Entries in sculpture (51)

Tuesday
Jan292013

Wicked Awesome Lego Houses

I was never very good with legos as a kid. My older brother could build the most amazing things with them, but I never seemed to have the patience and planning skills to create intricate lego stuctures. I suppose that's why Mike Doyle's Victorian houses seem so stunning to me. Check them out!

Sunday
Jan132013

Cernunnos: Feet and Antlers

Cernunnos' feet are mostly done. I need to sand them here and there and maybe use the dremel to bring back some definition in the achilles tendon. I bulked it out a little too much there and now I think it looks too round above the heel. But that's the nice thing about the clays I use, you can always attack them with a dremel bit to carve down areas if needed. I want his feet to look rough, like he spends most of his time barefoot, but I hope to accomplish that more with the paint than with the clay. Wish me luck.

Then I started on the antlers. Cernunnos is supposed to have seven-tined antlers, so I looked at lots of photos of stag antlers and got an idea of what I wanted to do. I cut several armature wires and shoved them down into the holes I had left in the polymer clay head. The center of the head is packed foil, so the armature wires puncture it easily and stick a little bit. I squirted a bunch of glue down into the head as well and then had to let it dry before shaping the wire. Brian laughed because it made Cernunnos look like he had antennae, so of course I had to take a photo.

Once the glue was dry, I filled the rest of the gaps in the head with epoxy clay, let THAT cure, and then I was able to shape the wire into my basic antler armature. I've since also added some epoxy clay to the places on the antlers where the wires overlap, to help lock them in place before I sculpt the antlers fully. I love working in epoxy clay, but the way I use it does involve quite a bit of waiting for cure time.

Thursday
Dec202012

Cernunnos: Hands and Staff

Small progress on Cernunnos tonight. I want him to be carrying a staff, or walking stick. At first I liked the idea of a scepter, since he is Lord of the Wild. But I think I prefer a staff, not least because it allows me to sculpt one more gnarled tree branch. I want his staff to be crooked like a twisted branch, but I also want the line it creates to pass through an imagiary center line that IS straight (if that makes any sense). So I used floral tape to wrap a length of armature wire to a dowel rod in four places, and then bent the wire around those four joints into a twisted staff. I covered the wire with epoxy clay to set the position, and when it has cured I will cut away the dowel rod so just the wire and clay remain. We'll see how it goes! Current state photo is as left. Cernunnos has been depicted in association with a ram-horned serpent, so that's what I will sculpt on the top of the staff. Hopefully when it's done it will all look like it's carved from wood.

Then I bent wire hand armatures for the figure. The right hand is going to be resting on a branch of the tree-throne, so I started curling the wire fingers into position there. As always, I have to adjust the plan as I go. I had wanted his hand in one particular position, and then realized that the branch is far too small to look natural with the hand position I wanted, argh. So I changed it. I'll get there. I think I will sculpt the hand directly to the branch, as well. Many of my art dolls I've created such that the figure can be removed from the base, but Cernunnos is going to be quite solidly attached to his tree! Then I can paint the hand and tree all at the same time (as well as the head, feet, etc.) before I clothe him. Speaking of which, I haven't truly figured out what he's going to be wearing ...

Anyway, the left hand will be holding the staff, so I made that armature as well (see below). I won't be able to pose it at all until the staff is completed, so I've just left it rudimentary for now. I hope to work more on this over the holiday weekend! Everything starts to fall into place in my head. Finish the staff, sculpt the hands, sculpt the feet, finish sculpting the head and neck, sculpt the antlers and ears, paint everything, bulk out his arms/legs/torso with wool, maybe gesso the body, finish the base, make and attach clothing ... so far yet to go.

Tuesday
Dec182012

Cernunnos' Tree: Branches

 

Yesterday began my holiday. The Christmas cookies and candies are all baked, packaged, and shipped away to family as gifts. The presents for Brian and Cloudy have been purchased, wrapped, and tucked under the tree. The last day to ship for Christmas arrival is fast approaching, so I've stopped making ornaments for sale in the Etsy shop. I'm down to three of four left and that's all I'll make until next winter. Many of my normal time-sinks are absent for a while; the garden long ago went dormant, the pig was sent to slaughter, we won't start incubating eggs for new chicks until late in the winter. Sure, I still have dozens of projects. There's a rug I need to finish braiding for the living room. The office really needs to be re-organized. I ought to make a couple of more window quilts to help keep the chill out of the house. But for the most part, I can now snuggle in and work on some me-projects for a month or two. Things I want to do for no other reason than I want to do them. Last night I dug Cernunnos out, dusted him off, and got back to work. I sculpted two of the branches on his tree-throne, and then tonight I sculpted two more. It's difficult to take photos of them on my messy art desk, but here they are. There are five branches total on the tree-throne, so I've got one left to sculpt, it's the plain looking one in the photos.

Monday
Oct012012

Christmas Ornaments

It's October! Which means I am already behind on all of my Halloween projects. The felted pumpkins class at the local library begins this Wednesday, so we're packing up supply kits for students and felting up a couple more demo pumpkins. In the meantime, I started working on Christmas ornaments a little bit. If I don't start them now, it'll be December before I know it and I'll be REALLY behind.

