Richmond, remains in clay state. I use soft gray Plastilina, an oil-based clay product. Oil-based clay allows me to work on the piece as long as I’d like without worry that it will dry or harden.
And because I have set up my work space in my home the other advantage is that unlike earthen clay, it will not drip, soil, or stain my home. Plastilina comes in varying hardness and I use soft because it is the most malleable and easy on my finger joints.
Richmond is named for my creative muse, Richmond Barthé. As with all of my work, I didn’t have an idea of his face when I began, he really did emerge. As I write this I am aware that sounds like an art cliché, but I knew when the shape of the face or the angle of the jaw was correct, or not. The experience was one of the person that wanted to be manifest had a will and I was responding to it. There were even times when I intended to sculpt one gender and another insisted on making its appearance. And no matter how much I tried to create the intended gender, the one who wanted to come forward seemed to insist.
This image gives you a feel for rough instrument marks. Can you see that I have not created ears, only placed clay where ears will eventually be?
Working for hours without break I would be focused on one feature or another and unaware of the development of a personality until I stepped away and looked into his eyes. It was fascinating to watch his face and personality emerge.
I really like this early stage of Richmond because the tool marks give a lot of expressiveness that gets smoothed over by my fingers over time.