Painting en plein air and with live models gives me the atmospheric changes I need to capture the moods of the artwork. Changing light while on site, helps me to be loose and spontaneous, hopefully capturing some of the feeling of the area.
Using live models, I feel that I can capture the personality of the person while the session continues and that will change the painting as I progress.
I use my own photos when I need backup, either with weather deteriorating or the model cannot make the sessions to complete the work.
Completing the painting often continues in my studio in the basement or in the kitchen upstairs. That has been my favourite spot to paint while I was raising the children and could be in the centre of the activities. My studio is my kiln and clay room and I have been known to take over other areas of the house to complete my projects.
The bronze pieces consists of many materials and steps along the way. I start with my idea being shaped in clay or modeling plasticine for smaller items. Then the pieces are molded in latex with plaster mother molds to hold the shapes. The clay is removed and hot wax brushed or poured into the molds. When these are hardened, they are removed and gated. The gating is the adding of vents and sprues which will facilitate the hot metal pour. This may be the most crucial part of the lost wax process. I will then shell the finished wax pieces with ceramic shell.
Now we move outdoors to my driveway where my spouse takes over with the melting of pieces of bronze while I burn out the wax from the shells. Then the molten bronze is poured into the emptied shells forming the piece of sculpture that I had started with in the beginning of the process.
This is a very time consuming medium and has become very expensive, leaving me to complete the wax models only, while waiting on hopeful sale of the larger projects to complete them when the client has paid as a commissioned work.
For the clay sculpture, the artist chooses the work more suitable to this medium alone. Although many clay pieces could go on to completion in bronze, I find that some stand alone better with the clay material. Most of my work ideas are tested in thought or actuality in the medium I believe will show the best impression. I will shape my clay sculpture pieces usually in white sculpture clay and fire them in cone 6. Then I will choose the colours from the choice of glazes that I have on hand. I have a few favourite colours that I use often and prefer for most of my pieces. These favourite colours are nugget, oatmeal, oil spot and blue. I will often just use one colour.