A Jack of all trades is a King of none…

I recently told a couple artist friends of mine I wanted to try my hand at some three-dimensional artwork, namely, clay sculpture, and they gave me some sound advice:

Don’t be a dabbler.

I certainly agree with their point. Every painting and drawing an artist does should teach them and increase their skill and confidence. So, any distraction is a missed opportunity to become that much better. And, in an ideal world, that much more successful.

But it has always been my experience that trying and understanding new forms of art can only benefit whatever medium, genre and style you prefer. Painting in unforgiving watercolor makes me more confident in oil, abstract expressionism brings out emotion and betters the composition in representational works, etc, etc…

So call me a dabbler.

Ultimately, I’m not trying to be the best at one form or another. Art to me is about discovery, and sometimes that means trying different things and learning from my mistakes.

IMG_1486 So, I built a work station at the studio and got myself all the necessary tools and clay.

I started with a particular favorite of mine, Sargent’s scandalous portrait best known as “Madame X”.

IMG_1494 Remember when I said learn from my mistakes? Well, when removing the armature I broke the base, which then led to breaking the figure. Multiple times.

So I went back and decided to try and salvage/fix the cursed subject. Lots of research and trial and error later…

The Madame was (almost) her former self.


IMG_1541 I had to replace the base that I broke, so I decided to use wood (birch) instead. But I had to also account for the broken bottom of the figure, which meant some carving. IMG_1566

Then it was just a dowel and some shellac away from being ready for the fired piece.

Here she is after firing and some apoxy. IMG_1656

And a dark base coat. IMG_1659

Some Spanish Copper rub n’ Buff IMG_1670

                                                           And finally a coat of triple-thick acrylic varnish. 033a

All to make a very elaborate business-card holder.