“If You’re Not Laughing, You’re Not Paying Attention!”

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Another experiment with a wall mounted piece; working title, “If You’re Not Laughing, You’re Not Paying Attention!” It’s almost life size. (photo of finished piece added 12/23)

This one happened without any preconceived idea of what to make today…just pawed through some reference clippings first thing this morning in the studio and used a postage stamp size mug shot of some random guy as a jumping off point. It was fun to be “surprised” by the day’s work. No I don’t have any idea what kind of ears those are…except that they are NOT intended to be rabbit ears! I roughed in various shapes and sizes of horns and hair tufts, but these ears seemed the funniest so I went with them.

Not sure where if anywhere this is a step toward, but at least I’m making wall mountable work for a change instead of work that needs a pedestal/table/ledge to live on.

I think of “sketches” like this one as experiments/explorations because I feel like I’m flailing about in new territory. I learned from such things as:

–I first made the neck straight under the head, then impulsively sliced off one side and added to the other, instantly making the pose more interesting to me.

–moving the irises/pupils to one side enhanced the “turning his head” effect (extrapolating from the ram’s horn experiment a few days ago where I directed the gaze sideward/downward, in that case to engage the viewer as she/he comes along the hall toward the studio door)

–still didn’t get the lips flat enough…it looks like he’s saying “Heyyy” or something…difficult to convince my brain to flatten the lips out against the teeth as they would be when smiling broadly. (It isn’t obvious in the photo, but that’s his tongue, not lower teeth, just inside the lower lip.)

–nostrils widened since they are attached to the skin that is pulled back by the cheek muscles

–I’ll correct it before the clay dries, but when I snapped this photo I had forgotten to add clay underneath his left eye (right in the photo) where it would be pooched up from the rising cheeks. This makes his left eye look more like it’s looking, and his right eye look more like it’s laughing.

–experimenting with muscles in forehead and their contribution to the emotions conveyed

–it’s difficult for me to get wrinkles right…to get a solid material to look like supple skin…I feel I made some progress on this piece, but have a long way to go.

–I’m curious why a certain shape looked “funnier” to me (horns/hair/ears)? Is it the extreme sideways positioning of the ears? Are moose inherently funnier looking than deer? Is it because predators faces are often more vertical (eyes closer together and smaller), and harmless creatures’ ears are usually larger (to hear predators)? Chihuahuas do look funny with their big side mounted ears, vs a dobie with clipped vertical ears.

So, while the resulting sculpture is the most obvious product of a sculpting session, it’s definitely not the only product; I’m also enlarging my repertoire of ideas and skills to use on future projects.

Another nice by-product when it happens, as it did today: enjoyment of the process!

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