Saturday, March 13, 2010

Creating A Base For A Sculpture

Often when I'm sculpting a swimming creature I think to myself wouldn't this be easier if I was a painter! Painters aren't bothered by pesky things like gravity tugging at their creations.

One painter who I feel captures the freedom of movement of his marine subjects so well is Richard Ellis! I've long admired his work. Particularly his shark paintings. Take a look at his painting of a breaching Mako shark : Richard Ellis Gallery: Mako Shark . When I see a painting like that I get green with envy.

Unfortunately as a sculptor I have to devise supports to hold my subjects aloft. These supports need to be incorporated as unobtrusively as possible into the composition.

Recently I began making a base with just such a support to mount a sculpture on. I thought I'd post a few work in progress photos.

The first photo is of a hard wood dowel glued and wired to a painted and sealed piece of plywood.

The second picture shows Apoxie Sculpt clay beginning to be applied to the bottom of the dowel to strenghten this area.

Here I am starting to work the clay around the edge of the plywood base.

It is hard to make out in this photo but I've given the clay edge a textured look by using a piece of coral.

After the clay on the edge had a chance to cure I started applying the clay to the dowel being careful not to cover the drilled holes near the top. These will hold the bolts for mounting the sculpture.

When the clay on the dowel became semi hard I gave it a distressed wood look using latex and silicone texture pads I've created.

After I glued the bolts in place I wrapped a piece of Saran Wrap around my sculpture and pressed it against the still pliable clay.

It left an impression that will help to solidly mount the sculpture later. I then used a hot glue gun to add chunks of styrofoam to the base.

Here I've added a piece of real driftwood in perfect scale to the base as well as rocks made from Apoxie Clay, Mache and Wood Putty.

I make a habit of always using the leftover bits and pieces of whatever material I happen to be working with to make a surplus of rocks and pebbles. This way I have a ready supply in assorted sizes to draw from.

I took the base outside and shaped the contours I wanted into the styrofoam using coarse sandpaper.

The next step involved making a concoction of sand and white glue to paint over the styrofoam and around the base of the tree stumps.

After this dries I'll need to prime the base with lacquer spray paint before I can begin painting it. I'll show the completed steps in a future blog post.


  1. Quel travail caché, avant de voir naître une véritable oeuvre d'art. C'est vraiment un foetus.
    J'ai hâte de voir la suite.
    Merci de visiter mon blog et d'y avoir laissé un gentil commentaire.

  2. Hi Nick, I am just strolling your blog and it looks so cool, lots of crative solutions for all the problems you encounter during your creating. And you suspected mé of having lots of patience?? I believe you have iit too!!!

    keep up the good work, i'll be following you : ))