Figure Sculpture


Tuesday night figure sculpting class is at an end! This ten-week night class made Wednesdays very groggy but got me to think about structure and anatomy for figure drawing in some really great ways. Our model was Christie, who also happened to be the model I painted during the the last three-week pose. I took this sculpture course to better understand how forms fit together and overlap so I would be more sensitive to them as I rendered drawings and paintings. It was extra serendipitously lucky to be looking at the same model while painting and sculpting.

We worked in oil clay, which is exactly as it sounds. Clay that has a greasy quality and never seems to dry. This was a thirty hour sculpture that would take sixty hours to bring to a fully modeled finish. That would include a real head, arms, hands and feet along with finely modeled muscles and features. Ideally after the sculpture is finished you can make a plaster mold and use it to create, say, a bronze cast.

My sculpture (featured above) will never see plaster or molten metal. Eventually the clay will dry a little, shrink, and become brittle. I might cover it with some varnish to keep it alive a while longer. I like having it in my studio space reminding me to think structurally. Can’t figure out how to make the arm look right on a drawing? Sculpture teaches you to consider the figure in 360 degrees. I.e. To better draw the arm, think about what the back of the model is doing. Remembering to think this way is a huge boost toward drawing more believable figures.

This is my first time doing sculpture of any kind. It was super fun and very demanding of my whole brain. I took a few progress shots along the way, here you can see a bit of the process:

First week or two:


Early middle weeks:


Late middle weeks:


Final weeks:


Final sculpture front: