Entries in work-in-progress (8)


Cernunnos Unearthed

Do you remember my Cernunnos sculpture? I do. It's been sitting in my studio mocking me for a long time. I started it so long ago. 2010 I think? I could probably look back through this journal to find his origins, but that'd be depressing. Today I cleaned all the half-painted Christmas ornaments off my desk and dug him out again. I sculpted all the fur on his neck/head. I know it looks odd two-toned, just try to imagine him painted. I do the initial sculpture in polymer clay because I need the working time it affords me. Then when I feel like the difficult part is done (usually the face/eyes) I bake it and position it on the body armature. At that point it's no longer suitable for baking (either the armature has components that shouldn't be baked, or it simply doesn't fit in the oven any longer) so I sculpt everything else with epoxy clay, which has a limited working time. So the brown is polymer clay and the grey is epoxy clay. Anyhow, I think he just needs his left hand finished and then I could move onto painting and clothing him. Cross your fingers for me, maybe I'll be able to maintain the momentum to get him done!


Needle Felted Santa Cthulhu, not quite

Every year for the last few years, Brian and I have made some sort of large Santa Cthulhu project together for the holidays. I know, as Christmas traditions go, it's a little bit twisted. But hey, we have fun. You can see some of our previous Santa Cthulhus here, here, here, and here.

This year, we started another needle felted Santa Cthulhu. The plan was for him to be standing in front of a fireplace, putting icky things into little stockings. Other projects kept getting in the way, though. Then Brian broke his right hand in a tragic Man Cave accident, and his needle felting days were over (at least until they let him out of the cast). I realized I wasn't going to have time to finish the Santa by myself before Christmas this year, so we're just going to have to put him away until next year. This is as far as we got (that's his arm laying next to his feet). Stop by this time next year, and hopefully we'll have him finished!


Cernunnos' Tree

Some more progress on Cernunnos' tree. Comparing these pics to the last ones I posted, I realize it doesn't like like a whole lot has changed. But trust me, there was a lot of work done! The texture is completed on the trunk and all of the roots, and it has been baked so I don't mush all of my hard work accidentally.

I discovered that I am going to have to sculpt most of the smaller parts of the branches completely in epoxy clay, because I had to bend the branch wires back on themselves just to get this to fit in the oven. Oops. Working too big isn't usually my problem. But I figure I'll be able to do the main part of the large branch in polymer clay, bake it, and then finish the smaller branches off in epoxy clay. This is probably a good idea anyway, because epoxy clay is stronger than polymer clay, especially when it gets thinner.


Cernunnos' Tree

A little more progress on the tree. I need to get the trunk as close to finished as possible before I do much work on the branches. That way I can bake it and not worry about smushing what I've already sculpted when I go to work on the branches. Plus it'll let me pick the whole thing up by the trunk and flip it around to work on it. So I started working on the bark texture for the trunk and roots. I want it to look like a dead tree so it's actually less of a bark texture and more just a cracked and weathered wood look. At least that's what I'm aiming for.

I must give Brian credit for the tree texture. He has a bunch of big pieces of manzanita that he picked up in California years ago on one of his rockhounding trips. One particular piece has a lot of nice cracks and lines in it. He suggested I use that for my texture, so I did. Literally! I used some silicone mold putty and made little push molds from the surface of the manzanita, and now I am pressing them onto the surface of my tree. Then I use sculpting tools to get the various imprints to join up in a believable fashion. I think it looks decent so far. Thoughts?


Cernunnos' Tree

I spent a lot of time on the tree today, I think it's starting to take shape. Long way to go still. It rained all day long here. It was a great way to spend the day, sitting in my studio playing in the clay with the sound of rain outside my window.


Cernunnos' Tree

More work on the tree. Cernunnos is associated with the stag. He has stag antlers (though as I mentioned before, my version of him is going to have a stag's head along with the antlers). The word 'stag' can also refer to a dead tree, which is why I thought Cernunnos should be sitting on an old gnarled crook of a tree. The issue I have is one of scale. I don't want the tree to be enormous because I don't want it to overshadow the figure himself, but I also don't want Cernunnos to look like a giant sitting on an itty bitty tree. My idea here is to make the tree look like it was once much larger and all that's left is this smaller side branch. I'm going to try and sculpt a broken stump (the part sticking out on the right side of the trunk, in this photo) to convey this. Hopefully it'll work and look correct. I've started adding polymer clay over the epoxy clay, and added the branches. The little balls of clay on the ends of the armature wire are for self-preservation. I was working on the trunk of the tree earlier today and when I spun the base around to see the other side I swiped the snipped end of one of the branch wires right across my lower lip and cut it. D'oh. Gotta be more careful in the studio!


Cernunnos' Tree

Had to start actually sculpting it! Started with a wood base and aluminum armature wire, then I bulked it out a bit with foil. The foil is covered with epoxy clay and left to cure. Then I will probably cover that with polymer clay to give me more working time. I want the tree to have a lot of surface detail, so polymer clay may be the best route. But the wire/foil/epoxy clay armature gives it strength and creates a basic form for me to work on.



Tonight I've got a work-in-progress to share. I've just finished the last sculpture I was working on (more on that in another journal entry, after I've taken some decent photos), so it's time to start thinking of other projects. The problem is, I'm always thinking of other projects. Often I've got so many different projects going on at the same time that a few of them slip between the cracks for a while. But I eventually return to finish them. Most of them, anyway.

One such project I began last October, a sculpture of Cernunnos. He's the horned god figure from Celtic mythology. There are very few existing artifacts that feature him and there's very little really known about him. This makes him exactly the sort of subject I love, since there's a lot of room left for interpretation. Normally he's depicted as a man with the antlers of a stag, but I like the idea of giving him a stag's head along with the antlers. He'll have a human body, and I envision him seated in a gnarled tree.

I began sculpting the head back in October, then worked on it a little more back in January. What you see here is as far as I got. It's been sitting patiently in my studio since then. I'm sharing it now in hopes that it will keep me honest and on task, because I'd like to finish him!