In past blog entries I have mentioned the challenges that
one can be faced with when selecting work to enter into a themed art show. Sometimes, by some lucky circumstance, the direction of a current project and the theme of a show conveniently coincide. The theme of the upcoming juried art show at the River Arts Gallery in Damariscotta, "Sheepscott Watershed", was conceived in conjunction with a local non-profit land trust, the Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association. Artists have been asked to submit work that represents the flora, fauna and vistas of the Sheepscott Watershed, the section of mid-coast Maine between Freedom and Boothbay Harbor. The show theme led me to envision fish swimming up the Sheepscot River, offering me the perfect opportunity to continue my recent exploration of plaster relief sculptures with fish images (see my blog entries for 8/10 and 8/29).
I got out my clay and my wooden fish relief template, and got to work. After experimenting with a number of different fish groupings, I decided to go with a horizontal composition that would convey the feeling of a group moving en masse toward a common goal - perhaps swimming upstream to spawn. I thought this also could be a strong representation of the members of the SVCA and their unified efforts to conserve and restore the the natural and historic heritage of the 320 square miles of the Watershed. After completing the final design in clay, I cast it in plaster using the same techniques I described in my previous posts. I washed off the residual clay from the surface of the casting, thoroughly dried it in the oven, and painted it with Graphite Gray acrylic paint. The final step was to prepare the double mat and then frame the piece. Next stop ... Damariscotta.
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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.