Friday, 31 July 2009

You wanted pictures

And, because the British sense of humor is typically self depreciating, I don't mind showing them and letting you have a laugh.

This was my first head....looks masculine enough here right.

Well, in my attempts to refine it, I did more harm than good and
ended up with this....

You can't notice in the photos but the head is now considerably bigger than it was :-)

After a bit more poking it became even more fairly like and eventually became a filthy mess of mush which got scrapped.

So I started again....

As you can see I have a LOT to learn yet :-)

One of the biggest problems I am having is mushy clay. It is hot here and I have hot hands. I've got the A/C turned down so low I am freezing and keep having to goo outside to warm up...completely backwards to normal :- )

I've leached the clay, I hold ice before I touch it and all sorts but it isn't working. So until I can get some more clay I am a little stuck.

However, I don't want to stop so I made 2 little skulls.

Very unconventional I am sure, but hopefully these will just hold the clay a tad more secure so I can practice with the faces.

The theory being that once I've got the new clay then I should know what I am doing... yeah :-)

Where I am failing most is the forehead....I don't make it high enough or forward enough but I am aware of this now so can try harder. Hopefully with the more solid skull underneath I won't end up pushing it backwards.

I haven't even touched the eyes...other than those oversized white balls lol. For now I am just concentrating on the shape of the nose and the mouth.

One thing I am finding hard is the size. This head is under 1 inch high. I am seriously contemplating starting a new armature and making a much bigger figure to start with.

So that is it for a little bit.....I'll be back with new piccies as soon as I have some.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Just who is in charge here !

Seriously, what is it with clay.

My rugged, yet pretty rock star, is determined to be a female pixie lol.

So, we had a little chat and I am going to leave her like that and start another point fighting it. I don't know if this is my lack of experience or whether the clay 'talks' to more experienced sculptors as well.

I haven't done the eyes yet so I don't have a pic to show you but I will when she is done.

The biggest problem is I am not a pixie kind of girl...bit too sweet and sugary for my liking.

Hmmm....a naughty pixie.....long legged, short skirted, Lolita style...that will do it.

In the meantime, before I start this new head here is what I've learned so far. Bear in mind that these are the findings of a total novice and might be totally different for you.

* * * * * * * *

Sculpting in the desert is hard. My head is out for 1 minutes then in the fridge for 30.

Prosculpt, isn't really firmer IMO to Sculpey but it definitely holds fingerprints less.

I'd say they both attract dust equally.

No matter how much I wipe everything down, wash my hands, wear white, clean my bench...dust will find it's way onto the clay.

A brush is much better to use to move / blend the clay than your fingers...just wash it often.

It is easier to take clay off if you've used too much than it is to add it on if you've used to little.

Keep a photo or 4 of the kind of person you are looking to create in front of you. These are the ones I have to look at all day...tough job but someones gotta do it :-)

Now, I am not trying to copy him but he has the kind of look I am after so having these in front of me helps. And it is a good excuse to have pics of cute men on my wall :-)

Keep a mirror where you are working....use your own face for reference as well.

Read or watch every tutorial you'll likely not follow one method but will develop your own style. I've seen things in tutorials that suddenly hit me as so simple but I'd never have thought of them.

And finally, if you want a good laugh, ask your hubby to strip off and pose like a rock star so you can take photos of him....chances are he'll say no but the look on his face will be priceless !!!

Now I best get started on my second head :-)

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Bird of Paradise

I adore Bird of Paradise plants.

The first time I saw one was here in California and I just fell in love with them.

So, of course I had to have a go at making one....this is my 4th or 5th one now and I don't tire of them at all.

Although they are definitely more time consuming to make than a lot of my flowers, I don't find them difficult and enjoy them immensely.

Which is why I made one last week.
A welcome distraction from the eyeball fiasco :-)

There are many varieties of this plant but I am lucky enough to have one right outside to study. I love the bright colors in the flowers. And the leaves are so leathery with just the slightest hint of veining.

These plants even look pretty amazing when they are dead....
still so regal and exotic looking

Hope you like my mini version.

Round 2

So. am I a perfectionist or just pig headed ?

I know I can be a bit of a drama queen when things don't go right first time .....sorry. I am just so...well impatient.

Maybe it is because I grew up around engineers. Maybe it is because my Dad had such high hopes for me. Maybe it is because I was so successful in my job in the 'real' world. Maybe it is because other sculptors make it look so easy. Maybe my ego is too big. Maybe I am a masochist.

I don't know, but whatever it is I want to do it right and I want to do it right first time. And when it invariably isn't right I get really upset with myself.

