Saturday, January 25, 2014

SKETCHBOOK: "An Oil Change and Some Jazz"

I took my mini-van in today to have the oil changed, tires rotated and re-aligned.  So I planned on sketching some of the customers while I waited.  The whole job was supposed to take about two problem.  Then there WAS a problem...a stem on the wheel broke, so they had to replace a part...another two hours to wait.  I could've taken a "loaner" vehicle, but I just decided to use the time to draw some more!

Above are two of the ladies that were unsuspecting models. Before I started the sketches in the waiting room, I decided to walk over to Starbucks, and drink some hot tea. The sketch below was of some of the guys there.
The "Three Wise Men" below, cracked me up...they were just chatting it up about life, philosophy, and the History Channel.  Almost interesting.
After a while, I headed back over to see how my van was coming along.  Below are some more of the folks that came and went over the remaining two hours of waiting.

The next set of sketches was a blast to capture.  I went to Johnson County Community College to listen to the "JAZZ WINTERLUDE"...a FREE concert of several top-notch professional Jazz groups that play around Kansas City.  It went on for 4 hours!!  Here are the sketches I managed to capture in the low-lit auditorium.

First up...the "Ron Gutierrez Quartet" (minus the piano player...I didn't have time to draw him).
 Next is "KC Sound"...
 And the last group I heard was the "Chris Clarke Trio".

What a GREAT way to spend an afternoon!

Monday, January 20, 2014

SKETCHBOOK: "An Old Friend"

Today, the weather was a bit warmer than it's been the last couple of weeks.  So I decided to get out of the house and go sketch.  I thought I would go visit a location where I had done a painting over 10 YEARS ago.  I was hopeful, since there was still ice in the creek where I sat to draw, I would not run into any snakes like the last time (in July of '03).  

Below is the painting I had done of this same sycamore tree and all the roots.  You can see in the new sketch above, that the long horizontal root had been cut, as had the vertical part of the tree (in the upper right of the painting). Time changes things.

The sketch below is of a great looking lion statue that sits in the median of the street going into my neighborhood, standing guard near the library.  It was getting a bit chilly by the end of this drawing, so I decided to head back home. The sun is still out, as I post nice to see a sunny day in the middle of winter!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

SCULPTURE: "The Great Wooly Jack Raboose"

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Nothing like posting something strange on the first day of 2014!

This project was somewhat of an unplanned diversion at the end of last year.  I was able to participate in a paper mache workshop for a couple of days at my job with Hallmark.  We had a department "day away" from the office in October, and I was able to get the armature done.  After that, it was weeks of my own time spent at home to complete the sculpture.  While fun to work on...paper mache is not my favorite medium, as it takes SO long to dry.  I am not so patient with the materials, so this is likely to be my last mache piece!

So how did I end up with THIS goofy animal?  It all started a year ago...when I did this sketch of the "Horned Jackalope" at the KU Natural History Museum.  When the mache workshop came along, I just thought, "I'll make a prehistoric relative of that critter!"  So I added the "Wooly Mammoth" features of the tusks and long fur...and "upgraded" the horns to Moose antlers.

Now I will show you the various phases that this guy went through.  Below is the armature that I was able to construct at the workshop.  It's made of  crunched up newspaper, chicken wire, and a wooden circle at the base of the neckline.  I added more wireframe to the antlers, to make them bigger, once I got home.  Everything is covered with masking tape...wooden balls were glued on for the eyes.

I decided to use some "mache paper pulp" that I had in the basement for years.  Just add water, and the "clay-like" mache allows you to sculpt.  It's about the consistency of thick oatmeal.
 Over a period of weeks, I would add more mulch...let it dry...then repeat the process.
I had to let things dry completely, or the wet mache would have been too heavy for my armature.

The next stage of mache was in adding more refined detail.  I used some "paper clay" that I had purchased, to sculpt around the eyes, mouth, teeth and tusks.
Once that layer was dry, I sanded off everything.  Then I coated everything with wood glue to give it a good hard shell, and also help smooth out the areas for painting later.

I then began the process of painting the critter...mostly concerning myself with the areas that would not be covered with "fur".
I was not happy with the shapes of the spikes on the antlers, and added more "paper clay" to extend them a bit. I also added more clay to the ears to smooth them out a bit more.
The base was cut out in the workshop at work...I added the mulch mache to make it look like stone, and painted it in "rock" colors.  The holes were drilled before sculpting, and the bracket added (on the back side) for hanging the base onto the wall.

Here is the final painted Raboose, before the "wooly fur" was added.  In some ways I like the "un-furred" version better...a little more fierce looking.

The next step was to add the "fur".  I found just what I needed at a fabric store...I liked the reddish gold color...very "mammoth-like".  This process was quite time making puzzle pieces to conform to the shapes of the head.  I also had to consider the direction that the fur would naturally flow.  I used some "tacky glue" I got at the fabric held the fur pretty quickly and firmly.
The last part for the fur was to dry-brush some black acrylic paint around the eyes, nose and mouth. (I he looks "cute"...wasn't expecting long as he still looks "funny", I can live with it.)

The last component to add was the base...four woodscrews and the project is complete! I had also applied some little squares of "peel and stick" rubber, to keep from scratching the wall.

Behold!  The Great Wooly Jack Raboose!

And here is this little critter's new home...on the wall of my studio!