Friday, May 2, 2014

Finishing Up the Miniature Skull Island Trees

I thought I'd post some photographs of my finishing work on the miniature Skull Island tree project. The palm trees are about 26" high while the other trees are roughly 20" tall.

 I sacrificed the log from my spider pit scene to create the armature for this tree trunk : 

                       Here I'm wrapping the wire with cotton twine to build up the limbs.

                              Adding cotton & liquid latex to the tree limb.

                                   The first coat of acrylic on the large tree.

                                      The finished tree decked out with foliage.

                                               The smaller of the two trees.

                                                  The two finished palm trees.

 Since the trees are destined for a King Kong set for a stop motion film I thought it would be fun to photograph them in B&W to see how they'd look.

It was a fun project but I'll probably be sweeping and vacuuming up moss for the next month!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Making Miniature Trees Part Three

I started working on two leafy type trees recently for a miniature Skull Island jungle film set. They both are around 20 inches high. They are made to scale for the  King Kong stop motion puppet that will be used in the film.

After building the trunk armature up I covered it in a paper mache mixture. The top layer was covered in paper cloth impregnated with mache.

                After covering the tree in the paper cloth I gave it a roughened bark texture.

 Here is one of the wrapped wire tree limbs with a covering of cotton and liquid latex. The wood block on the end will  attach to a slot in the main trunk.

                             Applying a mixture of tinted liquid latex to the branch.

                                            The finished branch after it has dried.

                      The main trunk with the slot I mentioned earlier to accommodate the branch.

The birch wood block base of the larger tree, I added some roots into the Apoxie clay base before it cured.

Aluminum wire forms the upper tree branches. Apoxie clay is added at the base of each branch to   firmly secure it to trunk section of the tree.                                                                                                                                                                   

After painting a coat of liquid latex on the wire I wrapped it with cotton twine to build it up.

                                 Cotton and additional liquid latex was applied to form the branch.

                          The base of the trunk with Aluminum wire and Apoxie clay roots.   

                                       Covering the wire root with cotton & liquid latex.

                      Some smaller roots made with tinted liquid latex over floral wire.

                   Adding the thinner roots to the main root section. This week I look forward to begin creating the leafy foliage for the tree tops!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Making Miniature Trees Part Two

I wanted to add a few photos of the Palm trees I've been working on. This week I started painting the trunks.

I used a pale acrylic grey as a base  coat. The tree I'm painting here is the smaller of the two.

This is the larger tree. I dry brushed some darker grey to accent the rough bark texture.

At the tops of the trees I added some cut paper to resemble old dried frond growth.

Here are the two trees drying clamped to my turntable.

For the fronds I decided on using stiff photo backdrop paper. I made templates of four sizes of palm fronds and traced them onto the paper.

Then began the fun of cutting out the 60 fronds!

Each frond was a double piece of paper stock glued together with an aluminum wire in the center.

After gluing each frond was trimmed to shape.

Each frond was painted with acrylics and dry brushed with various colors for hilites.


After painting the wire stem was wrapped with cotton twine and painted to resemble the stem of a palm leaf.

Part of my growing palm frond " jungle " drying.

Each frond leaf being further trimmed before being glued to the trunk. Due to the aluminum wire stems the fronds can be manipulated and positioned as need be.

The two trees completed with the fronds added. I was pleased with how they came out. Next I'll be starting work on two leafy type trees.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Making Miniature Trees Part One

Recently I was commissioned to create two palm trees and two leafy type trees. The trees are to be used as part of a miniature jungle set for an independent stop motion animation film.

The trees are going to be approximately 24" tall. Each tree has a birch wood base. Because the trees need to be rock steady during the animation process I added a bolt to the base to secure them to the model set.

Next I glued three 1/4" wood dowels together. Wrapping them with cotton twine will help hold the paper mache in place when it is applied.

Here I am using floral wire to anchor the dowels to the aluminum wire from the tree base.

Working Ave's Apoxie clay around the bolt head and wire will lock everything in place and create a rock hard base for the tree trunk.

Here I'm applying a mixture of taxidermy mache, Celluclay mache, and a little Plaster of Paris to accelerate the drying time. When the trunks are thoroughly dry I'll be able to move onto the next stage!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Cupcake Killer Horror Art Sculpture

I finished up work on my horror sculpture this weekend. This was the character I was making the mallet for. I dubbed him the Cupcake Killer. Like any  romantic at heart he's hoping he can find a date for Valentine's Day.

But you better think twice before you reach for that cupcake!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Horror Art Sculpture

This weeks snow and frigid weather were the perfect time to begin work on my first horror art piece of 2014. I'm one of those people that gets cabin fever real quick! So having something to sculpt keeps my mind off being cooped up inside!

The character I have in mind is going to be holding a large mallet. So after building up an armature for the body I took the arms off to make sculpting these easier.

After baking the polymer clay I painted the mallet and arms. After completing the painting I glued the mallet into the hand and sculpted sleeves on the arms. Next post I'll be adding the arms to the body.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Birthday Dad

 Today would have been my Father's 91st birthday. Whenever I think of my Dad I often remember the fun times my family shared fishing, crabbing, and at the shore in Long Beach.

My parents began crabbing at Benjamin Beach in Bayshore while they still lived in Manhattan. Some years later my grandmothers doctor suggested that a vacation near the shore would benefit her health. So my folks began exploring the south shore of L.I. for vacation spots.

 In the summer of 1960 they decided on renting a bungalow on Pennsylvania Avenue in Long Beach. In the years that followed we rented a bungalow on Alabama Avenue.

 Eventually my grandparents bought a  bungalow on Wyoming Avenue. It was there we met the Donnellys our neighbors a few doors down. 

The Donnellys were from the Bronx and like us sought the Long Beach shoreline to escape the hot city summers.

  The Donnelly boys enjoyed stickball so my father painted bases on the street and installed himself as team manager. Frequently he would call a timeout as the Mr Softee truck was passing so he could treat the team to dip cones.

On weekends he'd announce we were going fishing. My sister and I would pile in the station wagon joined by Allie, Robbie and Billy Donnelly.

 Off we'd go to fish on the bridge next to Peters Clam Bar in Island Park. When the fishing got slow my father would treat everyone to breakfast at the Texas Ranger restaurant.


Eventually we moved from the city and became year round residents of Long Beach. 

Often our friend Bobby Kaplan would come out for the weekend and join us for some crabbing and fishing. He always got a kick out of catching and steaming the crabs. 


 Fishing for snappers was always a family favorite! I taught my niece Lauren how to cast and work a popper. She was a natural. In fact I may have taught her too well - I only outfished her by two snappers on that trip!

Occasionally we'd rent a skiff and fish for fluke in Reynold's Channel.

One Fathers Day I surprised my Dad with a family trip on a charter boat for fluke.

 We had a lot of fun fishing through the years. Though not every fishing trip went off without a hitch.

I'll never forget the time my father, brother in law Charlie and I climbed out on a jetty in the middle of a December night to fish for stripers.

As were rigging up our tackle my father lowered the bait trap containing our eels. Unfortunately he forgot to latch it! 

Our eels departed for points unknown which left three frozen fishermen without a piece of bait between us. You can bet we gave him a good ribbing over that!