Introspection is a complex and interesting seated pose. When the model is experienced, it is very wise to ask that she/he simply moves about (we might specify, standing, seated, etc.). That simple approach usually results in a very natural pose.
Quiet Moment depicts the delicate stature and soft-spoken demure demeanor of our Roman model, a popular yoga teacher in Santa Fe. She was drawn and painted by many Santa Fe artists, though this and the Marianne's first work above are the only bronze sculptures of her.
Raven was an early model for the sculpture group. Of Chiracahua Apache heritage, he had grown up in Silver City, NM, in a "martial arts" family and was a regular model for Santa Fe artists in the 000s. His physicality and muscle definition made him a wonderful sculpture subject. He was so named for the raven that rode his shoulder around Silver City in his teens.
Marianne completed Talking with a Friend during the first year of sculpting from life with plastilina clay (oil-based). Two other bronze editions are of her. Modeling for sculpture requires strength and athleticism, and she fits the bill as a bicyclist, roller-blader, and hiker. She is a fine sculptor herself, and now teaches sculpture in Indiana. Her friend's athleticism and strength is evident in all three.
Lady-in Waiting, a standing sculpture of a young woman at six months pregnant, was Marianne's first commission. Young painting collectors of hers were expecting their first child and wanted a sculpture to celebrate this important event. Marianne traveled to their home and took photographs in the round, and measurements (for accurate scale in the final piece.) She delivered the work six months later when the baby girl (also a red-head) was three months old.
Day Dreamer, a complex but casually posed seated young woman, is the second one of the model of Talking with a Friend and Taking a Break. It is aptly named, the model says!
Taking a Break is the third sculpture of my athletic friend and model. Again, one of my primary focuses in sculpting is clear articulation of the muscles of the body as presented. Bodies really are "specifically" different. Real bodies are beautiful!
Thirty + years of drawing from life have given me "seeing skills" that cannot be gained through a formulaic approach to drawing. These highly developed skills enable very close representation of the specific forms. Being able to see the subtle shifts in contour as the pose turns helps her with articulating a muscle even though she may not know its name!
Taking a Break, incorporates a fabricated bronze box as her seat. The mottled blue on the box is achieved by using a chemical called cupric, and , of course, a torch.
Reverie, Marianne's 12th piece, is a languid sleeping figure, completed in summer of 2011. Her arched back is cushioned by large pillows, her long hair flows through her hand and over it like water - she is the picture of natural beauty.
Pride captures a beautifully proportioned young African-American woman with copper hoop earrings..This standing sculpture of our African American model is a favorite among the first four sculptures I had cast in 2009. Her pose truly personifies the title "Pride", her classic beauty accentuated by signature bold hoop earrings. Another favorite model of local portrait painters, Marianne was so pleased to get to work with her, and when an EMT rushed up at one of her shows to tell her that the anatomy was perfectly depicted, she was honored!
Ruben's Muse reminds us that it was not always fashionable to be ultra slim. The desirable female body shape has varied through the ages, and within cultures, with the beauty of the larger body representing wealth, child-bearing ability, and true beauty in many centuries through many cultures. All of Marianne's pieces remind us that women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful - many mature women especially have thanked her for making bronzes of woman who don't fit the contemporary standard for female beauty.
Ruben's Muse is 18" high and almost 7" in diameter, the 3rd in an edition of 12. Mounted on a 2" black granite base, she wears a delicate necklace and holds a green apple behind her back. She is truly beautiful in all ways!
Lost in Thought, an older nude woman with her head resting on a tall-backed chair, is lovely reminder of the wisdom and memories acquired with maturity. The model, an independent East coast woman with a taste for hard work and adventure, built her own straw-bale house on her land south-east of Santa Fe. She is a wonderful reminder of the strength and potential of all women! Many have remarked on her wise and thoughtful demeanor.
At 11.5 " high,7.5 deep and 6" wide , she sits on a bronze high-backed chair (with an unsittable back), left open to reveal all the beautiful negative shapes created with a complex pose. The chair, reminiscent of our mother's dining room chairs, was created using sprue wax (the wax attached to the wax figure that is melted out to allow the air to escape when the molten bronze is poured into the investment mold in casting).
Five Poems, semi-reclining, propped up on a bolster, is she reading a book of poems, a small camera manual, or studying lines for an audition ? This natural pose allowed the actress to study lines! a semi -reclining reader leaning on a hassock with a small book in hand, offers grace and exquisite detail.A few months later, Marianne enjoyed seeing her in a local three-man production.
Often the best poses with sculpture models are those that they would be doing if alone at home, so that's what our sculpture group, which has met 6 months of the year for nine years, usually does - let the model experiment until the perfect pose for that 4-week session is arrived at. We usually just specify standing, seated, or reclining. With a few adjustments for interest (there are some boring poses), our experienced models know what's interesting, and what they can hold! We've organized our three hour sessions into 8 directions, with breaks for the model to rest, and us to turn the mat or stand an eighth of a circle clock-wise. It works!
Five Poems can create an opportunity to discuss your latest read with your guests!
Marianne completed the 13th piece, Awakening, in January 2012. "Awakening" is a lovely detailed likeness of a tall, thin New Zealander woman, unaware of her own statuesque beauty. With articulated structure and fine detail, Carmine Ravenfeather is awakening to her own beauty, uncoiling from a constrained pose.
Expectation depicts a young woman Marianne met at the Santa Fe Society of Artists outdoor art show where she shows regularly during the art 'season' in Santa Fe. Suspecting she was pregnant, Marianne recruited her to model for a second sculpture of a pregnant woman. This beautiful young woman had grown up and gone to school in Taos, and now in her mid-twenties, seemed the embodiment of the Millenium generation. She is now the loving mother of two.
