In the final year at The Art Academy there’s less structured teaching time and more emphasis on personal development and working towards the all important end of year Graduation Show. There are frequent group crits to keep the group on our toes and to help keep us on track.
Mentally I must say that I’ve been in a positive place all term. Not that I know what the shape of things will be, but simply that I now feel connected with my ‘inner thing’. I won’t go over the detail (covered in earlier post) but the essence is that I really struggled to find this initially but that the groundwork was laid at the end of the last academic year and was very much consolidated during my Cornwall Residency.
A big thing for me has been recognising my preoccupation with the lines and planes within the figure - I noticed that in the majority of my sculpting s-curves are strongly emphasised both in figurative and abstract work.
This knowledge has really helped. I’ve focussed on this aspect by drawing more and experimenting with wire, mixed media and increasingly direct plaster.
What I’ve particularly enjoyed is the ability to see something in the model, to make quick sketches and to then be able to translate these directly into sculpture. Using plaster means that you by necessity have to work quickly (the wet plaster is constantly drying as you sculpt) and so the results are often spontaneous, direct and powerful.
That old enemy of over-working does not exist in the world of fast setting plaster. That said I’ve noticed that it’s still important to know when to stop - sometimes less is more.
We had a very positive last crit of the term with a special guest, a painter called Tai-Shan Schierenberg. He was incredibly perceptive, articulate and empowering – he seemed to be able to see straight away the relative strengths and weaknesses of my groups offerings!
He’s a well established portrait artist - http://www.taischierenberg.com
I was particularly chuffed because he seemed to take to my work quite positively describing it as ‘…amazing, quite extraordinary… I’ve never seen anything like it before…’ Suddenly everything is beginning to fall into place and whilst I’ve got a good way to go, at last I really feel as if I’m onto something.
I thought I’d share with you some of my sketches and a little of my plaster work. Sorry I can only give a taster – you’ll have to come to the Show to see it all!