Saturday, December 31, 2011

SCULPTURE - "Santa vs. The Yeti" pt. 4

"Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus..." This is my final post for 2011! Hard to believe the year will be over in a few hours. Glad I was able to finish this phase of the sculpt just in the "St. Nick" of time! (I know...I'm groaning too.)

Let's walk ya through the process...I'm sure it's starting to get a bit repetitious. As before, I made a wire armature to get the size and pose where I wanted it. I made Santa a bit larger in scale than the original rough-in.

I made the hammer out of a nail, and plumbers epoxy. Then I covered them with the sculpy, and baked it.

I was trying something new this time around. Many sculptors that I follow online use a heat gun for "locking in" certain areas of a sculpt, while keeping other areas soft, to continue sculpting. I have much to learn about you will see, I scorched a lot of the rest of the sculpture. I just didn't want to wait on using my little toaster, as the heat gun is a faster way to bake stuff. I used plumbers epoxy to connect the hammer to the arm...then just started building up details.

Santa's face was a little tricky, since the size of it was so small. I'm not super patient with the tiny details, so it isn't as refined as I'd like. After I had baked the face, I added some beard bits on top. It's all shiny, because I glazed it with solvent, to blend the surface some.

Once I attached the head, I just kept going with more detailing. As I've said before, I was going for a "barbarian" style Santa. After the final baking, the features were so scorched by the heat gun, that I couldn't see much of what I'd sculpted! So...I painted on a quick coat of acrylic, and it's good to go. (I will not be baking it any more, so the next stage for this guy will be the final paint job.) I'm currently re-reading "The Hobbit", so it may be why Santa looks a bit like a battling DWARF!

I'm on the home stretch now. Next will be addition of Yeti Fur, and an ice-covered base. After that...the final painted piece!
"See ya NEXT YEAR!" Happy 2012!

Monday, December 26, 2011

SCULPTURE - "Santa vs. The Yeti" pt. 3

Now that Christmas is behind us, I'm picking up some momentum on sculpting the YETI. The image above is still pretty rough, but it's getting there bit by bit. Let's look at the development of some of those "bits".

Usually, after I rough in a general layout of a piece, I start taking it apart and refining specific elements. I cut off the hand, and made a new armature of wire. After adding a bit of Sculpy for the fingers, I made some claws separately and baked them by themselves. I then added the claws back into the softer clay. You'll notice the gray color of the's a mixture of "super" sculpy and "super...firm" (which is gray). I didn't like the crumbly texture of the firm, so blending the two gives it enough firmness for detailing. (Thanks, Jake A., for that tip!)

Before I baked the hand, I glazed it with some oder-less solvent (like you use with oil paints). This softens some of the details a bit. After baking, I used super sculpy to add some fur texture...then baked it again.

I attached the wire "stem" from the armature of the hand back onto the forearm of the Yeti. I used wire to wrap the stem around the arm's inner foil/wire, then used Plumbers Epoxy to make a good solid joint at the wrist. I added the sculpy back on top and it's ready for more detailing later. let's switch over the YETI's HEAD! This is one of the most important parts, and was fun to see where I'd end up. I was strongly influenced by Silverback Gorillas, but tried to keep some human-like expressions, too. I used the rough sculpt to give me some size relationships, but the face got a bit larger...which was fine with me. I began with a nice set of "choppers"...fangs made separately and baked, then blended in to the jaws.

Once the teeth were baked, I just started adding bits of clay to create the head. I didn't linger on the fur details, as I would be adding that later. The eyeballs are copper colored "BB's".

You've heard of "defacing art"? Sorry if this looks a bit gruesome...he felt no pain.

Here's the new face, with a little bit of quick texture to give me an idea of how it will look, once I start refining the rest of his fur.

You'll notice that Santa is not on his back...think I'll work on him next. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SCULPTURE - "Santa vs. The Yeti" pt. 2

Let's get this Yeti started! I finally got all my Christmas shopping and wrapping done, so I was able to sculpt some this afternoon. This version is, as usual, my rough block-in. I will cut things apart and start refining specific areas...i.e. the Yeti's face, hand, Santa, etc. Then I can work all the fur after I reassemble the parts. Now that I look at the proportions, I will probably make Santa a bit larger.

