Thank you so much for taking the time to look at my first Post with a more in-depth explanation about the creation of King Nebuchadnezzar II. I am Russell Blackwell, a metal sculptor and artist. I have been creating art for several years in order to have a body of work large enough for a show grand opening. Now that has been completed, this is the next step—a website to showcase my work with a blog to give me an opportunity to explain it. I call my gallery in Spartanburg S.C. Colonial Gallery. I also have a welding shop—Colonial Welding.
I mainly created smaller works before I began this piece. My Leaping Tiger was perhaps the largest and most ambitious. I believe that it is important to challenge myself—to set myself a task that I might not be able to complete. You might not realize that my process is rather complex. With clay or stone sculpture, you shape the piece from the outside in. I have to imagine the finished piece and build it from the inside out.
I wanted to create a heroic work. Once I decided to present the biblical Babylonian king, I thought I might express his power through falconry with a trained osprey.
The tools I used were different size hammers, needle-nose pliers, my grandfather's anvil and a chop saw to cut a 1" x 1/8’’ x 20’ flat bar into short pieces. Then I bent them on the anvil and used a 6010 stick rod to tack the pieces together followed by a 7018 to weld them out. I used a grinder to take off the excess weld. I built a simple version of the head to serve as a placeholder and then worked on his neck and shoulders. I began working on an arm, but then I stopped, went over to the table and began again. I finished the arms and hands there because I wanted them to mirror each other proportionally. I returned and finished the chest, stomach, lower body, the legs and feet. I reattached the left arm, but the right arm I put in the vice. I inserted a heavy steel plate with a large bolt inside the arm. That I converted into the bird's leg and started building the osprey. I had gone to the library and got a book on birds. I calculated the size I needed, then scaled the osprey with the help of a tape measure.
I closed my welding shop completely for three months to finish the osprey. It has almost 2000 feathers, and he’s perched on a leather sheath that I constructed around the man's arm. I re-attached the arm to the body with the osprey. I cut off the man's head that I had created as a placeholder, put it in the vice and began to create the face. Afterwords I re-attached the head to his neck so the king's eyes, and the eyes of the bird, were staring each other. I used 1/4’’ rod to construct his hair with the help of a pair of vise grips and a torch. One side is threaded left-handed while the other side is threaded right-handed. Next, I created his beard. This may seem to be a simple explanation, but it was a great deal more complicated. I hope you find it interesting.
If you have any questions, opinions or thoughts you would like to share, please drop me a line. I would like to hear them and maybe pass them along to my readers. Please go to contacts.