Thursday, December 29, 2011

Still no name here on this fellow..

Liberty act spanish guy... that's what we'll call him for now. Can't you see him charging around after Lorenzo or hear the music & see the surreal lighting there in the Cavalia tent?!

Had some more time to play today, (truthfully sometimes I just have to abandon the raw casting cleanup brigade for a few hours & do something new & creative!). I put one of the few SM Breyers I have in the center photo for comparison.

Should enlarge pretty big if you click on it. :)

& Having nearly no other news, may I say WHEW where has this week gone so far???! :D

Monday, December 26, 2011

Started a new 1:32 scale work today

It's hopefully going to be a Lusitano.

(the above is photoshopped as I test out my tail idea & see where I want to nip off a little more)

[adding in this sentence an hour later - doh!] I was inspired by the liberty acts of Cavalia, Apassionata and less showy ones like Hempfling.

I may back off of the extreme Lusi profile features and traits and go more Andalusian though... it's too soon to say! :) I started this afternoon & just couldn't put him down he's been so fun & different!

Anyhow, he's under 3" tall. A first for me in clay too at this scale but I'm not worried as the widget details I've done are a lot smaller sometimes.. the brushes I sculpt with can easily remove an eye. This is sans solvents or oils too - just that my clay is soft and warm so it's a matter of patience and redoing things sometimes.. overall though despite all the redundant work it seems to be a ton faster for me to get where I want to go. At this scale though I have to freeze him (yup - right into the freezer!) more I've found already... 2x today to work on basic shaping.

So it would be fun to have a small work for sale in the nearer future. We'll see how /where this goes!!

I also haven't posted here about the next (this is the 2nd) Baroque horse head bust up on eBay;
I'm sorta behind there on sharing that - it was a week long auction but it ends tomorrow- sorry! Anyhow, I am guessing that most people reading this blog though are members of my mailing list or yahoogroup.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday so far? We celebrated Christmas in NC with friends and with our puppies at home. It's been a cozy holiday so far... I've managed to not eat too many of my cookies (which is saying something because I baked more than ever before!). Anyhow, a belated wishing of holiday cheer to my blog readers here! Have a wonderful New Years too!! :)

Cheers and Joy to you & yours!! :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Meh... ;)

Well I did 2 pastels today - one is a gift for my feller so I won't be posting it here.

I'm very critical of my illustration work and am never happy with it. Today's works are no different! In fact this pony above has many hours to go imo... despite that I was trying to go with a less-is-more approach & just make shape suggestions. I have to laugh and think I wasn't meant to illustrate even though I tried that path for a while... I"m a lefty and I can't help but smudge.. ;)

At any rate though I haven't shared any new studio happenings in a while so there's one at least! It's from my photoshop of the wild Shackleford ponies from last November.

I hope to be also putting a new bust on eBay tonight (to end after Christmas). Now that I'm caught up on shipping I can wrap up other studio projects! The pony is a "gift to me" and just because I had an hour here at the end of the day before I wanted to hide away those tell tale pastels.. ;)

Monday, December 19, 2011

A customer made my holidays a bit merrier!!

This photo is from Inge Steininger. The momma mare here is obviously sculpted by Brigitte Eberl but I am not sure which sculpture (I don't know it's name - just need to credit the sculptor!). And both were painted by Cindy Williams (at least the Mango is - I'm pretty sure both). I just love the scene though! How fun - I love getting stuff like this! :D

Shared with permission of the photographer.

Hope everyone is having a sane holiday season so far! It's gotten pretty hectic here & I don't do half as much as I used to... go figure! ;)

______________adding in a day later______________

I had to correct Brigitte Eberl's name first off! Eek!

Inge just wrote me with more pics (!) and to say the mare sculpture here is "Elsa" which has been modified/customized by Cindy (I'm going to take a wild guess and say it looks like the mane and tail are Cindy's, not Brigitte's style). So there ya have it!

By the way, I have photos from many customers on my yahoogroup in folders (one per sculpture). So if anyone is wanting to share too - please just send them my way or feel free to upload if you are a member! They are moderated for everyone's protection but I generally get to approve of new photos within a day or so! Love to see the new colors! :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pimping Elmo! (Many auctions to come)

I'm going to post directly from Cheryl here;

In order of auction, starting from upper left corner:
  • Christine Lewis - auction starts 27 November 2011 and runs for 5 days
  • Dottie Hayes - auction starts 30 November 2011 and runs for 5 days
  • Martha Bechtel - auction starts 3 December 2011 and runs for 5 days
  • Cindy Evans - auction starts 6 December 2011 and runs for 5 days
  • Jamie Brooks - auction starts 9 December 2011 and runs for 5 days
  • Sara Gifford - auction starts 12 December 2011 and runs for 5 days
  • Shauna McDaniel - auction starts 15 December 2011 and runs for 5 days
  • Sara Bercier - auction starts 18 December 2011 and runs for 5 days

Tonight, the first medallion goes up for sale beginning at 8pm PST (11pm EST). The Elmhurst medallion was sculpted by Morgen Kilbourn. A group of model horse hobbiests agreed to finish the resin and donate them back to the Haven.

Christine Lewis of Wyoming has the first medallion going up for sale:

And yes - lol - I should add that one of those DOES have a horn! The official "Elmhorn" version of the piece! ;)

It's the weekend for starting auctions. I finally got around to wrapping up a couple more busts and put one on eBay myself;

Back to Elmo though (Elmhurst's nickname), I'm just so excited to see that there were so many! Those are to benefit Our Mim's Retirement Haven which is a wonderful (and official 501(c)3) cause near and dear to my heart. You can learn more here;

Happy bidding!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dad & the 3 gallery tour today!

