Archive for June, 2006

Sculpting from drawing

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

Today I worked for many hours on a clay model of my two-year old son’s head. I worked from some dozens of life-drawings that I have been making over many weeks. Each drawing is from a different viewpoint, which is what I need for the sculpture. And yet it was difficult to get the likeness. Finally when he came home from daycare, I followed him around the apartment as he played with a toy tractor. With the clay model in my hands, I made rapid and decisive progress on the sculpture — even though he did not remain still for more than a moment. In half an hour I accomplished more than in the eight hours working from the drawings.

This experience has challenged my idea of what I am doing as an artist when I draw. Some time ago a sculptor said to me that painters and sculptors draw in different ways. He did not elaborate — perhaps he could not — but the concept has intrigued me ever since. Today I begin to sense the need for a different manner of drawing for sculpture. As a painter, I try to draw to capture light and shade, and through this, the illusion of form. What I realized is that the illusion of form is precisely that, an illusion, and the actual information conveyed is less than what we might imagine. Next time I draw I will try to focus on conveying the information of form more explicitly, rather than the illusion of form through the effects of light.