I think I just need to cut myself some slack and
I am getting better at that....honest :-)

It has been suggested, by sculptors whose opinions I respect very much, that I paint the eyes onto the sculpt. My reason for not doing this is that I was afraid I would mess up my perfect face with my inexperience of painting eyes.

And there I go again...I expect to sculpt the perfect face first time.

So,, after some thought, I have accepted that it is going to take me probably many tries at the head before I get one I think is good enough.

So....all those heads that aren't good enough....I will bake them anyhow and use them to practice my eye painting on.

I have to say though...this is a tough job. I spent the weekend looking at photos of half naked the name of research of course...and my wall is covered with pictures of pretty boy rock stars.....not too different from when I was a teen thinking about it :-)

Monday, 27 July 2009

I give up :-(

....On eyes.... at least for the moment. I don't think I can touch another one just now.

I think I've covered about every eye tutorial ever made. I know it's all down to practice...this was last weekends practice lol.

The 2 pairs at the top are the most passable but even they look so flat.
And that has been my biggest problem...even if I get the circles right the iris just looks so....well...fake :-)

I've just reached a point where I hate eyes so much I am losing my perspective so, I am going to go ahead and do the head or legs for a while.

I will come back to the eyes later if need be but I'll try those top 2 sets in a head first. I figure once they have eyelids they
might not look as freaky.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

I Bawl

Over eyeballs....OK it isn't quite that bad yet but after 9 hours of trying to make just one decent pair of eyes I wasn't far off crying lol.

I knew this would be one of the toughest things....I've tried them before. I have probably every tutorial ever written and have followed them all....but I just can't do it.

The most frustrating thing it is is just so easy yeah ? White clay ball, one black circle, fill with one blue circle, dot with black. How hard can it be right ? Very hard for me I tell ya.

I am almost tempted to buy glass eyes or have him with his eyes closed. But I won't....if he turns out half decent and I've used purchased eyes then I will feel cheated at the end of it all.

So I will persevere....

I haven't done much else yet. I am at a kinds stuck stage. I don't know what pose I want him in. Oh I have many ideas, just can't decide which one I want to go with. I am finding it hard to look at the wire skeleton as anything but and have lost the completed image in my head. I am sure it'll come back...In my excitement I think I've just been thinking about it too hard and my brain has got muddled with too many ideas.

I need an image of my pose...I think I'll see if I can persuade Mick to act the rock star tonight and let me take photos :-) Then at least I'll have something to work from.

I was getting a bit muddled about how to attach the head. I couldn't see the brass rod for a neck method working well because of the lack of movement. I mentioned it to Mick and the next thing I know he has cut me a bunch of vertebrae from brass tubing for my neck...bless his cotton socks. So now I'll have neck movement until I decide how it is going to finally be posed.

He did suggest that I should use this vertebrae method all down his spine but I think that's pushing it :-) That's what I get for being married to an engineer with a very keen interest in anatomy lol

I need to sand these vertebrae down yet but this will give you an idea.

Today I think I'll make the skull. I really need a real one on my desk...and some kind of movable skeleton. Mick has wanted a full size skeleton for years so at least he won't mind :-)

Monday, 20 July 2009

Dem bones, dem bones

Dem wire bones !

I have an armature almost complete :-)

I will share the steps I took here for 2 reasons. Firstly because I think this is a good way for me to document my progress. And secondly...if I do anything really stupid I am hoping someone will shout out and let me know.

As I think will be the case with this entire sculpt, I am picking and choosing methods from various tutorials and books I have read over the years.

Each sculptor has his or her own way of doing things and, rather than blindly following one style, I am going with the methods I feel are the best for me.

Budding sculptors...please do not see all these pics and think it is a tutorial....I have no idea what I am doing :-)

Firstly I took an image of a skeleton and scaled it down to 8 inches...the intended height of my sculpt. OK, in writing this down, I have just realized the first mistake I made...the first of many I am sure :-) For my finished sculpt to be 8 inches the skeleton should have been smaller to allow for the additional height of the clay.

Bummer and I thought I was doing so well. Oh well, no foul in this case as size isn't a huge deal. However if I were trying to make a 12th scale figure it would have been a problem.

Once I had my basic wires shapes I took a thinner gauge wire and secured the joints...very tightly to ensure no moment.

I then wrapped the thinner gauge wire over the upper arms and legs and the torso. This will ensure that the epoxy putty I am using will have something to grab onto other than bare wire.

Then I added epoxy putty to the upper arms and legs and torso. I used a putty called Magic Sculpt which seemed to work pretty well....a little sticky for my liking but not that big a problem.

