Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Work In Progress Update

Before I could lay down the ground cover atop the base I tacked down a piece of wire screening with hot glue.

The screening would give the material I was using a secure foothold. Using a spatula and damp brush I then applied the pebbly ground cover.

To prevent the base from warping I clamped it tightly while it dried.

After it dried I bolted the foot of the Kong armature to the base and positioned it in the pose I wanted.

After adding Super Sculpey clay to the legs and torso I carefully removed the armature and baked the polymer clay.

Now that the Super Sculpey has hardened I'll have Kong in a fixed position. The next step will be deciding how to pose his arms as he battles the Pteranodon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Now That is a miniature!

I was painting eyes this weekend for a couple of my creations. Usually I make them myself but I found a pin head that is the perfect size for my Pteranodon sculpt.

After I finished painting the pupils I was less then pleased with the results. I washed the pupils off and put them aside to finish at a later time.

In the interim a friend sent me this Youtube link about Willard Wigan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEnccjSvEP8

Here I am having to redo my eye painting attempt on a pin head. Willard Wigan's sculptures can sit atop a pin head! His work is absolutely unbelievable! I'd love to see the tools and brushes he uses as he creates his sculptures.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kong Armature Update

I thought I'd share a few work in progress photos of what I've been up to. Well I've begun wrapping the Kong armature in foil preparatory to beginning sculpting today.

I also designed the mountain top cliff where Kong will battle the Pteranodon.

The base is comprised of two sheets of thin plywood sandwiched together between hunks of styrofoam.I glued a piece of thicker wood in the center of the base to add strength.

The block of wood a top the base will be where Kong rests his foot during the battle. The block is drilled to accept a bolt which gets secured in the bottom of Kong's foot.

Once the armature is secured to the base I can go about posing it in various positions till I hit on one I like. In this photo I used a rasp to shape the styrofoam into the basic shape of the rocky cliff top.

I added a thin veneer of Aves Apoxie Sculpt clay to the styrofoam to cut down on the styrofoam dust once I begin the final sculpting. I also primed the top of the base white to seal the wood before I add the stone surface to it. I'll post more photos as things progress.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pteranodon Armature

The sculpture I am working on at the moment is going to consist of three parts. These will be my two principal characters and the base.

I have already assembled my Kong armature. Now I am in the process of cobbling together the armature for Kong's adversary - a Pteranodon!

For those of you that may not be familiar with the film King Kong(1933) the Pteranodon is the flying reptile that foolishly tries to snatch Fay Wray away from Kong.

The first step in roughing out the armature was scaling up the size of the reptile to my Kong figure. I'm lucky in that my nephew bought me the two disc special DVD put out by Warner Brothers of the film for my birthday. It proved great as reference material. I was able to freeze frame the scene where the two creatures battle each other to get an idea of their relative sizes.

Using aluminium wire I laid out the shape of the pteranodon being careful to leave extra wire in the neck,wings and leg areas. I then twisted green floral wire around the torso and added a few drops of Zap a Gap glue to lock everything together.

Next I carved a wooden skull adding Zap a Gap to the tip of the beak area to penetrate and help strengthen the wood in this delicate area. For the same reason I added a stiff piece of metal rod to the rear of the crest on the reptile's skull.

Sections of wood were added to the wing areas to insure they would bend like the actual creatures wings would. The torso was then bulked up with some aluminium foil. Now that I have my two characters fleshed out I can go about designing the base for this sculpture.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Finally .... The Sun Has Returned!

With the constant rain and sustained wind gusts of over 50 mph this weekend we have been having some horrible weather here on Long Island. Some of the gusts reached close to 80 mph and a couple of times I thought for sure we were going to lose part of our roof. Monday after the worst of the storm had passed I walked to the beach. The sea was still churned up and the weather station was calling for more flooding with the high tide.

The sea had reached the main road that runs parallel to the beach in a few areas. Luckily it only rose as high as under the boardwalk in most places.

Amongst all the debris washed up I found this beauty of shell completely unbroken! How it came through that storm intact I'll never know.

With the return of the sun on Tuesday I had a chance to explore more of the beachfront east of where I live. We lost quite a lot of sand to the storm. Areas of old wooden jetty were exposed that hadn't been visible before.

Later in the day I continued work on the base I had started last week as well as my small Kong figure.

The base got sprayed with a white lacquer primer. Now I'll be able to begin the final painting on it.

The Styrofoam I had glued to the wire Kong armature was carved with a knife and then shaped with a rasp to roughly the size I wanted it. The next step will be bulking out more of the form with aluminum foil.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Creating A Base For A Sculpture

Often when I'm sculpting a swimming creature I think to myself wouldn't this be easier if I was a painter! Painters aren't bothered by pesky things like gravity tugging at their creations.

One painter who I feel captures the freedom of movement of his marine subjects so well is Richard Ellis! I've long admired his work. Particularly his shark paintings. Take a look at his painting of a breaching Mako shark : Richard Ellis Gallery: Mako Shark . When I see a painting like that I get green with envy.

Unfortunately as a sculptor I have to devise supports to hold my subjects aloft. These supports need to be incorporated as unobtrusively as possible into the composition.

Recently I began making a base with just such a support to mount a sculpture on. I thought I'd post a few work in progress photos.

The first photo is of a hard wood dowel glued and wired to a painted and sealed piece of plywood.

The second picture shows Apoxie Sculpt clay beginning to be applied to the bottom of the dowel to strenghten this area.

Here I am starting to work the clay around the edge of the plywood base.

It is hard to make out in this photo but I've given the clay edge a textured look by using a piece of coral.

After the clay on the edge had a chance to cure I started applying the clay to the dowel being careful not to cover the drilled holes near the top. These will hold the bolts for mounting the sculpture.

When the clay on the dowel became semi hard I gave it a distressed wood look using latex and silicone texture pads I've created.

After I glued the bolts in place I wrapped a piece of Saran Wrap around my sculpture and pressed it against the still pliable clay.

It left an impression that will help to solidly mount the sculpture later. I then used a hot glue gun to add chunks of styrofoam to the base.

Here I've added a piece of real driftwood in perfect scale to the base as well as rocks made from Apoxie Clay, Mache and Wood Putty.

I make a habit of always using the leftover bits and pieces of whatever material I happen to be working with to make a surplus of rocks and pebbles. This way I have a ready supply in assorted sizes to draw from.

I took the base outside and shaped the contours I wanted into the styrofoam using coarse sandpaper.

The next step involved making a concoction of sand and white glue to paint over the styrofoam and around the base of the tree stumps.

After this dries I'll need to prime the base with lacquer spray paint before I can begin painting it. I'll show the completed steps in a future blog post.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spring Can't Get Here Soon Enough

I like to visit the beach after a storm because of the interesting things I often find washed up. In particular I am often searching for driftwood to incorporate into my work.

Unfortunately the best days for collecting aren't always the most pleasant for hiking. The bitter weather keeps many folks away from the beach. It's not uncommon to pass a blustery afternoon without seeing a soul.

Mother Nature provided me with several great pieces of wood especially a stump of driftwood that will be perfect for an owl sculpture I have planned.

When I got home I placed the wood in my kiln to begin drying it and began this little armature.

It is going to be a small King Kong battling a Pteradon. This weekend I'll finish carving the wooden skull and seal it. Then I can begin bulking out the form.