Monday, February 27, 2006


Left Profile

I had the worst time photographing this guy today. Finally I just went and grabbed the tripod and set him up with some black paper as a background. Not too bad... some day I may finally get the hang of this photography stuff.

I managed to cut off the tip of his nose in this shot though. Hmpffff...

One of his spikes broke when I tried to use it as a handle and put just a little too much leverage on it. My daughter thinks I should leave it this way and call it his battle scar. I am not convinced, especially since I got so enthusiastic with all the crystals and pearls in his breastplate. He even has pearls around his eyes.

Right Profile

This is a little better photo, though it gives the viewer a prime shot of the crater that was left where one of his spikes fell out when I baked him. A little glue should put that to rights once he is totally cooled, but Arghhh!

On the other hand, I have proof at last that the expression in both eyes is more or less the same. What a relief. It took forever to even them out and I still wasn't sure.

Full Face and Breast Plate

I didn't notice this photo being out of focus when I edited it, but it seems a little fuzzy here. This one gives you a good look at his forehead jewel though, and an idea of what the whole breastplate looks like. I am not sure what I am going to do to protect all those jewels when I paint him. I'll think of something.

The idea for his embellishments was born when my other daughter asked where his jewels were as I was sculpting the scales of his breastplate. "Jewels??" I asked. She then referred me to the description of Smaug, the dragon in The Hobbit. I would never have thought of them myself, so I added a few Swarovski crystals as jewels. Not bad! But those few seemed a little too few, so I just kept adding more.

And more.

And then one of my dollmakers' lists got involved in a discussion of drag queens and their costumes, and it IS Mardi Gras this week... I decided to add some pearls too. Just for good measure.

You don't think I went too far overboard, do you?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Progress is being made

I got some good sculpting time in this morning. I don't know how much more I will be able to do to him today, but that's OK. I'm not sure where I want to go with him from here anyway.

So, today he acquired some teeth, a few more horns, and I began work on texturizing his hide. I know I want to do something different than the original for his breast area, but I need to let that percolate for a while.

In the meantime, I can see that he has different expressions on his face, depending on which side you look at him from. Hmmmm... I think the eye ridge on the left side of his head is thicker than the right, and also the eye is not set as deeply into the skull.

I wonder why these differences only become apparent in a photo? It would be a lot easier if I could notice them in real life first!

Friday, February 24, 2006

SOoooo Psyched!!

It's tough to tell, but these are teeth, horns, and an interesting warm grey polymer blend all set to flesh out my dragon bust.

As a rule, Fridays are a challenge for me -- I am pretty much home alone ALL day with no one to talk to and it always seems as if there isn't a whole lot to do. This is pure nonsense, of course. I ALWAYS have things to do, but getting up the gumption to actually DO them is another story.

So anyway...

Today I resolved to: NOT read about sculpting, NOT read computer messages, NOT play Sudoku, and NOT take a nap or watch a video or clean up my work room or any of the zillion other ways I have of avoiding a challenging project. (I really am my own worst enemy some days.)

I turned on the radio, warmed up my clay and got to work.

Oh my!!!

I can almost *see* the fire about to burst from these nostrils!

He still needs to be smoothed and textured. He needs teeth. And of course... WINGS! But I am so confident that he will turn out well in the end. I really feel as if I am finding a "touch" with the clay. I CAN make it do what I want it to do.

Now THAT'S a feeling of power.

I LIKE it, oh yeah!

While the teeth and horns were baking and cooling, I had time to play around with Christi Friesen's dragon techniques. This little guy, (who has way more personality than he should be entitled to,) if he continues to develop well, will become a gift for my oldest daughter's 17th birthday in March. His colors are much more pastel than they appear in this photo, but he delights me! I think he will look well strung with some pearls and aquamarines...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

MORE clay to play with!

This time it's Magic Sculpt. I need to try the Aves Apoxie Sculpt too one of these days, but this is what I have on hand.

