Friday, February 21, 2014

Grand kids make great subjects for portrait sculpture

I'm a little prejudice on the subject of depicting these little darlings.  I have been creating childrens' portrait 'heads' and 'busts' for over 40 years.  I have made portraits of some of my collectors grand kids but this is the first time I have worked on my own granddaughters sculpture.  Alexandra and her mother, Caroline have been
Ali sits at my 'Down Under Art Studio' in Portsmouth, NH
coming down to my studio in Portsmouth to sit for Ali's 'head'.  (A portrait 'head' differs from a portrait 'bust' in that the 'head' is sans shoulders and is a bit more informal in it's presentation.) The finished cast 'head' is mounted on a handsome block of marble or hardwood which will appoint the sculpture work. These pictures show the sculpture process about half-way through the sculpting or modeling process. Clay work unlike carving wood or stone which is only subtractive is the process of adding and subtracting; much like painting it allows a lot of subtlety and refinement to the completed work. The 'clay model' then has a negative mother mold made on it. From there a 'cast stone' or 'lost wax bronze' is created.

As you can see my subject doesn't really stay real still or pose
and posing is not really necessary.

I like to work from life, usually 3 or 4 two-hour sessions are all that is required. The sittings are filled in with photo's that I take at different stages of the sculpture. In other cases I work completely from photo's. The duel busts of 2 sisters pictured below was completed only from photographs supplied by my client. Notice the 'polychrome' patina. The 'patina' being the coloration of the sculpture and polychrome indicating a number of various colors. Finishing the sculpture in this way is really a look back to the way the ancients; Greeks would finish their marble carvings and bronze casts. I also could have completed this work in a variety of traditional bronze 'greens' or 'browns' which were typically arrived from by the washing of 'copper nitrate' for blue-green or 'ferric nitrate' for brown. The 'Sisters' are cast in 'stone' which has the advantage of being about half the overall cost of a 'lost wax bronze'.
"Sisters"   Cast Stone     (c) William Barth Osmundsen

Visit my "Down Under Art Studio"
at the
Ben Franklin Block Building
75 Congress St.,
Suite LO2
Portsmouth, NH