Monday, July 27, 2015

"Petra's Piece" - 2015

This Spring, my wife and I took a trip to Slovenia to meet our friend Petra. A few years back, my wife 'met' Petra in an online class for illustrators, (they are both freelance illustrators for the home decor industry), and they hit it off right away. Petra always said we should come for a visit and she would show us her country. I had never really heard a lot about Slovenia before; it sounded so exotic. My wife and I really love to travel and we had been planning to do this for a few years now. Turns out, Slovenia is an amazing, beautiful gem nestled between Austria, Italy, and Croatia. Since Petra and her family were so generous with their time, (they hosted us for 8 days - they drove us around everyday, and showed us all their favorite places), my wife and I decided to give them a gift equal to their generosity. I posted a few pictures from our trip at the bottom of this post.

As a "Thank You" gift to Petra, Uros, and family, I made this small shadowbox. 
For a while I've been toying with the idea of doing 'group shots' - portraits of multiple figures, concentrating of the faces and the juxtapositions of the group. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out my idea. I really like how this turned out. It took extra time to get the faces right, but it was worth it.

A side shot to show the depth. The piece measures 10" x 8.5" x 4" and sits on a shelf or can be hung on the wall. The box was made from salvaged wood.

             Petra and Uros.
             Tim and Sophie.

Starting out with the polymer clay sculpting. My reference pics are on the left.

I developed the 4 heads concurrently, so their sizes were proportional.

I mounted the figures to a small board before placing the whole assemblage into the shadowbox. That way I could get the placement correct, and then just glue the whole thing into the shadowbox. Their bodies are pieces of pine.

One last shot before I put them in the shadowbox.

More about Slovenia..........

Map of Slovenia.

My travel pics, in no particular order......

Beautiful mountains in the western part of the country.

Hiking near the Julian Alps.

The Škocjan Caves. (Can you see the man in this pic?)

A church on Lake Bohinj.

 Lake Bled - a must-see. (I didn't take this shot.)

Ljubljana, the capitol of Slovenia.

 Napoleon's Bridge over the Soča River.

 The Soča River. Yes, that's the real color - amazing.

The Soča River.

A small town on the Soča River, where we stopped for cappuccinos.

Piran, on the Adriatic Sea.

I have more pictures from our trip here if your interested. More? Yes, 223 more.

Also, whenever we travel to Europe, we always go by Rick Steves' recommendations - and we always have an amazing time. Here is his program on Slovenia.....

Go see Slovenia, you will not be disappointed. And the people are wonderful.

Thanks for looking.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

"Fearless" Shadowbox - 2015

Here is "Fearless", my latest shadowbox - which really turned into a labor of love. Since I wanted to put the figure in this kind of dress, I had to spend a lot of time carving her basswood body - much more than I would if I was covering her body with clothes.
And I had this idea of placing the figure up on top of the shadowbox for a while, and I really think it turned out well.
The shadowbox is made from scratch, and the ladder and mirror are found objects. I added a little paint to the mirror but left the ladder as I found it - it was perfect as is.
The frame and the interior of the shadowbox were decoupaged with pages from vintage books, then the frame was painted with a wash of metallic gold acrylic paint, and the whole piece was distressed in my usual fashion.

The piece measures 16.5" x 23" x 5.5" and hangs on the wall. The piece is signed and dated. And is sold.

With this piece I wanted to stick with a limited color palette, and keep the scene pretty simple.

She appears to look down from her perch. (I thought about calling her "Plucky" or "Moxie", but I had already used those titles on previous pieces.)

I was pretty happy with the way her body came out. It's so much easier to cover my figures up with clothes, but this dress really seemed to be the perfect fit for her. Her clothes were made by me - the lower part of her dress is actually a vintage handkerchief my wife had. 

I made her head and face purposely elongated; to go along with her long limbs.

Details of the frame, her leg, hand, and the ladder. I put her in tights so I didn't have to worry about carving her toes, plus it goes with her outfit.

The mirror, slightly distressed.

In-progress pics.....

My drawing for her body. I purposely wanted her arms and legs to be elongated, and stylized/idealized - like a fashion model.

Fitting the figure to the frame - making sure she sat on the top properly. The shadowbox is also in-progress here.

Fitting her arm to her torso. I wanted her hands to be right on the edge of the frame, so I had to do some reverse engineering here.

The figure is finished and ready to be painted. I really had to hide the seams of her neck and arms; usually they are covered with clothing. I made her neck out of wood this time so I could carve it down where needed.

In the middle of my painting process. The two brass pins will hold the figure in place.

Thanks for looking!