View Full Version : Relief
01-03-2002, 09:26 PM
Anybody in here doing, done, or studied relief sculpture? I never have so would appreciate any discussion of the theory and practice. I'm trying to sculpt landscapes in clay. Phyl
01-03-2002, 11:09 PM
Phyllis...you're delving into an almost lost art. Finding much information on sculpting at all is tough..and on relief is near impossible. But there IS one good book, the only one that I know of and guess what...it's probably the best guide you could get. And even better, it's cheap! I know it may sound like I own stock on this..but it is the old standby...Edward Lanterri, Modeling the Human Form. Dover books, about $10 bucks. At most book stores or B&N, Borders etc online. It is a turn of last (whoops, the one before) centurybook. Although old, he was a master and it has excellent illustrations.
I don't do much of this kind of work, but it is much simpler in some respects than in the round and tricker in some respects because it is a combination of sculpting and drawing. The biggest novice error I usually see on these is not paying attention to where the round should stop and the implied 'round' should be. You will see immediately after reading the book.
The nice thing about it is that if you wish to cast the finished piece it is accomplished easily with a simple mold and there are many materials to use for the cast. I took a mold making workshop this year and several students had pieces from a previous workshop that they cast. When I saw how simple their work was compared to casting an 'in the round' piece I was green with envy. If I can be of any assistance just PM me.
01-04-2002, 01:05 AM
That sounds like a fun project, Phyllis. The only thing I can think of to say is to use the depth of relief to show distance - have things in the foreground in higher relief than distant things.
(BTW, have you folks seen the wonderful relief sculpture Frank's offering in the Bargain Basement forum? He's shown it in here before but I can't remember the thread. It's beautiful. Here's the link: "Serenity" (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=27545))
01-04-2002, 09:53 AM
Phyllis, I don't have any suggestions for you on this subject, but do have lots of encouragement. You are an accomplished artist and certainly know how to draw. Just translate your stills to the clay, and you'll succed. It will be great to follow your progress with your relief work. As we have talked (messages) we both are getting some experience with air dry clay. I think you will have a better chance at success with your relief than I with my sculpture.
Please post progress images!
Thanks Sandra for posting the link so we can view Frank's high relief he has for sale. I forget to check the Bargain and Trade Forums!
01-05-2002, 08:42 PM
Thanks for the input. I haven't a clue what I'm doing and I'm not even sure where I came up with this idea. I'll try, Kathy, to get a progress photo. So far the air dry is working ok for me--but as I said, I only work in one hour blocks on weekdays.
Max, I hadn't even given a thought to casting. My plan is to sculpt it and when it's dry, cover it with copper foil. Don't know if it'll work or be a total failure. But I like experimenting---and I love copper. Casting gives me another option if Plan A doesn't work. And thanks for the recommendation on the book. I'll look for it.
Hi Sandra--it's been awhile. As always your advise is much appreciated. I was thinking about you a few days ago--I used magnolia leaves to decorate for Christmas and remembering how valuable your help was when I was struggling with the magnolia painting. That's off the subject here but it just came to mind when I saw your post.
I'm wondering about a couple of things with this particular piece. It's a landscape--barn, trees, fences, etc. So far the sky is the deepest level. I'm thinking that maybe the sky should come forward a bit at the top. Agree? or should I keep it flat? The other part that I questioned was the fence posts. At first, I had them the same depth out of the clay from top to bottom but I changed them so the bottom is sculpted more shallowly than the top. Not sure about that but I think they look better that way. Don't know if you can visualize what I'm talking about but, if you have any advise, I'd be interested in hearing it.
I'll try to photo tomorrow.
01-06-2002, 03:53 PM
Here's what I've done so far. Hope the cast shadows don't get in the way of your viewing.
Actually I guess the shadows might help to show the way that I did the fence posts--deeper sculpting at to top. Size is approx. 10" x 5" x 3/4" (at the thickest point).
