sculpture

Writing Advice from The Hands of God

Artist quotes

Sculptor, Antoni Azarov

I love to nag people for interviews, and annoying as I may be, some very famous people occasionally indulge me.

This was the case with world renowned sculptor, Antoni Azarov. Even though the press dub him, and I quote, an “asshole,” I’ve discovered once you get used to his intensity, he’s kind of funny in his own dry way.

Let me first tell you, I admire Azarov’s work with the gushing of a sixteen-year-old at a boyband concert. This man’s hands can make clay into a sculpture so striking that you feel uncomfortable being in the same room with it; as if it were a vessel that held a ghost, one that might want to escape its ceramic shell to jump into your living skin.

Not to say Azarov’s a realist. His sculptures are minutely distorted, just slightly exaggerated–preventing them from being exact human replicas. But the distortion is what gives the sculptures souls, their naked bodies adorned by the invisible cloth of their psyches.

Azarov arrived on his Ducati, a big, black machine whose vibrating engine shook my porte cochere, flooding my house with its throbbing sound. He wore dark, indigo jeans and a black racing jacket. His dark hair was overgrown, past his jaw, and blew in tangles around his face after he removed his helmet.

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Art Beyond Words: The Veiled Christ

The Veiled Christ Giuseppe Sanmartino Cappella Sansevero, Naples.

The Veiled Christ by Giuseppe Sanmartino, 1753

Even Antonio Canova was envious of this sculpture. That’s saying a lot.

The Story Behind The Veiled Christ (from Museo Cappella Sansevero)

Placed at the centre of the nave of the Sansevero Chapel, the Veiled Christ is one of the most famous and impressive works of art in the world. It was the Prince’s wish that the statue be made by Antonio Corradini, who had already done Modesty for him. However, Corradini died in 1752 and only managed to make a terracotta scale model of the Christ, which is now preserved in the Museo di San Martino.

So Raimondo di Sangro appointed a young Neapolitan artist, Giuseppe Sanmartino, to make “a life-sized marble statue, representing Our Lord Jesus Christ dead, and covered in a transparent shroud carved from the same block as the statue”.

 

The Veiled Christ Front View

Front view. Notice his crown of thorns and the nails.

 

The sculpture was so unbelievable, they thought it was magic.

Legend of the Veil (from Wikipedia)

Over the centuries, the masterful depiction of the veil has acquired a legend, in which the original commissioner of the sculpture, the famous scientist and alchemist Raimondo di Sangro teaches the sculptor how to transform cloth into crystalline marble. For about three centuries, in fact, many visitors to the Cappella, amazed by the veiled sculpture, erroneously believed it to be the result of an alchemical “marblification” performed by the prince, who was meant to have laid a real veil on the sculpture and to have transformed this into marble over time by means of a chemical process.

In reality, a close analysis leaves no doubt that the work was entirely produced in marble and this is also confirmed by some letters written at the time of its production.

The Veiled Christ head detail.

This is an example of the divine art that inspired The Sculptor series.

Could you find words to describe it?

 

Photo credits

Pixshark

Wikipedia

Museo Capella Sansevero

An Author’s Research: How To Build A Realistic Body

My anti-hero is a disturbed sculptor whose art captivates the world. His story is very important to me and as an author I felt it my responsibility to make sure I created a believable character and an accurate portrayal of an artistic genius’ world.

A few months ago I announced that amazing artist, Kristine Poole, would be advising me for my first fiction series.  I’ve begun the initial phases of revising (reading through quickly, chopping up ruthlessly, combating nauseating self-doubt) and I will be interviewing Kristine Poole for in-depth details in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I wanted to share her video so you can see how she transforms a chunk of solid clay into a sculpture so lifelike that you can almost fancy it’s breathing. I learned a great deal just by watching the video and realize there will be much I have to change in my books. For starters…

  1. I had this vision that my sculptor would carve his pieces from the clay in the same way other sculptors chisel from marble. As you can see, this sculpture is made in a completely different way using coils and slabs.
  2. I thought the armature (support) would go inside, like a skeleton, but as you can see, Kristine uses outside supports.
  3. I had forgotten since my elementary school pottery class that ceramics must be hollow. Solid clay cannot be fired! 

After realizing how mistaken my assumptions were, I know why it’s so important to do proper research for a novel. If a writer cares about their characters and their readers, they must take the time and effort to make sure the story they build could possibly take place in the real world.

I know nothing takes me out of a story faster than lack of credibility and disbelief.

 

Readers: Have you ever been turned off by a poorly researched book?

Writers: How do you find credible sources for your research?

Were you surprised by the sculpting method used in the video?

 

 

 

Stuff I Forgot To Tell You

anchorman-2

We’ve recovered from our hangovers. Get ready for some news, bitches.

