Thursday, February 26, 2015

"One for the Road" - 2014

I've been so busy since the beginning of the year, I haven't had time to update this blog. I'm trying to play catch up.....

After completing "Wasted & Wounded", I really loved how the bent rod mechanism made the figure move. I thought a female version of the 'drunk guy' would be interesting.

For this version I wanted to do an inebriated female, but not a wounded one, so I had to come up with a different narrative. Thinking back, I've always loved Shirley MacLaine's portrayal of the title role in Billy Wilder's Irma la Douce. She plays a shrewd 'lady of the evening', and creates a very memorable character. Plus, I loved her look, and she's just beautiful in it.

She measures 13" x 26" x 7".

Here is the final image. She gently sways as she hangs on to the sign post and looks down the street. I was going to call the piece, "Lost & Lonely", but thought it was too specific. The signs reflect this original idea.
 

A closer look. I loved adding all the subtle details to the figure - her belt, bottle, purse, scarf, and outfit - all help to tell her story.

Her face was based on another Shirley MacLaine headshot I found while doing my research. Her scarf actually hides the seam between her neck and chest, and is made of the same material used for her fishnet stockings.
 

A side shot.
 

I rarely show the back of my figures, but here you are......
 

Her purse is an old tin that used to hold tiny watch parts.
 

A better shot of the stickers on the sign post.
 

Her bottle. It moves slightly as she sways.
 

Her hand wraps around the pole.
 

Her legs and fishnet stocking were a pretty time-consuming venture. I had the material on hand, and it was the perfect scale for her fishnets. I spent a lot of time carving the legs because I knew they were going to be a focal point, so they had to be perfect. All along, I was pretty sure this was going come out well.
   

Her shoes were and integral part of the figure. The rod that moves the body runs up through the heel on her left shoe. This shoe was also the only real anchor point to the body, (except for her arm), and had to be firmly attached to the base. The other shoe is feel to move, and it does as the figure sways.
 

The in-progress images........

Starting out I had to figure out that left shoe and left leg.
 

One leg carved, and one to go. The right leg is attached in a way that allows it to move. Hence the joint at the knee.
 

Here I'm carving the right shoe to match the left. You can see the tube in the left shoe that the rod runs up.

My wife Paula has a great collection of shoes from a Hollywood rental house. It was nice to have a reference right in front of me. I usually don't use a lot of references like this.

On the top of the left leg, these 3 springs are the only connection between the leg and the torso. The springs allow the torso to pivot in all directions. You can also see the bearing the 1/8" rod runs in.

Two legs done.

Here I'm figuring out the final position of the feet. I wanted her right foot and right leg to be turned inward slightly. I have yet to carve her upper body at this point.

One of the most challenging hands I've ever carved. It wraps around the pole, and because of the grain, and angle of her palm, I had to really take my time to be sure not to break off the fingers.

I found the perfect spot for her hand - it allowed her arm to move, and didn't bind up anywhere.

Her completed body, ready for paint.

A shot taken as I was adding the fishnets to her legs. Again, this took time and patience - gluing a little bit of the seam at a time. She had to have her seams straight, right?

Her finished legs, with the addition of some small holes, which I think adds a lot of character to the figure. I love how these came out.

The movie.... watch it full screen.

Thanks for looking!

tom

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