Models and maquettes

This post at Phil Coopers ‘Hedgerows’ blog site is just so wonderful that I’m breaking my no re-blogging rule, and stealing it wholesale! I recommended to Phil that he try model-making to get him out of a creative cul-de-sac, and he’s taken to the whole thing like a duck to water. Bravo, Phil!

Hedgecrows

I’m not sure exactly what the difference is, can anybody enlighten me? Anyhoo, making small scale 3-D studies is what I seem to be doing this week and this much I know so far; making models (or maquettes) is lots of fun and it’s messy :-).

Here’s a model of a bridge I worked on today, using card as a base, and then building up and binding together using plaster bandages and moulding paste:

image

image

It’s based on the bridge in an iconic scene in the film The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, a wildly expressionist construction, all skewed angles and forced perspectives, more like a helter skelter than a bridge you could actually walk along.

I’m going to use the model for a painting , but base the painting on photographs of the model rather than drawing from life, from the model itself. After painting the bridge this afternoon, I took…

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12 thoughts on “Models and maquettes

  1. I had not gone to the Phil Cooper place before; Remember I am quite a newcomer at the Artlog. But thanks to this, I went yesterday. And I loved it. And I have added “Hedgerows” to my Favourites, and will go there to enjoy all. I do not think I shall write any posts, at least until I feel familiar with everything, but I loved IT.
    Thank you both.
    M

  2. I am always interested to discover more about the process that informs different artists work, so it’s intriguing to read this post and the conversation between the two of you.

    I discovered Phil’s work, after getting to know him through the Artlog. How could I resist taking a peek at the blog of the Machiavellian character who is behind the imminent takeover of the world by those fiendish Gingerbread Zombies?! I greatly enjoyed what I found when I visited Phil’s blog and some immediate pinning to my Pinterest board took place! (-:

    Helping people access their own creative thinking is part of my practice as a consultant, so I have always loved how your artistic process is so rooted in play. I do know that when we hit a mental block that it’s a great idea to find a way to play instead of getting tied up in knots looking for the one “correct” answer or solution.

    Phil’s adventures in model-making have produced some wonderful results and I am now really looking forward to seeing how this relates to his paintings. I will await further developments with great interest.

    • Well, I can reveal that today Phil and I agreed we would collaborate on the book-trailer for Hansel & Gretel. He will make the models, based loosely on the images of the wood and the Witch’s house in the book, that will be at the core of the film. I’ve described what I want as ‘Jan Svankmajer meets The Golem (the best Expressionist film ever) meets Cabin in the Woods.’ So, PLAYTIME!

      • What a treat the Hansel & Gretel trailer promises to be. I think you and Phil make the perfect playmates!

        It appears we are witnessing a coming together of the Artlog triumvirate – you, Phil and Peter – on this project. The number three has all kinds of mystical connotations after all. What kind of magic and mischief is about to occur I wonder?!

  3. The photographs of the painted and completed bridge don’t appear above (visitors, you have to click on the ‘view original’ link to see them), but I have to say that they blew my socks off! I recognised the bridge from Dr Caligari the instant I saw it, and had often wondered what its shape might be from other angles. I love the film and I love that scene, but what I love here is the fantastic photographs you managed from your model, with the little arched ‘gatehouse’ beyond it. They are quite simply splendid.

    You know Phil, I got so much out of the process of making an ‘Expressionist’ model village and then producing drawings and paintings from it, just as I did from making maquettes. They liberated a part of my imagination that had been a locked room to me until then. (I had never been able to paint figures the way I wanted, from working only with live models.) You might well make rough drawings to start with (don’t get too precise… stay free) and then try working in paint. I used both my photographs of the model village and the model itself as the starting points of paintings. The photographs gave me all sorts of interesting moods and lighting, but the model itself provided information that while different, was no less useful. The paintings you saw at the exhibition were made using both.

    And as completed works in their own rights, your photographs of the model are quite something. I’d like to be making a film with them. Maybe that’s what you’ll be doing next. Ha ha! Maybe we should be collaborating! Actually… maybe we should. I have a little project coming up. Maybe we should talk!

  4. I am that duck! Well Clive, there isn’t any higher praise to be given than appearing on your Artlog (‘Best Artists’ Blog’ award since the year dot, if such an award existed), so many, many thanks for the encouragement and positive feedback, it means such a lot to me.

    Working, for the first time really, in three dimensions does seem to have opened up a rich vein or creativity and possibilities so I’m enormously grateful for your wise words a couple of weeks back suggesting I try this technique. The challenge now is to make the paintings come alive from the maquette, to take the energy of the maquette and translate it into paint. But by constructing models and photographing them, I can see immediately how I can work out compositions and focus in my images more easily, and these are issues I’d been struggling with, so it’s paying dividends already. It’s great fun too, I don’t think my work will be quite the same again my friend!

    • The photographs of the painted and completed bridge don’t appear above (‘Blogger’ doesn’t allow that, so visitors, you have to click on the ‘view original’ link to see them), but I have to say that they blew my socks off! I instantly recognised the bridge from Dr Caligari, and had often wondered what its shape might be from other angles. I love the film and I love that scene, but what I love here are the fantastic photographs you managed from your model, with the little arched ‘gatehouse’ beyond it. They are quite simply splendid.

      You know Phil, I got so much out of the process of making an ‘Expressionist’ model village and then producing drawings and paintings from it, just as I did from making maquettes. They liberated a part of my imagination that had been a locked room to me until then. (I had never been able to paint figures the way I wanted, from working only with live models.) You might well make rough drawings to start with (don’t get too precise… stay free) and then try working in paint. I used both my photographs of the model village and the model itself as the starting points of paintings. The photographs gave me all sorts of interesting moods and lighting, but the model itself provided information that while different, was no less useful. The paintings you saw at the exhibition were made using both.

      And as completed works in their own rights, your photographs of the model are quite something. I’d like to be making a film with them. Maybe that’s what you’ll be doing next. Ha ha! Maybe we should be collaborating!

      I was kinda joking, but actually… maybe we should. I have a little project coming up. Perhaps we should talk! Do you Skype?

      • I think you put it perfectly there Clive, the process ‘liberates the imagination’ – exactly! I think the models and photographs can now unlock realms that I just would not have realised without them. What I didn’t include in this post was how influential your Borderlands paintings have been too. The expressionist model, applied to the tiny Welsh village scene, photographed, and then painted with such beautiful brushwork resulted in something sublime and inspiring. Then seeing the model appear again in the film with Peter Byrom-Smith’s wonderful music was another revelation.

        Thanks again for your encouragement, and as for collaborations; hell yeah!

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