I'm sooooo beat it's been a crazy past few days. I'm posting this mostly for my sisters (we share a dad) who are online the most. And my brothers (also different moms from me) in case they get online soon too. ;)

Dad came down to visit on a countrywide tour of necessity. Today we went to see the 3 galleries that my work is at in Southern Pines & Pinehurst. I took many more photos that really would've been great if I hadn't managed to get them blurry. I just was all off in the settings today.

Anyhow, off to bed with me. Here are the pics. :)

Hollyhocks and the only fun pic I managed to successfully take...

Outside of Artist's Gallery, just around the corner from the Campbell House exhibit.

This is the place that has the widgets too! I wanted to get them a couple more cold cast medallions, they have bust there as well. There are 5 here in time for black friday shopping but I just plumb ran out of time/energy in the cleanup this morning sooooooo hopefully by the end of the month when they have the "First Friday" nights downtown there.

And inside the Campbell House I tried to take some artsy shots & the ones with dad all look like a ghost is running through the room. But a few there (it's got such pretty grounds outside!).

Dad has promised to tell me more about doing large scale works in foam more to help me iwth my first project. He seems to feel that the fiberglass casting method is the way to go. I'm torn but slowly being won over to that side. For those not familiar with his story, he was a 3D designer for many years as well as an art teacher. So he really had a lot of fun today studying all the works. Again, I am SO sorry but the pictures of him studying art.. they're just bad! lol! :D

Ok, g'nite gang. ((Hugs to the sibs!!))

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shopping before chopping...

I’ve been told & recognize that it is taking a bit of a risk here in sharing more & in showing so much detail … considering how early on this sculpture is – in that it needs so much more still… & that so much is very likely to be changed!

I thought though it would be fun to share what I’ve recently pretty much decided -- like many of my works I’m going to want to lengthen the abdomen … in this case I’m going to do so after I’ve cast the prototype resin as I did with Kipling (click to see that). :)

I like to personally use photoshop to invert the colors too - any way you can make the whole work look different helps you spot areas that leap out as "odd"...

Many sculptors have shared the mirror trick with you too that's in my first photos of this post, but I thought it would be fun to show that age-old tradition in photoshop as well. Overall, this little 5min exercise in photoshop confirmed that somehow I've taken a properly proportioned armature & managed to do a very common error for me, exaggerate an area again. There are 2 reasons not to make the drastic change to the belly right away though. (1) The armature will fight me, it's going to try to yank the extremities back if I pull, this is hard for me to explain but trust me, it's not a great idea... and (2) when I'm done refining I may find that I don't need to lengthen it quite so much, I might shorten the legs or neck, or all of the above.. so I really do like to leave that towards the end.

I may not share too many more in progress photos of him, I try to restrain myself as I’m learning it tends to put off people if they spot a flaw (like a neck too long or a back that’s too short)… it’s only that over the course of months when I do get to work on my own sales pieces like this I get so excited to share! To the topic of the title though, perhaps my sharing will help other sculptors though see that the use of photoshop before tackling some of the more extensive operations can help determine all sorts of things. With Kipling for example I photoshopped the neck shortening to find the spot I most wanted to make the cuts at, and the extent of the shortening I’d wanted to do. In the end I decided it wouldn’t be so hard to do in clay and it really wasn’t at all, armature & all! Hope this helps someone in other words! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crioulo in progress

Just for fun too - since I've been focused so much for the last 3 months on the non-sculpting side of things I'm happy to return to "work in progress" sharing here!

This is my Crioulo (Criollo) sculpture in progress. I'm thinking of naming him... Merengue..

Yeah, I use a candle for to warmeth my tools. It's HOT in the studio right now though so it's unpleasant & I just blew it out. .. :-/ One of my favorite working ambiance aspects of sculpting though is to have a good smelling (soy/essential oil) candle going & an interesting book on tape. Already a hour passed today & I thought I'd barely sat down for 2minutes...!

Turning on the AC in here now & jumping back into it!! :)

____Later ______
Ok, 2 things quickly here I spied later when I went back to him. The leg popped out of place again. I made big changes initially & the armature is not attached anymore (bad!) and I think this shows I'm going to have to dive in & cut the leg off/remake the armature again before I carry on. Initially my thinking was - just work iwth it & fiddle when I've cast the prototype master in resin. But's really easier to do now.

And yes, the candle WAS too close there.. his ear melted over. hehe! ;)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You just never know...

I’ll be remarkably brief since I’m pretty far behind on emails now.

Just sharing something I’m tickled about – and it’s filed under the “you just never know until you ask” category!

A customer wanting to buy a Johann really wanted a more rugged au natural version. I’m not done here but I’m so tickled at how he’s coming out! There are times when I’m sculpting that I come to this impasse where I can’t decide between doing things one way or another – hair usually, as that’s entirely (almost) aesthetics. In this case, when originally sculpting this horse, I was torn between the less groomed mane and the more polished look… so when a customer asked if I ever did such customizations in this case I was so eager to jump on it and give it a shot! (Ok, granted too I don’t always have the time or inspiration, sure. I certainly don’t offer it as a regular service, but you just never know until you ask!!).

So the biggest part was to add more “slight” feathering. The real horse, my boarder, who inspired this had year-round feathering at the pasterns even though he was very sleek otherwise. It wasn’t hard for me to picture at all.

Anyhow, so maybe I’ll get better pictures when I’ve actually succeeded in blending these out. (I totally should've waited until I was done, yes yes ok ok...!).. But I roughed them in today & went OOOHH neato! Thus why I’m sharing.

