Patina and Site Preparation for Lament

After a year's work, the bronze Lament will finally be finished today and transported to Washington, D.C. where it will be installed in a coveted location at the Kreeger Museum.  

From mold creation, to wax models, to pouring the metal, to chasing the pieces together, Lament has finally arrived at the patina process, a stage I have found most challenging. 

Patina, is the process by which chemical compounds are applied to the surface of a sculpture in order to get a desired uniform color. 

I received several samples from Polich Tallix Foundry ranging from greens, blues, browns, and oranges that could be applied to my work. What was overwhelming to me at first was the amount of possibilities that could be done. I had to select an overall color for the work, any undertones for that primary color, and which colors to use for detail areas such as high and low points on the surface of the sculpture.  Only with hands-on experimentation at the foundry was I able to see the effects each color made when applied. 

As a result of my recent visit, I ultimately decided to have the patinist emphasize a dominant green color,  with subtle additions of other hues like oranges and browns for slight variations of the green. The final statement is a uniform appearance of a complex composition. You can see my patina selection to the right. 

Here, the cast is shown without application of patina. 

Here, the cast is shown without application of patina. 

The final patina coloration I selected for Lament

Patina coloration, detail.

I am eager to see all three trees delivered to the museum tomorrow morning. It will be quite a site.

This week, the site was being prepared for Lament's installation. A huge hole, 3 feet deep and roughly 9 by 12 feet, was dug out of the center circle at the museum.  After excavation, a concrete mixer poured cement into the hole. Even though it was raining, our efforts could not be stopped.  

 

Ben Gage, fine arts specialist, and Ivan Delgado, Kreeger Museum Operations Director did a fine job prepping the site for installation. 

Ben Gage, fine arts specialist, and Ivan Delgado, Kreeger Museum Operations Director did a fine job prepping the site for installation. 

Here the area is shown just before the pouring of the cement foundation.