Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Old goat

I started working on this guy last week (on the kitchen bench) and have just finished his final baking. Although I love school holidays, I really miss my studio and it's been fantastic to be back in there every day this week.....I certainly achieve a lot more without constant requests for sandwiches and milk drinks, although, god love them, I really do have it easy when it comes to my lovely brood.
Anyway, a couple weeks ago I overheard a woman in the supermarket call her husband (a rather crotchety looking fellow) an 'old goat'.....and this is the result. The hardest decision I had to make regarding him was whether to sculpt the fur or use a real pelt of some kind. I chose sculpting as I thought it would be more controllable and not so potentially bulky but, it was a decision I regretted several times, particularly when working up an actual sweat trying to push clay through a very small clay fingers are still bruised.
Regardless of the pain, I am pleased with how he's turned out.....of course he still has to be painted and costumed....and I can't quite believe I managed to get him to stand on his hooves (or is it 'hoofs'?). I'd like to say I'll be painting him tomorrow, but I've got some more ideas I'd like to get sculpted first so he'll have to keep 'evil tree lady' , 'fat faerie' and 'small dragon thingy' company in their shared incompleteness.
Till next time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Have made some good progress with this piece....she is now base-coated and ready for painting. Things got a little tricky with figuring out how to join her torso to the bottom half of her body, but filling in and adding more roots with paperclay seems to have worked out ok. As she is over 60 cms tall she was much too big to fit in the oven all in one piece, so her head, torso and tree trunk all had to be sculpted and baked separately. The pics above go in order from the bottom one to the top one. She is going to be a nightmare to paint....all those little nooks and crannys, but I've really enjoyed working on her so far.
I'm getting quite anxious to get back to working on my 'goat girl', so I may finish sculpting her before I get too heavily into painting this piece.....then there is the 'fat faerie' that is going to be a costuming dream....and of course the small 'dragon creature' that I'm only halfway through scaling.....oh yes, and the huge Griffon head.
Feels a little out of control wonder I'm not sleeping's that little voice that whispers "FOR GOD'S SAKE, FINISH SOMETHING!!!" at around 3am....every night....on the dot....without fail.
I did find a gorgeous quote from Jim Henson however, so I think I'll finish this post with a wonderful thought that I can really relate to:
"As children, we all live in a world of imagination, of fantasy,
and for some of us that world of make-believe continues
into adulthood."
Till next time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Something wicked this way comes......

Ok....I said I was going to make something evil, so here are some wip photos of 'nasty tree lady'. The quality of the shots is not great as I've been working in the kitchen (again) to be around my family for the holidays. I'm quite pleased with how she's progressing, but I have to build her in sections as she's too tall for the oven, so anything could go wrong at any time.
The menacing trees in 'Snow White' had a huge impact on me when I saw that film as a child......years later Brian Froud and Alan Lee talked about willow trees uprooting themselves at night to creep behind people as they walked home alone. My most beloved book as a very young child was "The Magic Faraway Tree" favorite part being when the children jump the ditch into the enchanted wood and hear the trees whispering to each other, 'wisha, wisha, wisha.' My sister and I spent wonderful days playing on and around the huge roots of the Morton Bay Fig trees in Botanic park during school holidays.....we were also lucky enough to have trees that we could climb in our own (very unkempt and therefore magical) backyard. So trees have had an impact on me.....most of it positive but I've always felt the possibility of a more sinister aspect. Hence,'nasty tree lady'. And, I have to say, I just love this darker aspect of Faerie.....there will be more!
I also received something wonderful in the post today.....two stunning postcards from my lovely friend Koldo Barroso. Koldo produces some of the most beautiful, imaginative and sensitive illustrations I have ever encountered.....and what was particularly delightful about receiving these today was that one of the cards is an illustration called "The Homesick Willow"......trees again! If you haven't already seen this extraordinary artist's work, check it out HERE. He is also in my favorite blogs and sites list.
I would just like to say thankyou to everyone who has commented, followed or e-mailed me with support and encouragement re this new blog. I read everything and do my best to answer all correspondence.....sometimes it takes a while, but I get there eventually. I'm still working towards a major overhaul for my website as well as designing new cards, bookmarks etc. I have to be careful that 'computer time' doesn't eat too much into 'sculpting time' easy to do.....I love reading other people's blogs and checking out their work. If only I didn't need to sleep!
Till next time.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Have just had a lovely four day break for Easter.....beautiful weather, family and excessive amounts of chocolate.....wonderful! We took the kids to the zoo on Saturday, none of us having been for well over twelve months. It's certainly a vastly different zoo from the one I used to visit as a kid....virtually no bars in sight and masses of trees and gardens. They let the Macaw out for a free flight on the central lawn which is awesome to watch, particularly when he flys right at you and skims over the top of your head!
I felt a bit nostalgic for the years when I lived near the city and used to spend entire days at the zoo, sketching the animals and just sitting quietly watching them going about their business. During one visit I discovered, quite by accident, that the beavers emerge very early in the morning (their enclosure usually appears to be empty) and I sat and watched them in rapt fascination until they retreated back inside their dam. It was like a kind of secret that we shared and the magic of it was only matched years later when I went with my daughter's class on a 'zoo sleepover'. After a fairly restless night's sleep (sharing a room with thirty snoring kids will do that) I was awake VERY early. We'd been instructed by one of the zoo staff not to wander around the zoo outside normal hours but at that time Adelaide zoo was playing host to two lowland gorillas and the lure of seeing them without the massive crowds of people was too much for me. I made some coffee, crept around the corner to their temporary home and sat silently watching them eat their banana leaf breakfast for over an hour.
I've always been a little uncomfortable with the term 'animal lover', not because there is anything wrong with loving animals but for me it conjures images of over-indulging people with tiny over-bred dogs (ha!...this from a pug owner!) and fluffy over-fed cats. But I DO love them, and observing them, drawing them and photographing them brings me enormous joy. If I hadn't become an artist I would have worked with animals in some capacity......but then, we do have a lot of pets so I guess I get to do both.
Till next time.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Too much to sculpt....never enough time!

Last Thursday morning I hurt my back lugging the vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs (there's a lesson here folks), so had to spend the day standing up......a perfect excuse to do some more work on the Griffon head. I was shocked when I looked back through my documentation, to see that I haven't touched it (except to move it a couple of times) since last July! Then we had that incredible heatwave a couple months ago and the poor thing was literally melting....the original horns fell off along with an ear and oil was leaching out of the clay. So, some re-working was definitely needed. I ended up working on it all day Thursday and again Friday. It's evolving fairly significantly from the original drawing I did, but I expected this to happen.....I don't often draw things out first as I think more clearly in three dimensions and prefer to work out problems in the sculpture as I go along. This piece needed some kind of plan however, mainly because of the size of it. It will be around seven feet tall when it's eventually finished. You can see more of the initial planning in my old blog archive on my website. Click here. There is something wonderfully freeing about sculpting something this big.....of course down the track there will be much cursing and gnashing of teeth but, for the moment, bliss reigns.
Till next time.