Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Part Two of Winter Giveaway Sculpting Tutorial

Hey Folks,

Long time no talky..........wassup with that????  Well, it seems the bad economy is finally really hitting the southwest, and I got news recently that my husband might be without a job soon.  So, while scrambling to create more shadowboxes, sending out the ones that sold, working on the sculpt............blah, blah, blah, I got very behind in blogging.  I hope you'll all forgive me.  I've been trying to get around to see different friends, but it's been difficult.  To have your future a question mark is needless to say, a little unsettling.  We're in our 50's and I'm disabled, so prospects are a little dimmer.  I'm not thinking negatively, just realistically, and I'm gonna' pray that everything works out, but prepare for the worst.........that's the way I roll folks.  I'm on very strong narcotic drugs for my chronic pain issues, as well as other medicines, and without insurance I might have to seriously face withdrawing from the narcotics..........and I've gotten older............I'm more of a baby than I used to be!  REALLY!  I don't know if we'll be able to keep our lovely home either, as we've been struggling with payments since my husbands employer cut his pay back over 20% before Thanksgiving.  Hey, I'm sure it will all work out fine...........I'm trying to not stress about it, too much.......what can you do anyway?'s part two of my sculpting tutorial.  I actually have realized that there might be more posts of the tutorial as I'm pretty anal and I'm trying to show as much as I can without actually filming my every move (hard to do when you're all alone).  My apologies to Lynn Stevens my winner of the sculpt, as the recent events have pushed my progress back a bit.
In the first part of the tutorial I mentioned letting
the piece dry and crack.......well, here it is after
the first stage of drying and cracking.
Don't be discouraged by the cracks after you let the sculpt dry the first time.  All you need to do is use a little clay, moistened to a paste like Spackle and use your fingers to apply the clay over the cracks, filling them in.  You can even dip the piece in your water, or run it under a faucet quickly to get it all wet, and then proceed to smooth the piece all over with your hands.  Your piece will turn out nice and smooth, like this:

My methods are not exactly the same as other sculptors that create their pieces from their imagination.  When I'm copying an image, there's a lot more manipulation, or adding and subtracting clay as I'm trying to match the image proportionately.  When creating a piece from your imagination, you tend to be a little more relaxed and liberal with your sculpting...........hence the imagination part.  I will never profess that my pieces are exact copies or replicas of the chosen image, as I'm not perfect.  However, working from a one dimensional image and coming up with a three dimensional piece still uses a lot of knowledge of shape, volume and a some imagination.

At this stage, I thought my sculpts cheeks were too small.  I had
also started a base to build up a hat on.

I thought I would create the holly garland around his neck using
berries and holly leaves that I had on hand.  After realizing it
was too much work, I found some smaller scale holly garland
online from England.  I'm waiting for it in the mail, but the scale
will be much more proportionate.
 Here you can see where I'm adding clumps of clay to expand the shape of the hat.  The base I built is basically a frame to work with and is hollow to speed drying time.  However, after adding clumps of clay it's creating a little more mass and will take time to dry, but not as much as if I had used solid clay.

In building up the hat, I'm able to get it more proportionate to
the scale of the piece.
I've added more clay to the cheeks, head and
hat.  I will still have to refine it further to replicate
the look of the image.

Hey I did say I was anal!!!!!!!  The majority of my time is spent at this stage, adding and subtracting clay to get the proper shape.  I will then let it dry and crack one more time, and then proceed to final  refinement.  Final refinement will be using my Xacto knife and carving back where I feel the shape needs to be more defined.  In the next tutorial I will show you the carving stage, and most likely the finishing portion, as well.

Till next time.........

Have a great week.



Claudia said...

Sweetie, I am sorry about your worries. Believe me when I say I understand. We struggle with our house payment every month - with two of us freelancing and work being almost impossible to find, you can imagine the stress we deal with each month. Stay positive - Somehow, every month we make it and we move forward with hope in our hearts.

I will be sending positive thoughts your way.


Nan said...

Well that's not good news about your husband's job. I do hope he can find one very soon when and if he gets laid off. Love how you show the steps. Take Care Nan

Angela said...

