The board that the figure will eventually stand on is also a piece of coastal 'flotsam'. I thought the coloration and texture of the top of the board would marry well with the natural coloration of the figural piece. I made a wooden foot with a short dowel coming up out of the ankle that will be inserted and glued into the bottom of the supporting leg. I decided to reshape the flat ends and side of the board to make it appear less static, so I undercut the top, leaving only a quarter of an inch thickness to the top curved surface of the board. A narrow strip of wood remained down the center of the underside. I made a round disc base out of a piece of walnut and made narrow trapezium shaped strip of wenge that will be placed under the baseboard of the figure to elevate it above the round wooden base. The next step will be to do finish work on the surfaces and stain the underside of the figure baseboard. I think I will probably seal the piece with a light coat of satin polyurethane. The final step will be to mount and attach the various parts. Stay tuned...
I have taken a little break from working in bronze in order to get a piece ready for entry into an upcoming themed show at the River Arts Gallery in Damariscotta. The theme is "The Maine Story - Land & Sea". (I wrote about the blessing & curse aspects of themed shows in my blog entry for 9/28/13.) For this show I am finishing a piece that I started some time ago and had not gotten around to completing. It is a dancing figure shaped from a piece of wood I found on a coastal beach. I recognized its gestural and figural potential as soon as I picked it up. It was shaped a bit like a slingshot with two interesting branch 'nubs' projecting out slightly from the 'handle'. The two branches that formed the top of the 'Y' were distinctly different - one had retained its original solid form while the other was tapered and had been worn down to the heartwood. I was able to transform the tapered part into an extended leg with muscle definition. For contrast, I left the remaining branch of the 'Y' in its original state. After creating a hooded faceless head and shaping the abbreviated raised 'arm', I addressed the back of the figure. I allowed a natural split in the wood guide my shaping of the figure's spine and shoulders. I did some light sanding to smooth the surfaces that I had worked on and also used a piece of soft wood to burnish the smooth surfaces.
...once I achieved the desired color with the patina for my cast piece of driftwood, the next step was to figure out the best way to mount it on a base. The question really answered itself. There was only one area of the piece that was thick enough to drill a hole for a threaded rod. I ground the end of the projection flat and used a tap and die to create a threaded hole. The projection was angled, so drilling the hole was a little tricky - it had to be drilled so that it would be perpendicular to the base. Tricky but do-able.
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.