Sunday, May 31, 2009

Photo of the Week - Annika at Silver Falls

My sailor son is out to sea for a few weeks, and I had the great pleasure of entertaining my daughter-in-law and granddaughter for a whirlwind visit this weekend. We have been harvesting the spring silage crop this week and busier than busy, so we decided to take today "off" and go up to Silver Falls State Park for a picnic and to have a little quiet family time away from the farm.

(Oh! how I wish we had been camping instead and could have stayed for a while. sigh...)

Of course I took my camera along. Nothing compares to the charm of a happy and playful one year old, especially to her Nana, LOL.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hatching the Eggs

I finished my UFO for the month! I still need to open the 2 larger eggs, but here is the little one completed and mounted on its base. It turned out really cool - I need to make more of these!

The little tape creature inside is the armature of the baby dragon who will be "hatching" out of the egg. (I see now that a neutral beige background was a mistake for this particular photo. Oh well...) I have the clay mixed and conditioned and ready to begin sculpting... now I just need to find some time to concentrate.

And, just because I can, I have begun another Breyer repaint, this time of a Spirit Classic. I am *trying* to remember to make myself take in-progress photos, but so far I keep forgetting. I lifted this photo off of the internet to give you a decent "before" shot.

I'll post an "after" shot later this week. His paint job turned out beautifully, and now I'm just waiting on a supply of embellishments so I can finish his wings.

I have been reading up on these. Turns out there are techniques whereby you can actually reshape the model into other poses. That sounds like something fun to try next...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Photo of the Week - He's Still Got It

One of the hardest things to accept about getting older is the loss of the ability to do things that once came easily.

Jake used to be a star basketball player - his team voted him MVP his senior year in high school, so it was not surprising that he was invited to play in an alumni exhibition game this week as part of "Team 80's". He got a little nervous as the night of the game approached as he hasn't touched a ball in 10 years. His stated goal was to not suck and not get hurt. Oh dear...

He did OK in warm ups though.

He still had good moves under the basket too.

This was his favorite moment - he grabbed that rebound out of the hands of an ex-pro football player 10 years younger than he is, and the announcer even pronounced our name correctly. ;-)

I think he liked sitting on the sidelines chatting with his old buddies best though. (The gentleman on the far left was his coach in high school and actually still teaches at the same school.) He was a little stiff the next day, but he didn't suck and he didn't get hurt so it was all good, LOL!

I love this little town!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Just one more...

And yet another UFO becomes a Finished Project, thanks to these fun fun FUN wings! This fantasy horse began its life as a little Breyer model unicorn. Lydia collects Breyer figures - she has several of this kind, so she gave me one to play with. He's been sitting on my work table covered with gesso and ready to go for months, but I was never inspired to get going on him until I thought of giving him wings.

I wanted him to be more purple, but I stopped here because I had achieved a subtle shading from pearl white to blue to purple to gold that really pleased me. If you click on the photo to bring it up to full size you can see the color shifts better - he really does look magical.

Hmmmm... now that I get a good look at his portrait, I think next time I work with film that pale for wings I will use lighter color wire. The purple wire I used for these is kind of overpowering.

The horse on the left in this photo is exactly the same as how the repainted one started out. Quite the change, eh?

OK, now that I've had some good fun with these wings I really need to get back to work on my dragon eggs. The month is wearing on.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Twilight Fairy

I finally finished her, my first fairy sculpt. I see so many flaws in her now, but I knew that if I didn't keep going, I would never ever finish a sculpt. I learned so much in her creation, so even though there are so many things I would have done differently or change if I could, I am happy with her. Plus, she is NOT going to become just another UFO under my work table, LOL.

I have started working on a seat for her from a new class by Jean Bernard so the next time you see her she won't be sitting on my tea mug!

I got the tiniest bit carried away with the flame that created the holes in her wings - next time I will try it with my soldering iron. I'm told it's messy, but I don't want such big holes and they appeared literally in an instant.

I need to make a handle for the lantern for her left hand too. She looks a little odd just holding her hand out like that. And... I think I might retouch the paint on her face a bit.

And before I forget, here is the little practice fairy all finished as well. She is so small that even my smallest doll stand is too big to hold her properly. I think she looks relieved to be off of the UFO pile at last!

Wow, two finished dolls in one week. I'm feeling pretty smug today.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Few Quick Updates

I finished my practice wings - I'm so glad I did a practice pair because, like everything else, there was a slight learning curve to the techniques involved. This was BIG fun though, and I can't wait to get going on my real pair!