I meant to get this news out in individual posts before New Years, but that never happened. I blame my tardiness partly on holiday preparations, but it was mostly the coma-like state induced by excessive eating and champagne consumption. So here’s a round-up of the latest news from my little place in this world.

 

The Wrong David with Klimt Tote

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 10.04.56 AM

Review of The Wrong David by Christa Wojo

New Reviews for The Wrong David

I was surprised to see two new reviews for The Wrong David. I still feel awed (and terrified) when I find out someone read my book. And I’m stupefied whenever I receive a review, especially 5 stars. I am both humbled and flattered because Max Tomlinson is a highly respected author of noir, dark fiction, thrillers, and Sue Archer runs one of my favorite blogs on writing and editing called Doorway Between Worlds. I thank these reviewers from the bottom of my heart. (These were unsolicited reviews)

 

writers-roast

New Victims for Writers Roast

I have two brave writers willing to be skewered for the Writers Roast. Amanda Mabry will be put over the hot coals first. She’s an “author and bibliophile, redeeming villains and scandalizing saints one chapter at a time…” She submitted a chapter from her fantasy WIP that I really enjoyed reading and you will too.

My next carne asada (as we call it here in Panama) will be Doug Stuber, “a visiting professor of English at Chonnam National University in Gwangju, South Korea.” He requested to be served “with a nice reduced glaze, a side of salt potatoes and pickelled garlic on the side.” I’ll see if I can manage that.

 

Sweet D Coffee Mug Contest

My winners will tell you…

coffee tastes better in a mug with a naked lunatic on it. This took place before Christmas, so I have no excuse for failing to announce my winners for the Mad Genius coffee mug contest. Please, accept my apologies. Congrats to Kim Whaley and Cecil Parsons!

Kim Whaley is my #1 fan on My Sweet Delirium’s Facebook page. She’s been there from the beginning and says she enjoys all the inspirational and funny posts and quotes. Thanks for your support, Kim!

When Cecil Parsons received his mug he tweeted, “I love it and it enhances my coffee flavor.” He also said he was fighting to keep the co-workers from stealing it. I was surprised to hear this, since blogger buddy/beta reader, Charlotta Amato, says my crazy naked man (whom I’ve named Figment) “scares the hell out of her.” I think I’ll take a poll to make sure he’s not frightening people away from my fanpage.

I have another really cool prize coming up this month, so stay tuned and make sure you like Sweet D’s fanpage to participate.

 

 Bernini's Rape of Proseperina

The Sculptor is Finished, Kind of…

I vowed to have my third full length novel done before Thanksgiving, but travel and business prevented me from keeping my promise to myself. I left my poor heroine, Ona, in an excruciating position and felt terribly guilty for abandoning her while I was off living real life.

Read 7 lines from the third book.

After a two-month hiatus, I finally sat down and wrote the ending. I considered it a present to myself on Christmas morning. Although it felt good to get it overwith, the final moment was sort of an anti-climax. After being away from my characters and story for so long, I didn’t feel like I did them justice.

This is not only the ending of the book, but the ending of the whole series, and I intended to build up everything to a such an emotional crescendo that I’d leave the reader bawling their eyes out. As of now, I think it faded out more like a hot fart, but oh, well. That’s part of writing.

At least I know I can write novels and finish them. Now it’s time to learn how to revise. I’m dreading this part. With three books in their crudest forms, where do I begin? Fellow writers, any help is greatly appreciated! I have no idea when I’ll be publishing these babies. Maybe by Christmas 2015? In the meantime, you will enjoy more posts involving Kristine Poole, my amazing sculpture consultant.

 

I know there was more stuff I forgot to tell you…

…but I can’t remember right now. Let me know if I left anything unresolved and share your New Year News below!

Also, please share any revision resources or tips. I have a huge mess to clean up here.

 

Stay classy.

Exciting News for “The Sculptor”

Kristine Poole with her sculpture Bling and the Gleipnir Ribbon.

Kristine Poole with her sculpture “Bling and the Gleipnir Ribbon.”

Artist Kristine Poole will be helping me with my series-in-progress!

My series, under the working title The Sculptor of New Hope, was a spontaneous creation. I didn’t have time to do the proper research when I decided to attempt my first National Novel Writing Month. I blasted the books out, guessing and imagining what the process of sculpting was like, with no idea of the techniques and technical aspects of the art.

Fast forward two and half years.

I’m wrapping up the third and last book this month and am beginning to gorge on information before revisions so I can add realism and depth to the narrative. I love my characters and their story and I want to be diligent about incorporating all facts and details, leaving nothing to question. There were some major issues that needed to be addressed.

My first problem, which would have potentially derailed the whole concept the story, was if life-sized ceramic sculpture was even possible. I easily found documentation on marble, bronze, or smaller ceramic sculpture, but not the kind of work I imagined for my sculptor. I had a difficult time finding any detailed information on the web, until I came across the work of Kristine Poole.