I made a better mold of last year's bas-relief style Santa Cthulhu, and started pouring a few of them in Ultracal. Last year I used the mold as a push-mold for polymer clay so I could touch up each one before baking. This year I figured it'd just be smarter to touch up the original and make a better quality mold, then pour casts. These were the first few, they look pretty good! Now they're just waiting for painting.

Then I started working on another original. I love making the Cthulhu Snowmen ornaments, but they are so time consuming. I might make a few more of them (I have a plate ful of half-finished ones already) but for the most part I'm going to retire them in favor of the bas-relief style ornaments. Here's the snowman original I am working on. Once it's done, I'll bake the polymer clay, make a mold, and start casting! I use latex for my molds, so the mold-making process will take several days. But once it's done, it's good for quite a few casts before the quality even begins to deteriorate.

Monday
Sep102012

Cernunnos

Also known as The Sculpture That Wouldn't Die! I cleaned up the studio last week and sat down to try and get back to a larger project. Cernunnos has been waiting patiently all year, so I worked on him a bit. He's a perfect example of how my sculptures sometimes don't go exactly as planned.

Normally I will make the base separate from the figure so that they can be packed separately for moving/shipping. The whole sculpture started with Cernunnos' stag head, and the size of the head determines the scale for the rest of the figure. He's turning out to be a fairly large figure, but I made the same sort of armature for him as I do for my smaller figures. Bad idea. Once I attached the head to the wire body armature and sat him on the tree base, the weight of the head bent the armature right down the middle. He looked like he was trying to do yoga. My solution was to reinforce the spine of the armature with some epoxy clay and attach it permanently to the tree trunk he'd be sitting on. Oh, and I had already started wrapping the armature in wool strips to preapre it for needle felting the body, so in some place the epoxy clay is slapped over the top of the wool. This is what happens when I work on projects in fits and starts. I lose sight of the whole plan and have to improvise as I go. Anyway, the body is now quite strong and firmly perched on the tree. The legs and arms are not set in any pose yet, and the head still needs more sculpting (antlers, ears, etc.) but the basic form is there. It looks  little ridiculous with the plaid wool strips and the random lumps of clay, but here he is right now:

The color change on the tree bark from brown/pink to gray is because I switched from polymer clay to epoxy clay. Once the figure was attached to the tree, I couldn't put it in the oven anymore to bake polymer clay. Epoxy clay is a room temperature cure and you can make a seamless transition with it so that's why I am using it for the rest of the tree. Once it's painted, you won't be able to tell the two areas apart. Oh, and I will have to sculpt the rest of the head, the hands, and the feet along with the rest of the tree, AND paint them all before I make the soft body and cover it with clothes. Otherwise I will splatter paint all over his garments. This whole sculpture is turning into a logistical nightmare! But I will finish it. Promise.

As a side note, here's how I made that tree bark texture. I used silicon mold making putty and an old manzanita branch to make bark molds. The maznanita branch is one Brian picked up years ago somewhere in California. The actual bark fell off the manzanita long ago, and the wood dried and developed fine cracks in it. They were the perfect scale to make into molds to mimic larger tree bark cracks. Mix up the putty, press bits of it onto the manzanita branch, let it cure and voila! Instant tree bark molds. I pressed them all over the polymer clay surface and then tooled the clay a bit to join up the different mold impressions into a believable whole. It worked great and saved me hours of direct-sculpting miniature bark.

 

Tuesday
Sep042012

Munnies!

The basic MunnyHave you heard of Munny dolls? Neither had I! Though apparently they've been around long enough to become quite a phenomenon. Sometimes I'm slow. Anyway, a Munny is a blank vinyl toy made by Kidrobot that you can paint/alter/design however you like. They come in a few different designs but all are simple and wide open to artistic interpretation. And people have come up with some pretty awesome custom Munnies. Here's a selection I found wandering around the web. These are but a few, there are so many cool ones out there! I want to get a few blanks myself and see what I can come up with ...

 Cthulhu Munny by Melita Curphy

Darth Munny by Bradley Leach

Shaun of the Dead Munny by Theresa Christensen

Cheshire Cat Munny by Captain Stubie

Ent Munny by Kevin Gosselin

Wednesday
Aug152012

My Little Cthulhu

Mari Kasurinen's My Little CthulhuMari Kasurinen created this little bit of joy. I love it. Just love it. :)

Tuesday
Jul102012

Kate MacDowell

While reading an interesting website about interstitial art, I stumbled across Kate MacDowell's work. Her sculptures are wonderfully odd, a little creepy, and I found I had to click through all of them! Here's my favorite, though I couldn't tell you exactly why. I just like it!

Tuesday
Jun122012

Steve Eichenberger

Brian and I are on vacation in California right now, visiting family. Today we went to the Mowen Solinsky Gallery in Nevada City. It was a wonderful gallery, I was surprised by the fact that I liked nearly every piece there. I don't mean that to sound snooty, I just am aware that art exists for ALL tastes. In any given gallery, there's bound to be some stuff I like and some stuff I don't like. But whoever curates this particular gallery must have MY tastes, because I really enjoyed all of the work there.

Anyway, I think my favorite discovery was Steve Eichenberger's crow and raven sculptures. I love birds, and ravens are a particular favorite, so I'm a little biased to begin with. But they made me smile, and I wish I could buy dozens of them to hang all around my home!