Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fence Project

I suppose that this little project was not one that I did "for fun", so technically it probably doesn't belong on this blog. But it does count as something I made. For the last two weeks, I've been working on the 9' long fence (counting some delays due to rain). I finished it this afteroon. We had to cut down a huge sweet gum tree on the side of the house last year and lost a lot of shade (and privacy...hence the fence). "Favorite part"...spending a whole weekend digging 2' deep post holes, cutting giant roots that were from that old tree.

Nothin' like a face full of cedar-sawdust on a hot sunny day!

Here's the finished project! Next phase...planting some new grass where none has ever survived under the tree...we've tried it for years...wish us luck!

The new view from our back porch. Thanks, Cat, for your helpful suggestions and all the photos.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

SCULPTURE: "Apple Heads" pt.2

Here are the "Apple Head Folks" on DAY 4. They're starting to mutate, but are still very soft.

I had to cut slices into the back of the green, unpeeled wasn't drying enough.

Hope they don't start getting moldy while drying. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

SCULPTURE: "Apple Heads"

On Saturday, Cat and I went to Lake Perry, near Lawrence, KS, for a fun was gorgeous weather. Since I had such unexpectedly positive responses to my post of the "Beet Heads" I made, I decided to take my carving tools and try making some "Apple Head" folks. Keep in mind that this is "day 1"...these little guys will be shriveling up over the next few weeks. I'll post the progress as they dehydrate.

While I was carving, Cat said I had an "interesting bug" on my back..."it looks like a fly-fishing lure." As I was about to swat it, she said, "Don't kill'll want to see won't hurt you." I'm glad she got the photo of it...but, now that I see it up close, I"m wondering how she knew those huge tail spikes weren't just waiting to stab me and drain all the fluid out of my body.

Here are a couple of sketches I drew of the little cove where we had a nice relaxing time watching all the sailboats. We'll definitely go back again!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

TABLETOP GAMING: "Mountain Waterfall"

Here's one of my favorite tabletop constructions in action...this is actual "gameplay" at the RECRUITS Convention from 2007. My friend Jaye was running this game...I believe it was titled "Treasure of Isla de la Morte" (a pirate themed adventure). Notice the friendly beast in the pool at the top of the mountain (from my previous post)!

As usual, I started with a sketch...and as usual, bit off more than I could chew. I simplified the mountain a bit, but kept a lot of the original idea intact.

Below, you see the basic foam construction, then the finished painted version. The scale is about 2'x2' square.

The waterfall effect was created by cuttng a strip of acetate, then added hot glue "water" to it. The heat from the glue melted the acetate a bit, and gave it some extra ripples. I painted the different colors of the water, to give the illusion of depth, then coated everything with high gloss acrylic varnish.

Here's a nice new image from Jaye of a more recent game with my mountain...great use of the jungle background props! Oh yes...I made the river sections, too (another post of that to come later).

And for those of you who have never been to a gaming's a composite wide shot I took at the RECRUITS con from '07 in Lee's Summit, MO.

TABLETOP GAMING: "Monsters of the Deep!"

Here are a couple of good reasons why I've never been fond of swimming in never know what's down there!

These are some small sculpts I made for my tabletop gaming buddies Steve and Jaye. Steve wanted some tentacled creature...Jaye wanted something creepy for a lake in a cave scenario (which I'll post soon). I nod my head to the special effects folks at Weta Creature Shop in New Zealand. The tentacled monster is a bit similar to the "watcher of the lake" in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies...the "multi-mouth" critter is inspired by the nasty slug-monsters in PJ's remake of King Kong.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

PAINTINGS: "Fields and Trees"

Thought I'd pull out some older paintings to show you...kind of fun to group these around themes. The one above is of a hidden little valley in Farley, MO...note the tiny cows under the trees.

Here's a nice corn field in Weston, MO.

More cows...breakfast time at Kearney, MO.

Three trees by a pond...Kearney, MO.

A big shade tree on a late afternoon at Loose Park, Kansas City, MO.

Sycamore tree roots by a creek along a walking trail near my house. Not seen in the painting...two snakes that scared the HeebieGeebies out of me (which is MUCH worse than scary things that GIVE you the HeebieGeebies). I had been careful to check the water's edge for water moccasins while painting, but had failed to think about how nice and warm those rocks would be for reptiles sunning in the early morning. I was very surprised at how fast I could pack up my gear and skedaddle out of there.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

SCULPTURE: "Playin' With My Food"'s a weird little experiment. Recently, we went to a local farmer's market and bought lots of fresh veggies. We got a little box of purple BEETS...but didn't get around to cooking them. After they were past their "fresh date", I was instructed to throw them in the compost. But I had a flash of inspiration.

I decided to try a variation on making some "apple head dolls" that I have often seen at tourist shops in the South (mostly in Arkansas). Since I didn't try this when the beets were fresh, they were a little spongey, and didn't carve easily. After using an exacto blade to make crude faces, I put the "Beet Heads" under a couple of lamps and let them dehydrate for several days. They got a little twisted up in the process...more than I expected. They might dry more uniformly, if the tough outer skin is removed completely.

After adding some details with acrylic paint, the "weird little experiment" worked out after all. (But now I have no idea what to do with them...I suppose I could hang 'em on the tree at Christmas.) My wife said the thin one looks more like "St. Nick", whereas the fatter one is definitely a "Santa". Personally, I was thinking more along the lines of wood-gnomes, or Rip Van Winkle. Hey, next time, maybe I'll try dehydrating a "Watermelon Head"! (Maybe not.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

ILLUSTRATION - "Out of the Archives"

I was looking through some old backup CDs this weekend and ran across some work from my freelance days. These are illustrations done back between 1999 - 2002 for some of my letterheads and promotional mailers. Almost forgot that I had done them. I mostly used Photoshop for these, but the 3D elements were done with a very basic program...I think it was Strata Studio Pro. Say hey to "AstroLud!"

Saturday, August 8, 2009

SKETCHBOOK: "Architecture"

Here are a few random images I pulled together from various sketchbooks.

The first series were views from the top of a parking was across the street from where my wife was taking a class. On each of those evenings, I had a couple of hours to sketch before the sun went down.

The next set of images were from "walk abouts" with my wife in downtown Kansas City (except for the barn...that was in Kearney, Mo). The last sketch is of a church near work, done during a lunch break.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

SKETCHBOOK: "Robo-Jay 2.0"

Here's a quick color treatment of my sketch from a few days ago. Didn't want to take any more time on it, so it's still a bit rough around the edges...but it gets the idea across.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

SKETCHBOOK: "Weekend Warrior"

I've been reading a book called "Gates of Fire" by Steven's a fictional account of the historic battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Spartans (plus allies) fought the hordes of the Persian Empire. It's not for the faint-of-heart, but it's a great read. Oddly enough, it inspired the angel sketch above. Last Saturday afternoon, I had just finished reading a rather intense passage, then took a break to sketch a bit. For some reason, the winged warrior was where I ended up. I've always thought of angelic beings as being powerful...guess that's why, in the Bible, they always had to tell people to "Fear Not!" when they showed up on the scene. I decided to throw in the "elvish ears" to give it a little "other-ness" feel (as if the wings didn't do that enough already).

And while I'm on the subject of angels, I wanted to show a couple of little digital sketches that my dear Mom did recently with Corel Painter. She's 76 years young, and is not afraid to have some fun creating art on the "scary computer". Kudos, Mom...keep on playing!