Category Archives: sculpture

otter / charcoal and chalk

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My model is made of bronze. He’s at Norfolk Botanical Garden where I found a whole bunch of bronze birds and animals.

It was nice out this morning, not too hot and humid. I found a great place to stand and draw under a magnolia that is starting to bloom. When the weather gets warm I look for a shady place to sketch. There was a little breeze and the otter was in the sun.

It’s only drawing practice. I might never use this sketch in a painting, but if I ever want an otter for a painting I have one.

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Wine makes her happy

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When I started drawing this statue I thought she looks high. She’s smiling and her eyes are half closed. Then I saw she has grape leaves in her hair. She must be drunk!

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This is my model. She’s in a large formal garden at Norfolk Botanical. I’m still doing portrait practice by sketching statues because they’re free and they don’t move. My friends and family don’t want to pose long enough for me to get a finished drawing. At least if I do find a free live model some time in the future, the time I’ve spent sketching statues will help me get a likeness.

After sketching a bunch of statues of male artists, it was nice to draw a pretty girl. I’ll go back to the sculpture garden with the famous dead guys again and do more of them but I took a little break from them.IMG_2049

This is another pretty girl in the same formal garden. Unfortunately, her nose is broken which will make it more of a challenge to draw her. I’ll have to use the magic of art to fix her nose after I get a little better at portraiture.

About ten years ago I practiced figure drawing and portraiture in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. I got the inspiration to draw the stone angels and was working on that for about six weeks when a good friend died suddenly and I was totally shattered. I hung around in the cemetery a lot for a couple years and drew most of the angels. It was the best therapy for me. Every day I was reminded that I’m still alive because I was standing over all these dead people. Hollywood Cemetery is very special. I’m not superstitious. I never saw a ghost, but the cemetery was my refuge from the world and it made a better artist out of me. And it helped me recover in some weird way, when my life went down the tubes back then.

After spending a lot of time sketching in the cemetery I wanted to draw some angels that were broken. I figured out how to draw a missing hand on a broken angel by copying a hand of another angel to fit. I felt like I kind of fixed the broken one when I could do that, and I knew my drawing skill was improving. That’s why I want to try again by putting a nose on this broken statue’s face.

I was very happy to find all these statues at Norfolk Botanical so I can continue to what I started ten years ago.

Can you name this famous dead guy part three, and story of strange bird encounter

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This guy is harder to name. I had to look him up, but if you study art history you might know him. I’ll give you a hint. He’s been dead over 2000 years.images (12)

This is one of his masterpieces. Well, it’s not the original. That one was destroyed.

Now for the bird story.

I’ve had a lot of weird bird encounters in my life. Here’s another.

This morning I was over at the garden working on my sketch and a lady spoke to me. She said, “That crow is interested in your bag.” I looked at the bench where I had taken my pencil box and water bottle out of my bag and laid them on top of it. This crow was on the arm of the bench looking at my stuff so I shooed him away.  He waited till I got right there and flew a few feet away. I went back to my drawing and I saw he was there again on the arm of the bench looking at me. I held out my hand and said , “Sit on my finger.” But he hopped away slowly. Then I put my pencil box and water bottle back in the bag and laid it at my feet in the grass. The crow flew up to sit on the statue’s head and sat there looking at me. I said, “What?” He hopped down and was hopping around my feet for a while and I told him I was trying to work here and he left. So, do you think the crow wanted to tell me something?