Once this had dried I cut a piece of brass tubing for the lower arms. Now the original method for this was that the hand would be sculpted on the brass tubing and then inserted onto the arm. However, I want some wrist movement and I couldn't see that happening with a solid brass tube.

So I glued the brass tube on the arm. The main wire only goes into the brass tube halfway. Into the bottom half of the tube will be inserted the wire hand and wrist armature you can see here.

Now, I know he looks like Freddie Kruger right now but those fingers will be cut right down. As will the wrist joints...I am leaving them long until I have finished sculpting the hand so I have something to hold on to.

As for the lower legs, not sure what I'll do yet so I am not going to go rushing into anything until I am sure. Same with the neck....I don't think the brass rod will give me the neck movement I want so I'll leave that a while too.

As for the fabric....thanks so much to everyone who has helped me out on this...especially Marsha.

I bought some printable cotton least that's what I thought it was. In my excitement I didn't read the instructions....yeah you print on cotton but then you have to iron it onto something. Not sure if that'll be of use to me yet.

I need to make up a few flowers this week. I have done all my commissions and it is time I get some things up for sale...have to justify me staying at home playing somehow :-)

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Need your help please.

I am about to start my sculpting...yay !!!

I have been itching to do this for so long. I will start blogging about it next week.

Who better to laugh with than friends huh...And I guarantee there'll be some laughs :-) For my first sculpt I'll be attempting to make a rock star. You'll know the kind.....big hair, eyeliner, snakeskin pants the whole shebang. Think Bret Michaels, David Lee Roth et al.

Except my guy has been doing it far too long and is no longer the pretty boy that he was. How pudgy, aged and ridiculous I'll make him I've not decided as yet.

And of course, the clay might decide for me...who knows, I might end up with a fairy or something :-)

So the help I need ? I need to start sourcing fabrics, trims etc and wondered if anyone had good advice as to the best places to look.

What I really, really want is some kind of animal print for his pants....what would be absolutely perfect would be snakeskin. I've looked and looked but can't find anything suitable. real snakeskin is about but the scale is too big I think.

And some kind of leather for his boots. I realize it has to be thin and am not sure what kind of leather that would be. If push comes to shove and I can't get animal print I'll give him read or black leather pants.

It doesn't have to be perfect 12th scale as I am making this guy 8" tall. I figured if he was good enough then I'd display him and 6" just doesn't cut it for me :-)

Also....has anyone ever seen any harlequin / jester fabric in 12th scale ish ?

I have been looking for ages now and haven't seen any. I need something like this.

I am probably more nervous about dressing him than I am sculpting...I really cannot sew to save my life. I am hoping with leather pants I'll be able to glue them somehow.

Also if anyone has any links or tips to patterns for clothes, boots etc that would be fab. back next week with at least an armature :-)

Thursday, 16 July 2009

What you don't know about me :-)

My friend Julie over at Bellabelle Dolls gave me this award a couple of days ago...thanks Julie :-)

Now the rules of this one are that I have to list 10 things about myself that you don't know. Hmmm...lets see :-)

1. I talk in my sleep all the while. Drives Mick nuts and amuses him at the same time. Many times he'll strike up a conversation with me while I am sleeping just for the fun of it. I also hum in my sleep....not tunes just solid that does drive Mick crazy. He often suggests separate rooms for us and he isn't joking :-) Must be genetic as my Son is just the same.

2. When I was 16 or so my Dad said he'd buy Mick a drum kit if he would dump me. What a trade huh :-)

3. I want to do charity work somewhere in Africa. I applied to a bunch of places before I moved here but you wouldn't believe how difficult it is to get to volunteer at these places.

4. My Grandmother did a lot of missionary work and is responsible for my insatiable desire to save the world. Some of my earliest memories involve me collecting and counting half pennies to give to Cliff Richard.

5. If I could do anything I wanted I would want to be able to head is full of sculpting ideas and it makes my head hurt. I truly wish I had the money to take a class or even buy some of the tutorial DVD's out there...but for now I'll be happy with what I can find on You Tube and the internet..

6. My Dad was a drag racer and my weekends as a child were spent at some race track or in a biker bar.

7. When I was pregnant, I planned on naming my baby Tallulah Belle if it was a girl....I had a boy.

8. I have not driven a car since I moved to the USA 5 years ago.

9. I don't like going to the movies. I went to the movies on my first day here to see 'Once Upon A Time in America'....but only because I met up with some military Brits and there was beer involved. Before that I have no idea...on our first date Mick and I was going to see ET...showing my age now...I was 15 :-) There was a line and we couldn't be bothered so went to the pub instead. So the time before was pre 1982.

And now for the most shocking......

