I’m starting off the new year with a new medium – clay sculpting. I’d taken some sculpting courses before back in art school where I modelled a head, so my interest isn’t entirely new. In fact, it was just long buried … I’ve gone through some old notebooks from that time and I’m quite surprised at the number of sculpture ideas in them!

clay-portrait-head-1

I’m learning from an accomplished professional sculptor, Geemon Xin Meng, who has his studio in the same building as mine. Geemon immigrated to Canada a few years ago from China where he had an established sculptural practice including having completed a number of large public commissions. Here are a few shots of my first attempt at a portrait head.

Work in progress

Work in progress

I’m really enjoying working with the clay. It’s such a contrast to being on the computer all the time, which is so clean, so digital. I get my hands into the clay and build the image directly. There’s something thrilling about seeing the form emerge.

Work in progress

Work in progress

Photographing the work is useful to me as I can see more clearly what needs to be done next. Sometimes it’s hard to see that when you’re up close to the sculpture. I think here the ear is too big and it needs to be pushed back on the head a bit. The head itself is a bit small, maybe. Clay is a forgiving material as long as it is kept damp — I’ll be rearranging the features of this head. Let’s see where it goes.