After an intermission of a couple of weeks (small tombstone, work for others) I went on with the marble statue of Shirdi Sai Baba. This afternoon at the end of the day I quickly shot a picture with my cellphone, without flash, with fluorescent light. Véry good pictures then.
I've been busy endlessly with rasping, sanding and more sanding, and I have started carving the face.
The eyes are not yet to my satisfaction, not quite the same yet either. I've just marked them with pencil for this picture , and only when the eyelids are to my satifaction, I'm going to carve the pupils. Someone asked me whether it should be like that, that the pupils are on the side. He was referring to the white spot in the pupil. Actually they are not pupils, but the iris and the pupil together, and the white spot is the reflection on the eye. If you carve it the right way, it looks just like the eye shines, because the iris + pupil are dark (lower), and in the place of the light spot a piece of stone is left that catches the light .
On the original photo Shirdi Sai Baba has a peering glance, probably because he looked straight into the sun when the picture was taken. I tried to capture that peering, and I think that with a little more detailing the right look is coming closer. The eyes are the most important for the expression, and after that the mouth. Those two together make the facial expression. If something is off in those details, it would become an odd sculpture. That's why I sometimes said, with a bit of exaggeration, that you have to draw the eyelids and the iris ten times, and then if it's to your satisfaction, carve it once. If not you'll have less room for error with every try.
In the upcoming days I will finish the eyes and the rest of the face, and start polishing the entire statue. These last few days I have also spent time on the hands and feet, en that too will take some more time. It's the details that will make the statue come alive.
This is my first portrait, and that's very different than just carving a random sculpture: do the hands and feet fit the ascetic character and age of Shirdi Sai, or are they the hands and feet of a much younger and fatter man? Thus, the statue continues to develop, and gradually comes close to what it should be.