The last few weeks I've had lots of energy and inspiration and have been working on quite a few projects! One of them is a new seahorse sculpture that I started before Thanksgiving and just finished up Friday night. I have to say, I absolutely love how this turned out!
It was really hard to get good pictures of this guy because of his size and the darker paint colors I used, but hopefully you get the idea... personally I think he's even cooler in person :)
Over the last few years I've been working a lot with the idea of making 3D sculptures based on stencil designs; my original idea started with inspiration from a class I took at a Create retreat as well as some old grade-school art class techniques, but slowly I've been evolving my process as I find new supplies and tools and get more experience in this area. At some point I'll probably make this into a class (most likely online or a 2-day in person class,) but for now I thought I'd share a very quick overview of how he was made.
I started with the Seahorses stencil by June Pfaff Daley and inked it onto cardboard and then cut out the general shape.
From there, I used aluminum foil and masking tape to start to build up the armature. I found that the tip of a bone folder was really helpful for molding some of the details. When the armature was finished, I covered the whole thing with Aves Apoxie Clay and then once it was no longer water soluble, I went back in and added details. While the clay was still workable, I also made sure to insert a wood skewer so that he could be attached to a base later on and then let the whole thing cure overnight.
Once it was cured, I coated it with gold gesso, then started adding layers of paints and washes as well as some waxes and gold leafing until I got it looking the way I wanted. It started to take a very metallic and steampunk-esque turn along the way, so I just went with it. When all the paint was dry, I continued along those lines and started adding some metal gears that I aged in Jax solution as well as some old watch parts and vintage watch faces. I also inserted some vintage rhinestones to tie in the broken Turkmen bracelet piece I had added as a collar.
It still felt like it needed something, so I pulled out my collection of broken Turkmen jewelry (which is admittedly large and also pretty fabulous,) and started searching for the perfect finishing pieces.
I found a few pieces of chain and the absolute perfect section of another broken bracelet to attach to the collar as a kind of pectoral piece. That was the exact detail it needed to feel finished. I added a bit of sari yarn around the skewer and inserted it into a vintage wooden spool that I'd glazed and waxed and accessorized with some embellished sari trim and more broken jewelry parts. (The skewer is held in place with more Apoxie Clay.)
Did I mention how pleased I am with the result? Here are some more photos so you can see details of the finished piece:
The sculpture itself came out quite symmetrical, but I didn't want to have the embellishments the same on both sides so I mixed it up a bit.
On the post, I added more chains and some bronze microbeads to cover the join with the sculpture. (And let's face it... I really just wanted to add more bling!)
I've got plans to keep working on a series of these sculptures - maybe different sizes of seahorses, different animals... (an elephant for sure!) We'll see where it goes!
PS... in case you haven't heard, I'm also going to be an artist instructor in Creative JumpStart 2018! Join me and 30 other teachers to get a jump on your creative year with daily mixed media video lessons... it says $50 in the image below, but from now until December 31st, it's only $45 - that works out to just $1.45 per lesson, and you can download them to keep forever!