There is the *coolest* tutorial for sculpting a dragon bust on the 'net. (It's here: if anyone is interested in checking it out.) A dragon! Of course, I HAD to take on that project.

Today I finished the armature. The Magic Sculpt is a little different than the other clays I have been playing with. For one thing it has a more grainy texture. For another, once it is mixed up, that is it -- you have to use it up because it hardens beyond further working in about 4 hours.

Once it's hard, it's hard as a rock though. How cool is that?!

Anyway, here's what I have so far...

This guy will be sculpted in parts. I will cover the body armature in clay next and then sculpt in the details. The wings will be done later.

I am afraid that I left the candlestick base too tall -- he's a bit top heavy. It will take some careful balancing to get the wings in position so that he doesn't tip over if you look at him too hard.

Tomorrow is Friday, which means I will be pretty much on my own for the whole day. For a change, I do NOT find this at all depressing. I have a whole day in which to play UNDISTURBED and UNINTERRUPTED!!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Her hair is set and her embellishments are complete. I wish the forehead jewel in her headpiece showed up better in the photograph -- I can't seem to capture it without the annoying luminosity from the flash.

I NEED to start working on my photography skills as far as these dolls go. They deserve better from me if I am going to share them with the world.

Working on this girl was a delight to my soul. I am in LOVE with polymer clay. The learning curve with this is much more fun than frustrating and I learned so much about anatomy from the 3D process. My drawings and cloth dolls can't help but improve after this.

And here is my finished Mardi Gras candlestick sculpt. Please notice that his eyes are in STRAIGHT! I got a wonderful tip from another sculptor on one of my mailing lists that helped me to really see if they were, in fact, set in as straight as I thought they were. Another big leap up the slope of the learning curve there!

As I look at the photo, I realize that I am not happy with the finish on the base. It definitely needs to be varnished, and maybe a little more metallic gold would enhance it too.

Perhaps some Pearl-Ex...

I am SUCH a sucker for anything that glitters, gleams, or sparkles!

This morning I am beginning a class on how to make dragon wings from Jean Bernard. I am so excited!! I know I said I wouldn't start anything new until the floor under the work table was cleared up; well, I lied. This was too big an opportunity to pass up. I have seen Jean's techniques in magazines for a long time and have always wanted to try them out for myself. Now's my chance and I am not going to waste it.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Another (almost) Finished Object

Ain't he cuuuuuuute? Now I remember why I made him in the first place! I see by the photo that I have to go back and pull the fur out of the seams of his left arm, and he still needs his little hat, but my first mohair bear is, for all intents and purposes, finished. I don't know if I will ever make another bear, but I am totally delighted with this little guy.

He is supposed to be a Woodland Elf Bear. He arms, legs, and body were dyed green, once upon a time, but the dye wasn't fast, so now he's just darker there. Pooh! That will teach me to let an unfinished project sit for 5 or so years on the floor under my cutting table!

And this little girl just keeps getting prettier and prettier. I know now why her eyes are crooked. Live and learn -- I will probably not have that problem again, so it is worth that to have made the error.

Knowledge is always valuable, right?

She still needs her earrings, hairpiece, and to have her hair styled, but right now her hair is in curlers, and we will spare her dignity and not photograph that.

Oops, I need to paint her base too yet I notice.

This little person is my latest sculpt. He is destined to be a mardi gras jester. I am having so much fun with this clay -- I had no idea how satisfying it would be to see these little figures come in to being!

I need to practice hands and feet yet. Fortunately, our February Sculpt-Along is a hand/arm. I am still looking for a reference drawing to work from. I know exactly what I want, but I can't find the book I think it's in. And no, I DON'T want to draw it myself. Maybe in another life when I have unlimited time, LOL.

My next major attempt is going to be a full figure sculpt. These little heads are so much funthough; I don't know if the rest of a body will be able to compete.