This is the sculpture in it’s originally intended state;

This cold casting is standing at Campbell House in Southern Pines right now until mid-Dec when the show ends. It’s so funny how a little cleanup makes such a different impression! Show horse verses woodland trail steed!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The vintage truck series story ;)

5x7" pencil
More about the artist today… :) I have a fianc√© who is incredibly hard to shop for. His own family tends to just try to get away with gift cards to home depot. Once in a while a clothing store although even for clothes they don’t bother much. He is (ahem) INCREDIBLY particular. Which is why he’s good at what he does too.

Anyhow, when we first started dating he had a very big workshop & in half of it there was this rust colored heap of metal of auto parts he found in the woods. Well maybe in someone’s backyard but I doubt he paid for it. In around a year’s time of tinkering he turned it into a mammoth restored ’54 chevy with a 454 that out-pulled most anything, and won trophy’s for good looks in at least one auto show too. It’s only amazing because it was a PILE OF RUST and mixed and matched parts.. I’m not exaggerating.. calculus was involved in figuring out how to make it work (he’s an engineer). There were gear ratio conversions done to sync up some parts from one year/make to another year make. Enough so that he had to have a multipart title that was bit of a nightmare…. Ever heard Cash’s song “One Piece at a Time”? That’s for reals man.. fer reals! ;)

Anyhow, so these aren’t that great but in years past I’ve given him two truck drawings. This first one here was done off of a picture I found online – which is why it’s not in my portfolio.. it’s nearly the same year as his first truck there at least but in 2005 that truck wasn’t done. It came out a lot better than this mind you & had interesting custom aspects as well.

5x7 " charcoal
This year I drew this 2nd one here(above) yesterday after his first and most favored project truck that he did when he lived in North Carolina the first time. It was very sad to see him sell this a year and a half ago before we moved down here. He had 4 trucks and I had 1, all full sized (including mine), and all were overpowered workhorses that didn’t get decent gas mileage at all and really we didn’t need to bring more than one truck down here.

It was heartbreaking for him, but at the same time these trucks would go from being vintage auto show winning entries to slowly starting to rust & need repairs.. and it’s not like he has the garage of Jay Leno or anything..

I’m really glad he was happy with yesterday’s gift. It’s so tricky, I think if I’d done one truck that went on to be further modified he would’ve looked at the picture and had mixed emotions. You probably think “oh he’d love any picture of any of his trucks I’m sure” but no, truly… there are some things he doesn’t want to be reminded of.

I’ll say this though, I’m pretty disappointed my choice to use charcoal here – it’s not ideal for works this small (both drawings are 5 x7”).

2008 raising of timberframe, work crew at end of day
I'd also thought of framing this picture for him, it's 2 of the trucks he'd built from 'scratch' (the one they are sitting on is the mean green machine). And his white everyday driver... plus a his first timberframe barn raising there. That barn was also a pile of rocks in the woods & he did everything from the stone & mortar to the cedar shake shingled roof at the end. Truly impressive work and it was a horse race for me to decide this year. Gotta save something for another year I guess (I'm open to ideas too other than just printing & framing that!).

While originally I had planned on doing a picture of the dogs, that went over well last year.. but I really wanted to give him something that was for HIM and not both of us so much. Maybe for Christmas a nice pastel of the dogs. I don’t have much in the way of gift ideas this year especially! Typically they involve really practical things like zip ties and duck tape.

No… really.

I have to leave you with this song. It used to be our theme song (and it’s pretty funny!)… course the real restored trucks he made hardly were for free but the rest well.. so true!

Johnny Cash » One Piece At A Time Lyrics

Well, I left Kentucky back in '49
An' went to Detroit workin' on a 'sembly line
The first year they had me puttin' wheels on cadillacs

Every day I'd watch them beauties roll by
And sometimes I'd hang my head and cry
'Cause I always wanted me one that was long and black.

One day I devised myself a plan
That should be the envy of most any man
I'd sneak it out of there in a lunchbox in my hand
Now gettin' caught meant gettin' fired
But I figured I'd have it all by the time I retired
I'd have me a car worth at least a hundred grand.

I'd get it one piece at a time
And it wouldn't cost me a dime
You'll know it's me when I come through your town
I'm gonna ride around in style
I'm gonna drive everybody wild
'Cause I'll have the only one there is a round.

So the very next day when I punched in
With my big lunchbox and with help from my friends
I left that day with a lunch box full of gears
Now, I never considered myself a thief
GM wouldn't miss just one little piece
Especially if I strung it out over several years.

The first day I got me a fuel pump
And the next day I got me an engine and a trunk
Then I got me a transmission and all of the chrome
The little things I could get in my big lunchbox
Like nuts, an' bolts, and all four shocks
But the big stuff we snuck out in my buddy's mobile home.

Now, up to now my plan went all right
'Til we tried to put it all together one night
And that's when we noticed that something was definitely wrong.

The transmission was a '53
And the motor turned out to be a '73
And when we tried to put in the bolts all the holes were gone.

So we drilled it out so that it would fit
And with a little bit of help with an A-daptor kit
We had that engine runnin' just like a song
Now the headlight' was another sight
We had two on the left and one on the right
But when we pulled out the switch all three of 'em come on.

The back end looked kinda funny too
But we put it together and when we got thru
Well, that's when we noticed that we only had one tail-fin
About that time my wife walked out
And I could see in her eyes that she had her doubts
But she opened the door and said "Honey, take me for a spin."

So we drove up town just to get the tags
And I headed her right on down main drag
I could hear everybody laughin' for blocks around
But up there at the court house they didn't laugh
'Cause to type it up it took the whole staff
And when they got through the title weighed sixty pounds.

I got it one piece at a time
And it didn't cost me a dime
You'll know it's me when I come through your town
I'm gonna ride around in style
I'm gonna drive everybody wild
'Cause I'll have the only one there is around.

