Reworking is what I do when stuck. I may try to touch up and foil and old drawing, add color to an old set of prints, or rearrange pieces to create something new. Today I found a frame to use as a form for a plaster base on a small new work, but instead found myself engrossed in a touch up and foil of the drawing that I removed from the frame. Here are the results of my efforts:
It is winter, I still take many photos on my walks, and it is time for the return of the foils! Foils are just about fun, and can be quite lovely. A simple photo with good contrast, with fewer and more subtle colors, generally results in a better foil that needs little tweaking. Here is a sample photo, with two foiled variations. I did a bit of lightening & darkening small areas of the original, but did not modify the result of the foil effect, just choosing different colors and direction for each.
This photo is an over painted white stripe of a school crosswalk, but I see a playful puppy running with balloons!
For the image below, for the “original” photo image at left, I did boost the leaf saturation slightly, and I added a narrow shadow to the right side of the leaf to help it stand out from the background. The right photo, which has the colored foil effect applied to the leaf only, also has a shadow on the right side, but has the saturation slightly lower and the darkest parts lightened a bit. I love the original photo, a wet leaf back on the roadway, but the foil has beautiful colors and just pops!
I am just messing about in the studio these days, in between bouts of life both good and bad. Today I worked on further detailing of my latest paperclay version of my Beckoning Angel. I started by making a simple paperclay cast of this low relief figure: read the previous post for more information about that process and further work. I have reinforce this figure, added a bit more relief detail, and adjusted something that I did not like. Now I have embellished the figure with a first blend of colors. This is a preliminary trial coloring, so expect changes!
I have also messed about with a large abstract sketch that has been “hanging about” my studio for quite some time, covering the electrical box in fact. Here are two digitally foiled variations of this reworked old mental map.
Update: I have reworked the features and hands on the Mediator Angel. Color next!
I am revisiting my paperclay angels with a twist; I used the silicone mold of The Meditation, Three Angels to create new individual figures. But this time I built up each figure individually and I have already modified the center figure considerably. I was never satisfied with the center “mediator” angel, so I needed to rework this one. The other two may be very similar to the originals, but will likely be slightly tweaked as I go along. Or I may create a scene with only two figures.
I took the center figure out, modified it, and it is nearly dry. Today I pushed the paperclay into the mold of the beckoning “death” figure. Each paper clay figures needs at least two days to dry slowly in the mold. Then I can carefully lift and turn over the heavy floppy mold, and peel the cast figures out to dry for another few days. Next I trim and modify it further.
I cast one figure at a time using this larger mold. Once I take my skeletal “death” figure out, I can fill the mold of the third “adamant” figure.
When each figure is dry, I will detail them. To detail paperclay figures, I trim, smooth, and fill as needed. I can also moisten and change the figures fairly easily, without losing the basic shape. I am thinking about a new background, and may reposition these three figures for the new version. Check back to see what happens with revisiting my paperclay angels.
Update: the second figure is out of the mold and drying now; see above. I may use the above two figures alone in a new work, setting to be determined! What are these two figures doing? Contact me if you have any suggestions!
Update #2: I am back from a trip, and back to work. I detail these new figures between stints on another project. Look at the new image added above to see the “mediator” figure with more depth and additions. I think she is almost finished! I started finish work on the front of the “death” angel today. Two days ago I added thickness to the back of this figure.
Progress on the Sphinx has been slow, and somewhat painful. I added a lot more cardboard to create the underlayer of “skin”, in order to rough in the shape I want. Over the cardboard I have almost finished a layer of wire mesh that will hold and reinforce the cement outer layers.
The wire mesh layer is pieced together from various scraps and the new shapes cut from larger pieces. The process of wiring the sections of mesh together is physically painful. I cannot work in leather gloves, so I end up with many small cuts and abrasions, and it it difficult to connect pieces tightly. This is just not much fun, so I work only a an hour or two at a time, and now I am taking a two week break to recuperate from minor surgery. I can get back to this in another week, and look forward to the next phase: cement!\
It will be good to resume work and make some real progress on the Sphinx soon. In the meantime I am managing some artwork that is less intimidating & tricky.
This rock on rock needs work to actually fix these two rocks together, plus a bit more detailing here and there. And then it will be ready to display along a trail somewhere in town.
It is fairly heavy and a little bit awkward to carry, so I hope that will deter theft. Sadly many outdoor art and craft items do disappear if not truly locked down; I have had one or two items mysteriously disappear; perhaps why most of my yard art is just too odd, messy, or sharp to appeal! These two joined rocks might be a bit unusual, however these are very cool rocks, so I am sure some people will enjoy them.
