Saturday, March 31, 2012

2012/365 - Day 91

note to self...never try to make a round-ish head from a box with sharp angles

I don't know...I will give this a few more days of looking at it and working on it, but I may need to choose something else for my big goal. This may require a lot more construction than I can devote to it right now.

Here is the head -- sitting on my wire mesh trash can for stability -- when I started tonight.

Here is how the first layer of plaster cloth changes the look of the guy.

This is the side that bothers me the most. The other side may be a little flat when you look at it but this side is just too rounded. It looks to me more like a pig. Not that there's anything wrong with pigs...I just don't want to make one...I want this to be a bear-like creature...or something similar.

From this angle things look a little better and you can see the new shape of the ear.

Looking straight on to the head it also doesn't look that bad.

The problem is the shape of the base box that is the foundation of his head. It might be too much to try to overcome right now.

The one side is already getting a bit too rounded...not sure about this right now. Okay, I need to keep reminding myself that I had never attempted to build a face before this.

There was that crocodile from waaaaaay back, but that was a whole different way of doing things...nothing like this.

This guy needs a day or two.

Friday, March 30, 2012

2012/365 - Day 90

back to the plaster cloth!

I want to do something in plaster cloth for the new goal I am working towards. I am not going to say what it is -- just in case I don't finish in time (and that is a very real possibility -- I only have about a month's worth of building/drying time).

I have several in-progress guys to choose from, but I have been wanting to work on this guy for a long, long time.

This bear with a twirly sprinkler crown started out back in June of last year. You can see the post here.

I don't know exactly what I want to do with him.

I started by cutting him off of the tomato cage. It was pretty wobbly because it was one of the thinner gauge ones. His head is also a bit off balance (from being new at construction back then).

I set the head over a decorative base that I got at a resale shop. I think this might be a base for a gaze ball or maybe the other way up it would be an umbrella or cane stand. All that mattered to me was that perhaps the flat part of the box could sit on the top of it and be more stable than the wobbly tomato cage.

The more I looked at it, the more I decided this was not the right project for that stand.

The dimensions allowed in the guidelines for this show are head-swimmingly generous and I really want to make BIG things. A heavier gauge tomato cage makes this guy six and a half feet tall! That really made me happy. And at this height, you can look the bear straight in the eyes (if you are my height.)

However...even though I would need to work on the head separately (which I probably will do anyway) and then add it to the base, you wouldn't be able to turn the twirly part of the crown if it was that tall. Plus, I'd have to weight the piece at the bottom and then it would really be hard to transport -- tall and heavy. AND -- I probably wouldn't be able to get that tall of a piece done in time.

I sat with the head some more and started cutting off more of the tomato cage. I didn't feel like adding all of the photos of the in between stages, but here is what I ended up with.

I cut the head all the way off of the tomato cage bits that were left (I would have done that earlier on if I had realized the twirly part wasn't dependent on the part that was anchored to the last part of the tomato cage) and I found a couple of Twizzler containers (leftover from my front table derby days) and stacked together they are strong enough to support the head and are deep enough for the bottom part of the sprinkler.

I looked around the studio and came across this lightweight unfinished wooden cabinet (craft project grade). I think this will maybe be a swell base to build the bear around. Very stable, indeed.

Okay...prep work time.

This guy's nose is really wonky-looking to looks like he was in a major fight and someone broke his nose and jaw and put them out of alignment. It was a good first try but now I need to fix it.

I grabbed a scrap of chicken wire and tried to shape a better beginning for his face. I am still not that great with sculpture and doing the foundation, but I think I can fix it with the wet plaster cloth when it gets to that stage.

I decided to pack the interior portions that need to be filled up (any areas with gaps between the old structure and the chicken wire/new plaster cloth) with plastic wrappers and bags...better inside of a plaster cloth sculpture than in a landfill I guess.

I covered everything up with masking tape to hold it together and so that I could actually see the shape better.

The bear was kind of cute before with the open mouth and broken jaw look, but I think I will like him much more was too distracting for me before. He won't look exactly like a real bear anyway, but he will be a little closer.

I think this is a good place to stop to put on a layer of plaster cloth and see how it looks.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

2012/365 - Day 89

working on canvas #6

Llama-like creatures have been trying to surface all over the place on canvases #6, #7, and #8 pretty much from the first reading. My sister was never that fond of the spotted cat in this one and pointed out yet another llama-like character. I spent a long time thinking about it and looking at the collage and I finally had to agree. Now I hope I don't mess it up.

Here is the canvas at the beginning of today's guy and spotted cat girl.

Say goodbye, spotted cat girl!

Here is the llama-like creature. Now I need to cover up the spotted cat and try to define the llama-like creature.

I moved to the dining room table and put more pieces of the papers I used so far. I am not very good at deliberately adding paper to create negative spaces. This collage has the most deliberately added torn pieces of paper than I have ever done.

Covering up the spotted cat wasn't that difficult...keeping the lines I was seeing as the outline of the new creature while trying to add something other than what is in the horse was pretty hard for me.

I'm not sure I care for the light pink and light blue but they are sort of close to the colors of the flowers in the canvas's original painting. I added creamy colored unryu paper to tone the pink and blue down a bit.

I stood the canvas up and decided to take a break for dinner. This is where I left off -- I also toned down that really dark tall ear on the horse.

Coming back after dinner I decided that the horse did not want a pink mane like I had originally planned...although it might've made me feel a bit better about the pink (and blue) in the llama.

I worked on it for a long time...and this is how I decided to leave it for the night.