Ah yeah Red Rider this is the Cottonmouth
In the Psychobilly Cadillac come on
Ah this is the Cottonmouth and negatory
On the cost of this machine there Red Rider
You might say I went right up to the factory and picked it up
It's cheaper that way

Ah what model is it

Well it's a '49, '50, '51, '52, '53, '54, '55, '56 C
'57 '58' 59' Automobile

It's a '60, '61, '62, '63, '64, '65, '66, '67
'68, '69, '70 Automobile

Friday, November 4, 2011

& Celebration :)

Well I’m pleased to report that it was an overwhelmingly popular place to be tonight at the opening night of this month’s show at Campbell House gallery in Southern Pines, North Carolina. I managed to take this very very poor shot with my camera phone before the crowds came in. & Then it was so crowded I lost a few people and couldn’t get back over to the coat area to grab my cell phone & try for another photo. Apparently it was nearly a record crowd for the house – 250 people meandering through the 5 or 6 rooms. It’s a normal sized “house” too for a gallery so 250 just boggles my mind. I would up in one of the far rooms & didn’t fully appreciate this other than that I wasn’t going anywhere for a while & fortunately had someone fun to chat with.

Really sorry about my photo here, terrible terrible.. That’s the half passing Deputed Duke sculpture there (the shiny brown thing by the window). Those folks were the early arrivals who were wise to the crowds to come! ;) It really was something! I’m rather in shock actually it was just quite an exciting group – the area is so horsie which was terrifically exciting for me. I got lots of tips on horse events in the area that are must see’s. & Of course in getting to talk to competitors who ride the tough stuff instead of being interviewed at times, so I got to ask some fun questions myself too!

Uhm, ok, back to the synopsis; I had 11 sculptures in all 5 rooms and the foyer and gift shop (the pin and magnet widgets made, bad pun warning!!!, a cameo appearance in their shop). ;) I met so many enthusiastic people it was a wonderful experience. Despite the unbelievable crowd we wrapped up close to on-schedule, and then there was Thai food afterwards (my friends in New England may have just cheered for the tradition of Thai after any good event!!!). :D

So much to talk about I couldn’t possibly share it all now. Pretty wiped out. I just needed to share that it went better than I ever possibly could have expected.

(click to read today's paper there)
The local area newspaper ran this and the reporter there taking photos will be passing them on to us. Which is good because none of us managed to get any decent shots. But a good time was had by all and this show will run for 6 weeks at the Campbell House!

Tomorrow I guess I’ll share more about the next gallery I just signed with today too. See, it’s a big ole roller coaster. I really had a good time tonight though. :)
(oh! And we didn't have to make any speeches - woohoo!) ;)

Thursday, November 3, 2011


This overshare of misfortune from this past year is at the urging of several customers who do know more about my life & feel that sometimes revealing how human you are isn’t so tacky. Hope it doesn’t come across that way. Please cease to read right here if you only want something light. This is going to be disturbingly honest.

Folks always say I’m “mysterious” or something and this honestly baffles me! :) I feel so ‘heart-on-the-sleeve’ exposed (albeit boring!) but a person who is totally out in the open generally. I even don’t think I get evasive if someone asks me direct questions.. well unless I just don’t know how I feel per say about something? I do know that, for whatever reason, people sometimes think I’m unapproachable. That makes me sad so I’ll try this overshare of who I am so that I seem a bit less standoffish - more human. Believe me, I'm very human and on some level every bit the "emotional" artist too - even if I can't seem to express that through words so easily.

Anyhow, I bring this up today for a few reasons. One is that I slowly developed a bit of fear of public speaking in my 20’s after having a job that required me to lecture about proper use of the corporate logo and how to use the company intranet. Highly captivating topics (not!). I actually lost my voice in one where I was so nervous about boring another perfectly nice group of people I knew with a bunch of pita rules explained in minutia.

But at least the Ben Stien approach would work for me if I had to hold court & tell you something about Deputed Duke’s sculpture... Artists are expected to be the polar opposite however – dynamic and interesting! I feel totally uninteresting right now. Ha! :D

Tomorrow night is a big night for me, I’ve never done a show as a professional artist. As a college and high school student, yes, but not as a person saying “I think I’m good enough to do this for a living”. Let alone then coming up with interesting witty tidbits to tell people about the works themselves. Being dynamic and interesting. I’m so pragmatic and boring this way you see. I enjoy it. I don’t think about the artistic aspects other than to be delighted when they seem to come out & work in a piece.

I actually asked my younger cousin who went to art school if this was ever covered in any type of curriculum topic – she talks about her art to customers all the time so she gave me some ideas of what people might want to know. I've asked a lot of artists how they find the fun words to describe their inspirations ... something at least better than "I wanted to make it so I did". Really I'm the verbal equivalent of oatmeal sometimes.

No sincerely!!! It vexes me to no end because I truly don’t know how to really expand on “I was pleased when the part of the pony’s mane worked out into hair sections that were more interesting & varied”, or “I was happy that this stretching leg gave me an area to add a little more definition around”. That’s not exactly what you see artists saying at openings if asked to speak. I’m told I won’t be asked to – but I’ve been told that before and found myself standing without a thought in my lil head to spit out. Once in front a convention of gynecologists at Vanderbilt University who thought I was the murderer in their murder mystery dinner (I was my sister’s side-kick non-speaking part assistant/extra). Faced with them & the mic, I had nothing but a “thank you” (hardly appropriate to the accusation). So you see, this fear was come by quite honestly! ;)

But here’s “me” and how things go for me. This past month.. scratch that, this past YEAR has been just something else. Very big lows and very big highs.

