Supposing you could make whatever you wanted, what would it be? This is one of the most challenging topics for a starting young sculptor. You’re not quite sure yet of your own abilities, what is important, what gives you energy. What creation will provide enough curiosity to keep you going for years to come? In what way will that contribute to your own improvement in the area of shape and composition?
My predominant subject is Being Human. The way people feel, interact, what they do to each other both in a positive and a negative way intrigues me and I have no doubt it always will. We may try to escape Greek tragedies and fierce emotions or look the other way. But they do exist in the same harsh and unpleasant way as centuries ago. When, in ancient times, Greek mythology was born with all its’ love, revenge, blood, cruelty, conspiracy and mystery. That is after all what mythology consists of.
I may well never stop studying shape and composition. It’s an experience I have with every portrait I make. Each portrait is new, each face is different from the one before. I always start with a shapeless chunk of clay that needs to be modelled into the exact shape and expression that will capture the other person’s soul. And I still find that hard repeatedly. Each time anew I have to seek, fight, swear, make mistakes and amend, let go and hold on.
Observing the patterns of nature is also a great way to acquire more insight into shape and composition. Just look at the world around you and detect an indefinite amount of forms, rhythms, arrangements, constructions and composition. Nature is diversified and abundant whereas people tend to construct nothing but boxes and squares. Look at the stem of a horsetail herb. It is round with ridges and as it goes up you can see sprigs, tiny leaves and small brown rims in a regular pattern. Stems come in all shapes, square, triangular, round, with five sides. It is possible for a tree trunk to grow spiralling upwards. Tree bark comes in a profusion of miscellaneous varieties. Cork-oak is simply amazing but even the more modest species will be able to astonish you. Just use your eyes!
Nature also surprises us with the most unpredictable colour combinations. Behold the beak and head of a pelican. You will detect yellow, red and blue in small blotches and stripes, quite remarkable. Observation of your surroundings simply provides you with a source of beauty at an arm’s reach. Obviously not all things are exquisite and fortunately you’re not required to commemorate it all. But do make a note of the extra special things. In your head, in a notebook or in your phone. You may never use it in your work, not straightaway at least. But it will contribute to the improvement of your own sense of beauty, your own awareness of composition, rhythm and skin. It will dig itself into your being and that is nice. A wonderful, never-ending tutor and all you have to do is open your eyes!