Previously on “Who’s the Dead Guy?”IMG_2034

7 reasons why I like sculptures for figure drawing practice

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  1. They don’t move. There’s no need to worry about running out of your 20 minute time allowance before the model needs a break. The artist can take a break any time they want to and the model will be in the exact same pose. You can even go back any time any day and the model will be the same.
  2. I can finish a drawing. Don’t get me wrong on this, open studio figure drawing practice is necessary, the more the better, but I never could finish a drawing. I had lots of sketchbooks full of sketches that I threw away when I moved. When I looked back at my figure drawings from years ago I could see an improvement that came from the open studio. I work slowly though, and I do enjoy finishing a drawing, which I could never do in the 3 hour or so time of the open studio.
  3. Lighting isn’t a problem. Check it out and decide what time of day you like the light and go then. There is no getting stuck on the dark side of the model. You can’t beat natural light.
  4. The pose is good. Like to see a graceful model in an interesting pose? Statues are more likely for that than some nude sitting or standing around.
  5. They’re ideal figures. Easy on the eyes, in perfect classical proportion.
  6. It’s not crowded. Sometimes at open studio figure drawing, my view is blocked by another artist . When I go out to draw a statue, I get to pick the best side to draw from. No other artists are there drawing.
  7. Last but not least, THEY’RE FREE! Who needs to pay a model to do figure drawing?
  8. This sculpture is “Breaking Ground”  by Kathleen Farrell. It’s the WPA monument at Norfolk Botanical Garden. During the depression the government had this project where they hired 220 African Americans to dig gardens by hand. 200 were women and 20 were men. It looks like back breaking work, doesn’t it? And that’s not all, they had to watch out for snakes, and the weather made it even more difficult. This model probably saw something moving on the ground, because she’s not looking at her shovel, she’s looking to the side. Yikes!

Chloe by Jaume Plensa @ the VMFA / story I made up about her

That’s me in front of Chloe modeling a top I made. Do I have a story for you.IMG_1902Does Chloe remind you of a movie like Avatar or Cocoon or something?  She’s an ET.

She’s a goddess from the planet Eatme. A lot of ETs from Eatme are in Richmond and they phoned home that it’s nice here so Chloe decided to come on down for her vacation. She has a giant UFO about a mile wide that she landed outside of Richmond totally flattening a lot of woods, soybeans , buildings and also blocking 95, causing a huge pile up of cars. A cop put a parking ticket on her ship but she’ll never pay it. That’s how it is with foreign dignitaries.

She got out of her ship and started walking into Richmond up the James River. She didn’t want to cause further damage, but still kept stepping on cars, so the river was easier to walk in. The armed forces sent out helicopters to try to communicate with her but she ignored them until they got too close, then she blew them away in a giant breath of air that smelled so sweet it was intoxicating to the pilots. One pilot radioed in that he wondered if she was married, and dispatch radioed back, “Repeat that Delta Niner.” It’s like all the guys fell in love with her when they inhaled her sweet air. So they sent in some tanks, but she laughed and turned them upside down.

Then they called in Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. They’re our heroes with the most experience dealing with ETs. Tommy and Will got on top of the museum because Chloe started walking up the Boulevard and they shot her with enough tranquilizers to stop a whole heard of elephants. All the ladies wanted to kill Chloe. The scientists wanted to study her dead or alive, but the men wanted to keep her alive and talk to her when she woke up.

The VMFA was setting up a conceptual art piece in the yard by a Chinese artist, Sum Young Guy. (his real name) They had dug this 100 ‘ hole for Guy’s installation and they were awaiting the art piece’s arrival. So they decided bury Chloe up to her neck in the hole and keep her prisoner there. They tied her up like Gulliver and used a crane to lower her into the hole gently.

She looks peaceful enough asleep, doesn’t she? When she woke up there was hell to pay. She let out an ungodly shriek that people heard for 15 miles. All the ETs in town ran to the museum and dug her up. She shot laser beams out her eyeballs and destroyed the museum and a lot of priceless art. The generals were yelling at Will and Tommy because they didn’t know about the laser beam eyes.  Then she went on a rampage destroying everything.

That’s the last I heard from Richmond. I was in my car and out of town as soon as I got my picture taken with her. There were traffic jams and accidents everywhere.IMG_1900 Chloe’s kind of flat from this side.

Here’s a pic of another giant ET head buried up to it’s neck. This one is on Easter Island.

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