This project is a limestone, 1/2 life sized Madonna and Child for a Rachel garden for a church in Texas. Scroll down for images of the work in progress.
The project began with this small preparatory maquette.
After interviewing a few different human figure models, I hired this model whose name is, incidentally, Rachel. Most of the sculpting of the full-sized clay model for the statue will be executed in 2-3 hour sessions with Rachel. She stands on a rotating platform which turns to show all angles. For now, we are using a baby doll, but we will be doing a photoshoot with a real-life baby and then use those photos for reference.
The clay modeling process starts with a wire armature over which is placed the clay.
After several sessions, the model begins to resemble the subject. In this photo, I am working from a large printout of photo references which I have taken of Rachel.
The next steps will be to do a photoshoot with a live baby model (which I believe I have found!) and to make the tunic, mantel, and veil with with Our Lady will be draped.
We found a baby model, baby James, and did a photoshoot.
After the photoshoot, I realized that we would need to modify the pose a bit to make allowances for the weight of a real baby and the way an actual child would recline in a woman’s arms.
So, I made a slightly larger “doll” to accommodate the new arm position. We also started experimenting with drapery.
I also ended up purchasing a larger baby doll. So, we are now working with a combination of photo references and live model plus baby doll.
There are a few more model sessions to go of working on the figure un-draped before moving on to the drapery.
The baby is taking shape, and the figure of Our Lady is sufficiently refined to now begin adding drapery.
Beginning to work on the drapery.
Continuing to fill out the drapery.
Update – Dec 2nd, 2022: Adding tunic, mantel, and veil. At this point, the drapery needs refining and filling out, but the basic silhouette is now present.
The clay model is mostly complete. Some surfaces need a bit of finishing, and the model needs to be prepped for mold making, but basically, here’s what it looks like!
A certain amount of work is necessary in order to prep the model for mold making. For instance, negative spaces need to be filled and some deep undercuts eliminated.