Most know that I lost my mom quite suddenly in January. I’d spoken to her hours before and she said she didn’t feel great – she said that in every conversation I’d ever had with her .. still, I am very grateful to say that I actually remembered to tell her to take care of herself and that I loved her & needed her. Her cat yowling in the background should’ve tipped me off. He sounded frantic (I thought he wanted food and she was in a hurry to go so that made sense that she’d have been in the process of feeding him) so this must’ve registered with me on some level. Still, so sudden.

I postponed periodontal surgery for a month after this – I was her only child so there was a lot of work to do keeping me up north staying with friends and family. It was financially scary at first of course (parents final expenses and surgery out of pocket), at first not even knowing if I had enough to spare to get home! Never mind thousands for her final costs. Yet, somehow it all somehow works out. Ironically I chuckle to think of Harry Potter “bone regrow” spell because (they no longer do cadaver bone implants), I really did regrow a few millimeters of bone I’m at least happy to say. The irony is that I say all that time how freaking tired of all this work to keep them (brush and floss after EVERY meal.. no exceptions.. on the road? Stop at a gas station and jump through hoops to keep hands clean while doing so.. people at events have found me in the bathroom with my hygene too. Honestly? Tiresome. I can see why there is a mental disorder where people rip out their own teeth. I can totally GET that! Ha!). I can’t say I’m mind having dentures at under 40 – so what. My teeth have always been yellow and sensitive to whitening so I’m hardly vain about them. Anyhow, I’ve been there every other month & then some. I’m not supposed to see them again until March now & that’s just a weird feeling! Bottom line though is that I came by this issue honestly between the TMJ inducing grinding at times & smoking. Smoking is out of my life now but the effects aren’t.

But these things I fear, losing people, public speaking (no I didn’t manage it well at my mom’s services either –sighs-), needles and pain.. all costing money I don’t have. What can you do? This is my mode of thinking. Nose to the grindstone & somehow it’ll all work out.

My temporary residence here (I still haven’t unpacked the books & things because we WILL be moving sooner or later here!) gets very weak cell phone reception. If I want to talk on the phone I have to set up somewhere and put the phone in the sill of the window. This has been fine because most of the news I’ve gotten from home has been unhappy. And honestly I just haven’t had the emotional strength to talk to people after that.

It’s not healthy to be so isolated but at the same time, I have to push away some of the negativity coming at me so I can process my own losses.

Like, yes, (corny and sappy sounding I know), but I still haven’t totally gotten over having to put my horse down. We just don’t get over certain things like this I’m learning – it’s different for different people and I’m not ashamed to say this. I have however pushed away the memories of how skinny he got suddenly & his erratic manic wall-attacking type violent or vacant catatonic behaviors. In overcoming the emotional angst of seeing that sudden decline I created a sculpture of him in utter bliss. He was always so mellow and blissful until those last 3 months.

On that vein I have 2 dogs now that are comfort bunnies too so this is helping me to refind that type of joy – the simple “life is good right now” bliss. And they are forcing me to get up and move about regularly. That was actually a challenge this summer. I tried to get out & walk (in shady areas but still), before the temps got to hot. Still, I wound up getting dehydrated. That’s really something for me – I’ve worked outdoors my whole life at times. I got heat sickness once when I was 15 and have been pretty aware of taking precautions ever since. That knocked me out with a fever and everything a week before breyerfest.

My fiance’s job has had some bureaucratic hiccups in paying – he’s contract so he submits invoices – it’s not salary so it involves a lot more work sometimes. That’s stressed me too more than you could imagine. His cost to get to and from work & our basic bills are more than I’ve had in backup (see above reasons – lol!). So just not knowing if things will work out.

My hair has been falling out. No kidding. No surprise eh? Lol! My widow’s peak went & got all crooked (although it’s nice having hairl that’s little bit lighter – it was always so thick that I couldn’t even use some type of barrets!). I know it’s just stress too but seeing that start to happen was this horrible vicious circle adding to the stress as this was how my dental issues started 2 years back. My teeth just suddenly got a LOT more crooked within a month or two. NOW I know that I was grinding to beat the band & making something bad happen down below the gums. Back then though I was having this dentist say “all was fine”. So now with hair falling out… well… lets just say I played it on the safe side & had my thyroid done at my annual last week.

I’m SO tired of doctors though. So I’m embracing hiking and good diet – these are easy things I CAN do that make me feel better immediately.

Things in Sept started to seem to be getting better. Fiance’s job started coming through, dental things were coming back positive for me. Sales had happened for me, even in this terrifying economy. I had just diversified (an economic strategy), to put some pieces in a gallery and had this coming show and other exciting things lined up.

Then I learned that my dad went into the hospital for the 4th time this year. His refusal of certain treatments makes it emotionally painful too for me.

So I guess I bottled up all my angst and started this marvelous tongue to teeth pressing thing I wasn’t even aware of. Until I had this haematoma type blister and pain & apparently a loose front tooth. So within 2 weeks suddenly instead of all good oral news finally I’ve had this major set back & am getting put on antibiotics and now I wear my grinding guard night and day except when I expect to speak to people. Sometimes I even wear it on the phone now & just deal with the lisp. See I don’t even know I’m doing it but I keep running my tongue over the sore area in a mental “does that still hurt” which is just tugging & hurting it more.

ANYHOW, so FINALLY after 3 weeks in Oct of starting to get rather scared about that (bone infection) I think things are ok.

