Manchego

Barcelona is a city full of astute architectural composition, and wonderful cheese. Many of the buildings have this rigid neoclassical form that they pelt with delightful ranges of ornamentation and style. Maybe it’s a reflection of the Catalonian desire for independence–who knows.

It was great to see modern ornamentation expressed traditionally through stone in an architecturally appropriate way.

It was great to see modern ornamentation expressed traditionally through stone in an architecturally appropriate way.

But somehow while I was there I couldn’t get myself to draw. Six days, and if you were looking at my sketchbook it almost wouldn’t register that I had been there. That fact, in no small way, made me concerned. I guess that means my newest source of stress while traveling has been motivating myself to draw. But it’s ok, I love you guys. You keep me on point.

However, now that I’ve come back, my trip is paying dividends in fruitful and unexpected ways. A few weeks ago I posted about a cornice that I was replicating for the Gadsden House here in Charleston (https://wendblog.com/2015/02/22/a-slight-departure/). The second part of the post is coming by the way, I just to get everything finished up first.

Anyway, I realized that ornament is not very hard to do. I even had to do some basic carving–in the scope of the work done it was small peanuts. Furthermore, while going through Gaudi’s buildings in Barcelona and seeing how personalized his ornamentation was, I started to ask myself why other people didn’t do it. And so this week I made my first attempt.

I wanted to do a flower, and so I drew one at scale, sculpted one right over top of my drawing, and then made a mold  of the little guy.

I wanted to do a flower, and so I drew one at scale, sculpted one right over top of my drawing, and then made a mold of the little guy.

The compo flower when it was initially pulled out of the mold.

The compo flower when it was initially pulled out of the mold.

The flower casting after I cleaned it up a bit.

The flower casting after I cleaned it up a bit.

So clearly I have a bit more polishing to do with my technique, but it is very satisfying to know that with a bit more practice, the houses that I work on could have a bit more character and pizz-zazz. Ultimately, these pieces would get glued to trim and arranged in a decorative way. Afterwards getting a coat of paint, if you have ever seen an old Federal house you know the effect is pretty wonderful.

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