The carving is finished, the oil is dry, the pedestal is painted and dry...finally, its time to photograph the piece! The photography is not my favorite part of the sculpting process, but its a very important part. It is always a challenge for me...trying to find the right combination of lighting elements, and then placing them in the best positions. It is almost always the case that when positioning a light or lights to best show the form in one area of the sculpture, it isn't so good for another area. Its often the case that finding the best mix of lit and shadowed areas involves compromises. There are an infinite number of possible lighting setups, but having only finite time in life, one has to limit the number of setups! I'll often rearrange the lights 15-25 times for each position I photograph the piece from. Thats a lot of photos to sort through to try to find the best ones. But from out of all those photos, there will usually be a few usable ones.
Another view of the "photography studio".
Always a very exciting moment in the making of a wood sculpture.....putting the finish on! Here I am applying the first coat of iron acetate to the carving. It began turning dark within a minute or so...a nice quick transformation! I kept brushing the iron acetate on, giving it a good soaking, then wiped off the surface and let it dry out overnight. The next day, I repeated the process.
And here I am brushing on the first coat of my linseed oil finish...boiled linseed oil thinned out with an equal amount of turps. Again, I brushed on the oil repeatedly, and the oak kept on soaking it up....amazing how much it absorbed. Then, I wiped it all down and set it aside to dry. When it felt dry to the touch, I repeated the process again.
Just as a print or painting tends to look better for display when it is nicely framed, sculpture that is displayed nicely looks better. Sometimes that means on a pedestal, where it can be brought up to the right height. And a pedestal also acts like a picture frame in a way, highlighting the art and separating it from its surroundings . So here, I am making a pedestal for my raven carving (Still have not thought of a title!)
As the making of one of these pedestals creates an enormous amount of fine dust, I previously removed the oiled carving to a different part of my studio to finish drying. Here, the dusty work has been finished, the studio cleaned up a bit, and the pedestal is getting its first coat of primer on the inside. More painting to come....