Honor Guard, presenting arms
Present Arms, Honor Guard was first created to guard the entrance to a veterans park in Nebraska. American Veterans Park is a tribute to all United States Veterans and recognizes their service and sacrifice. As a real Honor Guard guards National Monuments and provides military funeral honors, this life size bronze sculpture guards the entrance to a veterans park in a small town.
In the beginning…
In 2017 I was asked to provide concept sketches of a US Army and Marine Honor Guard presenting arms. Presenting Arms is a common command in all branches of the military all over the world. It is used to show respect and honor when presenting weapons.
The initial sketch, although rough, represents an Honor Guard from the modern day War on Terror. The sketch was enough to get a green light to create the first life size, limited edition version. Since my clients were familiar with my work it wasn’t necessary to create a small maquette or more detailed 2D renderings. Generally, these are necessary before beginning a large sculpture in order to illustrate how the finished artwork would look.
Full size clay model
Before I began the full size clay original I studied the “inspiration photo” for posture and general anatomy as well as how the uniform fit the soldier. The photo was heavily referenced throughout the claying up process for accuracy. Since there are always questions that arise during the process having this handy was essential.
I received a uniform jacket, trousers, gloves, shoes, cap as well as a replica firearm as reference to sculpt from from the same committee member. A model was hired to pose in the uniform and photos were taken in-the-round before I began work. After five weeks and around 200 hours of careful clay modeling the 5’ 10” tall sculpture was completed.
There are some artists who have told me that this sculpture is too technical. Or that it doesn’t leave enough room for interpretation. For me, I get satisfaction when there is less margin for error and perhaps even less room for expression in a sculpture. In my mind, if you can pull off a very strict pose and give the sculpture energy, life and maybe even make it identifiable to your past works then you have success.
For a more detailed description of the process from finished clay to bronze casting please visit my YouTube video. This video highlights the bronze casting process using another sculpture.
Below are photos of the sculpture in various stages of completion.