I love painting on surfaces other than canvas … that’s one reason why I enjoy creating bellycasts. Many pregnant women treasure this special time in their life and wish to preserve the ‘shape’ of their belly with child.
The title for this particular sculpture is ‘Paphiopedilum Hellas’, a flowering plant in the Orchid family. The word ‘Orchid’ comes from the Greek and literally means ‘testicle’ — fitting for a male child. I had a strong feeling that it was going to be a boy, so I took a gamble … the child has been born in the meantime, and he was indeed a beautiful baby boy!
I approach the painting of a bellycast just like I would a work on canvas … the aesthetics have to be evident in a well-executed design. My style can be classified as expressive or painterly, showing visible brushstrokes and freely executed lines, with a focus on colour, texture, and movement.
A focal point is just as important for a sculptural piece as it is for a painting. I chose the three orchid cluster on the belly as the main area, but also wanted to achieve an interesting view from a different angle, which is important when dealing with a 3-dimensional piece — hence the placement of the single orchid on top. The secondary design elements of swirly lines and patterns allow the eye to move around the composition without getting ‘stuck’ in one area.
The bellycast has a picture wire on the back allowing it to hang on a wall, or it can be displayed on a flat surface like a sculpture.