Well… just like a democracy, making art is a messy process…
I really do wish I was one of those people who had all the answers upfront and had their work all drawn out with plans laid out before them when they started to work, but that just isn’t how it goes with me. As you can see from my previous posted pix I do start out with a general idea and I do make a quick drawing first so I guess I’m not that messed up in my process.
Anyway, one of the initial changes I made to the piece are that I shortened the length of the ‘church/mast’ on the top of the sub. I think this makes the whole piece look more ‘sub-like’ rather than multiple individual ideas - church, sub and human bust -slapped together. I’ve also added a funky little rail for a jet launcher. Yes, all the cool subs have them… Actually, it’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a while since seeing a Japanese version from WWII. The plane will be designed so that the wings fold down and fit in the ‘church/mast’ and can be hidden from view. It’ll also feature a spring loaded launcher that you’ll be able to fire…even tho’ the glide ratio of a wood and metal plane won’t be very impressive.There’s even potential for a rocket launcher or periscope out of the top of the steeple, but we’ll see how things go. I start out with a simple idea, then it goes nuts….
I’ve also given into covering the ballast tanks on the sides of the sub in corrugated tin made burned up tin cans. This was my original thought for the sides of this piece, but I resisted it since the corrugation seams run counter to the flow of water over a sub. I usually make sure I incorporate these engineering details into my work primarily for my own benefit, but I do like to explain the engineering logic to the public. I think this helps ‘sell’ the piece and makes it a little more believable even tho’ there’s not a thing logical in a hydrodynamic way of having a large church steeple on a sub! But there’s the rub… and what makes a piece of my work different from a strictly representational piece of art.
I’ve still got a long ways to go and I’m trying out a couple of other graphic elements as well. I’m trying to decide whether I like the flower motif of an old metal serving tray to cover the church/mast. (It reminds me of my Ostfriesian Grandmother). I usually like to add a bit of ‘sweetness’ to an otherwise heavy piece to give the viewer a bit of relief and not be so dark. So far, I keep looking at it when I leave the studio which is always a good sign, but I’m concerned that once I get it on top of my ‘head’ (the self portrait) it may look a little too ‘Carmen Miranda-ish’ like a fruit bowl or bunch of flowers. I think I can swing it, if I dilute it down a bit with portholes and rivets so it ‘reads’ more like a wallpaper.
Finally, I decided to play a little bit with the colours for the eyes just to check the expression. Remember, I’m fairly new to figure carving in general, and I just bought my first set of chisels for wood. In other words, don’t expect too much! Anyway, I always think its a good idea to work within the things you do best but always challenge yourself, so I’m not going for a Renaissance “Donatello” look, but am looking a little more American folk art meets Egyptian wood carving. I figure that this simpler form would work better with my aesthetic and may be a bit easier for my first foray into this area. I did a quick paint test on the eyes (yes, the eyebrows are blue/green too!), but I may even see about getting some abalone/mother of pearl and some lapus lazuli (sp?) for the eyes instead. May be overkill.
Well that’s all for now. Let me know what you think!