10. I cannot get excited over Harry Potter. I read the first 3 books or so when they came out but don't have the HP itch like many of you. Give me Lord of The Rings any day. I do however, love seeing you all get excited over the new movie !

Oh and here is a bonus fact...

I experienced my first California earthquake while I was sitting on the toilet :-)

Now I get to pass this award on to 5 other bloggers here goes.....

Jodi from Creager Studios

Debie from Piskies & Poppets

Susan from Dollhouse Diaries

Wendie from Wendies Mini World

Kat from Little Thoughts from an Average Mind

C'mon you guys...fess up :-)

Painting the Roses Red...all done

Ok the last post was a bit of a joke. Fun to do but it was hard to show the tree properly.

Here is it...all finished.....

As with most of my flowers, it is fully wired and completely poseable.

The entire tree is 4" high.

This is the photo I had to work from. I think I got it right :-)

I have to confess to not liking it one bit....I loved the tree and I think the roses are OK but together it just doesn't do anything for me. Not that I think it is bad...technically, it is one of the best things I've made but I just don't care for it much.

You girls who buy the roses kits...really you need to have a go at making them yourself. The leaves aren't so easy but the absolute doddle. If you can get your fingers round a kit I guarantee you can make these. Just ignore the many online tutorials for roses...the ones I found weren't much use at all.

One more thing to do then I'll be taking a short flower break to have a go with some clay :-)

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Uh oh......

Coming Soon !!!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Fit for a King

I recently made some flowers for the Maharajahs palace.

Sans has done some really clever photograph using these pieces.....take a minute to go over and check it out for yourself here

My Maharajah's Palace Day 83

You have seen most of these photos but there are a couple of new plants on here I've not shown yet.

Now, back to working on my next piece....the rose tree....this time
fit for a Queen :-)

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Mend All Mighty Glue

Anyone ever heard of Mend All Mighty Glue or seen it in any stores...googling doesn't bring up much except the manufacturers site and that doesn't say where to buy it.

It is supposed to be excellent for using as a wigging glue.

Friday, 10 July 2009

The wrong shade of white...and grey !

Well I was hoping to bash out some roses today but my white paint just isn't white enough lol.

It looks pretty white, it paints pretty white but hold it up to a piece of white copier paper and it is a dismal shade of .....well not white.

So I guess i need to hit some craft stores this weekend...we only have Michael's and JoAnns near me so I might have to order some online. I'd prefer not to do that though as I want to see just how white it is myself.

In the meantime I've painted some red paper and hung that out to if the hummingbirds will quit trying to eat it I should be good to go in a couple of hours.

Now for the grey...

The bikes starter motor broke 2 days ago. Nothing more than a little pin had broke but of course that is tucked right away behind a whole bunch of stuff. Mick has the ability to fix it, he's been fixing and riding bikes since he was about 10 years old, but we don't have the gear...nor the equipment to lift the bike up so he can get in to it.

And of course the bike wouldn't go and the dealer is 25 miles away. After trying to bump it he ended up having to pay a towing company $160 to get it to the dealer. And then the cost of getting it fixed. There's $500 we won't be seeing again. That bike costs Mick more to keep than me :-)

Why is it whenever you finally decide you have the money to splash out on something...i.e. my new camera, something like this happens lol.

So, seeing as how we've had to lay out so much money this week I decided I'd skip a visit to the hairdressers and color my own hair.

I have been blond for over 10 years and really like it that way. But my hair grows real fast and the upkeep both in time and money is getting silly.

I'd love to go back to my natural dark brown but, and don't laugh at this, it doesn't suit me. I know that sounds silly as it is my color but really it makes me look washed out and 10 years older than I really am.

So I figured a dark ash blond color would be a happy medium..........not. Ash is right...cigarette ash I think this color is. Still I am stuck with it for a while now...if I stick some make up on Mick might not notice how ill I look :-)

We have a really busy weekend ahead for us so not sure how much I'll manage to do but I'll be back with piccies as soon as I can.

Have a great weekend everyone...back soon :-)

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Painting The Roses Red - Part 5 - Just add roses !

So here we are.....all of the leaves are now on.

The longer branches you can see sticking up are where the roses will be attached. They won't stay this long but I shan't cut them down until the roses are placed.

I wondered if I needed to add some more branches but have decided the answer is no.

Many miniature trees start from a polystyrene ball into which leaves are stuck.

The whole point of doing it like this is to make it look more real and I think the fact that you can see through the branches a little adds to the realism.

If I add more branches I think the whole thing will become so dense it will defeat the point of adding the branches and leaves one by one.

What do you think ?

This is a close up to show the leaf detail.

