Monthly Archives: January 2017

Out of the mould and tidied up a lot

Same process as last time of trying to carefully cut away the plaster mould, hoping not to chip it in the process, and hoping to be free of holes


Both ears lost to bubbles [as are the pupils and septum of the nose], there’s a large void in the chignon, a defect at the right jaw angle, and the print of my plaster flicking hand having hit the left cheek!  There are also gouges in the plaster from the chisel used to remove the waste mould.  Having said that, the chignon came out quite well and most of the surface is there.  The pictures above are pretty much how the cast looked by close of play Monday.

Today, it was repair time, “killing” plaster as Toft suggests, and then getting it onto wet parts of the cast.  There is a lot of time pressure as early on the plaster is very runny [single cream], then it thickens and will start to hold shape but then it quickly goes off so it can’t be handled.  However, has not gone hard enough to model or carve.  Carve too early and bits fall off, carve too late and the plaster is a lot harder and therefore difficult to carve.

I hope that you can see on the pictures below that I’ve attended to all the problems except the hole in the chignon, which i like, and the eyes [better done with some drill bits – sounds nasty].  Still not sure about the hairline; maybe fashion a headscarf or turban……

Once I’ve sorted the eyes, I shall photograph again in better light – and will turn my attentions to a mount/stand as a finished piece for college.

Making a portrait without the model

For just under two weeks I have been trying to fashion a portrait bust of Alice using some measurements taken just before Xmas, some extra photos [supposedly straight on and sides left & right].  By Sunday the 15th I had got to here [teatowel cover as never liked hair on sculpted portraits].

thumb_DSC08538_1024thumb_DSC08539_1024 thumb_DSC08540_1024 thumb_DSC08541_1024

Whilst there is lots to recommend the piece it still didn’t look like Alice to my eyes – or to Jill”s either!  JC Rich says in his book on sculpture [1940s] that trying to model someone you know well is very difficult as you keep melding together all your experience of that person.  Both Eduoard Lanteri & Albert Toft  [19th into 20 century] suggest starting to learn to model with an older man’s face so I’m not picking an easy route.  So there was more fine-tuning [fiddling] and still not satisfied.

However, I went looking on YouTube for modern portraitists where you can see the their work and the person it is modelled on.  Well, Amelia Rowcroft does a pretty good job from photos as does Mike Hill [who is mainly hyperrealist but from photos] but there are many who offer portraiture but, to my eyes, don’t deliver [eg, Lena Toritch  and also doyen Tip Toland].

On Monday, I took what I’d done to college and gained useful feedback from Ed Poxon our tutor. So did some more fiddling on Tuesday and this was the result [should have kept the tea towel for better comparison] ….

thumb_DSC08579_1024 thumb_DSC08584_1024 thumb_DSC08585_1024 thumb_DSC08586_1024

On Wednesday I made the mould and today, took it off the clay, cleaned it and treated it with release agent – think that the chignon formed well in the mould.  Then I re-assembled the three mould parts, secured them and poured my cast in higher quality plaster [Crystacal R] than I have used up ’til now.  Ed suggested I try using my hand inside the mould to help the plaster be appropriately distributed [and showed an example of technique].

Mixed too much of new style plaster, which sets very hard, and got tied up with large forearm and narrow internal neck of mould.  Pressed on with more plaster for strengthening scrim and came away with an uncomfortable left forearm with loads of hairs stuck together!  Now forearm much more comfortable if a little naked.  Next time apply Vaseline to forearm first or, perhaps, go for pour in and rotate the mould to distribute the plaster [or get an assistant with small hands and forearms!]

thumb_IMG_7554_1024 thumb_IMG_7555_1024 thumb_IMG_7556_1024

I’m really not sure how well the pour went – will find out on Friday if I manage to get into college..