I was back in the studio today after our annual holiday vacation visiting family. Good to be back to work – it’s amazing how much I enjoy just being in the shop.
I managed to finish a sculpture just before leaving, so today was a combination of getting things back in order as well as creating the “cartoon” for my next piece – part of my Dryad series. These are usually the extent of my advance drawing for a sculpture. I do not make detailed blueprints. Just a simple outline will do.
For larger pieces, I used to laboriously draw out a grid system over the sketch and then transfer each resulting square onto a larger pattern of squares. This required me to anticipate, take accurate measurements and try to precisely guess the best size for the ultimate sculpture. I wanted to get it right, because it could take an hour or more to complete a large drawing. If I wasn’t happy, I had to start all over again.
That was before I discovered the glory that is the overhead projector. Now, I can project the drawing full size instantly, and changing scale is a simple matter of altering the distance from the wall. The image below of the sculpture just over 13′ tall was accomplished simply by moving the cart. (I’m toying with the idea of executing it on something around this scale, we’ll have to see how the completed smaller one looks first.)
Of course, now that I have the ability to instantly and precisely project a staggering number of options, it can be more difficult to make the ultimate determination. That’s why it’s good to have a lot of smaller task to complete at the same time I’m working on these cartoons. I just leave them projected on the screen, and go about my business. Periodically I’ll look up, or just walk around, to get a better feel for how something will ultimately look. This can take anywhere from a few minutes, up to a few years. The longest I think I ever had a cartoon hanging on the wall before I was convinced I had the right scale and was ready to begin was a bit over two years. It can happen.
You just have to keep moving forward.