Now that I’ve completed the Languedoc-Roussillon series, I must move on to the next task on my list: Holiday ornaments. I need to make several for NOA for their upcoming holiday season display (which sounds really nice; 5 white Christmas trees displayed in both stores & decorated entirely with local artisan-made ornaments.) And there are the upcoming shows on my schedule (Merrimack Valley Artisans, Bolton Artisans Guild, ArtSpace-Maynard.) Time to GET BUSY!
Last year I made a few ornaments using disk shaped glass ornaments as my armature. Here is one example:
This year I decided to try sculpting over a round ornament. That comes with a different set of challenges as the shape can change the perspective.
I wanted to make a prototype piece first. This one is the practice piece and takes all the grief. Poor ornament.
Here is my process for this cat prototype. I started with white polymer clay, covered the glass ball and added facial features. I really struggled with the face. That could be because I haven’t sculpted in a while and was shifting gears from the encaustic work back to polymer clay.
I know I was also hard on myself in seeking perfection on a practice piece. I know better but it happens anyways. Just have to remind myself “this is only a test….”
Back view with tail
After proto-cat was cured and cooled, I added an antique wash of acrylic paint.
Not bad. Now you can see the texture I added with a needle tool.
Next up is adding more color. This year I’m experimenting with oil paints and coloring the clay. So I rubbed, smooshed, and then wiped off several oil paints to give proto-cat some color.
Well now he’s glowing. It takes a little trial and error when applying the oil paint. Be sure to wear gloves! At this point I’m not really happy with the results. What I see in front of me isn’t matching what is in my head…or my model/inspiration for that matter.
Taking a clue from my model (who is sleeping on the studio floor), I take a break and come back to the ornament in the evening. I add some more oil paint and additional color with Prismacolor pencils. This adds some depth and definition.
And a back view. I think I like his tail the best….
Sigh. I’m still not feeling the love here. Proto-cat looks a little alien to me. But that is why this is a prototype.
I spent some time really looking at the cats and the shape of the ornament. Proto-cat’s face still seems flat to me. It looks like a cat but it doesn’t. Some things I’ll change on the next one:
build out the face instead of adding face parts
make the eyes rounder
make smaller marks with the needle tool
work from a picture versus memory or a sleeping model
try a different polymer clay that is easier to manipulate