Reviving this old blog of mine and what I’ve been doing

I see I have been gone too long from this blog and it is about time to pick it up again on a regular basis. Time just seem to fly by so fast nowadays; it is weird that we’re already mid-August in 2014 when I can still remember my New Year resolution for this year: finishing things! I am really bad at starting something, then put it aside because there is something else I want to try or a commission I have to make. Being on Facebook also eats up a lot of time….

What have I been up to, you might wonder? Well, my Thor is still in a drawer which is a shame BUT it is a good thing in a way because I looked at him the other day and found that his head is unproportionally small compared to the rest of his body. So there are 2 option as I see it:

1) I can start all over again

2) I can decapitate him, make a new head and attach that to the body, rebake, and see how it looks.

I think I will go for option 2 and if it doesn’t look good I can always start over, right?

I have been sculpting some characters from Harry Potter and finished Snape, McConagall, and Hagrid for my own collection, plus made 2 sculpts of Dobbie, one for my daughter and one for a friend in the UK. I have to make another Dobbie for another friend, so that one is on my list of “things-to-do”.

On my “sculpts-to-make” list are also 2 things I need to make for my sister: 1 of the old Celtic God Cernunnos (also known as Herne/The Horned God/the Stag God) and 1 of the old Celtic Fertility Goddess. I am looking into the Goddess one because there are so many fertility Goddesses in Celtic lore and myth and not sure if I should make the 3 (Maiden, Woman, Old Crone) or go for something simpler like Arianrhod.

Since it has been rather warm here, it has also been the time to work with my gourds. I do that mostly during the summer months because then I can sit outside since carving and sanding makes such a mess. Gourd birds can be made all year round, they aren’t as messy as carving a bowl!

Other than that I have been making mushrooms, gourd birds, dragon head sculpts, sculpted dog portrait pendants, some drawings, and whatever tickles my fancy but for the coming week I really need to work on 2 commissioned dog drawings for my “Bonnie Fund”.

You might be wondering what my “Bonnie Fund” is. We have 4 dogs and our oldest female Bonnie, a 12 year young Westie, jumped off the recliner chair some weeks ago and she tore her ACL and her meniscus, so that meant a costly surgery. We also found out that she has Cushing’s Syndrome, which is a hormonal disorder caused by high levels of cortisol. Bonnie has terrible allergies and she was on Prednison regularly, which I think might have caused it. Anyway, with the vet bills rocketing sky high ($2,000 for her knee surgery and $200 per test for her Cushing’s and we need 2 or 3 of those, plus $95 medication for 30 days) I thought to start a fund raising and have put reward levels in there for certain amounts. We’ve already given all our savings towards her ever increasing bills and are falling terribly short for which I feel terrible! After all, one has to take care of their four-legged furry family members, right?

If you want to check it out, here is the link http://www.gofundme.com/Bonnie-vet-bills

So far we’ve already received $265 through that link and the 2 commissioned dog drawings, which I received through my Facebook account, are part of my “Bonnie Fund” Fundraising too. We are so grateful for people’s generosity! Even if one can’t donate, sharing the link helps tremendously too because then it can reach a lot more people. The funds we’ve raised thus far will pay for her next blood test on September 2nd to see how she reacts to her medication plus we can pay some off on the bill for her knee surgery. Gotta love vets that are willing to set up a payment plan for you 😀

My drawings are calling me so it is time to work more on those. Next time I’ll post some pictures of what I’ve made and what I am working on.

Thank you for reading and have a great day!

Glass eyes: what is 1st and 2nd quality?

I know I haven’t been posting as I should, but I have been busy. Right now I have 1 “Floating Wizard” almost ready, working on 2 Dobbies at the same time and trying to make a Severus Snape.

We’ve been watching Harry Potter movies as you can tell and they just want me to make them. Snape isn’t going the way I want him to look so maybe I should practice a bit more with sculpting faces before I actually start on something that needs to resemble ‘someone’?

I’ll post pictures soon…

Up to now I have been experimenting with making eyes myself, but thought to look into glass eyes. I found some ‘seconds’ on eBay and thought to bid on them. Really happy that I won the auction until I received them.

One is blue and one is grey! The description was “5mm grey glass eyes ‘seconds’ “. Of course you would expect to get 2 grey eyes, right? I can understand the whole meaning behind the ‘seconds’ eyes, that they might not be completely round or that the pupil/iris isn’t completely centered but 2 different colors??

