Tag Archives: sketch

Venus designing

To build a larger sculpture from a small clay sketch uses some strategy to make the enlargement work without distorting to design. It’s said the Henry Moore worked his designs out in the size of something which could be held in his hand. That size is very helpful since the object can easily be turned in the hands and all sides studied and worked on evenly, and the contact of the hand, the Great Tool, is equal on all the parts of the object.

My way is to convert a small clay model into a design plan which I can measure and build from. To try and measure accurately from a small model and make enlargements of dimensions is too inaccurate. The model is freehand, and not symmetric, the enlargement scale is too great. I want to derive a schematic drawing which has the essentials of the design laid-out accurately on a grid, which can be enlarged and dimensioned from as needed when building the sculpture. I know my friends in digital computer 3D modeling are appalled, but this is an ancient tried-and-true method of building, anything, from a simple plan or sketch. As well, this design work will help me if I choose to also produce a 3D model, since the proportions of the design are already set down.

I’m working from my last idea, which has taken on the identity of a Venus, or else a proto-woman. I had hesitation about this, but I did get approval from women about it so of course I’m going ahead.

Take clear photos of the model, front, side, back, top, and bottom. Use a deep focal length to flatten out the image and reduce the perspective.





Open then in some software, maybe Photoshop, stack them up in with some transparency, and scale and rotate them so they’re even and of consistent size and orientation.


Then, lay them out in graphic design software, maybe Illustrator, and set some guidelines across their common points of reference.


Draw the design over the images, constructing from the reference points. The image is just a suggestion, you’re creating a new design, not just tracing the image exactly.


With judgment, refine and clean up the drawing.


Turn off the images layer, turn on a grid. And perhaps you have a useful schematic,


..which you can blow up to any size, print out, measure from, and trace onto any material, say, a block of wood, prepared for carving.

On tracks

I haven’t been doing nothing; I liked having a show and getting all that attention so much that I applied for another one. Aside from the work in the last show, I have other things which have never or rarely been shown publicly. This is a collection I call the “colossi” because they’re all over 15 feet – among which are two inflatables, portable and easy to put up, if you have the space.

I thought about a partner to show with. I have a friend, John Harnois, a photographer, with whom I talked often over the years about applying for a show together at the Buckham Gallery in Flint. John also has some very interesting older work which has stayed in my mind. This work he calls the “Acrobat Series”, is nudes photographed with a panoramic camera. Although, what he’s best known for is selling his hand-raised chickens and eggs at the Ann Arbor farmer’s market.

And since it’s the age of internet communications, thank god galleries don’t require you to submit tedious proposals, resumes and statements, but accept webpages about your cooked-up ideas. See: http://colossiartshow.wordpress.com/ for John and my proposal. We probably won’t get it, but we try.

John’s voluptuous, factual, nudes have got me thinking – I’ve have a rough idea for new sculpture in wood to do, and what if I worked it along in the feeling of his oh-so literal nudes? My work’s ordinarily so cute and de-sexualized – what if?

I began with some notebook sketches I’ve had, called “Baby”.


Did some more drawings, this time a woman, a genuine reclining nude. So classic, no?


Progressing to some clay models.



I have a piece of cottonwood I’ve been saving for something to do. It should carve like styrofoam, or should I use real wood? Am I going to build this? I don’t know. Is it too weird?