Ariel Bowman is an amazingly talented sculpture artist. You should really check out her work: arielbowman.com, follow her on Instagram: @ariel.bowman and attend one of her workshops if you can. I’m always grateful to those artists willing to share their techniques. Ariel so generously shared techniques she’s developed over the years, essentially gifting to us her years of hard-earned work.
Following her solid block carving technique, I am freeing this rhino from his clay dungeon.
By the end of the two-day workshop, held at Roadrunner Ceramics in San Antonio, my guy is almost free. We all get to go back in three weeks with bisqued ware when Ariel will return to share her glazing techniques with us. So generous!
Part of the solid block method is allowing the sculpture to get leather hard with the bottom support of the clay block — seen in this video. I won’t remove it until he is hard enough to cut in half and hollow out, along with the head support there under his chin. Oh! And he needs ears, and some legwork.
This artistic journey continues to surprise me! I’m so grateful to be on it.
English painter Harold Speed described the goal of the artist as developing command over both representation and expression, in order to create something worthy. This resonates with me. Take for example, this lovely basket by studio potter and artist Joy Tanner:
Joy clearly has command over both representation (we know it’s a basket) and expression, which is what makes me exclaim, “How lovely!” when I look at it. It is her particular expression of the form (basket) that draws me. Though, obviously, in order to create the artistic expression, she also had to have command over creating the form itself.
Though Speed was primarily a painter, he also wrote instructional materials for developing artists. In 1913, he wrote “The Practice and Science of Drawing,” now available in the public domain. In the text, he beautifully describes those invisible things surrounding good art. Like this: “The strength of appeal in artistic work will depend much on the power the artist possesses of expressing himself through representations that arrest everyone by their truth and naturalness.” Right?? So right! Here’s another basket by a different artist, Adrina Richard:
Adrina also has command of representation of form, and a very different expression of creativity than Joy. Same representative form–a basket; two artistic expressions, both of which are highly appealing in their truth and naturalness.
Speed also encouraged the artist to look for the “hidden rhythm” and “emotional significance” in the appearance of any object. By doing so, the artist can capture what moves her (or him) and then express it with their own creative passion. Both Joy and Adrina have clearly done so with their baskets.
So let’s challenge ourselves to look this week for hidden rhythms and for emotional significance as we notice nature, our surroundings, or whatever it is we are looking at. Let’s study form and think about how that form we are admiring might transform into a work of art with our particular creative expression.