Courage from Verdun’s lion

The last few days I have become rather obsessed on exactly how I plan to put the final finish on the Idle Angels. Which abrasive? On a wheel or by hand? How fine? Perhaps a buffing wheel?

Before this I have obsessed over getting the illustrations “perfect” and laying out the resists perfectly and organizing the studio. I know my self well enough to realize that all these little obsessions and productive procrastinations are really manifestations of fear. Some of this fear is justified in that the materials are expensive and my time is extremely limited. I also know that I’ve reached the limit of what I can plan for without taking some risks.

But returning to the question of finish, today I received courage from two master craftsmen.

The first is Tim McCreight’s simple advice from The Complete Metalsmith: An Illustrated Handbook:

“Keep in mind that there is no universal “right” finish. You can stop at any point that complements the piece.”

The second dose of courage came from Nicholas of Verdun and a close-up image from his famous altar. Seeing the directional scratches in this masterwork (there is no work of art that I regard more highly) gave me the fortitude to stop planning and start making.

A lion’s head. Close-up from the panel &Noah’s Ark of the Verdun Altar. The full plaque can be seen at the Lessing Photo Archive.

2 responses to “Courage from Verdun’s lion

  1. I often organize my studio before diving into a painting for which I have completed the drawing. Maybe it’s fear, but I think it is a necessary psychological preparation, gaining a sense of readiness or preparedness, having everything in its right place, so to speak.

  2. Oh certainly that’s there too. Also, my studio serves as furniture shop, welding shop, machine shop and home improvement center so things pile up very quickly. Today I’m starting to apply the acid resist which is very sensitive to dust so cleanliness is essential. Speaking of which — I should be doing that now…..

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