Monday, March 26, 2012

Daphne turns to the south and Heron progress

Daphne has been turned to the south so that I can finish different areas on her right side which had faced to the north and was for the most part in shadow. She now has sunlight evenly on both sides of her and will help a great deal in completing her.
In addition to turning to the south Daphne has also been lowered -where before she had been raised nearly 2 feet off the ground she is now about 9 inches above the ground. The height made it difficult to get to areas in the top center of the piece. Now that she is lower I can easily access them.

I am going over the entire body of the heron adding subtle texture and defining forms. I felt the lower part of the face was a little heavy and needed some definition under the lower beak.

I put all the leaves together around a wooden dowel. The dowel fits into the base of the heron so that the leaves can be added and checked to make sure the look is what I want. I also made them this way so they can be molded separately from the heron. Trying to mold everything together would have been difficult.

I added long feathers to the heron's back. I added a bit of clay to fill in around the long feathers. I still need to even out the clay and get a good texture. The feathers aren't as symmetrical as I'd like, I need to fix that...

The heron with the plants. Almost there...

I was looking at this photo of green ice when Cold Play's "Green Eyes" came on, so felt I just had to post it. The green is Apple soda.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Detailing the heron, more mystery sculpture, jailhouse pizza and a dancing Timberdoodle video

I turn the piece to get different shadows to check surface - the back is too uneven, I have to add clay to fill in some of the depressions.

I go over the surface with a wood carving knife which leaves these crumbs which are easily brushed off. I'll go over the surface a couple of times turning it in the light until I'm satisfied.

I have redone the feet, slimming the toes and making the claws more refined. The feet need just a bit more tweaking.

I carved the pupil of the eye with a loop tool.

Here the the heron, almost finished. I am checking and rechecking various profiles before I go on to add the long thin feathers on their heads, back and chest. I am going to try different variations to see what I like. I tried melting the clay onto waxed paper and cutting it into strips but I didn't like the sharp edges when on the body or neck. Didn't look too bad on the head though.

These are bits of clay rolled out. These aren't bad for the body but I'm not crazy about it for the head....

And now on to the mystery sculpture. This is the model for the piece. It will be an earthwork/stone combination, a little girl from the waist up, plants across her mid-section and stone legs on the other side of the earthwork. The holes on her face are from marking the axis of her head. I am using the model (it is roughly 15:1) to establish her right cheek on the stone. I hold the model so that it lines up with various points on the stone (it's hard to get it to line up properly with the camera) . Then I hold a china marker on the area I want to mark, then....

I remove the model and then walk over to the stone and mark the area I want to carve. If you look closely you can see I have already marked the area I need to remove to define her cheek. It's best to check a couple of times and just to be really certain, take measurements from the model. I always cut way wide of the form, trying to avoid "Oops" moments.

My twin sister Liz (left) came for a visit with her little boy Joe (center) and her daughter Beth (right). We ate lunch at Jailhouse Pizza in Brandenburg, KY. We toured the old jail cells while waiting for our food. There is even a gallows which is kind of creepy. They have tables and chairs in the cells if you want to eat in there, though no one ever seems to, it's just a bit claustrophobic....

And I have posted my first video on Youtube - It's this Timberdoodle seeming to dance across the road to Silly Love Sond by Paul McCartney. Timberdoodles bob up and down, nobody is really sure why. Here is the address

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Heron progress, mystery sculpture progresses and spring arrives early

I am continuing work on the heron's tail feathers. I have completed the feathers all the way around but then I realized that the herons left side was not full enough so I will have beef up that side a little. Which means redoing some of the feathers on the his left side. Ah well...

I have been working on the herons toes as well, making them a little fuller, refining the form and adding a subtle texture. I then realized I had the middle herons toe too short, so I cut it and added some clay to lengthen it.

I make a subtle texture over areas of the heron's body as I finish each section. Beginning on the right side, I use a wood carving knife and lightly sweep it in a curve over the surface. The blade edge has been damaged and as a result leaves many subtle lines across the herons back.

I try varying numbers of greenery. I am keeping them to one side so that his legs are easily seen. The original model upon which this sculpture is based had a huge clump of vegetation and the bird almost disappeared.

I like this one the best. The angle of the plants work well against the angle of the heron's back.

This is alright, maybe if the blade to the far right was bending more to the left it would be better...

This is a thin section of clay that will be the long feathers that grace the heron's back and throat.

The mystery sculpture continues... any guesses?

We didn't have much of a winter, but it's nice to see daffodils again.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Heron progess, a visit to the remains of a mill and a spring peeper

I have had a few false starts with the feather pattern on the wings, but I think I've got something that will work. I want the feathers to be visible but not too defined.
I mark the pattern with a knife (far left) then cut around the edges. I use the knife to gently carve the shape of each feather.

I then use a wax tool to round the edges of the feathers and burnish them, smoothing down rough edges from the knife and making subtle definitions between the feathers.

After I do the feathers on one wing I place the heron in front of a mirror. I can then use the mirror image to match the pattern of the feathers on the other side of the bird. The overhead light illuminates both sides of the heron so I can be sure that both wings have a similar feel in terms of light and shadow.

The feather pattern changes at the tail, I have sketched in the tail feathers and have begun to cut them in.

We have had somewhat mild weather this winter so I have progressed with my "mystery sculpture" This is something I am working on just for me. Pretty soon you will be able to tell what it is.

With the nice weather Don and I decided to go see a mill that is on property that belongs to his distant cousin.

The mill is made of stone but the colors blend in so well with the surroundings you can barely see it through the trees.

The mill was built about 1800 and was used for grinding corn. A spring is located on the hill above the mill and as the flow was not enough to power the mill, a large dam was constructed just below the spring and above the mill. When it filled with water a gate could be opened so that water could go down the race and power the mill. As corn could only be ground when there was sufficient water, the owner of the mill ground surplus corn during times when it was wet and there was plenty of water to run the mill so that during dry times,when people came to have their corn ground,he would have ground corn to sell to them in exchange for their whole corn.

Looking through the front window to the collapsed back wall. It's amazing that there is still wood in the window, that in all this time it hasn't rotten away.

The chimney is all that remains of the home of the last person to run the mill. He ground corn in order to make whiskey and ended up being shot by the Marshall. His tombstone is near the house site.

Spring peepers were loudly proclaiming the pleasant weather.

This is a clump of moss, I'm not sure what the bluish plant is in the center.