Saturday, January 3, 2015

Difficulty of Armatures

Often the non-fun side of sculpting for me can be figuring out the armature for whatever you are planning. Planning ahead in a game where it is so much easier to be spontaneous is painful.

Ask yourself these questions in advance.

          What kind of support do I need from this structure?
notice it will come into the side of piece

This one will come into the bottom of the piece

all the different pipes and flanges that it often takes

 

I know, I know, don't you wish that I could straighten this mess on this site but there is no place to do that. But you can see what I am referring to as to where the pipe enters into the side of a piece of the bottom of a piece.

      Does it allow for the weight of the mold?

            Where are my body part extensions, wings, neck, horns, whatever, and do I need extra support.

           Is it secure with no movement and lastly where do I want my design to have a hole in it because where your armature goes into your piece is a hindrance to both working and accessibility for mold creation.

Now the dove that will sit next to this one is just coming into the space so it will have its wings extended so I will use the side armature to come in just under the wing uplifted so that it does not interfere with detail of wing feathers. Also where my T comes out with the wire for the support of the wings it will be several not just the single wire and I use everything from aluminum sculpting wire to copper wire...whichever the strength needed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Continuation of Bighorn (waxes and molds)

This is a continuation of the work done to develop my Rocky Mountain Bighorn piece.

This is following the pouring of the waxes and molding process and cleaning up the waxes to prepare them for the foundry.
This is showing the mold involving the legs and horns which are molded separate from the body

This is just showing the empty mold just before you spray it with separation material where your waxes will come out perfect. I then put the molds together and band them with huge rubber bands bought at Home Depot and pour two coats with 240 degree and two coats of 170 degree, give it a few days then un-mold and clean.

This shows the bodies of the rams after you have removed the pour spot and are ready to begin re-assembling the rams to where you can return them to the foundry.

This shows the pour hole that must be repaired and also shows that the limbs where cut off needing to be cleaned out and made where the metal will flow continuously.

Now this shows where I have cut the holes in the ends of the limbs where the legs can be rejoined and the flow will be uninterrupted.

Notice the horns are the same I must clean out the seal where the metal will flow into the tip when it is welded back on.

See the little mark that shows where the tip is to be welded back onto the base of the horn, it is wise to score any where that must be welded onto another matching piece.

This looks terrible because the glue I used (sticky glue) is the color of honey and also the wax leg was poured in another color of wax rather than the dark almost black (such is life). Notice the slash mark to match objects.

This just shows where I have put legs on and also sealed the bottom pour hole so that it must look just like it was intended to look in the clay.
After all is re-assembled you need to go over the entire piece for any imperfections such as bubbles, cracks, holes or bumps and remove...this is important and saves money on the metal side when you have to remove them or correct them in metal (which is harder). Always check ears, eyes and noses because a tiny bubble is easily formed in these areas.

Next stage is the trip to the foundry

 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Journey of creating a piece, Rocky Mountain Bighorn

A lot of people still ask me what all entails coming up with creating a piece from start to finish and it is not something you can tell in 15 seconds.

To begin with you must have an idea of what you want to do and be able to play around with it so that it is not set in cement. Ideas are great but they often have to be flexible, you will run into problems and have to spin off in a different direction.

When I began my research I first had to decide which animal I admire enough to spend 4-6 months creating it and devoting my time to developing it. Out of the same family there are several rams that are similar but divided by geography and often build or coloration.


Dall Sheep

Desert Bighorn

Stone Sheep



These are all so similar in genetics but not in region.
 
 
Rocky Mountain Bighorn



I very seldom use taxidermy animals but have resorted to using for delicate areas that I would be unable to view on a live animal.
These were all animals at the DOW office down off of I-25 in north Denver. In fact the bighorn is the state record for largest Rocky Mountain Bighorn. These photos will play an important part in the development of this piece (plus I won't have to guess).
 
Now the next step is to do your own research from you own sightings and watching the animal move will help you decide exactly what position you want to begin your armature.
 



