Natalie, 20″ height
What I’m after when I sculpt relief portraiture are not just interesting forms and compositions, but capturing the essence of a model through pose. I usually have the model take many poses before something strikes me. I can never pinpoint what it is that I’m after so modeling sessions are usually haphazard. But I think this is the way to approach it as I believe this is how I get to really “see” what it is I’m after. I don’t usually come to the table with an idea I would like to express. It’s more like “let’s try this” and see where it takes us.
I think this portrait of Natalie works well because it makes use of dynamic angles which leads your eye around the relief. Her bent legs and arm, slight turn of the head create a zig zag that keeps your eye inside the piece. Then when you are ready to leave you follow the pointed foot to direct you to the exit. Generally, successful art has this composition. A place for your eye to travel within the artwork, some interesting stops, but not too many or you’ll get overwhelmed (as the critical Emperor pointed out to Mozart in the movie Amadeus: “there are only so many notes the ear can hear in the course of an evening”).