BUT.. I tell everyone all this exceptionally personal information because √† lol -> YES.. I’m not very witty these days. It’s not that I’m feeling full of myself and elitist. Or that I’m being deliberately obtuse. Quite literally I’m just, trying to focus on the positive things and generally I do that offline. (Or by reading copious LOL cat type websites). But witty? Psshaa…

I laugh easily though?! :) But man, words haven’t come easy to me this year. The life-goals I've managed this year, like scraping together enough to pay for my first bronze casting and this art show.. they feel like they've come at some expense. Even though I'm quite happy about them, the things I smile most and laugh about are increasingly simpler things - the folly of a bird or the expression on one of my dogs for example. It's bittersweet but overall I feel like life is a lot more real.

I once had an HR guy at (7 years ago) ask me how I was with a truly concerned look in his eye. I responded by bursting out in tears (I was very worried about something and hadn’t slept all night). There are times when I suppose my brusk or callous exterior is just toughly holding together a quite vulnerable person. It’s not as polished and refined. & There are times when it’s quite thin – especially lately. In June I was at a hobby show and a good friend also asked how I was, insightfully, and similarly I began to cry on her shoulder. I’m not sure I’ll ever get the grace to not have such a thin and transparent veneer. Honestly I’m not sure I’d ever want to be. It’s my way of keeping it real and honest. Not everything is pretty and I don’t like to be too superficial.

There’s lots more gut wrenching dilemmas I could go into but I feel like this sounds pathetic enough, no? Chuckles. Anyhow, we all have problems. I find that, despite my loathing of falling into this stereotype, that this year my inspirations in art have come in direct proportion to coping with things that I can’t do much about. So truly, art is a healing tool for me that brings me all kinds of happiness.

And I thank my customers from the bottom of my heart for their support in this which has let me pursue my art. Aside from the obvious cost of life support it’s given me lots of productive things to do – something I’ve needed quite often this year.

Lastly, I’m not going to talk about faith but I can assure you that more than anything – these past few years have taught me that we are given what we can handle. Sometimes this year I’ve really questioned that, but then I return to clinging to this belief and slowly find it’s true after all. My gratitude for those who’ve supported me and helped me here cannot be stated enough. I wish I was more eloquent about it but that doesn’t make it any less heartfelt. Thank you guys!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A mold making festivus! :D

Two part molds.. the next step to doing “pro” molding. I dove in finally & documented the process here! (Actually a bit of 2 stages - waste mold & then a production mold)... I do not promise this will be any kind of useful “tutorial”. I don’t explain things well, especially if I can’t sketch out things (well I could here but it would take me a while). Hopefully this will be of interest to some customers and maybe helpful to some artists too though.

This is what remains of the original clay after the 1 part first waste mold (first head on the left below). Then (middle) you see the first mold’s first casting in white there.. and then (to the right) in cold cast bronze the 2nd two part mold’s cold casting & final marble stand.

Ok, so before you write off the notion of a two part mold as being pretty basic and not good for casting much, consider this; my half passing thoroughbred sculpture “Deputed Duke” was a 2 part mold. No, I’m not kidding and I’ve seen and studied the mold with great fascination. It was breaking down so I had to throw it away when I moved (it weighed like 20lbs too).. but I wish I hadn’t tossed that one actually. As molds go? It’s brilliant (Will Rhodes of MVS made it, pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to work something like that out in my head personally). I’ve shown it to other mold makers and they have marveled over it. How can something so complicated be done in only 2 parts? ANYHOW, so the point I am making here though is these “waves” you see in the clay can really get crazy if you want and mold some very complex shapes. The mind boggles (well my simple mind does!). In rubber of course – for resin castings at least. The mold for Duke in fine bone china was 55 parts and was the “most complex mold” I heard that Mark Farmer of Alchemy Ceramics ever made (and one of his last). Very much unlike rubber, little undercuts are a bear – AND – for production you really have to think through what is going to grab and pull on your mold – even with the first casting!

Further confusing you I could add in that for things like the lost wax bronze method many are done as 1 part molds! The shell molding method.. I’ve done this too in college and … my clay is actually so soft I try to avoid the brush on methods. I’ve had this discussion with many sculptors & they’re surprised I love the super soft clay but I dunno… I just do. And yes, I accidentally bump it all the time & have to redo a nostril or ear or something key. I just don’t mind doing it over now & then. This is also why I am happily entrenched in dressage. I could ride along for years in a 20meter circle trying to get a few steps “just so” (mind you I love to cut loose full out breakneck gallops over stuff with horses too on cross country – LOW level stuff at least)… but anyhow, this is something I need to mention. So many people are used to this rock hard oil clay for sculpting. For me nope… onnnnnnly if I stick it in the fridge for a bit! ;)

When I molded the master/clay I wanted a 1 part mold.

(above) showing the narrowness - the waste mold box before I glued the end on (below) the box for the waste mold - ready to pour in rubber!

Well, truth be told I really wanted to have this bust just be a simple 1 part mold like I've shown above… in fact it’s simple enough that 1 part should be all I need EXCEPT that I planned on doing cold castings. If you google up cold casting videos and tutorials you’ll notice 1 common theme -> they all show open faced molds. There is a really good reason for this. The metal is heavy. It does NOT stay in suspension.

(above) I mocked up what a poured version of this resin would look like if I just mixed the metal in and poured it... the top of the horse would have all the metal settle out in the few minutes it takes for resin to cure. The metal mixed in with the resin is heavier than sand mixed into water.. so it settles VERY fast.

The end result here was that it was still hard to keep the metal in suspension, even following the open mold/brushing constantly method shown in videos.... I succeeded on a few times & wasted a lot of time & resin. In the end I went back to the pros. But I'm getting ahead of myself! ;)

So you can see from the trio above the clay.