 
 
This was a very nice Rocky Mountain Bighorn caught enjoying his high view in the Big Thompson Canyon.
 
 




These are a little grainy but gave me an idea of the terrain around the animal.
 
 
Now the idea is established and the work begins, first the armature and catching the gesture that you want.




Often you will play with clay figures until you get them exactly as you see in your mind.

 
You play with clay until you find they are looking more like the stone shelves you saw the animals on being sure to not leave undercuts where they do not need to be (making a clean mold take-away). I actually separated the base so that they are each standing on their own little base removing some of the weight and also distraction from the piece.
I will dedicate another post to the casting and final work on the piece.
Thanks for checking in on my blog.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




Searching for the Gold

All of you realize that you have to fill the well so stop a moment and go along on this journey with me in my Fall search for the GOLD. Enjoy.










Thanks for coming along now get back to work.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Low Blood Pressure and Shows Alert!

I recently made an unexpected trip to the Emergency Room because of something I was totally unaware.

Going backwards four days I began by setting up a show which was an hour and a half away so needless to say my destructive decision started early one Friday.

No one thinks twice probably about fluids during the average work day for an artist setting up a show (or for that matter just about anything you get busy with and distracted).

I was pretty busy the next two days and the fourth day I went to Denver all day so there you have it four days with very little fluids due to the fact I was busy, distracted (or just plain did not want to leave my tent to a stranger thinking I would miss a sale.)

Hypotension is caused from dehydration and can cause all kinds of symptoms but do not get me wrong it is not just water but electrolytes you are lacking (note: you can drink too much water).

People with already low blood pressure do not have that far a drop before symptoms begin. Lack of sufficient water cause your blood pressure to drop even further into a danger zone.  I felt like I had had a heart attack laying on the floor that morning but it can also cause dementia type problems or coordination glippes.

Electrolytes control a lot of things in your body and they all shut down.  Please just remember to take along at least half your body weight in ounces of water and use something like Harmless Harvest  coconut water with electrolytes to supplement (also a banana helps). It is scary to think that could have occurred while I was driving or worse.

Be proud of your low blood pressure (within reason) but also be aware of the need of electrolytes each and everyday. Be safe.

Amazing Find

I met a gentleman, Keith Martin, at the Loveland Sculpture Invitational Suppliers Tent that gave me some sample products to try that were a different concept for me.

In cleaning my waxes I always find tiny pin point holes that are unnerving but almost cause more damage than they are worth to go in with a hot tool and repair.

Well, thanks to Keith from REMET, http://www.remet.com or sales@remet.com I have used his Premiere Patch wax and find it super, just perfect for smearing a dab over those annoying tiny holes.  Also when reassembling my animal waxes  (ears, horns or other appendages) it is child's play with Sticktite a sticky wax they produce for just that purpose.

These are both really nice and I appreciate their efficiency of the products.  Hopefully I will still be saying this a year from now.  Will keep you updated.

REMET makes a lot of other products so check them out.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Goodbye to an old friend

This particular piece of sculpture was created a while back and was always a favorite of anyone that ever saw him.  The piece was named "Keeper of the Sacred Spirit" and it was done using a model off the Spoomer Ranch outside of Greeley, Colorado. 

The model's name was Aspen and was a pet kept at the buffalo farm that the manager even rode because he was so gentle. As all fairy tales go things changed and he passed away.

The last of the edition Ed. #15/15 is currently being completed so that someone may have this beautiful piece and then I will only have my AP copy to give my children but I will always have my memories of this fantastic animal and the way he carried himself and also the way he enjoyed my scratching his nose while studying his beautiful eyes.

Sculptors often fall in love with their subjects (as I feel all artist must to catch their true spirit) but as I celebrate the end of a wonderful adventure by destroying the mold when this edition sells out I will also feel sad that this great beasts which had such a rich history in the making of the old west and the survival or defeat of the American Indian was for a brief time something tangible in my life.