Love your work!!
I want to tell you that 2 and 1/2 years ago we found ourselves in the position you are dreading. We were 61 & 62. Knowing that God had provided several times before when illness had outlasted the sick pay, etc...we knew He would again. Our reasoning told us that job prospects are dim for men in their sixties. We contacted the union he had been a member of in the past and found out the age had just been reached that topped out what the pension would it was time to take it. We wouldn't have known that had we not inquired! It isn't enough to live on for sure, but it's a nice suppliment. He had worked only 8 years at that job, but the small retirement fund pays a small monthly suppliment also. Two months after losing the job, he was hired on the spot at a job fair, in a completely new industry. They said they like to hire older workers because of their work ethics! Pay was good, benefits spectacular. We had to move to a new town closer to family! Our house sold for twice what we paid for it, on the first day it was advertised, to the first person who looked at it!! We were able to pay all our bills on time and I can't figure out to this day how that happened. I know this is long...but don't lose heart...we serve a Mighty God!! I'm praying for you.

Pixie said...

Oh Meri..I m sorry you are going thru this. Seems many folksa re in the same boat these days. It makes me not even want to get a job to be truthful.

thanks for the tutorial. It is nice to see how other folks do these sculpts!

Linda said...

Sorry to hear about your news.
Love your work and the tutorials.


I'm a praying gal :) God totally provides...hubby sells real estate and we all know how that market is and God has provided a closing when it's needed.
Your sculpters are amazing!

Sandy said...


He is coming along wonderful!!! And as far as the job going away...we will have one more thing in common! LOL You know I'm not laughing, but let's be real, right????? I hope to see you sometime soon kiddo! Things have a way of working out, most of the time not at all how we expected, but they do seem to work out eventually.....thinking of you! :)

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

I am sorry to hear about Hubby's job! I totally feel your pain about the $$$ situation... we are downgrading by May at the latest... I loveeeeeeee the tutorial! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Creative Breathing said...

Absolutely fascinating Meri! I haven't had the courage to make anything large because the cracking scared me to death! Thanks for all these tips. I can't wait to see the finished piece.
Keeping you both in my thoughts and prayers. Elizabeth

Joanne@ Desertmountainbear said...

Love seeing your work in progress Meri. Sorry to hear about your husband. I know things are bad out her now. Hopefully things will start to pick up soon.

Tamera @ the Stone Fence Cottage said...

Wow--I feel for you!! My hubby went back to work in November after being unemployed for over a year. I'm thankful I have a good job or we would've been sunk for sure.
I'll be sending up prayers for you!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Oh Ms. Meri!

That fat lady hasn't sung yet so I will be praying that your husband hangs on to his job.
I have been without work for over a year now~ as most designers have been. It has been a challenge.

I will keep you in prayer dear one.

sassypackrat said...

Love your little snow guy! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your blog is so full of fun and I can't wait to read through your other posts! ;0)

Jenny said...

Awww, Meri. I know we talked about this but I'm truly sorry.

I sent those resumes out so we'll keep our fingers crossed over here for you both, too!

I can relate to the cracks with drying thing...I thought that was just what happened to us old people here in Arizona.


Melody said...

Oh Meri, Seems we are all in the same unenviable club. Never feel you're alone. It'll sound silly, but listening to Joyce Meyer helps....a lot...her message is straightforward and uplifting. It's uplifting like your creations! :) Makes ya smile.

M.L. @ The House of Whimsy said...

Sending prayers up for you and your husband. These are scary times. I'm sorry you're going through this. : (

Lynn Stevens said...

oh Meri,
I am so sorry to hear about your DH job, things are really scary all over the u.s! My hubby is disabled too, four years now and things are really tough at times, since I'm the sole breadwinner and when I had my appendix out and was out of work for almost 4 months, I didn't think we would make it either, I'm saying loys of prayers and sending them your way! Hang in there.
On another note my sculpture is looking adorable, cool how you can fill in those cracks!
hugs Lynn

PetraB said...

I come from Lynn's blog where I saw Snowbear and I am glad I did. I wanted to tell you how adorable he is. He makes me smile. All the processes you go through remind me a lot of the sculpting of cakes which I do from time to time. Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial! And I hope that times will improve soon for you, all the best wishes.