Advise and suggestions cheerfully accepted. Phyl
01-06-2002, 06:49 PM
01-06-2002, 10:23 PM
Phyllis, your relief looks really good and I love the color of the red clay. Looks like your working in a good size too. Your landscape composition works really well with the clay. I think you are progressing nicely keep going.
The cast shadow's are very helpful they enable the viewer to see the deepth of the posts.
Were you able to find any information on working with relief?
Please keep posting progress images.
Kathy:clap: :clap: :clap:
01-07-2002, 06:54 AM
Hi Phyllis. I enjoy relief work myself. Max is right in that many (myself included) sometimes get carried away with the round over. Your progress pic looks terrific! I think the copper foil will be lovely. I recently picked up some silver foil for the same reason :) (too cheap to spring for gold LOL) I have always loved relief work and wish there were more artists doing it. That's why I enjoyed wood carving so much. Can't wait to see more pics.
01-07-2002, 06:50 PM
Phyllis..looks like you got things under control. I would make one suggestion. In low relief such as this piece is, I would cut down the thickness of the post in the foreground and let the viewer use the perspective of the road to fill in the blanks. If you look at good examples of Greek relief you will see that even a multiple layered scene can be quite 'shallow' and an almost optical illusion is used to overlap pieces in different perspectives. Does this make any sense the way I have tried to explain? It's very much like drawing and shading and less like 'round' sculpting. Don't know if this helps much. Mostly just keep sculpting and learning as you go is probably the best example. Keep us posted.:)
01-08-2002, 08:29 PM
Thanks everybody. Here's what I did this morning. Not sure the camera settings were as good for this one as the first--hopefully you can see it.
I tried to follow Max's advise and took about 1/2 of the thickness out of the fence posts. That seemed to demand that the entire foreground area also be reduced so I did that and then reduced the fence posts even further. Also I tried to make them round fence posts instead of square. And I added clouds.
Kathy, I didn't have time to really look for more information. Plan to go to the bookstore and look for the one that Max recommended but spent quite a bit of time stuck in the snow yesterday afternoon. The prediction was for a "dusting" or maybe 2 inches---we got 19 inches!
Diane, I don't think I've ever seen silver or gold foil--only copper and aluminum. Or maybe I'm not using the right terminology. The copper that I have is 36 gague meant for tooling.
01-08-2002, 10:02 PM
Phyllis..with that last scan afraid we're goin' ta have to give you and "F" for photo setting:D But even with the bad scan can see that you're moving it along. Looks like you put some clouds in the background..can't tell for sure. The post do look better now that they aren't competeing for center of interest position. I'm curious to how you are going to cover this with copper foil and not lose all the detail. I do not know anything about this air dry clay. Will it be firm enough to work the foil somewhat after covering? 19inches of white stuff..we're not familiar with that out here...is it nice?:D :D :D Well, that was something of a tall tell..we did get some in '93, but it melted before noon. Bummer..didn't even have time to make a small snowman.
01-10-2002, 12:57 PM
Phyllis this is coming along nicely. Sorry, it my my mistake....I was referring to leaf not foil. I am interested in seeing how foil will work over this when finished. I worked with it many years ago and it I would think it should go okay if the detail of the sculpture is not too tiny to capture from beneath. I do think that it will be lovely though. Can't wait to see more.
Don't worry about your photos...it still takes me many many shots with this new camera to get a decent one (dunno what I do to them) I feel that cameras should be better able to think for themselves by now :D
I like the addition of the clouds. Maybe adding something to the bottom right corner? The eye tends to want to stop there for some reason. 19" Whew! I guess we got the dusting you were supposed to get. I feel like I am living in the south here in PA after some of the Canadian winters we had back home. 50 deg. in January?????
Have a good day
01-10-2002, 06:26 PM
Phyllis, me tooooooooo really like the addition of the clouds gives the piece more depth adds even more interest. Phyllis the painter is coming forward now. I sure like the the composition, and I think it's going to be a super relief.
I'm anxious to see the cooper foil covering too. I think it would look really nice with just the clay showing too. Either way I think you have done really well!