I have not decided whether to contribute it to a new art trail in an adjacent neighborhood, or display it closer to home. So rock on, rock!
It is summer, so it is yard art time! And I have been dwelling on ancient Egyptian art and Egyptian mythology. My effort to make a Horus stylized falcon was derailed by my own incompetence. But another Egyptian concept appeals to me. A few days ago I saw that an old Styrofoam and plaster head could easily be recycled, and my new art project was born. I decided it is time for a Sphinx, with this head serving as part of the armature. I will transform it into something more durable.
OK, I understand that the famous “Sphinx” of Giza may not be a Sphinx at all. As best I understand, the name Sphinx originated with the Greeks, many centuries after the carved stone creature of the Egyptian desert. The Egyptian “Sphinx” that we think of was cut in situ from “living” stone, probably over many years, and probably commemorates a god as embodied in a specific pharaoh. It is considered to have a male head, and to wear the traditional headdress (menes) and the cobra (uraeus) of the pharaohs.
The ancient Greeks described the Sphinx as a single fantastic winged creature with the body of a lion and the head of a woman. The Sphinx was presumably a creature to avoid! However I model my new artwork on the ancient Egyptian stone stature in Giza, so no wings. I still say that it is time for a Sphinx!
Now is the time for an Egyptian Sphinx in my yard. And it is time to work larger. My Sphinx will be 4-5′ long and about 2.5′ high at the head. The plan is for ferrocement, once the initial cardboard armature is complete I will wrap this with wire mesh. It will be large and heavy!
I have moved on from Let’s Make a Bird to let’s make a better bird, or actually let’s00m Make a red-tailed hawk! After way too many fixes, I have now painted and mounted this experimental bird. It may have started out as a falcon, but it became a red-tailed hawk, and became a better bird for it.
After adding more ferro-cement to improve the shape and balance, I have sealed, painted and mounted my heavy set outdoor sculpture. It is now very stable, has a somewhat realistic shape, and a suggestion of dark red-tailed hawk coloring. It needs a final clear coat or two to become a bit more durable for the great outdoors, then I really will call this finished.
As usual, I don’t have anywhere in mind yet for displaying this bird. It really cannot be in my yard, as I had initially planned; my crows and small birds might just be offended! So this hawk needs a home elsewhere! So I really hope that I will think twice next time, before I decide “let’s make a red-tailed hawk.
My hawk is now out and about, between my house and RoseWind Walk. I think she looks very comfortable there, and she does not upset my crows in the slightest. In fact they laugh and scoff at the thought of being bothered by this lumpish bird statue … they do not see a red-tailed hawk at all!
I am something of a birder: I own and use binoculars, I have the Audubon App and the Merlin App on my phone. I put out modest servings of birdseed and peanuts in my yard every morning, and I welcome my regular bird visitors. So it has been suggested that I focus on birds in my artwork.
While I have completed a few birds in my work, this has not generally interested me. I carved and cast my little fat baby bird, and have a few drawings & collages featuring birds on their nest. And I did complete a small sculpture based on these. This felt like enough until I decided to try combining my interest in things Egyptian (mostly ancient Egyptian) with my interest in birds. The Egyptian falcon god Horus seemed like a natural choice. So I decided it was time; now let’s make a bird!
This project has not gone well. My goal of a stylized streamlined falcon has been swallowed up by a chunky awkward lopsided hawk. I have attempted to rework this weird heavy set bird too many times, and I think I may just paint it and stop there.
And then what? I really don’t think I can put this bird in my yard! My crows and small birds will just hate it! What on earth was I thinking when I said “Lets make a bird”?
Still working on this bird, however… not sure why! I have added to the legs & tail to create bit more symmetry, and will need to reshape both wings if I want it to look a bit less ridiculous! Tomorrow!
This is the last cast of my draped worker figure, for now. I found one unused in a drawer, and I found a good way to use him!
I still have the mold, but this favorite figure is retired for now and maybe for a long long time. I made several casts; I count seven but I may have missed one… And I am not too interested in making more work using this figure at this point. But of course that could change. Anyway each cast has its own personality as each is used in quite different artworks. And some figures are clear, others are tinted or painted, so no two are quite alike.
This artwork does repeat an earlier theme: that of the moon. But in a very different finished piece. Here I have my figure catching a crescent moon while mounted into a colorful translucent circle framed in a large embroidery hoop. This piece is designed to hang in window to catch the light.
This piece is now ready to hang, with a copper wire attached at the top. The effect of this last cast of my draped worker on the moon changes with the light.