Art NFS Sculpture


This blog is stale again, and I apologize to everyone who’s a regular follower. My work as a technical consultant for Improving has been taking priority, and though I’ve never entirely stopped creating, my ability to make meaningful progress on art has been substantially curtailed for a while.* Fortunately that’s changing, because of a major exhibit I have opening soon that I’ll be covering in my next post.

These are the sculptural works that I promised in my previous post. They were created using the wax from Baby Bel cheeses that I ate over lunch at the office. The wax becomes very malleable after being worked for a few minutes by warm hands, and it has reasonably good shape-retention characteristics after it cools back to room temperature, which makes it a great medium for casual, fingers-only sculpting.

Most of these came out very well without tooling, though of course they could always be better. Working exclusively with my hands limits my ability to do details, but it makes the work more challenging, which is what I enjoy. I’d like to do more of this kind of thing in a more permanent medium, maybe also with tools. However, I’m concentrating on new work for an exhibit I have coming up at 20 North Gallery that will be in my signature pen-and-ink style.

If you’re a sculptor, do you have a favorite medium? What properties does it have that appeal to you?

* Being a technical consultant is challenging, not least because the nature of the work changes on a regular basis as you move between clients. Improving in particular has what we call the Employee Improvement Program, or EIP. By participating in the program, we accumulate points every quarter for doing things that benefit the company and the technical community at large, whether it’s speaking at users groups or conferences, bringing in prospective recruits or sales opportunities, volunteering in the community, and dozens of other activities. We’re given a bonus at the end of the quarter from a pool of cash that’s based on our percentage of the points earned by everyone in the office, so there’s a financial incentive to do these things, and they also make decisions about promotions, equity stakes, and other things based on our performance in the program. I greatly appreciate that they’re putting their money where their mouth is as far as Conscious Capitalism goes, which is the philosophy we follow, and which is a topic I’ll cover another time. However, participating in the program aggressively has eaten up most of the spare time I’d been using for art.

Art For Sale Pen and Ink

Swamp Things

Swamp Things. Micron pens on Strathmore 300 Series Bristol paper. 14" x 14"
Swamp Things. Micron pens on Strathmore 300 Series Bristol paper. 16″ x 16″ framed. $560

This is the second piece in the Swamp Things Collection, which I created in response to a call for artists from the Art Supply Depō in Bowling Green, Ohio. All of the creatures pictured in the collection are native to the Great Black Swamp region, and are not drawn to scale relative to one another. I’d originally planned three pieces, but I ran out of time before the deadline, so only the first two were submitted. I’m still planning on creating the third for posterity.

I wasn’t initially happy with this piece. You wouldn’t necessarily know it just by looking at it, but it’s production fell well outside my normal approach. Aside from there being no abstract components, I (mostly) drew the frames to fit the flora and fauna, so I could draw the entire corpus. Usually, I start by creating a series of frames in arbitrary shapes and sizes, then fill them in with material (which is why, in other works of mine, many of the realism elements are trimmed to fit.) It was surprisingly disconcerting to work this way, and led me to make a number of substantial mistakes. They are disguised to the best of my ability, but aren’t completely invisible, and might require further work. There’s also far more unused white space in the frames than I’d normally like to leave available. And to be be candid, I added the title at the last second in an effort to meet the submission deadline, rather than draw another animal in the corner. I probably won’t take that approach again in the future, though it works reasonably well here.

However, on balance, I think it’s decent overall. The individual plants and animals (which were mostly chosen based on the delightfulness of their names) are about as good as I can make them, at least at this point in my drawing career, and that’s pleasing to me. It was exciting, if a bit nerve-wracking, to be creating pieces to submit to the judgement of artists for whom I have a great deal of respect. I don’t know if my submissions will get accepted, but I don’t have any regrets about putting in the effort.

About the Species Represented

Art NFS Pen and Ink

Bells and Birds

Bells and Birds. Micron pens on Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Artist Tiles. 6
Bells and Birds. Micron pens on Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Artist Tiles. 6″ x 6″ NFS

I like this one. It started as an experiment based on the off-centered flower representation, and evolved to have much more depth than I anticipated. It took a while(!), as I went over many of the lines twice, which really makes them “pop” off the paper.