Saturday, May 29, 2010

Merbaby has a Bed

I have worked every spare minute on this project this week - it feels so good to be on a creative roll again!   Here is my little Merbaby, wigged and painted, in her finished gourd bower.

The gourd was embellished with apoxie sculpt, then painted. The interior is lined with a velvet cushion, silk and velvet pillows, and micromarble embellishment. I love the way the colors turned out.

Here is a close up of little Merbaby. I see now that her wig is a little messy, but the glue isn't quite dry so I won't try for a tidier style until all is stable.

Now I am wondering if she needs a little blanket. Does she look cold to you?

I took me 3 days to sculpt MerMama's hands and they still aren't quite what they ought to be, but I want to finish this project some time in THIS decade, so I have declared them "good enough" and attached them to her arm wires. I still need to sculpt her arms and tailfin and give her a wig and headdress, but I am on track to get that done soon too. Woo hoo -- getting closer!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Coming Together

I snapped a few photos when I finished working last night in order to show the progress I made this weekend on my Mermaid gourd. Baby Mer got her tailfin and is now ready for painting.

Mama Mer got a tail. Last night I roughed in her hands - I taped her to the gourd in order to put the final pose on the hands before I add the details and bake them. Once I add her pillow to raise her up a bit into the gourd, Baby Mer will fit perfectly in her little nest!

I had intended to have that pillow made already, but now I'm glad I haven't gotten to it yet -- I discovered that I am going to need to add some weight to the bottom front of the gourd to counterbalance Mama. It's all coming together nicely.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

An Ambitious Project

I started this project about 2 weeks ago in answer to a challenge to do "something" with a gourd. I have had this gourd in my house for years... so long in fact, that I don't even remember why I bought it. Sigh...

I began by cutting the off the top to form a vessel shape, then lined the inside with apoxie clay and painted it with a coat soft black acrylic. I followed that up with 2 light washes of Lumiere's Pearl White, then dabbed in some Pearl-Ex in blues, greens, rose, and interference violet to make this mother-of-pearl look. For once, a paint job turned out EXACTLY the way I wanted it!

The bottom of the gourd will be lined with cushions made of charmeuse and silk velvet in pale blues and greens to become a cradle for this little sleeping merbaby. I've never sculpted a baby before, and I figured that such a simple pose would cause me the least stress. Plus, it's cute.

Even working from a reference photo, it took me a couple of tries to get the face right - those little features are tiny!   The tail was easier, and I am just about ready to do her tail fin and paint in the color details. She will get her hair last. What do you think... blonde?

And finally, wrapped around the back of the gourd and peering in at the sleeping baby will be an adult mermaid. This is what I have of her so far -- sorry for the awkward pose in the photo, but she doesn't sit or lie well naturally in her present state. I plan on sculpting her tail tonight and putting her in her final pose to make sure she fits around the gourd.

I've always wanted to do a tableau, but I never had enough confidence in my skills (OR my attention span) to try it. This challenge gave me the prompt I needed to at least begin. So far, so good.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Photo of the Week - "My Workspace"

I am blessed to have several work spaces in this old farmhouse, but this one is my favorite. The north facing window lets in beautiful light on all but the stormiest days, and right now I can look down on a pasture full of
pregnant cows grazing peacefully in the morning sunlight. If that sight doesn't bring down your blood pressure, nothing will. :-)

I love working in this room even though it is tiny, and a little messy at the moment as I am in the middle of a major purge. I have already gotten rid of several boxes of stuff that I have been giving storage room for far too long. It is already so much more pleasant to work in there - it is going to be wonderful when I finally get it ship-shape.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sculpting Again

It has been an incredibly beautiful week here - there is just *something* about a run of gorgeous spring days that makes me feel as if I am waking up after a long winter of dreaming. I love the creative energy that comes with days like these!