Here is the basic armature that I started with...and a bit of foil wrapped with wire to "bulk" out the torso (so I don't have to use so much Sculpy). I forgot to take photos of the in-between stages of putting on the clay...but figured you'd get the idea. Remember, you can click on the images to see larger versions.
More to come in the days ahead!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

RUBY last gig

Last Friday night, I had a blast playing with the band at our drummer's "farewell to my house party". Rick and his wife are downsizing, and we "rocked the neighborhood" one last time. Well...for was, indeed, the "last time". The guys (and gal) in the band have been very gracious and understanding about my situation, and I really appreciate their friendship. I posted this on the RUBY SHOES BAND facebook page a few minutes ago:

Not sure who all will read this, but I wanted to explain why you probably won't be seeing my face in future photos of "Ruby Shoes". Sadly, I've had to "retire" from playing percussion with the band. It was a really tough decision, but the right one. I have a congenital heart condition that runs in my family, as well as a bad lower back.
The HUGE FUN of playing with these great musicians over the last year distracted me from listening to what my body has been communicating. This "band life" is just too physically challenging for my heart. I appreciate all the support folks have given me while I was having the time of my life jammin' with my friends.

Please continue to come to the gigs when Ruby Shoes is out there... guarantee you'll have to "keep on dancin' !!!"

Thanks, was a great ride!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

SCULPTURE - "Santa vs. The Yeti" pt. 1

It's been WAY too long since I've done a sculpture project. I'm taking some time off during the holidays, and really wanted to have something fun to work on while at home. An epiphany hit me one morning, and it seemed perfect for the season. I may not be able to finish it before Christmas is over, but I'll get a good start on it.

I was thinking about all the animated classics on TV this time of year...especially "Rudolph", with Yukon Cornelius fighting the Abominable Snowman. It occurred to me that since Santa lives in the North Pole, it's possible he comes from good Norsemen stock. I figured that, before he could set up the ol' toyshop, he had to make it safe for Mrs. Claus and his tiny little elves. Thus, the battles ensued to clear the land of voracious Yeti...a much larger and more vicious version than the modern day shy creatures of lore. Maybe Santa is the reason they hide!

I started with a very rough sketch, just to capture the idea. Then I saw my ugly mug in the mirror and a camera on the dresser...voila...yeti poses to work from.

I gathered images off the internet to inspire me. (Hope these folks don't mind my posting this stuff!) I plan to build on the "viking / barbarian" theme for Santa's look.

Tonight I decided to work up a tighter color sketch shown above, just to help refine the concept a bit. I will probably change some things along the way. I don't want to be limited to the sketch...the YETI must reveal himself in the clay! Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

SKETCHBOOK - "Waiting for an oil change...again"

I promise...I don't go to get an oil change for my van, just so I can draw people.

But since I was there yesterday, I couldn't resist continuing this ongoing series.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

SKETCHBOOK - "Tree Grove"

Had no plans this morning, so I went to mail some bills, then had breakfast. I wandered across the street from the restaurant afterward, and walked the path around an office park pond. Found a little bench in front of this grove of trees...a perfect place to spend the morning sketching in the warm sun.

On the stroll to my van on the other side of the pond, I came upon this amusing sign. They could've just said, "No Fun Allowed!" I then proceeded to fish, swim, wade, throw rocks, and feed the geese until they were ready to pop!
UPDATE 10-30-11
Decided to add one more sketch. Stayed after church this afternoon (instead of coming home to rake the stupid leaves). It was pretty windy out on the lawn. I like the architectural design of the layered roof line. But my perspective got a little off on this one...once you start with the ink pen, there's no turning back. Might have to try this one again sometime.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

SKETCHBOOK - "Kearney Farm"

Today, all the folks from my department at work went on a "Day Away" to Kearney, MO for some creative renewal and fun. We were free to roam the property that is owned by Hallmark...acres of land with ponds, beautiful fields and walking trails. The weather was gorgeous (though a bit nippy), and it was great to just kick back and enjoy time with my co-workers. Above is the only sketch I made...started in the morning when my friend, Joan, was beginning a painting...then finished the drawing and added color in the afternoon.

I decided to dig around in my archives to show you a painting I did of the same house 6 years ago, on another "Day Away" in October of '05.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

SKETCHBOOK - "Stinky Pig"

I can't believe it's been a month since my last post! Truth is, I have been doing a lot of creative things...but not with the visual arts. I've been working on co-writing some songs with a buddy of mine who lives in New York...we share music files over emails, and each work on the other guy's tunes. It's been a blast! I HAD to get my sketchbook's been way too long!

