Week Two of Painting for the Bears of Sheffield Trail


Last week was my second and final week of painting my Bears of Sheffield sculpture. Eeeek! It’s the first time that I have started a sculpture and then had a four day break in the middle. It was a revelation! It allowed me to come back fully charged, refreshed and having missed my bear! I got right back to work. The first day after the break felt the most productive painting day. I seemed to get some much done in terms of getting all the first layers of paint down and starting the second.

Remember, the bear is like 7ft tall, so we are talking a lot of paint! It always surprise me how far a little pot of paint will go! I always finish sculpture painting with paint to take home, more than I’d expect to. 

Second layer (and third and fourth!)

It’s always a bit of a guessing game how many layers each paint is going to need to look good. But once the first layer is down, it’s all an endurance test. You just keep going until it’s done. I personally love this part of painting. It’s automatic to a degree as you already have all of your first layer mapped out. You just keep working and see your piece get better and better. I guess what I enjoy is that you see your work improve without any of the fear of making the wrong artistic choice throughout. 

The finishing touches

I got a bit anxious when it came time to add the last layer of detail to my sculpture. I knew it would drastically change the piece but the most effective way to paint it would be to add it on as a new layer at the end. It meant that I created something I was really happy with but I then had to commit to making a big change to it. So yeah, it was scary! Luckily it pai off big time. Yes the design looked different, but better!

I was sad to finish it. Knowing that it could very likely be my last sculpture of 2020. I love painting sculptures sooooo much! I am staying positive that 2021 will have some more!

What I really love about it is that it is very ‘me’. I think people will look at it and immediately think ‘that’s Sian’s!’ It is such a great opportunity that I have had to do this. This week I will return to varnish it and I am so excited to see how much the colours start to pop when I do. It’s a shame that he’ll have to then go into hibernation for over a year, but I am looking forward to being reunited with an old friend. On the streets of Sheffield, July 2021. 

New Project Announcement: Moor Otters

The Moor Otters project is a seasoned sculpture trail that I will be taking part in for the first time in 2020. My second sculpture painted in 2020 so far after my mini moo. The third that will be revealed though after the Cows About Cambridge trail goes live in March.

The Moor Otters project is based in Dartmoor National Park and raising money for Donate for Dartmoor. The funds will go towards protecting the local wildlife. This includes the homes of many otters on the nature reserve (hence the sculptures). There will be 80 otters displayed publicly in and around Dartmoor for the duration of the trail in Summer 2020. The sculptures will then be auctioned off to raise additional funds. 

Doctor Doolittle Strikes Again

This otter is my sixth charity sculpture commission since my first in March 2019. So whilst painting them might be nothing new, bring in one home is! At just 1 metre tall and taking up very little floor space for a sculpture of its size (not to mention just how far away Dartmoor actually is!) the otter is the first sculpture to be panted in my home studio. It’s interesting to bring one home. Nice to paint amongst my home comforts but a job to navigate around day to day life. Different to when you have booked specific time away for it. Namely, I am talking about trying to paint with a puppy around! It’s one thing I hope will be much easier as Dot grows up. Perhaps the fear of her being covered in paint and smudging everything might subside a little.

The Design

I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that this design is going to feature a very familiar face. It is rare for me to paint people but for this design I have made an exception. I think when you see it you will understand why! The design is bright, colourful, happy and featuring a national treasure that I am sure folk will love. I just have to hope that I can do them justice! 

Keep your eyes peeled when the otter designs all go live on the trail later on this year. 

Wallabies Gone Wild 2019

Following my announcement that I am taking part in the Go Wild Gorillas Project with Wild in Art I am mega excited to announce my participation in another of their projects. I will be painting a 5ft tall fibreglass wallaby for Wallabies Gone Wild 2019.

Another One?

Yep! The public arts trail will consist of twenty sculptures displayed at points around the Isle of Man over summer 2019. I am really looking forward to revisiting the island again to begin painting. I visited the island on family holidays on a number of occasions as a child. The last time I went to the island I was 8 years old but I still have memories of places that I want to revisit. The trail is in aid of the Isle of Man Hospice. Having worked as a Fundraiser in a local Hospice I understand what a valuable cause this is. 

 

My sculpture will be in partnership with Villa Gaeity, a theatre and cinema complex in Douglas. I can’t say much about the sculpture but I can hint that it will reflect Villa Gaiety with a twist. As always the sculptures are top secret until they are officially launched but I can share them when they are.

 

Most of my commissions tend to come from small businesses, individuals, the arts sector, charities and community groups so this corporate experience is pretty new. I haven’t always been hot on identifying my appeal to corporate businesses. My audience tends to be quite young and my work is far from traditional or serious. It’s strength in this realm s that it gets good engagement. My work is bright and detailed and it makes people smile. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a direction for my work in future.

 

I had high hopes for getting to be part of a Wild in Art trail in 2019 so to be commissioned to produce 3 sculptures feels pretty incredible. The painting process will no doubt be intense and I will learn a lot through it too. I am just amazed and exhilarate to be selected by three sponsors.

 

 

Go Wild Gorillas 2019

I am massively excited to announce my participation as a selected artist for Go Wild Gorillas 2019. This high profile public art installation returns to Jersey for the second time this summer. The event is a fundraising collaboration between Durrell Zoo and Wild in Art. It consists of a series of large gorilla statues distributed across the picturesque island to form a sculpture trail.

Wild in Art have curated similar events internationally including Bee in the City Manchester and Herd of Sheffield. The event pairs artists with sponsors to produce each unique sculpture. The sculpture is then displayed at a point across the island for the duration of the summer. Afterwards each sculpture will be auctioned off to raise money for the zoo. Durrell are planning a huge revamp of their Gorilla enclosure which funds raised from the event will go towards.

The brief

Artists were encouraged to use the island as their inspiration for their design. Each will be provided the same fibreglass blank gorilla statue as the base for their work. Customising a giant blank sculpture must be every vinyl toy fan’s dream, and has certainly been mine! I can’t wait to put my stamp on it. It’ll also be interesting to see what other selected artists have envisioned for their sculptures too.

I will be producing two designs for the trail and will begin painting the sculptures in May. Designs are top secret until the trail is launched so I can’t say too much at present. What I can reveal though is that they will be multi media pieces and an ambitious challenge. Securing a commission of this kind was one of my goals for 2019 so I’m especially energised around participating.

And did I mention I’m really excited?

I’m keen to get cracking and preparations have already begun. As I have embraced the island’s history in both of my designs, I am really looking forward to visiting Jersey too. I am grateful to De Gruchy and Trust Ford for selecting and sponsoring my designs and giving me the opportunity to be part of such a brilliant project.

When my designs are unveiled I will share them on my blog with a more technical breakdown if their creation and materials used. If you get the chance to visit the trail, please share with me and tag me in your pictures.

Find out more about Go Wild Gorillas here.