Thursday, June 9, 2016
Crocodile Diety and Regular Cat
I was recently watching an episode of "River Monsters" with Jeremy Wade and Jeremy was in Africa - don't remember exactly where but it seemed like the upper Nile region - searching for tiger fish. A by-product was encounters with several Nile crocodiles, including one that was languidly swimming away from him. I was so struck by the beauty of the animal's movements that I determined to learn more and to sculpt him even though I don't usually portray animals that aren't north American or European (it's not a prejudice - just that I feel that they are someone else's special animals rather than part of my cultural heritage).
During my research I found several beautiful ancient Egyptian depictions of these impressive creatures. I have always been awed by the elegance of the way those people sculpted and painted animals and crocodiles were just one more example of that fine talent of that culture.
My challenge became how to "jump off" from that start - suggesting the originals, but still making them my own. I don't know whether or not I lived up to that challenge.
The crocodile is definitely "my own" with its smile that just won't be wiped away from my animals mouths. But I'm not sure that I really added enough of my own vision. Perhaps it will be clearer when the piece is fired and glazed. By the way, the two small pieces in the lower center of the photo will be the crocodile's headdress.
The other piece is a little cat. Although I am very familiar with cats since I live with several, I find them the hardest animals to draw, paint, or - especially - sculpt. So I thought I'd just set myself that problem - could I finally sculpt a good cat? Once again, the just is still out, but I suspect that the answer will be "not quite!"
Both these pieces are speckled brown stoneware from Clay-King.com.