This batch of drawings is from a few hours that I spent today at the Deanna Rose Farmstead. It's a petting zoo that we used to take the kids to. Over the years, it has expanded into a wonderful park with lots of antique farm equipment all about, and many more animals. The weather was perfect, so I had a great time (even though it was pretty crowded with families everywhere).

The sketch at the top was a VERY STINKY pig that was kind enough to take a nap while I drew her. Below is another cooperative model..."Chico" the pony, who was on break from "letting" kids ride him.

A bison in the sun...or "buffalo" if you prefer.

And a couple of nifty pieces of farm machinery.
After I was done sketchin'...I ended up at a music store and bought myself another little drum, a "foot tamborine", and a new "shaker" for band practice tomorrow. All in all...a very nice day!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

RUBY SHOES...Post-gig

Just thought I'd give a brief report on the gig last night at Danny's Bar and Grill. We were crammed onto a very tight little stage (which looked much bigger when it was empty). Didn't quite know what to expect with the turnout...started off small, but by the end of our set, there were at least 75 folks in there to hear us. Frankly, I think the band wished we could have played more than our Hour and a Half slot before the other band played at 11:30. We had to cut our playlist short, but as they say...leave 'em wanting more! We had a lot of fun, though, and it was good to get some exposure. Hopefully we'll get invited to play somewhere else soon.

If you facebook, do a search for "Ruby Shoes Band" for some more photos.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

RUBY SHOES...Tonight!!!

Media blitz!! Just givin' you one more chance to change your plans and come see us!

Friday, September 23, 2011

RUBY SHOES...Tomorrow Night!

The poster says it all...well...technically, not ALL. It doesn't say how much fun we have in the band, or how much fun YOU will have if you come see us in person!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

SKETCHBOOK: Waitin' and Sketchin'

Many of the drawings I've done in my sketchbooks are created while waiting for something else to happen. It helps pass the time, and I often get so caught up in the process, that I forget what I was supposed to be doing instead of sketching. Today, after church, I was waiting for a store to open, and saw this little construction site in the parking lot. As has happened before, someone came up at the end, looked over my shoulder and asked, "Are you an artist?" I try to be polite when I answer "Yes", but it always amuses me. Kind of like watching someone swimming laps in a pool, and asking, "Are you a swimmer?"

In keeping with the "waiting theme", the sketch of the guy above, and the series below, were done while waiting to get my oil changed back in May. I've posted similar "oil change" sketches, and you'll probably see more...just a great spot to people-watch.

Here's one I drew way back in 2008, but haven't posted before. This was done while waiting at an Art Fair in downtown Kansas City. "Cliff" was selling CDs of his music while playing live...some nice jazz tunes, if I recall.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

RUBY SHOES...our next GIG!

I haven't been doing a lot of artwork at home these days, but have been focusing more on music in my "spare time". The dance band I'm in has an upcoming gig at a local sports bar and grill. If you happen to be in the area, we'd love to have you drop in and check us out! See the little flyer above for details.

And if you're on facebook, you can do a search of Ruby Shoes Band to hear a few audio clips!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

GRANDSON part 2 more update on my new grandson, then back to the "art stuff" on this blog. Jackson came home yesterday, and everyone is doin' great! He's still a tiny little dude...I had to run out and get some premie "onesies" yesterday, 'cause he was being swallowed by his KU shirt!!

Oh yeah...I guess I do have some "art" to show's a sketch I made during the long night waiting for lil' Jackson to be born...Courtney and Andrew trying to rest in between contractions. I think Andrew figured out how to do that the best.

Even while fighting off a migrane headache, contractions, and a long night with no sleep, Courtney said something while I was drawing: "I can do this. I'm awesome."

She is, indeed! Way to go, daughter of mine!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

I'm a Grandpaw!!

Big day...loooonnnngggg day...exciting day!!! My daughter Courtney had a baby this afternoon...Jackson William Shay! We had a "false start" on Wednesday afternoon. But around 12:45 this morning, Courtney's water broke, and we were off to the races.

Proud parents, Courtney and her husband, Andrew, with lil' Jackson.

Tiny baby Jackson in the hands of his Uncle Dan.

Everyone is healthy and we're so blessed that things went well. Thank you Lord!! 2...grandson stole my crusty ol' heart already!