Additional Information on Bronze Sculptures by J.P. "Pat" Childress
(above, "Fading Spirit" in Clay, prior to casting...)
The images to the left are of an array of clay models that I've created over the years; a few remain in clay and will eventually be submitted to a local art foundry which will convert the clay model to a final, limited edition issue of a bronze figure.
Member, Texas Society of Sculptors
Sculpting is the purest expression of realism, at least for me. Every point of intersection on the buck's head, every inch and angle of the antlers are critical in conveying the realism that is so important in three dimensions.
In the case of the "Texas Trophies" series of sculptures, the actual mount was used to measure every aspect of the subject in order to represent the trophy in bronze.
I am gratified that in the most all of the juried sculpting shows in which my bronze sculptures have been entered, the pieces received recognition in the form of awards.
When sculpting from a live model, the same kind of deliberate care is necessary in order to convey the essence of the model.
In contrast to "high definition realism" necessary in the depiction of a specific animal or person, however, I give myself a bit of tolerance attempting to capture the "spirit" of a subject. In conceptualizing and executing "Fading Spirit" a sculpture of a Crow Indian, I used a series of photographs taken by Edward Curtis, a famed nineteenth century photographer who lived among the various Indian tribes and captured what is regarded as the finest record of Native Americans in existence.
In both the Native American ("Fading Spirit") and the American Cowboy ("Cowboy Ramsey") I was able to draw on my experience as a painter and on various photographic references to create what I believe to be the essence of their spirits.
I'm fortunate to live not too far away from three different art foundries that cast my bronze sculptures and apply the finished patina. Above, Michael Hall Studio and Foundry in Driftwood, Texas is the sanctum of Michael Hall and his wife Rosemary, both of whom are accomplished artists.
I'm occasionally asked why bronze art carries with it a relatively high retail price when compared to other art media. What may not be apparent to the prospective buyer is the number of skilled craftsman hours going into each unit of a finished bronze piece, even after the artist has expended hundreds of hours in the initial creation of the clay model.
In the case of "Fading Spirit" (above) for example, over 40 hours of skilled craftsmen are required to complete each individual piece after it has been cast. This is in addition to the hours required to make the reusable latex rubber mold, an integral step in the lost wax casting method.