|"I knew nothing, and I persisted in the faith that the time of cruel miracles was not past."
— Stanislaw Lem, Solaris
on this page show a few stages in the process of making some holiday
Santa earrings for my mother. I decided ahead of time that I
would sculpt one Santa with a friendly but serious expression, and have
the other winking and smiling.
Since the predominant framing color was to be white (the approximate
color of the beard) I used white for the base and back. It helped
that I have a lot of this color to use up, as I mentioned in the last
entry. It's also easy to sign a white background and write a
personal message on it, as I do with all my pieces.
Sadly, I only decided to start taking pics when I was almost half
way through the process, so some of the interesting details are not
covered in the photos. I'll describe them as well as I can.
I started with white, grey and translucent clays for the beard and
back, a flesh color for the face, black for the eyes, red for the hat,
and two shades of red flesh for the lips and cheeks, which I made by
simply mixing some red clay into a blob of flesh clay.
|I started by roughly blocking out the faces.
As I refined details on the nose, cheeks and lips, I added red-tinted clay,
blending it into the surrounding flesh clay. (I had a particular jacket photo of Stanislaw Lem in mind as I was sculpting the winking face...)
The eyes and teeth were placed after the surrounding flesh was sculpted.
I should have baked these small pieces before placement to keep them from
smearing into the surrounding clay, but as it happened I was just very careful
and I got away with it.
The teeth were done with ivory clay and translucent clay
intermixed; the translucent clay helped to give a realistic tooth appearance.
It also help light to get lost in the mouth cavity, keeping it darker than the
rest of the face, as it should be. An elementary mistake is to make the teeth
pure white; this gives an unnatural appearance. For the same reason, I did a
mixture of white and off-white for the beard and hair, though I made the trim
on the hat a pure white. (In restrospect, I wish I'd flecked it with black to
The final pieces wound up being a bit too heavy for earrings, so my mother wore them as
a set of matched brooches.
I promised several entries back that I would be showing sculptures of an alien skull, so you
may be wondering what's going on. One large reason is procrastination - I simply haven't gotten to
doing the skull yet, and I've put up entries discussing my earlier sculpture in part to mark time.
However, I don't think this time was wasted; in retrospect, it serves two purposes. It shows that I do
have skill and experience in sculpture, and that I'm not just trying to pass off random blobs as alien life.
Also, going over what I did before and why I did it helps me to get back in the mood...
I plan to attend Ubercon this weekend to meet artists
who make all or part of a living by doing webcomics, which means that
sculpture is not likely to happen then. With this in mind, my plan is to begin sculpting on Tuesday and Wednesday evening so I
have something to show and discuss on Thursday. I will use next Monday's entry to discuss anything interesting
or art related that I learn or produce while at the con. After that, I'll continue with the sculpture, and dedicate
at least one entry to covering loose ends (projects that I've promised for upcoming entries and never delivered).