Well maybe practice with your camera settings a little more. tee hee:evil: Check with Randy AKA mebucko I understand he's a camera ace. :cool:
01-10-2002, 08:19 PM
Hi Everybody. Max, I have so many bad images on this website that Scott is probably getting ready to give me the Knucklehead Award!!! So today I checked the manual YET ANOTHER TIME to make sure I used the right settings.
I think this may be the final version but I'll keep it in plastic for a few days just in case I decide to make more changes. Any critiques or suggestions?
As far as the copper foil goes--I think it will work--or hope it will. I did copper tooling once about 40 years ago and it was quite easy to make an impression. I've never used the clay before but the box says that it dries extremely hard and durable but not waterproof. I do expect some loss of detail. Also I expect that the raised areas might get a bit larger and the deeper areas a bit smaller. I'm trying to compensate for that in the clay but it's hard at this point because the whole project is very experimental.
01-10-2002, 08:33 PM
This one is the edge view--just thought you might like to see the thickness.
I had planned to do this whole sculpting subtractively with the thought that it might help me with negative painting. As you can probably tell, I failed in that attempt and ended up adding more clay in a lot of areas. Oh well......maybe next time I'll do better.
01-10-2002, 08:38 PM
01-10-2002, 10:49 PM
Phyliss is soaring with the eagles! This is really great I like it just the way it is for sure. Will watch for the laying on of the foil!
Your second image from the side looks like a topograpy map...
For someone who has only a few hours or less each day to work on sculpture your really good! No your doing GurrrrrrrrrGreat:clap:
01-10-2002, 11:19 PM
Knuckl...er..Phyllis..looks like you are working hard at this. It is much further along in these scans and has a nice touch. One thing you might do, if you havn't already is to hollow some of the thickness out from behind. The bottom looks pretty thick and if you are going to hang will be quite heavy.
01-11-2002, 08:13 PM
Good idea, Max. It is fairly heavy--besides that'll give me more clay for the next one! I really appreciate all of the advise that you have given me on this. It was really very helpful.
Thanks, Kathy, for the cheering! I do have limited time but I try to put in an hour every morning before going to work. Then, in the evening, I plan my work for the next morning. It's not much time but the everyday routine seems to get the job done. Sometimes on weekends I can fit in a 2 or 3 hour session. That's a nice bonus!
01-13-2002, 06:36 AM
This is beautiful. Until about 5 mins ago, I didn't even know what a relief was (other than that feeling of school holidays being over!!!) ...and now I'm really clued up! (well sort of, some of the jargon still leaves me a little baffled):)
The more I see in this forum, the more inspired I become.
01-13-2002, 08:00 PM
Thanks, Impetuous. Glad you enjoyed it.
While reading through this thread looking for the name of the book that Max recommmended, I noticed a point in the composition that doesn't meet with my approval. Glad I didn't dry it yet. I'll have to take a hard look at the real thing and maybe change the fence a bit. Back to the drawing board!
01-14-2002, 01:44 PM
Phyllis this is terrrrrific! :clap: I love the composition but will wait to see what you will change. I also think it's lovely the way it is but I am interested in seeing the foiling done. Will be beautiful I am sure. Don't forget to add a hanging hook to the back before you let it dry... (speaking from experience here LOL) It's great seeing so much new stuff going on in this forum! Love that big tree on the left. BTW!
Keep the pics coming.
01-14-2002, 08:25 PM
Thanks, Diane. I just made one minor change to the composition. Didn't think the post and fence should "kiss" the road that way. The rest is the same. I thought about a hanging hook but decided that if it looks good, I will glue it to lauan (painted black) and have a frame made that will expose about 1/2 inch of the black around the edge of the copper. Still thinking about the color of the frame--maybe natural maple--or natural cherry--or?????
It's drying now. Since this is all new to me, I'm not sure how long that will take but I should be working on the copper within a few days.
