Hand reference

As well as checking the proportions with Martin’s help, I take casts of his hands to use as reference later. 

The gruesome image on the right is the mould of Martin’s hand in negative...this will be filled with plaster to create the reference cast.  

First draft complete

This is the maquette enlarged verbatim as it were.  I want the feeling of the maquette to transfer to the full size and here, once enlarged, I can see where the structural problems might be. It’s hard to see in these photos but the proportions are all over the place ... the torso is too short and the upper legs too long...the arms are different lengths and his head looks big.  However, I like the general aspect of the pose which is curious and interested.  More on my thinking behind the pose in a later post. I have asked Martin to come and sit for me again tomorrow to check my proportions and, I hope, cast his hands to plaster for reference.  

Setting out the clay

Once the armature is wrapped in chicken wire, the first layer of clay goes on.  This makes good TimeLapse material.  The next stage is plotting the primary points - circled below. These will help me triangulate the proportions to scale and with fidelity with the maquette

 

IMG_2589.JPG
IMG_2591.PNG

Armature

The clay will be modelled on to a steel armature.  The armature is plotted from the maquette using the baseboard crosshairs and plumb lines and then welded onto a steel support known as a back-iron.  The back-iron takes most of the weight.  It is, of course, important that the armature runs through the middle of the final form.  Here is a sequence from back-iron to basic armature.

Setting the scale

The first step in scaling to full-size is to decide upon the scale.  Our first encounter with a sculpture is usually an awareness of scale; the size of the work relative to its surroundings.  In the open air, to make a figure appear life size, I generally increase the dimensions of the sculpture by at least 1.25, which ups the volume by something like 60% (maths experts please verify).  As Tom is sitting, I am going a little larger.

From maquette to full size, I work out a percentage increase.  Later I will work back from the full size to the ley figure.  I kind of know why I do it this way round, but find it hard to explain - its allong the lines of not wishing to dilute the spirit of the maquette with an interim stage.  As you will see in the armature stage in a later post, the feeling of the maquette should be apparent even in the steel superstructure.

Here are some stage photos of the maquette enlargement process

 Squaring off the baseboard for the maquette....my lucky board...before Tom this was used for John Bonham....the curve is for John and I paint around Tom's maquette so as to distinguish the marks.

Squaring off the baseboard for the maquette....my lucky board...before Tom this was used for John Bonham....the curve is for John and I paint around Tom's maquette so as to distinguish the marks.

 The maquette baseboard to levelled and the maquette secured with filler.

The maquette baseboard to levelled and the maquette secured with filler.

 With a laser level I mark out reference lines on the maquette that coincide with crosshairs drawn on the baseboard.

With a laser level I mark out reference lines on the maquette that coincide with crosshairs drawn on the baseboard.

 The full size baseboard is made with corresponding crosshairs and a painted footprint of the seat under Tom.  The board is secured to a turntable and levelled.

The full size baseboard is made with corresponding crosshairs and a painted footprint of the seat under Tom.  The board is secured to a turntable and levelled.

This my first go at time-lapse Taine...thanks for the tips.  Will aim to improve as the project progresses

Sad news

This morning we hear of sad news of Tom’s death; I’m rarely at a loss for words and cannot find them today. With best wishes to your family and friends Tom

IMG_1519.JPG

Here are some of the tributes - the sheer volume of column inches devoted to this moment in time gives you an idea of the regard in which Tom is held. 

 https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/sam-smyth-big-tom-shy-but-always-polite-let-his-songs-do-the-talking-1.3464787

 https://www.rte.ie/entertainment/2018/0417/955054-irish-country-legend-big-tom-mcbride-dies/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-43793492

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-43802303

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/irish-country-singer-big-tom-mcbride-dies-aged-81-1.3464355

https://www.rte.ie/entertainment/2018/0417/955075-in-pictures-big-tom-mc-bride-1936-2018/

https://www.rte.ie/entertainment/2018/0417/955054-irish-country-legend-big-tom-mcbride-dies/

https://www.thesun.ie/tvandshowbiz/music/2453875/country-music-legend-big-tom-mcbride-dead-aged-81-just-months-after-wife-rose-passed-away/

https://www.standard.co.uk/showbiz/celebrity-news/big-tom-mcbride-dead-legendary-irish-country-music-singer-dies-aged-81-a3815961.html

http://www.itv.com/news/utv/2018-04-17/tributes-paid-to-country-music-giant-big-tom-mcbride/

https://www.independent.ie/videos/entertainment/watch-touching-tribute-to-irelands-king-of-country-music-big-tom-mcbride-36816027.html