Even though I have had to hustle to get my garden planted (only 3 weeks late this year... sigh...), I made time to work on some projects, this time in polymer clay. I added the last face to my Sea Spirits piece - unfortunately I caused some damage to some of the other faces, so now I have to see what I can do about repairs. Oh well, at least the sculpting if finished! I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

This next little guy has been in the works for quite some time, but I have had to keep quiet about him as he was my entry into an anonomous challenge. His paint job isn't really as gleam-y as it looks in this photo. I am going to try again to get a better photograph, maybe next time in natural light, bur for today this one will have to do.  (One of these days I WILL solve the mystery of how to photograph a piece that has Pearl-Ex in the finish, LOL.)

He won the challenge by the way. Woo hoo! My first win!

If you want to learn how to make a baby dragon of your very own, go to the page of online classes on Jean Bernard's website.  There you will find more information about a splendid class taught by Sprite Hanson - Sprite herself is a wonderful sculptor, and in the lessons she shares all kinds of great techniques, including how to make that awesome skin texture.  This project is suitable for all skill levels and the instructions are clearly written, well illustrated, easy to follow and fun.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spring... Finally!

It's only 6 weeks late, but spring has come to the Pacific Northwest at last. I planted my vetable garden yesterday, and lo and behold, the first of the rosebuds has opened up!

The fields have been too wet to take work until this week, so now the mad scramble begins among the farmers in our neighborhood to get the work done that should have been done last month. Yesterday morning, the first calm sunny morning of the season, our neighbor had his field dusted. Unfortunately I had the wrong lens on the camera to get really good photos, there wasn't time to change it, and I really wanted to snap some shots.

I swear, these guys look like they are having the MOST fun as they swoop and dive over the landscape.  Here, he has just finished a pass.

A nice tight turn to come back to cover another swath...

...and down down down to spread another plume of spray over the field. The whole process only takes a few minutes, and then he is on to the next field.

I have been working on a new sculpt this week. I thought I was happy with it when I baked it, but now that I look at it again, I think I might try again. I need to learn to set my eyes deeper into their sockets. Every time? Every time. Sigh...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Photo of the Week - "Something Mom-ish"

This photo of my mother holding me as a newborn was taken by her older brother, a talented amateur photographer. His example is what spurred my interest in photography in the first place. How cool is it to capture memories like these??

She was not quite 22 years old when I was born. She has been gone for several years now, but it is never hard for me to remember that she loved me when I see her in this photo.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Too Excited to Wait for the Varnish to Dry!

I did it! I finally figured out a way to make a photo collage with the transparency effect I was after. I was so excited to get home from work yesterday - my base collage was finished and would be dry enough to work on and I couldn't wait to apply the main photo. It went on MUCH more easily than I expected, and even though there were a few imperfections in the surface, they smoothed out beautifully as it dried.

As promised, the image dried nearly opaque, and of course I couldn't find the varnish I was pretty sure was around here somewhere... Off I went to the hardware store during my round of errands this afternoon for some varnish, and I didn't even wait to unpack my groceries when I got home - I HAD to see what would happen to my canvas.

The results were just what I had dreamed of. It was a little bit like watching a magic trick, seeing the images reappear under the now-transparent main image as I stroked on the varnish.

This project has meant a lot to me.  For one thing, I learned that I CAN develop a process on my own without having instructions to follow.

More importantly though, I rescued a photograph I thought I had destroyed in the editing process. This piece is on its way to the frame shop as soon as it dries, and I will display it with a great deal of pride.

I am actually feeling a little giddy, LOL!  What a great way to start the weekend.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Photo of the Week - "My Nightstand"

I hesitated to put up this a photo of this week's topic - for one thing I don't have a "real" nightstand, and for another I wasn't sure I wanted to share my set up. You see, our farm house is quite old and all the rooms upstairs (including our bedroom) are very small. Each room has exactly one electrical outlet. Jake has more need of the clock than I do, so the nightstand is on his side of the bed.

But what the heck...

I have a decorative step, (which, since we bought our new mattress last month has come in quite handy by the way -- the surface of the bed is now higher than my waist.) As you can see, I am a Pile Maker. Please don't hold it against me!

I have lots more on the creative front to share this week, but I have to get to work. I'll be back with some updates later.