01-16-2002, 07:59 PM
Tried covering it with the copper foil and ended up pressing down to hard and broke my clay slab--right down the middle of the large tree.
So I tried the foil on one of the halves and it ain't gonna work. I expected some loss of detail but it's extreme. Giving up on that idea.
Glued the slab back together but the crack is quite visible. Oh well.......it was a fun experiment! And I liked the sculpting so I'll probably try another!
01-16-2002, 08:47 PM
Phyllis, that looked like fun! Let me know when you post your next one - it's fascinating!
01-16-2002, 10:52 PM
Phyl, :eek: OH NO :( do you have any clay left over? Couldn't you just cover the broken and glued area with more clay? Then reform your large tree? Maybe someone on this forum can help you what a shame:(
So as they say OK pick yourself up and dust yourself off and get back horse again.
01-18-2002, 10:42 AM
Oooooooh No! So sorry to hear that Phyllis. I was hoping you'd get away with it as I was sooo looking forward to seeing the end result. Not sure about repairing that particular air-dry but maybe a good glue for pourous surfaces will work well enough to make a mold & cast in something harder (like Hydrocal?)?? I think a plaster mold should be relatively easy for this one :D
And then perhaps you could try using one of the metal leaf products available. There are so many and one can buy very inexpensive ones to try before spending too much on any pure stuff (gold, silver etc). I still love the idea of the metals and am trying to think of ways to save this. It's such a lovely composition. I picked up a pkge. of good silver leaf a while ago because I wanted to create something with a metal look also, but haven't tried it yet.
As far as wrecking things goes I think that is one area I have mastered!!!! I am always trying new things and redoing redoing LOL. That high relief woman I started a while back has had two different molds and been cast several times in things that didn't work or I didn't like so she's a great trial & error project for me. I should have posted all the flops in my thread too eh? just for fun! So, I hope you are able to try something else with this one.
Have a ggod day,
01-18-2002, 07:48 PM
Here's what I did: glued the pieces back together with Elmer's Glue. I didn't really expect it to work as well as it did but it made a very strong bond. I kinda figured that was the end and since it was experimental just chalked it up to lessons learned. Since I had nothing to loose, I sprayed the surface with water (the box says that it's not waterproof so I figured it would soften it) and rubbed a very thin layer of fresh clay over the seam. And I added some to the back to strengthen the seam.
As I had decided the copper wouldn't work, I also decided to forget the idea of the black frame. So I added a wire loop embedded in some fresh clay on the back. That clay started to break up the first time that I tested it, so I quickly put it back together with the Elmer's Glue and left that to dry overnight. This morning it seemed to be holding firmly.
I like the color of the clay so I think I'll just hang it up and see how it ages. It was a fun project and I have enough clay left for a couple more so I'll try another. I don't think I'm ready to delve into molding, casting, etc. at this point but I found it a good way to concentrate on the study of landscape composition as I didn't have to think about color, value, brushwork, etc. Also I really want to strengthen my negative painting skills and think that if I concentrate on sculpting subtractively, it might help.
Tomorrow morning I'll try to get a good photo so you can see the final version. Thanks for all your advise and encouragement. Phyl
01-19-2002, 01:02 PM
Phyl, sounds like you salvaged it from the clay heap. Good For You! The Clay Gods just thought they pooped on ya :evil:
Can't wait to see the finished piece. :clap: :clap: :clap:
01-19-2002, 05:26 PM
Your work look really good as for myself i am a new member in this group (Wetcanvas) but i had some experience with relief carving in quite a few medium. As far as technique go, i have used the same technique as i always did with relief carving in wood. There a fair amount of litterature on the subject if you look in wood carving+relief or chips carving. Clay is porous as you read on the box, i used to seal the clay with a polymer water based sealer and wait for at least a week before applying copper to the surface. The clay by itself is porous to water and air and i seen one of my first pieces a made loose the bond between clay and copper because it had not been sealed prior to copper application. All the otrer pieces that we sealed kept intact, some of them for over thirty years.
