With all the praise the 2 previous chess pieces got from friends and family how could I help but make more. Frankly, I’m enjoying the unusual pace of these pieces as well. As with the previous sculpts I’m averaging about 16 hours on each one but that average is coming down, especially if I keep experimenting to a minimum.
Spending way too much time on a single piece of art is not new to me. What IS new is my concentration on a number of pieces that are in the same vein like this. Usually, after working on one sculpture for a few months, I begin to long for something different: a different medium, a different subject, a different size, anything different. True, it is also source of pride when I can amaze a person with my “jack-of-all-designs” display of sculptures; big bugs, little bugs, lighters, buckles, complex textures, robots, people, aliens, dragons, animals, furry, wrinkly, skinny, smooth, fat, strong, feathered and that’s just the clay things. I’ve made a bit of everything from this urge to create something very different than what I’d created before. By sculpting these 4 dinosaur pieces (and counting) I’m making similar sizes and textures. With each dinosuar chess piece I’ve gotten more confident when it comes time to exclaim “finished!” That does literally happen, usually between 3am and 4am.
In a couple previous blog posts I pontificated about how artists know when they’ve finished a work of art. I also got some great feedback from YOU and other friends on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter… Did I thank you? Thank you. With this current series of dinosaurs, it’s helpful to compare the piece I’m working on to the previous pieces. Of course, they aren’t exactly alike but they’re meant to be alike-ish. Because they’re of similar size and scale, I’ve use the same tools and (knock on wood) each piece has had similar problem areas and fixes. So now, it’s between 1-3 am when they’re “alike-ish” enough… Finished!!
Can’t make a dinosaur chess set without making a Tyrannosaurus Rex, but sculpting a bipedal critter comes with all sorts of ojida. First, how do you sculpt something that won’t stand on it’s own and second, how do you sculpt that thing so that it WILL stand on it’s own when it’s done? Well… screw it.
By securely screwing one of its feet to a small piece of wood I was able to add clay to the armature and sculpt fine detail with ease. Because the Sculpey clay has such a low bake temperature I put the chess piece into the oven with the wood attached. A sheet of foil was used to separate the clay from the wood base so it wouldn’t stick. Although the wood shouldn’t burst into flame during the baking process, it’s best to still keep an eye on it… it’s a crazy world.
Still the question remained, how can I be sure my T. Rex will stand up once it’s baked and I unscrew him from the wooden base? Well… screw it.
Since I don’t know any math formulas to calculate balance I just sculpted the T. Rex and adjusted his pose to my liking. “If it won’t stand-up”, I figured, “maybe I can fix it after… if not, screw it.”
With luck on my side, the T. Rex stands on his own, no problemo! To finish the piece after I unscrewed it from the base, I filled the empty screw hole in his foot with more clay, detailed and baked it one final time.
I had already sculpted 2 chess pieces with 4 legs, so I felt pretty confident this Triceratops would be a breeze.
The the only hurdle in making this Triceratops was making it “alike-ish” the other pieces while still making his body distinctly different. Truth be told, most of the information I could find about Triceratops is regarding its head.
I did eventually find some info about its body and feet but I still used it as an opportunity to unleash some artistic liberties.
So, I expect there to be more blog posts shortly. In fact, while I was procrastinating this very post, I sculpted a number of other things. I’ve had to close up my art desk to get myself to acknowledge the computer again.
It’s not you… it’s me.