anything ever gets started, much less finished, around here.  This week, although nothing finished, progress was made.  This post is a peek at what's "in process".

First, I love birdcages, but although I had a parakeet as a kid, I don't feel comfortable keeping a caged pet.  Not that Mighty Bird spent all his time in his cage, but I am past the age and fitness level where I can climb trees to retrieve a parakeet who accidentally gets out the front door, and as I own the upholstery in this house, I'm also a bit less willing to have birds loose in here.  Still, for some reason, I am drawn to the graphic aspect of bird cages, and have used them to display plants and small collections, in the past.  Recently, I decided to make a sculpture from one.

I could call this piece done, but I have a little green glass window, with one missing pane that I want to hang on the wall behind it, and then have a flock of little finches scattered from inside the cage to just flying out the window.  I think also that I might want to give her a longer overskirt, and a much older look, by tea staining  and umber glazing her, but I haven't quite decided, and staining's not something I can undo, if I start and discover it isn't to my liking.  She'll hang here as-is, until I suddenly get a clear idea for the next step.  A piece of fabric will present itself for lengthening the skirt, or another artist's work will give me an idea for mellowing the color.  Around here, art is finished when it says it is, so I just keep on with the conversation until it speaks to me.
This is the starting point of another sculpture, which I worked on tonight during Open Studio at Maureen's (maureencarlson.com).  It looks like a dress form, but it's actually a foam casting of my friend Lisa.  Yup, like the urn on Monday's post, it's another one of those odd bits given to me by friends who know I'll take the things they can't quite bear to throw away.  Lisa's been hanging around here for about a year now, and for the past few weeks she's been suggesting I do something with her.  Tonight I spent most of the studio time clarifying the vision, bouncing ideas off of Maureen and another artist.  It was Maureen who suggested I tell a little about this process in tonight's post.

I know for sure I am giving her limbs and a head.  I'm not a big fan of amputated art, for symbolic/energetic reasons.  Not an issue for everyone, but for myself, I prefer wholeness in figurative art.  Tonight, I carved a Styrofoam skull, and started covering it with paper clay, and figured out a couple of options for attaching arms.  I'll wait until I decide for certain what she is and what she's doing, before I make those.

I had thought I might carve out niches in the chest and belly, and put interesting objects in there, but I was waffling on this.  Maureen brought out a showcase book of 500 figurative sculptures, to give me visuals on what I do and don't like.  It wasn't so I could find something to copy, but to look at how other artists have approached the human form, and give me a chance to see how some of my ideas might look finished.  I discovered that I don't care for holes cut into the body, as they creep me out the same way missing limbs do.

I do know for sure there will be raised pattern on the surface, and that although I had thought she would be woodland, like the greenman from Monday's post, she will most likely be a mermaid.  Maureen was excellent at asking questions to clarify her meaning to me, which was really helpful.  Unlike commissioned decoration, which requires quite a lot of initial design and planning, I don't have to know everything about this piece of art at the beginning, but I do need some concept of the finished design, in order to limit the possibilities enough to make a start. 

So, that's a peek into my process of beginning a piece of art.  Over the next few weeks, I will have some shots of how they progress, and maybe even the finished work.  In the meantime, if there is something artistic I can do for you, please ask!  As lovely as it is to have time to work on my own things, I do have to make a living, afterall.  Info on how to hire me is on the website, theartofthehome.com (just click here), along with a portfolio of possibilities. 

If you are inspired to try this yourself, info on my sculpting process is two posts down from this one, at the end of the post that features the urn.  As always, you can ask me questions about anything artistic at dawnmariedelara@gmail.com, and I'll share whatever I might know.

And by the way, if you happen to be headed toward Owatana this weekend, Maureen is doing a show there.  I think this is the BIG art and antique show, but I didn't get a chance to google it and it's so far past my bedtime that I've actually fallen asleep writing this more than once, so you're on your own with tracking that down!  Wherever you are, if you are shopping for fun or gifting this weekend, PLEASE feed the artists by staying out of the malls and hitting the art shows.  These artists work hard to design the things that manufacturers copy (and have made by cheap labor in foreign countries), and they deserve your business.

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