This was a welcome sight last Saturday morning, crossing back into my home state after two brain stretching weeks in Helena, Montana. It was perhaps the most intense workshop I've ever attended. To paraphrase fellow student Sarah Snavely, our 2 GB brains had 32 GBs crammed in each day!
I had walked onto the Archie Bray grounds thinking, oh I'll do something out of the ordinary for me, maybe a llama or a dog. By the end of the first morning's intro and info session I had been inspired by Tip Toland to really stretch into unknown territory: the human figure.
She said something that was very reassuring, "good art is made if you're almost terrified" She glanced at Beth Cavener Stichter, they both grinned -- no, wait, completely terrified! Terrified that you don't know what you're doing, terrified of what you might learn about yourself through the process, terrified of what others might think, terrified that you'll fail, terrified that you'll succeed. Making art ain't for sissies... but what the heck, fear and fun can co-exist.
So I dove in. Made more little people maquettes than I'll ever know what to do with. Sculpted a human hand (my left hand actually) and worked on a self-portrait bust (if that isn't just a little weird I don't know what is).
Tip's other comforting pearl of wisdom was "if you're not frustrated, you're not learning!" Oh boy, I learned a ton.
Before leaving for Montana I had planned out a few new projects, each has some element of new challenge for me. This one involves re-working a "Marshall" more extensively in the head and neck than I've pushed it before.
Freshly inspired to be terrified I've been slicing and dicing. Here, the lower end of a perfectly good head has been removed...
in order to add a strip of clay to lengthen the head,
then reattach and re-sculpt the lower section.
This might not work, this could be a complete disaster... but it will be fun!