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/music-news/we-referred-to-him-as-the-king-tributes-pour-in-as-country-music-singer-big-tom-dies-aged-81-36814924.html

https://www.irishnews.com/news/northernirelandnews/2018/04/17/news/country-music-in-mourning-after-death-of-big-tom-mcbride-1306583/

https://www.express.co.uk/celebrity-news/947367/Big-Tom-McBride-Irish-singer-dead-death-cause-news-latest-tributes

https://www.irishmirror.ie/showbiz/irish-showbiz/big-tom-countryirish-ireland-daniel-12376853

http://www.thejournal.ie/big-tom-death-3961868-Apr2018/

https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/entertainment/late-late-country-music-special-to-pay-tribute-to-big-tom-837813.html

https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/big-tom-mcbride-tributes-paid-14540943

https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/tributes-after-passing-of-big-tom-mcbride-81-1-8462879

https://www.irishcentral.com/culture/entertainment/big-tom-mcbride-irish-country-music

http://www.northernsound.ie/funeral-arrangements-announced-for-big-toms-as-tributes-from-far-and-wide-are-paid-to-the-country-music-legend/

https://www.catholicbishops.ie/2018/04/17/monsignor-joseph-mcguinness-pays-tribute-to-the-late-big-tom-mcbride-rip/

https://www.aol.co.uk/news/2018/04/17/varadkar-leads-tributes-as-irish-country-music-star-big-tom-mcbr/

https://www.derryjournal.com/news/tributes-as-legend-big-tom-passes-away-1-8463908

https://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/News/Taoiseach%27s_Press_Releases/Statement_by_An_Taoiseach_on_the_death_of_Big_Tom_McBride.html

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/he-went-out-the-way-he-came-music-world-mourns-big-tom-h3f0j93xm

http://armaghi.com/news/ireland-news/irish-country-legend-big-tom-mcbride-has-died-aged-81/66423

 

 

Plinth draft design

Using a rough cast of the maquette, I am re- designing the plinth with visitors in mind. If I were to stand by the sculpture I would like to be on his facing side. As it stands, the steps on his right prevent you standing beside him so I am nudging them around to the other side to make room for someone to stand on the ground.

IMG_1503.JPG
  ...and how this would scale with an average human adult

 ...and how this would scale with an average human adult

Model for Tom

To begin the full-size, I start by finding a model of similar proportions and photograph them in the right clothes.  This gives me a good idea of how the fabric falls and forms the basis of the drapery design.

 Martin modelling for Big Tom.  By coincidence, Martin is, amongst other things, a saxophonist.

Martin modelling for Big Tom.  By coincidence, Martin is, amongst other things, a saxophonist.

Drapery reference

Tom has lent me some of his kit from the 70's.  So as to preserve the clothes (which will be wrapped onto a ley figure for reference) I have asked costumier, Elizabeth Gurney, to copy them.  Here we are discussing how best to do this, where the pulls and falls are and the weight of fabric.

DSCF4955.jpg
DSCF4980.jpg

Maquette

Jumping ahead about a month, here is the finished maquette.  The aim of this is to set the general direction for the final work and start to work out the design of the plinth.

Tom McBride maquette (2 of 4).jpg
Tom McBride maquette (4 of 4).jpg
Tom McBride maquette (1 of 4).jpg

Site visit

Discussing possible sites for the sculpture around and about Market Square

 From left to right: Mark Richards, Greth McMahon, Orlagh Meegan-Gallagher and Margo O'Donnell

From left to right: Mark Richards, Greth McMahon, Orlagh Meegan-Gallagher and Margo O'Donnell

Composing the sculpture

Now I have been given the brief from the Commissioners, I set about composing the sculpture by way of maquettes (small 3D sketches).  These are made in clay to start with and, once I am happy with the feel, cast to plaster.  A typical maquette for me is about 1/4 life-size.  

 While spending tim with Tom, I noticed that he often sat with his feet together and his left leg off to one side - I then found this picture in among the photographs and found my way into the composition.

While spending tim with Tom, I noticed that he often sat with his feet together and his left leg off to one side - I then found this picture in among the photographs and found my way into the composition.

 I then set about gathering some proportional measurements from Tom...notice the position of his hands which is typical of how he was often sitting. I was drawn to this arrangement as it suggests a guitar pick in his right hand and a chord shape on his left. 

I then set about gathering some proportional measurements from Tom...notice the position of his hands which is typical of how he was often sitting. I was drawn to this arrangement as it suggests a guitar pick in his right hand and a chord shape on his left. 

Meeting Tom

I first met Tom at his lovely home in Oram in late 2017.  We were introduced by Margo O'Donnell and I enjoyed a couple of hours in their company.  Thank you Tom for your warm welcome; you made me feel immediately at home.

IMG_0093.JPG

Meeting Margo

My first port of call is Margo O'Donnell, the celebrated Irish Country singer who is key to the project.  Margo's office is decked out with photographs from Margo's rich and varied career - Margo with Chrystal Gayle, Margo with Dolly P.,..it goes on.  What a treat.

IMG_0099.JPG