I added the dark brown mane and toned down the dark green on the horse's muzzle area (easier to see in person) is not so stark of a contrast now. I lightened areas of both ears on the horse.

I tried to add more of the greens and creams to either side of the llama (now giraffe/llama creature) and also on the left of the horse's ear.

I had been fighting a horrible allergy/sinus headache and accompanying annoyances all day and I finally had to give in and take Benadryl just before dinner. It took a longer time to kick in than it usually does, but man -- it kicked in! I barely had enough time to cover the canvas overall with a good coat of matte medium and get the photos up on the blog before I really started going under. I was cracking myself up trying to add the photos -- I kept reloading the same ones and nodding off for a second or two in between...geez.

This is the canvas drying in the drying spot.

This is the llama/giraffe's neck -- no more spotted cat.

Another view of the piece in the drying area.

From this angle you can sort of see where I lightened the end of the horse's nose and also defined its sleeves.

I am quite fond of this one now. I sort of miss the spotted cat creature, but I am pretty happy with the llama/giraffe (for now).

I think the rest will have to be tweaked with paint...enough of the paper manipulation.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2012/365 - Day 88

outlining the bull guy

This is canvas #7. I am not sure that I will finish canvas #7 and canvas #8 in time to photograph them and send in an email submission for the deadline (on Friday) for an upcoming local juried show. I hope I make it -- but even if I don't, I am really really enjoying these two collages. I really love the characters. Since I am working towards possibly entering these for a show, this post will be the last one until I find out what happens.

So I outlined the bull guy in Neutral Gray so that it doesn't show up too much in the finished collage, but so I can see it enough to work on the image.

Here is the top of his head...two little horns, that is an ear (dark blue) to the right and an eyebrow on the lower left area of his forehead.

Here is a detail of his right eye (well, "right" as in looking at the canvas).

Here is his sweet little muzzle with nostrils.

And here is the overall view.

I think I want to make his jacket pretty decorative -- like a quasi-military coat with epaulets. He isn't in the military, it is just fashion...or something.

I think I will name my bull guy a nod to the person who took the photo I am using as reference.

I hope I finish these in time for the deadline. Then I can start the fretting it/sweating it process waiting to see if my stuff gets accepted.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012/365 - Day 87

it's another Benadryl night

Blast it all -- the Benadryl beat me. Tonight I was planning on painting edges of little MDF blocks (smaller and thinner that the official blocks from Art-o-mat) for the new DIY version of Penciled In.

I usually do this step in the back of my studio but I am making a series of 100 this time and now that I have so many other projects going at once, I no longer have the room in here. I've moved this part of the operation to the basement...where to set up, though?

I found an out of the way work area where I can leave everything set up and spread out for drying. And I found an even better drying rack...a dog crate wall.

Take one of the smaller of these wire grid walls...

...lay it across two inexpensive taborets (that hold semi-sorted collage images)...and voila!'s the perfect solution for drying little blocks.

These are the 100 mini MDF blocks I will be working with.

Unfortunately, the Benadryl is kicking in and I am really starting to nod out a lot...oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012/365 - Day 86

it makes a difference in person

I know you can't see very much in these photos from today, but in person there is a big difference.

I painted the outlines in Neutral Gray so I can tell where I am on the canvas.

I am happy with these two characters. I am sure I will begin to understand their story as I work on them more...but they are locked in now. Yay.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012/365 - Day 85

canvas #8 is coming along nicely

I have been defining the lines more on the two characters in this canvas. I am quite happy with how they are starting to look.

This is a llama lady in a puffy sleeves dress with a turquoise colored collar.

This is a sleepy little burro boy in a crew neck shirt.

Here they are together.

I will darken the outline marks later on tonight. I am not sure I will finish this canvas
(and canvas #7) in time for that deadline on Friday. If I don't, I am fine with it because I only found out about this juried show last week and I really like these two collages. My sister likes them a lot, too.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

2012/365 - Day 84

maybe a rabbit sorcerer

I have been doing a lot of sorting of finger puppet parts there isn't much to look at.

I also tried reading canvas #5 again.

I found a sort of rabbit sorcerer...but I am not sure he will be staying.

Friday, March 23, 2012

2012/365 - Day 83 - part 2

back at it on canvas #8

It is funny how the light in the room changes the shading on the canvases and it reads differently.

This afternoon larger creatures are emerging and they will be easier for me to work with.

The yellow lines are not exact, but will remind me what I saw later on.

And here is the companion...a donkey or horse.

overall view...

2012/365 - Day 83

a new guy surfaces this morning

Just when I was thinking that the llama/giraffe guy was my only choice (yesterday) this guy pops up.

I can still see the llama/giraffe guy, but the young bovine-ish creature is trying to make a case for himself. I can see lots of possibilities with him.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

2012/365 - Day 82 - part two

coming through on canvas #8 (and #7)

I am still having some trouble reading the two canvases today...but this is what is trying to come through the layers on canvas #8. It is not very "me" but it is what I am seeing. I may or may not continue with these canvases right now. It could be I am pushing too hard or that I just finished up those other two and I need a break from this particular project.

The yellow lines are drawn with the painting tool in my photo program. Some days I am better at maneuvering the tool...this is not a better day...LOL.

It looks to me to be some sort of baby creature/guy. I don't know what it is or where the final placement of facial features would go.

The thing is, the baby creature/guy's mom is the dominant character on the far.

The face is really sweet on this one, but I am not so sure about this whole theme...for me.

I will keep looking at this canvas for a few days.

But here is the even stranger part...

came through on canvas #7...very clearly.
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