To prepare for today’s sculpture class I went for a fried breakfast at a local café. The bad news is that it really didn’t hold up to the cooked breakfasts I’m used to in Brighton; the good news is that this was would be the first and last disappointment of the day.
What we did
We started the day with a brief overview of torso sculpture (‘top torsos of the past’) covering the Torso of Apollo, the Belvedere Torso and several more up to the present day with Eleanor expounding the good qualities of the sculptures on the projector screen and providing some insight into the practice of great figure sculptors, Michelangelo, Rodin etc. It is always interesting to see how the influence of great work trickles down through history.
Like yesterday we spent the majority of the day sculpting in wax. We had a lovely male model to sculpt from (Tom) who held an all day standing pose. We maintained consistent positions in the room, Tom rotated 30 degrees every quarter of an hour or so and we rotated our sculptures accordingly. This provided us all with the variety of views required to create a three dimensional response to the figure. Today's was by far the most ‘artistic’ activity; here is a rotated view of my wax figure as it stood at the end of the day.
I don’t sculpt much, neither did most of the rest of the group. The constant rotation of the model was very helpful and contrasted with other sculpture sessions Id been to where we were required to move around a static model. Eleanor’s input was fantastic and she sculptured along with us; I learnt some useful lessons watching her and listening to her advice. I was very impressed with everybody else’s work, particularly Gabby (who had the view opposite me) and another girl a couple of places to my left. By the end we had a really unique set of figures, inspired by the model but molded in the image of our individual creative intentions.
The life model/no life model problem. Eleanor was in the tricky position of teaching a class that required a model in a city where she didn’t have connections with life classes and so was using a London model who she didn’t know. There is always the risk that the model will have to cancel and I shared her trepidation in anticipating Tom’s arrival. It sounded like Eleanor had a sound back up plan for working without a live figure, which is the best one can do! Worst case scenario, perhaps we could have all drawn straws for the job. All was well, Tom was punctual and everything went swimmingly.
A thing I learnt
It was really useful to find out how Eleanor constructed the armature for the torso (Vertical dowel on a plywood base with horizontal dowels wired with a on through the center of the shoulders and the top of trochanter), it set the scale for the figure and provided a stable base on which to construct the figure.
This was our last day with Eleanor, and it has been an absolute pleasure working with her. I’m worried that I sound overly gushing in my descriptions of the classes, but with both Eleanor and Sarah’s portions of the course I’ve been hugely impressed by the quality of teaching and really cant find fault with any of it. Besides that, Eleanor is such a lovely lady, with a fantastic attitude to her work and art education.
This post is part of a weeklong diary, you can read the rest here:
Introduction, Day 01, Day 02, Day 03, Day 04
Teaching, drawing, writing and painting.