Monday, May 29, 2017

#128, Freedom Wings-Composition techniques

WWII bronze statue memorial
Freedom Wings (in progress),  4'10" tall clay for bronze statue

This 58" tall sculpture is of a life size male bald eagle with the US flag and will be cast in bronze in the next couple of months. The 280 pound monument will be installed on top of an 8 foot tall black granite column that will be laser etched with images from WWII. The sculpture will be unveiled on Veterans Day 2017 along with two of my other sculptures.

The composition of this statue was really fun to work out. Although the idea of a bald eagle and United States flag is fairly common in sculpture, as well as paintings, what I think will stand out with this monument is the attention to detail and the strong composition. While making this sculpture I have been conscious of the different angles that people will be viewing the sculpture. Because the it will be sitting on top of an 8' tall column, viewers will be encouraged to walk around the monument looking at the laser etched images on the sides of the column as well as the statue itself. So, I had to think strongly about composition from ALL angles. The angle of view that people will be looking from will be from below looking up. In compositions, I usually use lines and curves that are meant to be seen from straight on. These lines and curves can follow an arm up to the eyes, dance around a little in the body and then out the other arm, for example. There is usually an entry and an exit point for the eye to follow, but within that composition are all kinds of angles and curves. I like to think of them being composed similarly to a musical composition. For example, for me, the Beatles were musical composition geniuses, as was Beethoven and Mozart. Studying musical composition is somewhat similar to sculptural composition, at least that is the way it is for me. So If I had a good entry and exit point in the composition (i.e. the flag pole and the tips of the eagles primary feathers) than the areas in between that can be controlled with curves and diagonals. The curves and diagonals, though, have to work from below (and also from above which is easier to see since I can't raise the clay sculpture to 8' in my studio very easily). As such, I positioned the flag pole catywonper to the plane of the eagles wings. The head is turned close to the direction of the flag pole but looking up slightly. The feet are positioned crossing the straight line of the pole (as seen in the photo). Then there is the curve of the tail feathers which when viewed from the rear you can see the curve of them. I also kept in mind the side view where you can see the rock underneath the flag. This rock area almost creates a focal point itself due to the different textures so it had to be designed well also. In short, I am making sure that all of the angles will read well from all directions. When Freedom Wings is completed I will post photos in the round to help illustrate my composition techniques.

Friday, May 19, 2017

#127, bald eagle sculpture, in progress

bald eagle statue with artist
life size bald eagle sculpture in progress

Since returning from Europe one month ago I have been working on two commissions simultaneously and today I put the finishing touches on one of the sculptures of a life size female bald eagle. The bronze bald eagle will be permanently installed cantilevered on a 20 foot tall granite column 17 feet above the ground. The sculpture will be one of many that I am working on as part of a large scale Veterans memorial.