Casting the Nude Female Torso | Page 2
Once all the materials and tools are arranged and the model briefed, the model preparation begins by trying out a variety of poses that will be artistically appealing. The model should be disrobed at this point.
In this example, the artist settles on a pose with one of the model's arm raised while holding onto a rope loop for support. This is so her arm doesn't tire during the casting process. In addition, several foam pillows are fitted behind the model's back so that her shoulders and upper body are thrust forward rather than sinking into the model stand. This makes for a more confident appearing pose in the completed cast.
The art of torso casting is actually all in the pose rather than in the technique of the casting itself. A good artistic pose will overcome a poorly executed casting, but a rigid anatomical pose will have little viewer appeal, even if completed by the most experienced life casting artist. So the artist must practice a number of poses so that in the end he has selected the most artistic one for the model's body type. Here the artist’s assistant stands back in front of the model as she is posed to critique each trial position until the most artistic one is achieved.
Twisting the torso or leaning to one side, crossing the legs, arms resting on the breast or behind the head are all more interesting than a straight rigid pose with arms stiff by the side.
After the model poses are practiced, the model can put on her robe again during the rest of the preparation.
The model puts on a shower cap to protect the hair from the alginate and plaster splashes. It is important to focus on the model's comfort. Though the studio temperature may feel comfortable to artist and assistants, being fully clothed, the model will often feel uncomfortably chilly at normal room temperatures.
Putting up the thermostat, having a space heater nearby and having the model re-robe until a nude pose is actually required; will help the model feel more comfortable and welcome to a procedure that is unfamiliar if she is modeling for a life casting for the first time.
The model is asked to put her head forward and down to access the back of her head and neck. All the hair that is exposed out of the shower cap is then is coated with a hair release. MoldEZ is usually used in this process as it is water soluble and easily washes out. Petroleum jelly may be used as a substitute for MoldEZ, but it is discourages as it is so difficult to wash out of the hair.
Corn oil is then applied to the lower extremities of the model so that any drips from the molding materials, are easily showered off after the mold is removed. Mold making is sloppy work with alginate and plaster dripping off the body while it is being applied. The corn oil application makes for a very happy model during showering. Instead of having to pick it off when it is dried and hard to remove, it slides right off when exposed to water.
Mold making begins by having the model disrobe and assume the practiced pose established earlier. FiberGel alginate is mixed at a ratio of 4 parts warm water to one part powder, by weight, to a consistency of wet peanut butter.
The FiberGel is applied starting at the neck and shoulders and working downward toward the upper thighs. Particular attention is made to under the breast. If the model has larger breasts, each is lifted slightly and the alginate applied under it. The model is told this in advance to prevent surprises.
The artist’s use of an assistant is extremely helpful as it provides for a second set of eyes, to assure that the alginate is evenly applied on the skin leaving no thin spots. It is also a second set of hands to speed the mold making process, lessening the time that the model must remain immobilized and adding to the model's wellbeing.
Gravity pulls the alginate downward which tends to create thin spots. Such thin spots have developed on the model's left hip, and the life casting artist is adding more alginate there. He will check the entire alginate surface for an even coverage.