Saturday, June 2, 2012

Water Nymph

-By Tim Bruckner

Prometheus was one of those pieces that wanted to be made and I was just in the room at the time.  My only conscious contribution was to create a base that had movement and a sense of insubstantiality in support of a figure with substance and presence. That piece led to a pitch to DC Direct for the DC Dynamics line. There were eight statues in that line using the same basic conceit; translucent bases in motion in support of a fully realized figure. And those statues led me wondering how far I could push wax and resin in create water in motion.

Prometheus (on left); DC Dynamics (on right)

First to go were the ideas of a figure leaping out of water, a figure diving into water, a figure swimming through water, spitting water or, in general, romping through/with water. That didn’t leave much. A water nymph seemed to hold a lot of potential.  The more I thought about it, the more a dress made of water seemed like the right way to go.

As with most pieces of mine, she started life as a clay rough to work out pose, proportion and character.  I wanted her to be long and lean.  Its almost impossible to go down that design path and not have to consider Avatar.  I considered it and went down that path anyway.

A set of waste molds to wax and the start of finish work. The head first. I’d always loved Christy Turlington’s look and the asymmetry of it. It was in the clay but I pushed it more in the wax. Worked a finish to the body, over defining the muscle structure knowing most of it would be lost under her water dress.

I wanted the hands to have a particular character. A kind of regal, relaxed quality where the fingers upturn slightly toward the tips. With the arms and body complete I designed bicep cuffs to hide the arm join. Master molds to resin casts on which to build the dress.

The dress is made up of nine sections.  The first completed section was her collar. Shaped out of wax sheet and then wax penned over to create ripple patterns and water spray. I learned most of this technique working the water on the Aquaman Dynamics statue.

A set of master molds and a set of standard resin test casts to make sure everything fit as it was designed to. Things look okay, so I cast the water sections in a slightly tinted semi-clear resin. I did a few tests of casting the water in crystal clear resin but, oddly, it didn’t read as water.

It took awhile to arrive at a color scheme for her.  Blue was out at the start. A flesh tone could have worked or a flesh tone with a lavender lean, but for whatever reason, I went with a light violet skin tone. I gave her forehead, shoulders, hips and back, what felt like, fish markings and a tattoo on her lower back of the Chinese symbol for Water.

I had planned on doing a sister piece or maybe expand this one to add more environment and maybe an aquatic animal or two.  But with most free-lancers, personal work involves a certain amount of theft, stealing hours for yourself when you can. And too, she was so labor intensive, to create another Water Nymph without client support wasn’t feasible.  So, Water Nymph will join He Who Laughs Last, Anne Phibian and Athena in that exclusive Bruckner club of one-of-a-kind.


  1. After all these years, Tim, I still cannot believe how you sculpt water.

  2. lovely work, just amazing how everything looks so smooth

  3. Wow those are amazing my friend...

  4. This was an awesome piece to see! It was great meeting you at the Spectrum Live show!! Thanks for sharing your process, it's wonderful.