The Visceral Moment – The Grounds For Sculpture Post #2

Since my visit to the Grounds For Sculpture has given me lots of inspiration. I couldn’t wait to make more, especially of Seward Johnson’s sculptures.  I like the every day character of his figures and scenes. And even though these figures are sculptures, he managed to capture the dynamics of these moments.

It’s like time stands still where the people and the scenes have become sculptures.

This morning I decided to paint some figure studies of Seward Johnson’s sculptures. My goal was to capture the essence of these figures in quick watercolor studies (max. 10 minutes per sketch), so I asked myself: “What attracts me to these sculptures?”

Enjoy my morning’s inspiration!


left: Watercolor study, Simone Li 2015 __ right: Autin’s Advanced Artistic Awakening (The Visceral Moment), Seward Johnson 2013

I like the strong appearance of this businessman figure, the movement of his legs and his gaze.


left: Watercolor study, Simone Li 2015 __ right: Autin’s Advanced Artistic Awakening (The Visceral Moment), Seward Johnson 2013

In this woman’s figure I like the female’s body shape and the draped scarf, the position of her left foot standing tiptoe and the way she holds her hand in front of her mouth in combination with the expression on her face.


left: Watercolor study, Simone Li 2015 __ right: Autin’s Advanced Artistic Awakening (The Visceral Moment), Seward Johnson 2013

This sculpture of a young boy sitting on his father ‘s shoulders reminds me of my son and husband. And the spontaneous and innocent way the boy is pulling his father’s hair made me smile.


Abstract sculpture by E. Calder Powel (part of “The Visceral Moment”)

The figures above by Seward Johnson and the abstract sculpture by E. Calder Powel are all part of a sculptural composition: The Visceral Moment, in which each figure shows their own reaction to this abstract sculpture. For the curious readers, who may want an explanation of the terminology used in this title, feel free to read the following blockquote.

Autin’s Advanced Artistic Awakening was created to exemplify Seward Johnson’s philosophy of the most important moment for the assessment of a work of art. When first perceived by a viewer, there is what he calls a “visceral moment.” This is a personal reaction to the work, a gut feeling that in Johnson’s view is more important than the intention of the artist or review of the critic. The individual has experienced the work and brings to this reaction their own history, associations, and background knowledge.source: www.groundsforsculpture.org

left: Watercolor study, Simone Li 2015 __ right: Seward Johnson

The last study I did was about this sculpture of a man and woman having a private conversation—you can feel the intimacy between them. I also like the elegance of the woman’s draped skirt, the way she holds her chin and the way she props her foot against the wall, as well as the slightly curved legs of the man figure and the way he is leaning against the wall.

I had a great start of the day, painting these studies, though it wasn’t easy to capture the facial expressions and the right dimensions of the human figures. I’m a strong believer in learning by doing—stay tuned!



Comments 2

  1. Donna

    Simone, These are outstanding, what a concept — you are an artist to be sure. I love what you did and what you wrote.
    You GOT IT!!!!
    Donna S

    1. Post

      Hi Donna,
      Thank YOU for sharing this inspiring place with me. I very much enjoyed our day together and it will always be in my memory :)

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