This little fairy is the very first doll I ever designed by myself from scratch. She has been waiting for a face and costume for years under my cutting table for, and right now she's waiting for her hair glue to dry. Once I get her hair styled she is going to wear the practice pair of wings. Wow - 2 finished projects for the price of one, LOL!

And just to see if I could, I crawled into the calf barn where the starling's nest is in the hole in the wall to try to get a photo of my own. Taking this one involved some interesting maneuvers on my part, and once I almost dropped my camera into the nest. Thank goodness for wrist straps! The babies are a week older in this photo than they were in the photo on yesterday's post - Lydia and I are trying to decide if there are 4 chicks in the nest or 5. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, then look closely at the beak in the upper right, you might agree with us that it looks suspiciously like 2 beaks.) What do you think?

I think that big one looks hungry...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Photo A Week - Spring!

It's spring! Woo Hoo! I can't believe the difference in my mood and energy level when the sun comes out.

This week's photos were taken by my 20 year old daughter. One of the happiest signs of spring around here is when the ground is hard enough to let the animals out to graze because they get so excited about having so much room to run and so much FOOD that they dash around aimlessly for hours. It can be entertaining to watch, especially the calves.

They are also incredibly curious. All Lydia had to do to get this photo was to sit down in their field and wait. That light tan one is so cute.

I'm not sure how she managed to get this shot. This very noisy starling nest was built in a hollow spot inside the wall of the calf barn. Her camera is smaller than mine, but it's still quite a reach to get to the hole. I can see at least one chick, but probably two in this photo.

This last one is mine. I need to do some research on how to photograph rainbows, but in the meantime I'm just grateful it isn't raining any more! Happy Spring!

Friday, May 08, 2009

WIP - next steps completed

I managed to find a little time every day this week to work on my Fairy. Her dress is finished now and her wig is on, though not styled yet. I applied this hair exactly the way Wendy Froud did it in her video, but I'm not crazy about the glue I used (stinky!)or the lack of a finished part. I want to try Linda Smith's method for my next sculpt.

I probably should have embellished her dress before gluing on her hair, but I got a little ahead of myself. (To be honest, it kind of freaks me out to be working on a bald doll.) Oh well, as long as I'm careful I shouldn't mess it up too bad.

Even though I'm not going to use them after all, I'm including this photo of the fabulous wings I got from My Wycked Ways simply because you have to see just *how* fabulous they really are. Trust me, this photo doesn't begin to do them justice, but you get the idea. I WILL make a fairy to wear them soon, but this girl is just too big.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Photo of the Week - WIP, continued

Even though I promised myself I wasn't going to do any more bird photos for my Photo of the Week, there was a beautiful egret out in the north field this morning posing just for me. I grabbed my camera (yes! the long lens was still on!) and ran out, snapping away happily for a few minutes. But when I tried to call up the photos for review, all I saw was a blank black screen with the words "No CF Card" in stark white letters. Arghhhhhhh!!!

At least I get to keep my promise of no more bird pictures, LOL.

Instead I set up my light box and took some more photos of my Fairy-in-Progress. Her second sleeve is on the floor by her right foot ready to add to the dress, but I wanted to show her skin and how it was attached before it all got covered up by her clothing. Oh how I love that color of blue!

I didn't make her smile on purpose, but I didn't realize I had sculpted her face so cranky! I need to give her dress a bodice yet, then add her hair, and then I can attach her wings and finish her. My favorite part!

In between stitching and gluing and letting things dry I managed to get the first layer of texture added and baked on to my dragon eggs. I'll play with them some more tonight.

I am adding one more photo of a sculpt in progress - this is the photo I took in order to check whether or not it was ready for a final smoothing.

Darn it... not quite!

And just one more... I took this one of my daughter and her boyfriend Saturday night before they left for Prom. I got others that were more formal, but I absolutely love their expressions in this one. Don't they look like they're already having a wonderful time?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Of UFO's and WIP's

Here it is the first of May already! Time for another UFO challenge. This month I choose to work on a set of dragon eggs I am making using instructions designed by the incredible sculptor Julianne Sizemore. I don't even remember when I started these... it's been years.

They don't look like much now, but watch this space..

My other project, and one that has entirely captured my attention and my enthusiasm this week is a fairy figure I designed to go with a set of wings I purchased from My Wycked Ways, an absolutely fabulous web shop that carries the most wonderful supplies. She will get her skin today, and then I can begin on her costume.

I know the ears are a little "out there", but I wanted something different. It will be interesting to see how they work with her wig when I get that far.

She will be holding this fairy lantern I made at the Iowa Dollmaker's Retreat last fall - I'm so happy to have finally found a use for it.

I love getting on a roll like this. Makes it extra hard to go to work some days though. Oh well, I work to afford more art supplies,so it's all good.