Of course I contacted the seller and the explanation was as follows:

“The reason for your eyes not matching is that you purchased “Seconds”, which is Second Quality Eyes. Here is the information from the eyes listing, kindly read the last line.

“To provide you with a beautiful pair of eyes, we painstakingly hand-match and check each pair – for size, color and symmetry.

They come as pairs on two ends of a single wire. We cut the wire in two, shuffle them and then take a magnifying glass and re-match them pair after pair, making sure the color and the size is the same, that the pupils are centered and that the irises are round.

To our knowledge, we are the only ones who go through this trouble and still keep the prices competitive.

Less than perfect eyes pairs are sold as seconds. They make whimsical fun eyes for critters, trolls, goblins and witches.”

I read and re-read the description of the First Quality and the Second Quality eyes but could not find anywhere that you could expect 2 different colors, so here is my reply:

I completely understand the idea behind the “seconds” eyes. I’ve bought them before and I know they can be less round or the iris isn’t completely centered and that is okay. Also read what is in the listing “The only trouble with them is that they are hand-crafted (they cannot be stamped out like acrylic or plastic eyes), thus minute differences in size of the pupil, iris and coloring are more common then we would like.”

I can also understand if there is a difference in the color, one could be darker grey than the other but what I have now is 2 completely different colors. I have 1 blue eye and 1 grey eye and the difference in color is huge. Aren’t ‘seconds’ supposed to be about) the same color too? I wish I could attach a picture so you could see what I mean….

Kinds regards,”

The reply to this one got me completely baffled:

 “Yes, 1st quality eyes are matched for everything, 2nd quality eyes are absolutely random*. That is why they are called Silly eyes for Goblins and Witches and such and sold at half the price. If you don’t have any plans to make goblins, trolls and witches, they are, of course, of no use to you – no problem, i will be glad to take them back and give you a refund,…..”

(*I made this bold to make it jump out more)

Can be completely random??? Why list them then as “5mm GREY eyes seconds”??? There is nowhere in any description of any eyes sold there that these eyes can even be of random color. As I mentioned in my reply to the seller, I’ve bought them before because who doesn’t like winning an auction and get glass eyes for around $2? But they’ve always been the same color.

Of course this made me look online for glass eyes and I found that this seller isn’t even cheap. I can get a pair of 3 and 4mm first quality glass eyes for less than the “Buy it now” price for their ‘second’ quality eyes.

Here are some pictures to show you what I’m talking about…

Darn, I should stop biting my nails LOL

I’m not sure if I want to send them back eventhough it is nice to know I can. Not every seller on eBay is easy about these things… I could use them for my “Mad-eye Moody” I want to make too and when you look at them, they look more like misplaced 1st quality eyes. They are too pretty to be ‘seconds’…

What is your opinion about ‘second’ quality eyes in this case?

Hope you’ll have a great day!

Goats are about finished

I have about finished Thor’s 2 goats, Tanngrisni and Tanngnost. Only have to paint the horns, or give them a wash with brown acrylic paint, and paint the eyes. I will do that part once they’re hanging in front of the chariot to pinpoint the direction they look at.

Some time ago I saved a part of a jacket that was being thrown out, always thought I could use it for ‘something’. This is what I have used for the hair on the goats.

Goat hair

Goat hair

What I like about this is that it has a variation of the neutral colors and it has some black in there.

First I made some flocking for the parts that doesn’t have the long hair, like the head and the legs.

For the longer hair, I’ve cut it off like you would do with Tibetan Lamb wool for a wig and then I glued the longer hair on the body in overlapping sections, starting on the back. It still needs to be ‘styled’ though. I’d like to hang them suspended in the air in front of the chariot and make the hair flowing back to give the illusion of movement.

Goats2

Goats

Goats top

On the picture showing the top of the goats you can see the parting on the back, where I have glued the hair against the direction of the flow and folded it over to hide the glue line. The piece of wood is there to hold them upright since their feet aren’t all touching the ground.

As for Thor himself, he needs his hands to be attached and his feet still need to be sculpted but I first need to make the chariot to see how they will stand on there.

Something entirely different: Kender (our Chocolate Labrador) is growing so fast and keeps on growing! She is almost 10 months now and she doesn’t look anything like the little puppy we brought home

Smokey and Kender 8-10-2011

Smokey checking out Kender, who is 6 weeks in this picture.