Next was the white casting there from the waste mold. Steps for thatwaste molding for me was as follows;
  1. pour in rubber over clay (pray box doens't leak -- good news is that you can patch up leaks if you've got your hot glue handy... as me how I know this..) ;)
  2. wait a while (for Mold Star rubber it's not that long - 6-12hrs)...
  3. pull off sides and carefully cut out your clay casting - be sure to leave a totally uncut bottom.... really this is a 2 handed job without pause (so no pics) but there's great video stuff on Smooth On's site showing how to do this!
  4. dust in some baby powder & cast away! (see white horsie there in the middle)
Ok, sooooooo then you will note that the waste mold white horse there is lacking the bottom/tear drop sort of shape tie-in to the base. That took me another couple of weeks to get around to. I also added veining to the face and neck... filled in deep gaps in the mane.... basically all around made it into something "production ready" (& more mold friendly - too many undercuts tear up a mold). I'll confess too that when I started this bust last year I didn't really have a clear idea in mind of how I'd tie it onto the base so I was stuck with an armature that was immobile in that regard. Soooo when I finally had the idea in my head, my lil "vision" there finally, it was half a year before I could realize it after I made the resin "master" (the white copy used in the next sections below).

THEN, onto the "production mold" portion.

(above) Showing the basic clayed up production master sculpture. The line coming down from the chin is the "sprue" (sp?) I made out of a bamboo shishkabob skewer. The bigger sprue coming from the bottom of the neck I just made out of clay. Basically the overall goal here is to make your clay meet up to where ever you would like your seam to be. This is the part where you try to keep your seams off of highly detailed areas & tucked away out of sight as much as possible.

(above) same as before but I've added the acorn nut "keys". By putting these in at somewhat different angles I'm ensuring more "lock" will happen between both parts of the mold. I could've done an even better job of that - it was tricky to decide how much I wanted to. Knowing that I'd have to brush in resin, and THEN lock the 2 parts of the mold together for the pour later (a 2 stage resin filling method - outer shell of metallic resin & backfilled withplain black resin).

(above) ok, so this is after I've poured in the rubber & waited12hrs. I then do NOT pull off that rubber - I seal it even more with grease/oil/clay/what have you. I'm really careful here not to shift the master out of the mold rubber there though. That's one half of the rubber...

(above) this is how I did the bottom half. I now flip it over - cut off the bottom, being careful NOT to mess with the sides so the rubber stays nice & stuck sealed to them...and start pulling off the clay I've clayed him up with...

(above) I show how a little leak in the clay let some of that rubber in. I thought it was super solid too! Eeek! Sooooooo there I make a careful cut.. trying to think where I want that seam when all is said and done. (below) All done there.

(above) the acorn nuts removed, the mold greased up & ready to be poured into again...

(above) Now the mold rubber is heavily greased with some sort of mold release... I brushed it on.. I didn't want the horse to have one side more shiney than the other and I really don't like to use it much - detail loss!.. then I pour in the 2nd part of the mold.

(above) Literally next it just pops open & there you are. 2 parts to your mold. (below) Compare the mold to what comes out;

If only the story here was this simple! :D In reality I kept having a problem getting a nice firm cure from my resin. And it's a 20min process with the resin recommended (a clear amber colored resin) for the shell of these cold castings.

Here are the steps (again, not a camera friendly thing for me either here - waaaaaaay too messy!)...;

  1. Get the following out, plastic stirrer (spork!), rubber gloves, towels, and disposable brush (1/2" hardware store ones for under $1 hopefully). Remember that all of this will need to be chucked in the end so disposable everything...
  2. Lay out both parts of the mold side by side
  3. Get 3 small plastic cups out, and 1 large cup
  4. Pour out part B, add dye & mix
  5. Pour out a fraction of this in metal powder (I used less than recommended by Smooth On & it was more than I could manage/mix/blend)
  6. Mix this into part B when the dye is blended
  7. Pour out part A in equal volume to what part B WAS (remember to mark your cups if needed - the dye & metal added a lot to the volume so be careful!)
  8. Mix with spork (yaaaaay for sporks!!! spoon is good too but I just hoard sporks). ;)
  9. Now pour into the molds & start brushing up the sides/all over (see videos online on this - there are millions & it's worth watching). I was using Smooth on 326. I'm not loving it... takes 15min just about to start to gel
  10. Once starts to gel leave alone... start cleaning off any you might have gotten around the high sides of the mold that are supposed to be in contact with each other... clean out of spue areas for example
  11. Once it's not moving really at all - join the two sides. Press down plenty hard around the edges for 10min. Yes, it's easiest to just hold it in your hands & do this. Be sure to put mosquito repellent on before hand. I wound up getting resin on my body because I failed to remember that part of this step. ;)
  12. Put cardboard on either side, rubber band...
  13. DO NOT LOOK at your results. I made this mistake... you need to keep the two sides together & then backfill the inside here...
  14. DO however look inside while holding up to light (if you have uncured resin leaking out? that's wrongwrongwrong... & don't do this!).. you are looking to see if light is coming through your seams... you'll need to somehow fix that before moving on to the backfilling...
  15. Tilt whole thing up so the sprues are on top
  16. Mix new batch of resin normally & pour in like any other mold. Keep an eagle eye out for leakage since you're relying on a VERY tight mold. If you have a leak here your only recourse is to hold the two parts together for the duration of the cure... (get out yer bubble gum!)
  17. Demold and hope it all worked! :D
  18. repeat all of this a few times & you tell me if you aren't willing to pay a pro to do it properly at this point? HA!!! :D

Soooooo after 2 full days of trying to get a casting I got 2 decent ones but that's it. Annnnnnnnnnd it became clear that the casters equipment is better for the job! But here's the downfall to that. They use a more expensive/trickier mold rubber. Mine has tiny bubbles in the rubber. These turn around & make pimples.

