Tag Archives: portraiture


Each spring when I am planting annuals in my garden, I hate that moment when I must behead the new plantings. You know what I mean if you garden.

Deadheading of blossoms must be done to allow energy to be turned to root production and the development of a multi-branched plant. I know this, but plucking off the beautiful flower heads goes against all my instincts for instant gratification.

Did you know that in the production of a portrait bust in clay there is a similar painful moment?

When sculpting of the clay likeness is completed, it must be sliced in half, hollowed out, and seamlessly put back together. This hollowing out step is absolutely necessary or the piece would explode in the kiln while being fired. What a vulnerable moment though!  Weeks or even months of work could be lost in this moment.

But it’s worth it. In the end the work will be finished as lovingly as a well tended flower bush.

(portrait photo courtesy: Statue.com)


The Ides of March

The Ides of March is almost upon us, and I don’t even know what that means. My friend and I kicked that phrase around the other day and I decided I should do some research.

According to Wikipedia: ” The ides of March (Latin: Idus Martias) is the name of March 15 in the Roman calendar…The Ides of March was a festive day  dedicated to the god Mars and a military parade was usually held. In modern times, the term Ides of March is best known as the date that Julius Caesar was assassinated in…44 B.C. In William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, Caesar is warned to “beware the Ides of March.”

This Roman marble carving of Caesar, which currently resides in the Vatican Museums is a wonderful portrait of  a strong ruler, who it is surprising to note, actually ruled Rome for only 5 years.  A good reproduction of this very piece can be purchased from  companies such as Statue.com.

In 2008, an exciting discovery of a portrait believed to be Julius Caesar,  and sculpted in 46 B.C.,  was dragged up from the Rhone River in France.  This is an aging Caesar, heavier in the face, but with the unmistakable features of the younger man.

I should explore this portrait further.  There is a crudeness to it that makes me question its authenticity.

Beware the Ides of March!!!

You, Ms. Steph…

Ms. StephYou have a beautiful face Ms. Steph.  I really like that you color your hair a similar color as your eyes!

If I were to create your portrait in clay, I would definitely emphasize your peek-a-boo haircut, and I would work hard with the final finish color to capture the rich tone of that hair and  your striking, almost auburn eyes.  The shape of your lips is a lovely feature that I would play up also.

Personality?  Well yes, a lot of it, thank you very much! Tough girl, brave girl, animal lover, musician, good cook, survivor, smart, capable, energetic, dedicated, spirited, a little bit of trouble, a whole lot of nice.  There would be a wealth of internal information to work with in creating a portrait of you!

It sure is fun to know you, Steph. Thanks for letting me share your face.

Portrait statue of Robert Wadlow

Wadlow front viewI visited Alton Illinois yesterday, just down the road from me, to photograph the Robert Wadlow statue.

Perhaps you have heard of this man who is on record as being the tallest man that ever lived.  Weighing in at 490 pounds, and at 8’11” tall it is a wonder to stand next to him! Below is a picture of Robert with his father.

350px-Robert_WadlowAesthetically speaking,  I would like to have seen the statue’s head & neck  sculpted a little broader and the glasses included.  (Please see comments about the glasses below.)  I enjoyed  how the artist has captured the ackward stance of such a large figure.

Next to the Wadlow statue is a bronze replica of an extra large chair made especially for him. It was 95 degrees out so I sat in this chair for only a couple of seconds!wadlow chair 2

Bathetic~who knew?

As a sculptor involved in portraiture, I find inspiration in faces everywhere I go.  Whether I am at the antique store admiring vintage “junk” or  watching the local high school play, I see expressions that catch my eye.bathos

Something about this mannequin’s expression brings to mind the moving face of an ecstatic saint.  It compelled me to look up the word pathos, and along the way I discovered the word bathos.

Adj. 1. bathetic – effusively or insincerely emotional; “a bathetic novel”; “maudlin expressions of sympathy”; “mushy effusiveness”; “a schmaltzy song”; “sentimental soap operas”; “slushy poetry”

emotional – of more than usual emotion; “his behavior was highly emotional”

A new, useful word for a portrait sculptors repetoire!

The Spirit of a Portrait

The tradition of portrait sculpture at times seems to be a dying art.  There are not many sculptors who care to take on the rigours of an art which requires both an academic skill and a strong intuitive sense about personality.  The very best portraiture is never merely a likeness, but captures a quality of spirit.  At Sculpted Portrait we are able to use photos  (the more the better of course)  and create a one of a kind likeness out of clay that is destined to become a family  heirloom.

*(Sculptor:  Lydia Shalanko, photo courtesy of Statue.com)little boywanley111

Commission a Bust with Sculpted Portrait

Portrait of General Lafayette

Welcome to the Sculpted Portrait!

Since the beginning of  time, mankind  has been  compelled to create portraits of its heroes and heroines.

Whether they are  kings & queens, poets & friends, our mothers &  fathers,  our daughters & sons, the people we care about are truly Our Heros.  This is what Sculpted Portrait is about.

Recognizing that it is a gift to have lived, and to have loved and to  have known amazing people, my sculptural skills are increasingly drawn to capturing the human face – for love, recognition, & for posterity.

~ Lydia Shalanko




PO Box 383, Greenville, IL   62246

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Header design used with permission by: Todd Atteberry, Photography & Illustration

Photo of Lafayette courtesy of Statue.com, Sculpture by Lydia Shalanko