Hote you find this useful
01-19-2002, 06:38 PM
Thanks, Shadow! What kind of copper did you use??
01-19-2002, 08:47 PM
The copper i use the most is laboratory grade copper foil. It is not as expensive as it sound and you have a choice of about a dozen thickness, plus a variety off copper alloy wich impar differents colors and from there you can play with shadow effects, patina, effects of depth and details. I work it using low heat, wood tools that i make as needed and differents liquids, or basics or slightly acid and lots of patience. The finish piece look like a one piece copper piece except for the weight. For low relief pieces you can always cover with a whole sheet and press in every nooks and edges. I would say get some foil and experiment whit it before starting the main piece. it"s worth it. There so much that can be done with that material, it's incredible. The thinner the foil the better for details, it's working is quite close to gold leaf and even the heat of your fingers will render it softer and easier to work in the work.
Hope it can help, let me know how it's turn out
01-20-2002, 09:09 PM
Thanks, Shadow. Now I'll have to find a source for the thin copper. The foil that I have is much too thick to show the details.
01-20-2002, 09:53 PM
Look in the yellow pages for laboratory equipment suppliers and talk to a salesperson and they will find what you need. As for myself i was luky somes years ago to be able to get over 500 lbs of differents copper and brass foils. If you are unable to find some for your next project just let me know and i could always send you some. A friend of mine that has to deal with stranger by email use a private mailbox. Like that you don't have to give your adress. I will do some research on my side tomorrow and try to locate a source of good material.
Bye for now
01-21-2002, 08:23 PM
Thanks. I'll have to check it out.
01-22-2002, 08:52 AM
For copper foil of very good quality try the following place. www.vwrcanlab.com and look for copper metal foil.
The 500gr of .005 has number wlc3589T, they also have 100gr.
The 100gr of .002 has number wlc3586R.
A bit expensive but worth it for the quality of work that can be done with that material.
01-22-2002, 08:03 PM
Shadow..thanks for posting this site. I've bookmarked it for future reference. BTW I have some of my Canadian cousins visiting now who live in your area. They tell me it's COLD back there..is this true?:D
01-24-2002, 01:12 AM
Yep, it's really cold around here, it's minus twelve F. right now and i just finished shoveling the two feets of snow that fell in the last two days. I am happy that you find my posting usefull. I have been in the field for the last forty years and accumulated quite a bit of experience. I am very happy when i can help someone. I also like to talk about art and other general things. I don't spend much time on the computer every day, to much to do aside but if you want to contact me you can at firstname.lastname@example.org by email or the messager when i am on line.
Hope to hear from you
01-25-2002, 09:15 AM
Thanks Shadow, for the link. I bookmarked it also. I moved here from SW Ontario about 6 months ago....big difference in temps from there to your place! I always loved the north though. Have you posted any of your artwork yet or did I mis it? Thanks again for the link.
01-26-2002, 08:25 PM
Would you reccommend one thickness over the other? Or would either one allow a good amount of detail to show through?
12-26-2007, 09:35 PM
No posts in nearly 6 years! No one doing relief sculpture anymore? I'm working on one and having problems. It's not my first.
12-27-2007, 12:23 AM
i just finished doing a small low relief terra cotta, it was pretty difficult. And the lower relief, the hardest it seems to be. I think alot of good relief can be found on coins, so you can study it for inspiration.
12-27-2007, 12:27 AM
one of the things i noticed while doing relief work in clay is that when it is drying it has a tendency to crack and warp.
I ordered some artist wax and plan on doing some reliefs in this way. Wax is great and is better suited for relief sculpture than terra cotta. You can order it from Scupturehouse.com.
12-27-2007, 12:47 AM
Spaciouslands curious about your relief sculpture.
Varglesnarg nice work!The clay tend to warp because there is an uneven moisture content in the tile.When finishing with modeling, I lay my tile on a wet towel so the tile can suck moisture and become soft and bendable again.I covered the towel and tile with a box for a day.Then the tile must dry slow and even.
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