I had no idea when I began my initial foray into the world of fish in August that I would still be rolling out clay slabs and pouring plaster for fish relief sculptures in mid-October. As the entry deadline for entering the annual Boothbay Region Art Foundation's ArtinME show loomed, I decided to continue my underwater explorations. An idea for a new approach had occurred to me as I peeled the clay slab off the casting I had done for the Sheepscot Watershed show at River Arts Gallery in Damariscotta (seem my previous blog entry). I had noticed an interesting pattern in the clay residue on the plaster that led me to think that I might be able to add some kind of "water effect" to the fish designs by impressing wavy vertical lines over the fish imprint. My first attempt involved simply pressing the edge of a board into a clay fish relief at regular intervals. The effect was interesting but I wanted to be able to show more variation in the composition.
I decided to give the edge of the board a slight curve and to expand my design options by adding a second wooden fish template (I finished the original one described in my blog entry for 8/10/15). I also decided to work on a larger slab of clay. The earlier reliefs were about 6"x6", the new piece would be 9"x11". I liked the visual effect that I was able to achieve by imprinting the 2 different fish going in opposite directions. I added impressions of the edge of the curved board, varying the distance between the marks and varying the height of the curves. It didn't read to me as "water", but I liked the effect. I thought it looked more like underwater vegetation. In order to emphasize that idea, I made a small wooden simple "leaf" and made impressions in various spots along the plant stems. I was very happy with the result! I painted it with Graphite Gray acrylic, framed it, named it and drove to Boothbay Harbor to deliver it. Deadline met!
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Cynthia Smith, Maine artist, originally from Connecticut. Taught art at secondary level for 35 years, retired in 2004. Sculpts in bronze, wood, stone, clay & plaster. Her work can be seen at several mid-coast Maine galleries and shows.