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Carving: A Subtractive Process

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Presentation on theme: "Carving: A Subtractive Process"— Presentation transcript:

1 Carving: A Subtractive Process

2 Michelangelo

3 Carrara, Italy: where Michelangelo got his marble, and where marble is still quarried today.

4 Carrara, Italy

5 Inspirational Artists: Brancusi Moore Hepworth

6 Constantin Brancusi Romanian 1876-1957
“Constantin Brancusi was a Romanian sculptor who trained initially as a carpenter and stonemason. He settled in Paris in 1904 where his early influences included African as well as oriental art. ... [He] began an evolutionary search for pure form.” -from

7 Bird in Space, 1930, polished bronze
“Constantin Brancusi strips form to its very essence.” Bird in Space, 1930, polished bronze Bird in Space, 1923, Marble, 56 ¾ inches tall, 6 ½ inch diameter

8 Self portrait of the artist in his studio c. 1933-34

9 The Muse 1912. White marble, 17 3/4 x 9 x 6 3/4 inches (45 x 23 x 17 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 

10 Henry Moore "To be an artist is to believe in life." - Henry Moore
British Abstract Sculptor, Known for his seated, standing, and reclining figures.

11 Henry Moore, Reclining Figure, 1939, elmwood
The Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase with funds from the Dexter M. Ferry, Jr. Trustee Corporation 11

12 Three Standing Figures, 1953. Bronze, 73
Three Standing Figures, Bronze, 73.2 x 68 x 29 cm, including base. Peggy Guggenheim Collection PG 194.

13 Henry Moore, Reclining Woman, 1930
Hornton stone National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Purchased 1956 Aztec Chocmool figure, A.D. Mexico, Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City Moore’s work was inspired by a photograph of a pre-Columbian carving of the rain spirit Chacmool that Moore had discovered in a 1922 book on Mexican art. The horizontal, earthbound pose of both the Chacmool and of Moore's Reclining Woman powerfully suggests connections with landscape, an idea that would preoccupy him throughout his creative life.

14 14 Henry Moore sculpture. Reclining Figure (1951)
outside the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, is characteristic of Moore's sculptures, with an abstract female figure intercut with voids. There are several bronze versions of this sculpture, but this one is made from painted plaster. 14

15 Barbara Hepworth English 1903-1975
Hepworth was a “sculptor whose works were among the earliest abstract sculptures produced in England. Her lyrical forms and feeling for material made her one of the most influential sculptors of the mid-20th century.” -from Barbara-Hepworth

16 Carving (sculpture), Blue ancaster stone, 1936 (BH 87), Private collection

17 Head (Ra), Polished bronze, 1972

18 Barbara Hepworth, Oval Structure, Wood, 1943

19 Stringed Figure (Curlew), Version II Brass and string on wooden base
Spring 1966

20 He was influenced by music and dance.
Another artist you may want to check out is Paul Mount. You can google images. Also check out: He was influenced by music and dance.

21 Objectives for Plaster Carving Project:
Carve a nonobjective or abstract freestanding sculpture from a piece of plaster. Create concave and convex forms to create balance and movement. Think about the movement from one plane to the next. Consider organic vs. geometric shapes and forms, and how that contrast may create interest or a focal point. Consider the human figure and how you could use the gesture of the figure to create an abstract sculpture. Consider craftsmanship and attention to detail. Do you want a highly polished surface or do you want a contrast of textures.

22 Vocabulary Convex (convexities) Concave (concavities) Void Organic
Geometric Subtractive Mass Hammer and Chisel Riffler and Rasp

23 Art Elements and Principles of Design
Space (positive and negative) Form Plane Texture Value Unity/Harmony Balance Movement Rhythm

24 Student Examples





29 Progression for finishing work:
Initial planning and cutting out of form with the fettling knife, paring knife, chisels, and plaster carving tools. After shaping has been roughly determined, riflers are used to reform and more clearly define the sculpture's contours. Medium sandpaper removes the marks from the riflers' which had made many fine, linear cuts. This is followed by fine sandpaper removing the previous marks. (Plaster should be completely dry.) The final finishing step is using 1" strips of torn muslin, about 12" long. This strip is soaked,excess water squeezed out, wrapped around the finger and rubbed all over the entire surface until no marks or air bubble craters are seen. This "buffs" the plaster and creates a velvety smooth surface. Last, 2 to 3 coats of milk is painted over the plaster. Yep, milk. This is absorbed into the material, helps to seal it and gives it a translucent shine. You may also choose to use a textured paint or shine with shoe polish.  * Quality in craftsmanship enhances the worth of a sculpture when excellence in finish can be observed. This takes a lot of time and effort, but it is so worth it!

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