Yes I know you can see gobs of glue but trust me...this photo is highly magnified....I can't even see this glue with my glasses on.

I have really enjoyed making this...Ok no I don't enjoy veining leaves lol... but with this tree, every leaf I added changed it's appearance and it grew right before my eyes.

I honestly think that this will turn out to be the best thing I have ever made. And, if it does turn out to be my last, at least I'll have gone out with a bang :-)

Now, the fun part, I need to go make a bunch of roses.....I may be some time lol.

Again I apologize for the photos.....this new camera is doing my head in :-) I am so tempted to go back to my old automatic point and shoot, but if I keep doing that, then I'll never learn how to use this camera..

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

What the #@*^!%$@&*

I just went to publish a comment and the whole post vanished....I am not amused.

I hit the back button and all sorts but nope.....nothing. I hope this is just a glitch and it will return.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Painting The Roses Red - Part 4

3 days of pretty much solid work over the long weekend and this is all I have to show for it. I really need to learn to make something that comes together quickly :-)

I have added some leaves - as a guesstimate I would say there are about 170 leaves on here so far. I think perhaps about another 200 should do it :-)

I need to spend a few days making leaves now as I've used them all up...I can only manage to do perhaps 50 or so in one go before my head starts complaining.

And then.....comes the hard part...the roses lol.

I didn't leave them till last because I am nervous about them....well maybe just a little bit. I did make 2 white ones but they got so grubby so quickly that I decided it is best to leave them till last.

So still a way to go but you can at least see some progress now :-)

Sorry the photo isn't great...Mick bought me a fabby new 'proper' camera last weekend and I really have no clue how to use it...but that is a blog post on it's own lol.

Oh my followers

Wooo Hoooo.

I have been so tied up with real life that I hadn't even noticed my
followers had gone over 100.

Thank you all so very much for showing an interest in my
little corner of this hobby.

I appreciate each and every one of you.

x x x x x

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Happy 4th July

Happy Independence Day

to all my

American Friends

Thursday, 2 July 2009

No Rose between Two Thorns

.......At least not yet.

The roses will come at the very end. One because I need to move the branches all over the place while I am putting leaves on. And two because they are mostly white...if I put them on now they'd be a lovely shade of grubby by the time I was finished.

I just thought I'd share a WIP piccie of the thorns.....I am soooo pleased with how this is looking.

And yes...there are a few leaves. I am so impatient I had to put a few on to see what it would look like. You can't really see in this pic but the leaves are all veined and very subtlety edged in red. So subtle in fact you might not notice if I'd not mentioned it but it needs to be there to add to the overall effect.

I have to say I have a very good feeling about this tree :-)

Hopefully I'll get chance to do some work on it over the holiday weekend and will have more piccies to show you next week.

My blog lost appears to have come back....typically when I have no time to come over and read them.

And the sink...well, Mick bought an auger and drilled that in....for 25 feet and didn't hit the blockage so whatever it is, it is far away.

It is still blocked but takes longer to back up now so it has moved....whatever it is. We are going to measure the amount of water it takes to back it up this morning and them we (Mick) can calculate exactly how far away the blockage is.

The day has finally arrived....

.....when I had to break down and put on a pair of glasses for mini work. I thought about adding a photo of me in them so you can see just how much glasses don't suit me...then I chickened out....good job I only have to wear them indoors :-)

I have been adding thorns to the rose tree.....a real pain in the backside, extremely time consuming and, unless you know to look for them, I bet they won't even be noticed....but hey, what is a rose tree without thorns right.

Sink is still blocked....2 bottles of Draino Max hasn't done the seemed to for all of about 5 minutes but blocked again which is very strange. Still Mick is home early today and off till Monday so maybe he can become a Mr Fix It.

And on top of this my 'blogs I follow' list has vanished....hope it is only a glitch and they'll return soon.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Painting The Roses Red 2

As much as I'd love to, there isn't going to be much point updating the making of the rose tree on a daily basis. On most days, although I will have worked on it, nothing will look any different. At least not for a while anyhow.

This picture basically shows how it looks after a couple of coats. It still needs more coats to hide the twists in the wire. Although I want it to look gnarly like a rose tree I don't want to be able to see any wire twists in it....never seen a real rose bush look all twisty :-)

Then I need to start making leaves....lots of leaves...and each one needs to be cut, painted, veined and colored round the edges so please don't expect more pictures too soon.

In other news my kitchen sinks are blocked. Both sides, the sink and the garbage disposal. I have Draino in there now and am hoping that will do the trick.

A plumber will be the last resort because I am sure this is my fault...well it has to be...Mick never goes near the sink lol. As he was trying to plunge it last night out popped a paintbrush....ooops !