MY castings - slow, not under pressure do NOT have very many pimples... (bronze above - see pimple pointed out by the arrow?). However for them to get good metal coverage they use pressure casting. I'm just not up for more equipment at this time - lol! I did my castings on plastic totes in the middle of my yard (best ventilation for my health - uncured resin, bad stuff!). ANYHOW, check out what pressure casting does on their first silver casting (below) for those hints of pimples! Eeek eh!?! I just used a couple of arrows to point out a few ... there are MILLIONS..!

Sooooooo after sharing all that with you I can safely say that this was mostly an exercise for me. HA! No, I will have the mold to try some other techniques and perhaps color ideas out on (like ...hmmm.. clear?). BUT the professional company I have had do my other cold castings (MVS) . It's expensive to make these to be honest. They weigh a bit so they use almost as much resin as some 1:9 scale sculptures practically! & Then after wards they are tricky to clean up well, and mount too... I haven't quite decided what to do here. I'll probably sell them as I have them available. Each being different. Aaaand offering a discount for show trophies since I've been asked about this.

So far the one from my last post & this fellow were all I've made successfully... there was a fabulous black/stainless steel one too but he's got more mane spots that didn't cure right... need to be removed & replaced (I just am using apoxie sculpt to fix these but they aren't "sale" worthy imo). Still, as hard as I am about it - not bad for a first try. The pouring/backfilling part is so crazy I can't believe it work at ALL! How funny that that isn't the part that's failing on me.... Maybe I'll find something better than this Smooth On 326 for me. I know the Smooth On 305 doesn't work at all for me here either... but 300 works better for me than I can believe! (Which is good news for those waste molds of my clay works).

So this is the end result;

Now you know what all this molding business is about (sorta). : :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kipling for 2 additional days & new baroque bust!

One of those new faces I promised! A whole photo essay of the 2 part mold making will follow soon enough… however right now I have a lot of backlog emails aaaaaaaand my internet connection has been very patchy this whole week. Add to this that my website server (a totally different company) also had problems this weekend (how long I don’t know) and my domain name is also being still affected there by what apparently was an attack earlier (email still not working)… so in the last 4 days these 2 factors are making my response time quite slow! (And fwiw, THIS is why I have an “” email account – I can tell when emails should be coming in to the domain and aren’t)… Laugh at my cheap freebie solution but it’s effective! :)

"Baroque Horse Bust"
4 and 3/4" tall
Completed Sept 2011 - this copy is cold cast brass

Sooo bottom line is the “making of” this bust (at least the mold of it) blog post will have to wait another day or so. I'm asking many questions of my yahoogroup to decide what sort of an edition this will be. I was immensely inspired by the work of John Sherrill Houser and older renaissance and greco-roman stylings here. This was just something I *had* to do.

(and the last week to reserve a copy here)
I need to ALSO share my decision that with my website/host server's downtime issues late this week/I’m going to extend Kipling’s edition 2 more days to end on Oct 2nd to make up for the 2 days that I know of which were lost this weekend. So sorry if this has caused anyone problems? -sighs-

My online queue is not up to date yet. Since they haven't started shipping it's not really a live "queue" to watch.. however they are casting now (well tomorrow) and it WILL be a live queue very soon so I'll get that up soon.

Any questions please be sure to at least copy my email addy (and the paypal addy of of course still works via paypal... but I can't reply to your payment notices right now still - I'm so sorry!).

In lighter news;
Yesterday I was away for half the day at my first “Meet the Artist” over at the Hollyhocks Gallery. They have a nice write up arranged weekly in the local newspaper events section for the artists who will be sitting out meeting people;

How exciting eh?! Those "Meet the Artist" days rotate through the gallery artists so that won’t happen too often but it’s so nice to get out of the studio! It was fun to meet the local folks and learn about the area. My socialization skills are really falling to the wayside in all this rural isolation… lol! Plus, I have to confess I didn’t get enough sleep before hand (in part due to my excitement insomnia I’ve always gotten since I was little)… aaaaaaand yes, in part because I was fiddling with my last 2 items to go up there – the Iaret mounted to a quartz base (quarts sparks and glows red when being cut! And crazily enough, is almost IMMEDIATELY cool to the touch despite being red a second before…)… and the new bust. This is my final set up and some photos of the gallery;


I'm missing 2 main areas here because my pictures were just that blurry...! Without a tripod I'm nearly useless for indoor still photography... but you get the idea of the whole set up I think? :)

Ok, so in the course of preparing this blog post my email has been trying to send a few messages and they aren’t going anywhere. It's been 3 or 4 hours this afternoon now...


I’m going to do some things outside now & try writing back to folks more in a bit. I prefer to keep it to the one email but if I can’t much longer I’ll use the online account. –sighs- Can anyone recommend a good host? This one had a lot of positives but this has come up a few times now. I need to consider hosts that can at least fix things faster than these guys seem to.

The online patchyness I can’t do anything about. The neighbor said he’s passing around a petition to try & get Time Warner Cable out to this road. I would SO love to sign that. I put in a request for them to consider cable to this area before I even moved down here 2 years ago… in the meantime I’m at the mercy of satellites and sunspots (and space debris!). ;)

~~~OH! ~~~The other “new face” that I’ve been talking about is one that people really haven’t seen online at all before yet…. A totally new medallion I’ve done to benefit the “Our Mim’s Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation”. ( A worthy cause that’s very near and dear to me. It’s not the medallion I posted earlier this past year, this is a racehorse in tack. That’s all I’m saying for now until Cheryl and John have created something to sell and are ready to share! :) Soooo stay tuned for that too! :)

Happy Fall All! To my native CT pals, I’m really homesick for the Durham Fair today. If you’re there, have a yummy greasy fried dough with red sauce for me please!