Decisions on Bearing Arms

As artists, no matter what medium we employ, our job is to make the right decision.

Does yellow look best as a highlight on that purple grape? Will adding gold leaf to this acrylic medium enhance it or make a mess? How will this nylon thread react to the encaustic medium?

There is always more than one right answer, but there is usually just one answer that gives you theeureka shivers that it’s the best one. And to get to that, you have to try some different solutions.

Take arms, for example. I am constructing some of my beloved Wanderer figures for an exhibition at Jane Bishop’s Mockingbird Handprints in December. Here’s one in progress – I already love the layered fiber wrapping:

So I have the head ready – but does it need arms? (Decision=Yes) If so, what kind?

First idea – how about plaster wings??

This might work if I sprayed it with terra cotta walnut ink – or rust paste, and added another one on the left side…but the shape and weight just aren’t quite right.

How about something really different?? Shannon Weber gave me these great old vintage faucet taps–

They are cool, but they almost need their own sculpture to be a part of, one that shows them off more. These “arms” compete with the layered and wrapped body.

How about sticks?? Like the ones on the head?

Close, but no cigar – too matchy-matchy.

How about just one curvy stick??

Up? Down?

Not quite there – too spindly in relation to the body. But I got an idea from this experiment – since the body is wrapped in fiber, why not wrap some stick arms in the same way?

This is the result, and it gave me the “eureka shivers“. Just right!

Sorry to say that you won’t see the finished Wanderer yet – I sewed her arms on last night (they look great) and I’m still adding her special touches, but you will see her soon.

Here’s the take-away – when you see  finished artwork that resonates with you, whether it’s a painting or a sculpture or a piece of jewelry, remember that what you see is a process of informed and personal decision making that is hard work and takes a lot of time, love, and experience. The artist thought and experimented and perhaps failed and tried again to get the piece just right for you to see and appreciate.

Try to imagine the back story – put yourself in the artist’s place and see where complex decisions were made to find the “eureka shivers” moment in every step.

Thanks for reading!!











20 thoughts on “Decisions on Bearing Arms

  1. Well I can see you using this” just right decision making” for future projects Serendipity is an opening into new ways of doing things and progressing down a well travelled path and finding a new fork to journey down Kudos and a superb and integrated solution to the problem! We will be keeping an eye out for this “wanderer” in the future Good decision

  2. Another hit, Lyn…and love hearing how you thought through the process. I also love how you are incorporating a bit of stitching. It is a nice addition and enhances and unifies the overall compostition.

  3. I enjoyed your tale of the Wanderer-In-Progress-Story. Those Vintage Faucet Taps are another fascinating story waiting to be told. You have great suppliers

  4. Genius! Love the final solution…I like all the stitchery too. What’s underneath the cloth? Cotton batting? Looking forward to the final outcome ^_^

  5. Beautiful! Like the wrapped arms. How about dyed and manipulated gauze wings!? Know it will be an awesome finished piece. Your work is very inspiring! Thank you!

  6. Hi I’m a new artist, by which I mean I spent most of my 72 years denying that I had any ability at all, because I thought I was supposed to be able to draw something that represented reality. Somewhere along the line about five or six months ago I decided to heck with all the rules, I don’t care about a color chart, I don’t care about coloring inside the lines, all that matters is that I do something that makes me happy. So here I am. And I just stumbled across your blog I have to say I love it! I love the process that you went through with your figure here, and I love that you shared the thoughts that you went through. I have come to realize that an art there is no wrong turn. The only wrong turn is if you decide to stop and leave the piece forever. You can set it aside and return, you can paint over, color over, cut out and add on, paste on top of, refinish, etc etc etc. And that is just so exciting to me! It’s like life only I never knew it before! Thanks for giving me such pleasure. I’m glad you are doing what you are doing!

  7. I’m sorry I should have added this into my main comment, I have an occasional blog myself on WordPress, I write under the name of Asha Bear which connects also with a Facebook account under that name. My most recent article is entitled Free The Sea! I thought I would mention it to you because what made me write it was an article that I read about in the in colossal which is an online magazine about an artist who started a group of artists and activists and environmentalists etc called the Drifters Project. She goes around with people and works very hard pulling trash and plastics out of the ocean and then they gather together the refuse that they have picked up and turn it into an art installation with an idea of educating the public about what lack of recycling and poor management of our trash is doing to the marine environment and to the poor Marine creatures who live in the ocean. If you’re at all interested you don’t have to look at it but just if you are interested the link is as follows:
    There are other articles that I have written about various matters involving art and ideas that you will find at the bottom of the article if you do go there. I hope you enjoy if you go and if you don’t that’s not a problem at all! Like my art, I write my blog because it gives me pleasure.

  8. Rebecca,
    I love your blog and the work you are doing – I read and support Colossal, too.

    This statement from your introduction is so profound –

    “The kindness that I decided to show myself was to let my inner child, an overused term I know, go and metaphorically speaking make mud pies. I decided that I would deliberately flout any and all rules that I knew or had ever run into about what art should be or is supposed to be or is.”

    It’s wonderful to be in touch. I look forward to hearing more from you!

    • thank you so much for writing! I love following Colossal, sometimes the most overlooked artists get coverage there…. And I’m enjoying what you’ve been writing, as well. thought provoking…. 🙂 always a good thing!

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