Here is another progress report on the sculpture of the Marine guiding his mule-- A Mule and his Marine is a more realistic title...
Yesterday I worked on the figures' heads, adding muscle and skin to the skulls.
Adding a fleshed-out head to the sculpture certainly gave the mule a spark of life... I hope that one day soon he may even look stubborn!
Well, friends, I finally began putting wax onto The Mule and his Marine (!)
I began by stuffing the open areas (the guts, basically) with aluminum foil. I continued by stretching metal screen over the form in order to hold the foil guts in and give the surface "tooth" for the wax to adhere to. I then secured it all with wire.
I slowly added hot wax to build up basic shapes which will eventually become muscles and hide.
(all that stuff behind the figures above is what's on the shelf in my home studio)
The torsos are now covered with a basic layer of wax. Tomorrow I'll begin on the heads and legs of the figures.
More work from yesterday and today on the Mule and Marine armature:
To the base I added some wire screening, on which I'll add plaster cast strips to keep the form.
On the dry, hardened plaster form, I added wire mesh and sculpting wax...
The wax has been added, to make the basic mountain form. Soon I'll begin adding wax "rocks" and other mountain-typical objects, to make the base read "Mountainside"...
The difficulty with sculpture "in the round" is that one must take care to make a pleasing composition from several angles-- basically from each point around 360 degrees of the compass.
This particular base must be large and wide enough to hold the weight of the large mule figure and its load, but also must be visually balanced and yet seemingly unstable (like a mountain with talus slopes)
. No pressure, eh?!
Friday's work on the base:
Tomorrow, I begin to put "flesh, clothing and gear" on the figures.
Today I finished constructing the basic shape of the armature which will hold the "mountainside" under the Marine and mule figures.
I had started a few days ago on the slope, using wood and nails to block it out:
Then I used wire screen and staples to make the form upon which the sculpting wax would be applied:
Finally, I applied melted wax to the screen and thus fleshed out the armature mountainside.
Next, I will add some girth to the base of the armature, so that the final cast bronze will not be top-heavy with mule... but I want to make sure it's not too heavy-looking and that the base has an uplift and a lightness to it. This may be a stubborn task-- perhaps just as stubborn as the subject itself!
I am a fine artist and illustrator in the Classical Realist school, inspired by the masters of art history as I sketch and paint the world around me.
Recently I served as a Combat Artist in the US Marine Corps, from September 2006 till March 2014.
Though now once again in civilian garb, I continue to endeavor to uphold the traditions and standards of Marine Combat Art. The uniform may have changed, but the artist's fight remains the same.
"The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.”
― Steven Pressfield