The third in my series of the seasons is Winter.
The inspiration for this piece comes from Michelangelo’s Pieta. The Pieta is on display in the Vatican and was completed by Michelangelo when he was only 24 years old! It is the only piece he signed, and later on regretted as he said it was due to pride.
I have struggled with the composition of this piece. I started out trying to do a close copy of the composition of Michelangelo’s piece with the tree in Mary’s place and Winter in Jesus’ place. Try as I might though, I couldn’t make it work to my satisfaction.
Since this composition wasn’t working for me, I decided to strip away all the visual noise and take it back down to the base figure. I’m liking this composition much better and it is allowing me to work on the figure to my satisfaction without the tree getting in the way.
After working on the original pose for a while, I decided that I was trying to copy the original inspiration too literally. I needed to change the pose to the match the feeling of the piece that I really wanted – death in Winter with the coming Spring Re-birth. So, I changed the pose again.
I’m satisfied with the direction I’m heading with this piece now and am starting to add the tree back into it. More to come as I continue refinement.
Re-worked the tree and and am now completely finished with composition. Next steps are refinement, refinement, and refinement.
I finished refining the final piece finally! I want to take a moment though and talk a bit about composition. I recently studied divine composition and wanted to make sure I was incorporating elements of it in this piece. I’ve put together some photos of the final with some of the lines of intersection marked out. Since the piece is supposed to represent death, I wanted the viewer to feel a bit of discomfort, so I emphasized the sinister line in my composition throughout. I also incorporated the Fibinocci sequence and outlined that in the photos below as well.
Once the final was done, I started the molding and casting. This is, by far, the most difficult piece I have ever molded, cast, and reconstructed. It did not go completely as planned, and I ended up using quite a bit of epoxy putty putting it back together. In the end though, I was pretty satisfied with the results.
The finishing of this piece was also unique. I’ve not done two patinas on a single piece prior to this, figuring out how to finish it in layers was a challenge. I started by using a grey primer so that I could see any imperfections I wanted to refine, then used a black primer undercoat. On top of that I used a layer of real bronze powder (325 mesh) blended with a water-based varnish. I buffed that layer lightly with some 0000 steel wool to bring out some shine, then covered the entire piece in black shoe polish. After buffing that layer, I added a green patina wax to the tree.
While trying to mount the piece permanently to the base, disaster struck! The piece broke in two at a week spot in the trunk. I had to pour the resin in the trunk in different pours and ended up getting a bubble layer at a critical spot. This is where the piece cracked in two.
I put the piece away for a couple of days and then came back to it. I ended up drilling a couple of new holes down through the trunk and inserted two 1/4 inch steel rods through the holes and joined the two pieces back together that way. The I filled the holes with yet more putty and re-finished the entire joint from the bottom up. I’m extremely happy with the final. You can’t even see where the repair was made!
So here she is – Winter. She sits proudly on the sculpture shelf in our family room. Now on to the final in my seasons’ sisters series – Autumn!