Eight years ago, I started a sculpture of a swan at the island studio on Lake of the Woods in Canada. I finished the piece
this year and now there is an empty space where the clay
model sat during those years. The mold was started two
weeks ago on the piece and now it is in a box waiting to be transported to Wyoming for the plaster mother-mold jacket.
I miss seeing it in it's familiar place, silhouetted by the
light in the east window. I will also miss walking over
to it and perhaps tweaking a primary feather or
adjusting the turn of the graceful head.
Every year, as I left the island studio in
Canada, I would give it one last look . . .
and it was there in the window
waiting for me every summer.
Shown on left, is an image of the swan
taken a few years ago in it's beginning stage.
Below, is a photo of the swan in progress this summer as I made the commitment to complete it.
While the studio in Canada is small and typically there are only three or four works going on at once, the Wyoming
studio is a large space and easily accommodates my working method of having many sculptures in progress at one time.
Over fifty works are currently there in various stages of completion . . . some will never be completed and molded while some will be taken from a shelf after sitting many years and may be finished in a day or so.
The reason for completing a previously started and then abandoned block-in is complex but usually has to do with inspiration, realization, or a learning experience about the individual species or design. Perhaps a show deadline or a gallery request for the subject will encourage revisiting a piece . . . some are just not worthy of completing. Also, I'll admit that the design stage - or block-in stage - is my favorite aspect of creating sculpture and many times, I'll simply put a started model aside until I get "jazzed" about finishing it . . . that is, if the idea was good in the first place!
Regarding the swan, inspiration was definitely a factor. While visiting Yellowstone several times this year,
I experienced the elegant Trumpeter Swan and, captivated by its beauty, was "jazzed" to get to the island studio
in Canada and work on the sculpture! When an artist is "jazzed", the work flows easily.
Below, are images and drawings from recent trips from Yellowstone which is a little over two hours from my studio.
The Trumpeter is almost identical to, although smaller than the Tundra Swan which I had seen many times in Alaska.
Below, is another image of the Trumpeter Swan on the studio deck.
The model remained there
as the sun set and light faded . . . allowing study of the figure's silhouette.
I plan to resize and create a larger sculpture of the swan in the near future and waiting for me at the Wyoming studio are photos taken and generously loaned to me by friend and fellow artist Greg Beecham . . .
his paintings of swans are inspirational and are the finest I have ever seen.
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Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish