I am pleased with my Beetle People series progression: my second Beetle People habitat is almost complete. The second Beetle People habitat is Beetle Specimen Drawer II. I have it all put together, with several tiny finishing touches that I just added. I still need to add the final clear finishing coats.
Drawer number two may be more intricate than my first drawer. At least it has more details on the inside “walls”. I am, of course, very fond of it at the moment. Generally I become more critical of each artwork with a bit more time and distance from its initial production!
I tentatively plan to install hanging wire to the underside of both drawers. This will let me display them in vertical orientation on a wall. This should not prevent anyone from displaying them flat for an alternate view.
I plan to continue my Beetle People series progression, but I don’t have another drawer in mind at the moment. I expect the next beetle habitat to be smaller. Some beetles prefer to be partially hidden, tucked under protective cover of some sort. In the natural world beetles don’t like to be fully exposed to view. A few beetles currently live in boxes with closable lids, but these are not yet permanent living arrangements!
I have completed another addition to the edition of Fat Baby Birds: I have my newest fat baby bird painted and ready for a clear coat! Number 10 of the limited edition casts from my hand carved limestone bird is “Green Eyed Baby Bird”! Green Eyed Baby is very charming, in lighter subdued & variegated yellow and umber tones. She? or he? is a commissioned cast destined as a gift, and will be picked up by the new owner tomorrow or Friday.
I may still need to create a base for FBB #10, that has not yet been decided. For now, she just sits on her own two yellow “feet”.
I may need to make #11 very soon, as yet another addition to the edition of Fat Baby Birds. I would love to install one or more of these at some of the Larry Scott Trail parking lots!
So many of my occasional art sales have been made to other artists: artists buy art! Today I bought myself a Christmas present from an amazing local artist: Chuck Iffland. I have enjoyed his work on display here and there, and I visited his home studio and sculpture park a few years ago. But today I made the plunge, and with moral support from Michael, I bought myself an Iffland angel!
I expect this angel to live outside, and may find a spot on my patio next year. For this winter, this new angle will stay under shelter on the porch. I think it might actually prefer to be out in the wind and rain! Then again, I plan a patio shelter, so that could be a protected home eventually.
I don’t buy a lot of art, but I purchase or trade for art now and then. It is very satisfying when you love the work, meet the artist, and feel very much at home with the artwork! Artists buy art, and now I own an “Iffland”!
Today I hope to finish installing my first beetle specimen drawer. It has taken me quite some time to get to the installation stage for this project, but that is not too unusual. The original concept was fine, but my first attempts to actually create were not fine! My first simple arrangement of beetles in the two drawers were just plain boring. But with further thought, some help from my friends, and a good bit more work, I think my Beetles finally sing!
It was very helpful to get some feedback when I shared the photos of these first, disappointing, arrangements. I was able to make use of two comments from artist friends, in working up my final plan. So I have spent the past few days installing my first Beetle Specimen drawer, at the lower left below. The beetles are not lined up in the drawer, but installed into their own environments, surrounded by their favorite things…
I expect to complete a second beetle specimen drawer, and have the photo of my current mock-up here. However it does need further consideration. I think I will include some colorful backgrounds, but will probably swap out some of these shown here. It just looks way too busy at the moment, and that purple is awfully loud! The final version may include dividers as used in the first drawer.
My Golden Boy started life as another one of my yellow Lirio soap block carvings. So the casts, created from two different molds, will always be “Golden Boy” regardless of their actual color. I made the first mold as a partial mold of the front, resulting in relief casting that are flat on the back and can be mounted to flat surfaces.
The second mold is a full mold of the original soap carving, but my golden boy original is a wee bit flat in profile. The soap block shape constrains the piece. With some care, I managed to “glom on” a few very messy mucky additions using mushy soap chips, but that took a lot of patience! Hence this incomplete figure!
The soap mush addition process does not seem feasible for larger or finely detailed additions. Also it does not have the same smooth surface of the carved work. I have not tried carving multiple sections that could be attached with soap mush, but that might work.
I still hope to find the perfect medium for making my “originals” for casting. Of course that will never happen, but I do like to experiment. I enjoy carving, but my hands and wrists are compromised, so carving hard stone or wood is problematic. I struggle to get and keep good detail with oil based clay, and it can get distorted in the mold making process. Natural earthen clay might be more pleasing to work, but I don’t have clay, and have very little experience with it. I don’t have kiln, so the idea would be make my molds from air dry clay pieces. These would probably be scrap after removal from the mold.
One of the above arrangements is a finished piece; my relief golden boy at top right is permanently mounted. I shipped “Under the Thorn Tree” to its new owner yesterday!
I am in the process of designing and mapping beetle territory: where do my beetles live? Where do they eat? And where to they go to sleep? Are they loners, or social beetles? Here are some of my less dimensional, less colorful beetles! These are clearly herd beetles; they are moving en masse toward some unseen goal. They seem quite focused and content in their progress.
But other beetles will be different, I feel certain.
My beetle mania continues, but the drawers are not at all final. There may be one drawer, but probably not two. After consideration, I find that I am bored by my the drawers at the moment. I am underwhelmed by them. So many of the beetles will not be in the drawers at all. If I do use the drawers that I have at hand, they will need to undergo considerable alteration, in order to be satisfying.
I count more than thirty beetles so far, made from seven different molds. The originals for the molds range from my first carved alabaster beetle, to a carved soap beetle, and several clay beetles. Most of the thirty or so beetle casts are made from polyurethane resin, a few are epoxy resin, but I have also made a set in plaster, and a few in an acrylic cement mix.