"we remain in the experience of being bound, when in fact, the only restraint is wholly self-imposed." K Poole

“we remain in the experience of being bound, when in fact, the only restraint is wholly self-imposed.” K Poole

I felt immediately drawn to her sculpture. I poured over her whole website, and noticed that not only were the sculptures exquisite in form and beauty, they each had a message that resonated deeply with me.

Then I visited her blog page (she’s also an eloquent writer) and discovered that as an artist, she shares the same moments of fear and self-doubt a writer experiences. I jumped to subscribe to her blog, but I didn’t see a form or button to sign up. It was only because of that that I had the nerve to send her a contact form to ask to be added to her mailing list, and in the process, tell her a bit about my story.

I can’t tell you how ecstatic I was when she returned the email and offered to help me with my book. Not only will Kristine’s expertise give the story the dimension and credibility it deserves, it will give me the motivation to work tirelessly to realize the vision. With another artist investing her time and energy into my project, I must make my very best effort. I no longer have the luxury of entertaining doubt, and Kristine’s journey as an artist and her intention with her Bound Series inspires me. It gives me the courage to put myself out there and never give up.

Kristine Poole lives in Santa Fe with her husband, painter and sculptor, Colin Poole, with whom she frequently collaborates. Her current series will be debuted at Evoke Contemporary Gallery in Santa Fe next spring, and one of Kristine and Colin Poole’s collaborative sculptures is featured as the Silver Award winner in the Dimensional Category in “Spectrum 21: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art,” released Nov. 11.

Read her full artist bio here.

I will be sharing my interviews with Kristine Poole in future posts.

In the meantime, have look at more of her fascinating and provocative artwork on kristinepoole.com and read her inspiring articles, Approaching the “Bound Series” Surfaces and Entering the Artist’s World.

View more incredible painting and sculpture on Colin Poole’s website at colinpoole.com.

 Please leave your thoughts and comments for Kristine Poole and me below!

Art Beyond Words: Corradini’s Veiled Lady

Antonio Corradini's Veiled Lady Italian Sculpture Galleria di Palazzo Barberini

Tuccia la velata

This is an example of the divine art that inspired The Sculptor seriesCan you describe it with words?

Learn more about Antonio Corradini and the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica in Palazzo Barberini in Rome.

Photo credit.

The Essence of Great Art

Quote Image Friedrich Nietzsche by Christa Wojo

Venus and Adonis by Antonio Canova

 

What do you think is the essence of great art, writing, dance, or music?

Photo source.

Love Hurts

Image of Kafka quote, "Your love is like a knife, with which I explore myself.

 

I chose this quote as the theme of my third novel in The Sculptor series. It’s from Franz Kafka’s Letters to Milena, which is a posthumously published collection of his love letters sent to Milena Jesenská, a married Czech journalist with whom he had a long distance love affair. The relationship eventually dissolved, and Kafka died of tuberculosis a few short years later. It’s all very tragic. No happy endings. At least he managed to write some during his brief and uncomfortable life, and show us more about those black things writhing in our subconscious.

I’m binging on Kafka right now. You can be sure I will write a few more posts about him in the near future.

 

How would you feel if you received a love letter like this?

Would you find it romantic or disturbing?

 

 

 Photo credit

Divine Inspiration: Do We Repress Our Desires Or Embrace Them?

UPDATE:

I did some research on this lusty piece hidden in the garden of the Malecon 2000.

The name of this statue is El Fauno y La Bacante.

It was sculpted from marble in 1919 by Luis Veloz who had studied in Italy.

As you can imagine, in those days the sculpture created quite a scandal.

The allegory, according to the Enciclopedia de Ecuador, is that desires should not be repressed, but integrated wisely and transcended in life.

The young girl represents the human soul that is closing its eyes to the light of thought while being enfolded in a world of desire, which is represented by the faun.

 

So what do you think?
Can we get past our vices by repressing our desires?
Or must we embrace them in order to move past them and grow?

 

 

Christa Wojciechowski

Statue in Malecon What do you think is the story behind this piece?

I was delighted to find this provocative statue lurking in the trees in the Malecon, Guayaquil, Ecuador. I think it’s a sign from The Muses that it’s time to work on The Sculptor of New Hope. I can’t wait to get home and write the last book of the series!

 

P.S. Ecuador was amazing. I could write three articles about the cuisine alone! Stay tuned for a foodie post.

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Divine Inspiration

Statue in Malecon

What do you think is the story behind this piece?

 

I was delighted to find this provocative statue lurking in the trees in the Malecon, Guayaquil, Ecuador. I think it’s a sign from The Muses that it’s time to work on The Sculptor of New Hope. I can’t wait to get home and write the last book of the series!

 

P.S. Ecuador was amazing. I could write three articles about the cuisine alone! Stay tuned for a foodie post.