As a gardener, I’ve been cultivating plants for 60 years. As a sculptor, I’ve been researching the Green Man in books, museums, and churches. A current project which employs the sculpture process combines these interests into designs for a bronze fountain featuring the Green Man.
My drawings confirmed an idea I’ve had that sculpture comes down to bumps and divots. Regardless of the subject, abstract or figurative, good sculpture bounces light and creates shadows with its forms and surfaces. I didn’t need to draw eyes, I could imply them in shadowed recesses. Forehead and nose and chin, cheekbones could be suggested by bright surfaces in the proper proportions.
Finding Inspiration in the Sculpture Process
Many of the drawings were unintentionally creepy. Ambiguity has always been an aspect of the Green Man. Medieval sculptures depict him with branches and leaves coming out of his mouth. Is he exhaling green or choking on it. Is wildness threatening or benign? Genetic engineering adds another layer of ambiguity. What would a human/ plant cross look like? How would new green beings relate to us, and we them?
I was also inspired by the science fiction book The Wind Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. It’s a story of a not too distant future mix of human and genetically modified beings and plants coping with a constantly changing environment.
I’m working on the carving now and will share soon. For now, here are some of my drawings.
Note: Patrick has been awarded a grant to participate in Inami International Sculpture Camp in Nanto City, Japan.
See Patrick’s small carving video