Celebration, completed and delivered 2013, was commissioned by the husband for their 50th Wedding anniversary. A two-year break in sculpture-making ensued because of William's medical problems, though Marianne continued to work from life in clay throughout this time. She resumed work after his death, and the most recent piece, cast in 2015, marked her return to production.
The Notebook is a reclining nude portrait of a lovely young woman, a graduating senior from St. John's, the humanities "Great Books" college in Santa Fe.
For the Collector
For Marianne, sculpting is drawing in three dimensions.
She bends the armature to express the gesture of the pose. Then she applies enough plastilina clay to it to create the bulk and gesture of the body. Using the largest clay tools she can for the size of the figure, she begins to carve out the contours, with attention to the relative sizes and direction of parts and the negative shapes between parts. The models pose on a stand that can be turned so each view gets recorded and adjusted in the clay. As she switches to smaller tools to express the subtleties of contracted muscles, curled fingers and curved nose, the "drawing" gets more refined.
What results is a classic life sculpture specific to that person, a unique individual, awaiting immortalization in bronze. The bronzes are expressive and intimate because they are particularized, just as are human beings when one gets to know them well. Sculpting from life allows her to fully express the beautifully diverse female form.
When invited to organize a "life sculpting" group at a friend's studio in 2008, Marianne jumped at the opportunity and after a year, her sculpture career began with these four pieces!
She has drawn from the live model regularly in life drawing groups for over thirty years. Relying primarily on contour and negative spaces to express the shapes, she learned to express on paper what that model presented, rather than an ideal form that was "seven heads high, etc." Moving from 2D to 3D proved relatively easy - it was just "drawing in clay". Her long experience with "seeing" served her well.
It is "knowing" that most often interferes with seeing what is actually before us – if that "knowing" can be discarded, the foreshortened arm, the hand, the foot, the head, all become a series of shapes to be recorded without preconception or judgment .
Cast at Shidoni Foundry in Santa Fe, the first pieces were mounted on multi-colored granite as seen in the enlargements. More recent castings now sit on the surface without a base (or a base can be fabricated). All standing sculptures are mounted on black granite bases. Customization of presentation is available - just imagine, and then ask!
Prices of all sculptures can be found here.
These were two prolific sculpture years! Generally, pieces take 6 months from building the armature to the finished work. Marianne does "cast only" at Madd Casting in Berthould, CO, preferring the control that making the original clay and then the wax, gives her. Her molds are made by Bryan Honeycutt, who also chases, patinaes and mounts the work. She has learned most of what she knows about the wax-making and dressing process from him and values his opinion and expertise.
Honest Women and a Loving Couple
The Honest Women Series - 2010
"I make sculpture to express the special beauty of imperfect and unique individuals. In a culture where the ideal body is so idolized that many starve themselves, work out obsessively, and undergo surgery to achieve society's concept of perfection, the simple beauty of real women goes uncelebrated. I work to celebrate the diversity of that beauty."
Sculptors casting multiples from a mold have generally worked in Plastilina, an oil-based clay that stays pliable, and can be finished after the initial 5 hours of work from life in a studio setting. Gesture and general musculature can be captured in the initial work. Marianne can and does use photographs to capture details of a pose that she wants to cast.
She also prefers to make her own waxes, because she likes the opportunity to improve on the first one. True to original multiple works of any sort, some slight and subtle variation appears in each replication of a sculpture. The mold becomes successively worn; each wax varies some depending on the season it is made, and the wax used; time spent and tools used vary from piece to piece, the nature of the run at the foundry, etc.. Thus, the 12th of an edition is as original as the 1st.
In January 2012, Marianne completed her 13th piece, Awakening. At 6' tall and 120 pounds, the model presented a wonderful challenge to her , with the final piece elegantly expressing her particular beauty.
May brought the release of Expectation, embodying the excitement and uncertainty of the future life of many young expectant women.
Celebration, a sculpture of a couple very close to celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, was unveiled in October of 2013 , about a year to the day of her meeting the subjects. What a wonderful experience she enjoyed - telephone communication after their purchase of Ruben's Muse, and after working out terms and a price for the commission, traveling to Seattle for photographing and measuring. The ensuing clay completed and approved via e-mailed photographs, Brian made a huge mold, and Marianne completed and dressed the first wax of the piece successfully. Off it went to Madd Casting in Colorado, and within another 2 or so months, the piece was completed, arms and legs (and heads) welded back, flaws repaired, sandblasted and patinaed. The fabricated bronze base added later beautifully completes the piece.
The process and progress of Celebration was documented on her BLOG.
2015 Having continued to sculpt clays from life during most of the years of William's illness, Marianne chose pne to cast and The Notebook was finished in fall of 2015.
The model was a beautiful young dancer of Ukrainian heritage, whose parents fled the Russian repression of the Jews in the Ukraine in the early nineties. Nina grew up in Brooklyn and was a professional ballet dancer until enrolling in St. John's College.
"The Notebook"is the first piece I have had cast since 2013. Though I continued to work from the model during the years of my husband's prolonged illness and subsequent passing, the circumstances precluded my carrying anything further.
The model for "The Notebook " was a former dancer, a graduating senior from St. John's here in Santa Fe, and a lovely lively young woman. A first generation American (Ukrainian), and excellent model, she provided me opportunity to sculpt a number of works which may come to life as bronzes in the next few years. She was cast at Madd Castings Foundry.
The polished walnut base (the stone was too heavy) is 14.25L x 7.25w x 2"H. With the attached bronze the piece is 4.5" H.