portrait bust – part 1

today i want to start a sequel of posts on which i will show my carving of a portrait bust, in a little more than half of life size, and fully in the round. so, for me somewhat new terrain after all the high relief portraits …

however this project was prepared long before… it started with doing a clay model, and then cast it in plaster :

several pictures of the clay model are on my homepage. … so, i have a model to base on, to make measurements from if i feel i need to ….

i did something more, since i am curious to see how it works, to learn if it is useful… and that is, i made additionally a digital model of the same person… i used zbrush as software (zbrush from pixologic), and here is what i came up with (please click image to enlarge):

digital portrait bust created in zbrush 4.0

why i think this is useful is, that it shows the stages i have gone to create the head. in the top left you see the first stage, a model consisting only of a few flat planes that contain the basic proportions and the main (strong) angles. the bust in the lower left has the planes a tad bit more refined, i.e. split up into smaller planes with slightly different positions in space. we recognise now already the hair, the area where the eyes will fall, an indication of the ears, and a refinement of the shoulder area despite no details are there to actually show these … and the right images show again refinements of these with the final sculpted bust in the middle…

hey, why is she showing that on a woodcarving blog ?

because, this is at the very core of carving… i am still visiting woodcarving sites, and very often i hear “how do i carve this, how do i carve that ?” … the answer to all these questions is the same and presented in the picture above : look at your model what you want to carve, squeeze your eyes to see blurry, and you will see the basic shapes and volumes only, no details, like in the top left image above, that with the very few planes… carve that, with some “safety wood” around it, ,,, then look a tad closer, and now refine your first approach to match what you see now… go on this way, as long as you think it is needed to present what you desire to show…

i know, it sounds too simple… but really, in carving we create shapes in space, volumes,,,no matter what the subject is we carve. …

ok,,, thats for today, i have already glued up the block of wood, and started carving, soon pictures wil come from the first stage,,,

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gentle whisper 5

who would have expected it… wow, i finally finished him… those of you who followed this project, might remember the desaster of the first cast… this is a second cast, i could not free the first one, it stuck too much into the mould. so, what i did was to make a second mould from the clay, as it was almost intact, except it has lost the ears. the second cast into this new mould went well, only a few airbubbles to repair, plus making him new ears. …

first, i wanted to leave him white, as the beautiful plaster sculptures in neresheim, but then, i thought these sculptures look so well in stark white because of their surrounding. which mine do not have… so, i painted him in very light colors, to still get the light feeling i have with white color, but to fit him into the surrounding he is in now… would love to hear from you what you think of that finish…

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gentle whisper 4

just a short note,to keep you updated, and expectation not raise too high… well the cast is kind of glued to the mould, i chiseled all day to get him free at least like this 😦 … i had to be extra careful, as i casted him hollow… geez… but, i think i know “who” the culprit was, why the mould glued to the cast : its the color. when i use uncolored plaster all works fine, but with the acrylic color in it is sticky, and more over it is more like chalk, not good plaster. soo,,, i wont do that again… so need more chiseling to free him. the cast itself seems be good, no airbubbles this time… and,,, a hello to ladner, thanks for the kind words…

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gentle whisper 3

i finally decided it is time to mould him, i made a lot of changes. not very dramatic ones, but sublte. most important to me, are the “new eyes”,,, and then i started moulding, and forgot to take a picture of the scuture before starting,,, i mean, just in case the worst happens and all goes wrong, then i would not even have a foto of him… i suddenly remembered that i wanted take foto, and made one, when i had already put the shims to separate front from back… the next foto shows the shells, i made a 3 part mould this time, and they turned out pretty well 🙂 … and last foto shows the clay, after i had pulled it off the shells,,, i am amazed i got him out, with so little damage, he lost his ears (thats ok, they are easy to model) and has some minor damages, which i can easily repair… why ? oh, i would love to try a second casting, with trying a new material… we will see… for now, next is drying the mould completely and then casting in plaster ,,, now, that the original clay is almost intact, i feel much more relaxed to do the casting 🙂

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gentle whisper 2

i reworked and refined his face, reworked the lips, and the area between lips and nose. improved the skull shape, and tried to texture the skin to make it look less plastic… still alot work to be done… i only hope i can keep him young … lol

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gentle whisper

this work in progress is inspired by tamara´s “whispers of the dawn” ,,, and by a youtube movie where philippe faraut sculpted a young man.

my sculpture is almost lifesize, so my biggest head i have done so far… and, i must say, “bigger is easier” at least to judge proportions…

(please click images to enlarge)

allegorical portrait in clay allegorical portrait in clay allegorical portrait in clay

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Yippie, i made it !

My casting tutorial is finished, and my first faux bronze bust is done… Continue to read here :

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