Kender

Kender sleeping on the couch, 6 weeks old

Kender

Kender almost 10 months old, all laid out and sleeping on the couch. She sees the green pillow as a toy, hence the corner being chewed off. Where did that small, square headed, blue-eyed dog go?

Had to share this one! Have a great day!

Thor sculpt and the goats are coming along

After a week of working on all sort of things, like Blue Dragonflies for a swap I joined in our clay group, this is where I am now with my Thor sculpt.

Baked body Thor

I have sculpted the upper part of the body, attached the head and gave it a first bake. When it had cooled I attached the tubes for the arm and leg modules with Magic Sculpt and let it dry overnight. Now I have to make the hands and feet, bake them and attach them to finish the body. Looking at it I am not really sure if the head is too small?  Still have to work on the neck too and that will show if I have to rip the head off again and redo that part 🙂

Goat frame

These are the frames for Tanngrisni and Tanngnost, the two goats who will be pulling Thor’s chariot. The bottom one is already filled out with aluminum foil and painters tape, the top ones shows the wire before bulking it out.

Goats clay

And here are Tanngrisni and Tanngnost, the wire covered with Prosculpt and baked. What I need to do now is paint the hooves and horns, put hair on them which will also cover up where I didn’t put enough clay on the frame, and when it is all done and ready to go in front of the chariot I’ll paint the eyes on.

This is what I’ve done so far since last week. Hope you like it!

 

Finally started

I’ve been busy getting ready for a show so I didn’t have a lot of time to sculpt on my Thor, eventhough my fingers were itching to start. Collected most of what I think I will need: got a piece of bark for the chariot to stand on, found wood to make the chariot with, found an old piece of a coat (collar) that had faux ‘wool’ on it that would be great for the goats since it is rather long.

Found and collected all sort of other things I think I might need, or not, so I picked it up again for a bit and made the drawing couple of days ago. After that I made the frame and started on the head.

I have to apologize for the bad quality of the pictures. My camera stopped working, tried my phone but that one froze so I had to open it up to remove the battery and somewhere along the line I must have messed up the contact point for the camera because that one doesn’t want to work at all… I’ll re-open that when I have the time.

Drawing and frame

The tubes are cut but having a little problem there with keep getting confused as to what goes in where… Since it isn’t going to be a tall sculpt, only about 5′-5.5″, there won’t be a lot of pressure on the joints and I could leave the whole tube-idea out too, except for the legs; it is easier to attach the legs to the chariot using the whole tube system.

Bulk and head

I can tell I haven’t done it in a while because I really have to pay attention that the head isn’t going to be too large for the frame. It looks okay for now but I have the feeling I have to make a new frame, just a bit larger than the one I have now which would be okay because I can always use this frame for another sculpt.

The bulking out of the frame is done with aluminum foil and painters tape although the chest needs to be larger, as you can see on the side view of the picture above. However, I can do that with clay too.

This is the first time I am using ProSculpt and I have to say I like it. It is really smooth, easy to condition, and it blends in great! Compared to other polymer clay brands like Sculpey, Fimo and Premo that I have used before for small(er) sculptures, it is softer, more pliable, and I have to say that I am sold on this one 🙂

Still have to make the chariot sketch and found some ideas online; it is going to be like the chariot in the example I’ll use and posted on March 30th so I might ‘wing it’ and make it straight from that example after the sculpt is complete. Then I only have to measure twice and cut once.

Here is where I am at this moment. Have to attach the ears and then the head will go for the first bake and see how it will look on this frame that I have now. Hope you like it so far!

Thor, chariots, and helmets

Yesterday evening I started on the sketch of Thor and trying to figure out other things for my sculpt, like the not unimportant chariot. Have to make a sketch of that one too…

One of the biggest problems I have is that there are no real references as to the chariots Norsemen used and plenty of discussions if the Norse people used them or not. There is the Celtic chariot, with a single axle, the Egyptian and Roman, also with a single axle, and then I come across the “Oseberg cart” with a double axle. I know this is a cart and not a chariot but Googling images for “Viking/Norse Chariots” gives me all sort of confusing information, showing single and double axle chariots.

Thor is shown in both single and double axle chariots, while Freya is only shown in her cat-drawn single axle chariot.

