After delivering the 2 pieces I wrote about in my last blog entry, I stayed in plaster relief mode and began work on some additional fish reliefs for the upcoming Yarmouth Art Festival. This annual event is a juried show organized by the members of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church and it benefits a variety of local community services. Last year's show featured 165 pieces by 80 different artists.
Using the same materials that I utilized for the previous reliefs, I rolled out a 1/2" thick clay slab and used one of the wooden fish relief templates to impress an arrangement of fish into the clay and then added underwater "vegetation" using the textured cord and my wooden leaf templates. I made a second clay slab and impressed a different arrangement with the two different fish templates and vegetation. The clay slabs were trimmed into squares, put into mold frames and covered with about 1/2" of casting plaster. Once the plaster hardened, I removed the frames, peeled off the clay and rinsed the remaining clay residue off of each of the castings.
After correcting any casting flaws and smoothing the edges, I dried the 2 casts in the oven at 200 degrees for an hour (no, I didn't "fry" them as per the title of the blog...I just wanted to use the phrase "fish to fry"). Next I painted each of the reliefs with Golden's Graphite Gray acrylic paint, and when they were dry I lightly burnished the surface with a soft paper towel to bring out the metallic quality of the paint. The final step will be to mat and frame them and photograph them for the entry process. The accepted works will be posted online on October 3rd and the work will be shown at St. Bartholomew's October 19th through October 22nd, with an artists' reception on Thursday, October 20th (5:30-8). On to the next!
It's that time of year again...time to get artwork ready for the annual 10x10brunswick Benefit Art Exhibit & Sale. This incredibly well-organized and supported show is put on by the organization Arts Are Elementary, a Maine non-profit that provides artist residencies to every elementary school class in Brunswick. The show features the work of over 125 artists. Each piece submitted by the artists fits the 10"x10" frame format and is priced at $200. The artwork will be available to view online starting September 4th. The sale date is Friday, September 30th (6-8:30 PM), but the show will be open for public preview Thursday, September 29th (5-8 PM) and Friday the 30th (12 noon-3 PM) at the Curtis Memorial Library and the St.Paul's Church Parish Hall.
I created two fish themed plaster reliefs for the 10x10 last year that were very well received and led me to continue to explore other variations utilizing similar forms and techniques. (See my blog entries for 8/10/15, 8/29/15, 9/27/15 and 10/15/15.) This year I used the same wooden fish templates that I made last year, but this time I used a length of textured cord to create the stems of the underwater vegetation. The cord allowed me more flexibility in positioning the stems. I was also able to use short sections of cord to help give a feeling of more depth by making the stems appear to go behind some of the fish.
I impressed two different compositions onto two separate slabs of clay. One had multiple impressions of just one fish interspersed between wavy vertical leafed stems, and the other had multiple images of the two different fish facing off between leafed stems that were slanted. The slabs were set into mold frames and covered with about 1/2" of plaster. After the plaster hardened, the molds were opened and the clay was removed from the cast plaster reliefs. The clay residue was rinsed off the plaster and the casts were then dried in the oven. The final step was to paint each piece with Graphite Gray acrylic and then mat them (see blog entry 8/29/15 for matting process). Ready to be delivered to Brunswick!
Update: Both of these pieces sold. Another very successful event put on by Arts Are Elementary in Brunswick!
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.