My kids and I recently went fishing and while my youngest was unable to catch fish, he did manage to find a beer bottle covered in barnacles (he’s six btw). I can already feel the “deer in the headlights look” as you are probably staring at the screen wondering what in the world does a barnacle covered beer bottle have to do with sculpting. Well, while most people probably would have discarded the bottle, I on the other hand was drawn to it.
Most of the reference material that I use when I sculpt is a collection of the different images that float around the web. In most cases this works out pretty well for me. At times it takes hours and even days of research but for the most part I seem to find enough reference from Google Images to allow me to work out the forms and details on my artwork.
Now pictures are great but in all reality nothing and I mean nothing is better than having a resource in front of you to use for sculpting. Whether it is a human being for a figurative sculpture or an inanimate object, having the subject matter in front of you is the best resource you could use as a reference. And this is the reason why I was drawn to the beer bottle that was covered in barnacles.
Lately my interest has been in artwork that is in some shape of form related to the sea (and all that is in it). I currently use a lot of barnacles in my artwork because I think it adds an interesting texture to the piece. The beer bottle gives me an opportunity to see what barnacles really look like up close. I can feel their textures, see their imperfections and see how they are grouped together across the glass. More importantly this is also an opportunity to improve my own art. The “real deal” so to speak allows me to see any imperfections I may have made in my own work.
However I have to be honest here, I don’t just see the beer bottle as another tool to add to my artist toolbox. It is an interesting design and in my mind a real work of art in itself. Maybe I’m easily amused or just a little different than the norm. Either way I guess there is a lot of truth to the old saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.