So I have to make a choice here and this is what it’s going to be… the double axle chariot based on this picture that I like:

459px-Thor_by_Johannes_Gehrts

This is a drawing of Thor, made in 1901 by the German painter Johannes Gehrts and, unlike some paintings/drawings, Thor has a beard. I have mentioned it before, I’m going to stick to the Norse visualization of Thor, being red-haired, red-bearded, fiery eyed, and barrel-chested. He is, after all, the most valiant Warrior of the Norse Pantheon and an idealized image of the Viking fighter.

And he is not wearing any helmet of some sort, another reason for choosing this picture to work off. Looking for information on the Norse and their Pantheon, you will find lots of discussions. One of those discussion is if the Vikings wore helmets or not. We all know that Vikings are often shown with helmets with horns but apparently that is wrong. If the average Viking warrior wore a helmet, it would have been a non-descript conical form helmet without any adorations (I won’t go into the “wings” decoration because they have been used). Planting horns on a helmet would give your enemy the chance to grab onto those…something you wouldn’t want.

Now, to plant a non-descript conical form helmet on Thor would look silly, in my humble opinion, and very un-God like wouldn’t you think?

Off to the drawingboard for the chariot and next time I will post my sketches.

Hope you’ll have a great day!

Today is the day to start on Thor…

Good morning!

Today is the day that I feel I have to start on my Thor!

I have about finished my other ‘stuff’ of which the drawings were the most important since people were waiting on them (or so I hope LOL) and other things, like my gourd birds, I can do in between.

This whole Thor idea even has me waking up in the middle of the night, thinking about things like how to attach him to his chariot…eventhough that is a long way away from now. But not unimportant since I have to incorporate that in the sculpt’s legs.

So today, after cutting the grass and cleaning off my workspace, I will take a piece of paper and start making the initial rough draft of what I want it to look like. I have to say that I am not a huge person on making sketches. I know that some of you always start like that, some even with a very detailed drawing, but I know myself…. If I do that, especially a detailed drawing, I have the feeling that I’ve made it already and then it will slip away.

My way of working is to try things out as I go along; guess I’m more a ‘visual’ type of person who has to see the problem if there is any. But, that said, I need to figure out how tall Thor is going to be, how to attach the legs to the chariot without him toppling over or falling out (that would be BAD for a Deity of any kind!), how big the chariot will be and what it will look like, and the size of the 2 goats.

Initially I thought to make Thor 8″ tall but with the chariot and especially the goats added into the equation I have the feeling that it will be too tall and maybe too bulky. So, I’m going to make him smaller and am thinking about 4.5-5″ tall but that can always change when I make the armature.

The armature is also going to be new to me since I want to try using copper/brass rods for the head, arms and legs. That way I can bake those seperately and if something doesn’t look right it is a smaller thing to re-do. Even the clay I’m going to use is new to me. Used to working with the standard brand polymer clays (Fimo, Sculpey, Premo) I want to try ProSculpt this time. According to the reviews it is easier to sculpt with, so let’s give it a go…

As you can see there are a bunch of ‘new’ things for me with this sculpt and did I mention I haven’t sculpted in a while? LOL Time to pull out the Anatomy books and go over what I remember while waiting for the grass to dry (it’s still too wet to cut).

Wish me luck and I hope you will accompany me on this “Journey of Trial, Error, and Victory” 🙂

Finished JoeJoe

JoeJoe

 Finished JoeJoe’s drawing last night and I think he looks good. Hopefully his ‘parents’ think so too… I always believe that a black matte  brings the drawing out more, somehow it gives it more character?

Anyway, 1 drawing down and 6 more gourd birds to go before I should start on my Thor sculpt.

I say ‘should’ because I have already started a bit on it. Printed out some skeletal anatomy for the frame and think I will stick with the 1:12th scale. That will make Thor about 4.75 – 5 inches tall, but I have to include the chariot he stands in too and then figure out how tall, or small, his goats will be.

Today I got an UGLY pink envelope from my friend Mozelle but I love the contents. She had sent me some wool straight off the sheep that I can use for my sculpt 🙂 That was really sweet! I call the envelope ugly because I detest the color pink. Not sure why, but I just do…

Yesterday I got my ProSculpt clay in that I’d ordered. Never used it before but it is praised to be one of the best sculpting polymer clays. Reckon I have to put it to the test!

I’ll make pictures of my progress with the sculpt frame and will post them at a later date. Off to the gourd birds I go…..