30 Days #6 – Dolphin

30 Days #6 – Dolphin

So this was another sculpture using the gorgeous combo of Cernit White and Doll White.

I was planning on making a sleek, elegant, realistic dolphin along the same lines of the sea lion I’d already done.

It didn’t want to hear it.

I was working with a reference photo at a slightly odd angle but I could have shaved it down so the tail looked like it was farther in the distance, and thinned out the head and torso so everything was a bit more in proportion…

But how could I do surgery on its personality, when it was grinning at me so cheerfully?

So here is my cute little perky dolphin instead. I’ll make a sleek one some other time.

Enjoy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Posted by Skygrazer in animals and nature, art, polymer clay, 2 comments
30 Days #4 – Forget Me Not

30 Days #4 – Forget Me Not

I didn’t realize until afterwards that I mixed up the days when I was scheduling, so this piece was actually first. Time travel on the internet…

This was a very special commission that I’ve been working on for the last week. It will be one of six pieces for sisters whose mother loved forget-me-nots.

They’re one of my favorite flowers too – one of my front beds is seeded with them – and I really wanted to do it justice.

I also wanted to add something alive, and we chose a butterfly. A Karner Blue to be specific. It’s about an inch long, a beautiful blue on the inner wings and a silvery grey on the outside. (Male and female have slightly different patterns.)

Beautiful, rare, fragile, protected. Perfect for this piece.

A black clay background might seem strange, but I knew it was going in a black frame, and if you do it right, the colors end up looking deep and rich.

It ended up with about 6 layers of acrylic paint in thin washes and dry brushed details before I was happy with it, but here’s the final piece.

And here it is framed. It’s a 4 inch relief sculpture in an 8 inch frame.

Posted by Skygrazer in animals and nature, art, Challenge, polymer clay, 0 comments
30 Days #5 – In Remembrance

30 Days #5 – In Remembrance

This was another version of the commission I’m working on.

This time I used white clay – Cernit – for a more delicate look.

I actually really like the look of it all white, but then you can’t tell it’s a cluster of bright blue forget-me-nots so I added color.

I wanted a more transparent effect to the paint on this one though so I used oils.

And here it is in the frame. I really love how both of them came out.

Posted by Skygrazer in animals and nature, art, Challenge, polymer clay, 4 comments
30 Days #3. Kraken On Board

30 Days #3. Kraken On Board

This was my original concept when I saw these frames.

Ship porthole. Steampunk. Kraken or Giant Squid… ๐Ÿ™‚

So here, it is. The Kraken looking in your window, ready to come aboard.

The eye is made of glass, but it’s the color of the powders and markings on the clay that I added behind it that gives it its color.

This is made from black Cernit, decorated with pan pastels and mica powders.

Posted by Skygrazer in art, Challenge, pastel, polymer clay, 0 comments

30 Days #2. Sea Lion

This is from a photo I took of a sea lion posing at the Bronx zoo. He looked like a bronze sculpture already.

I thought about going for a bronze look but I wanted to try out the Cernit a bit more. This is a mix of 2 parts Cernit doll white, and 1 part regular White. It’s such a lovely glowing white once it’s baked.

Since I was sculpting for a very deep miniature frame (still about 2×3″ but about an inch deep) and I wasn’t planning to paint it, I made the form rounder and smoother than I normally would. And I extended the front flipper over the edge of the frame.

I really love the effect and I’d like to try more of these.

It seems like a simple sculpture but ended up taking at least 5-6 hoursย  over two days to get to that state. He had nose surgery at one point, and some of the time was trying to keep the clay clean as I worked.

Why is it my sweet little black cat only wants to sit on my lap while I’m sculpting?ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰


Posted by Skygrazer in animals and nature, art, Challenge, polymer clay, 0 comments
30 Days #1 – Sky Hook

30 Days #1 – Sky Hook

Here’s the first layers of paint applied – drybrushing and washes of acrylic where I slowly built up the color to what I wanted.

Here’s my steampunk snail all done and painted, and ready to take off into the sky.

And here it is in its handmade hardwood frame.

I am really happy with this one ๐Ÿ™‚ It has the storybook, other worldly feel I was going for.

By the way, this was another of my experiments with Cernit clay. The biggest thing for me is still the softening as you work it, but I’m starting to use that to my advantage. I wrap a little clay in plastic wrap and stick it in my pocket so it’s warm and easily smoothed.

I leached a bit (time honored method of sandwiching the clay between paper and sitting on it) then left that on a cool tile so I had some clay that was stiffer.

It worked out quite well I think.

Posted by Skygrazer in art, Challenge, polymer clay, 0 comments
Steampunked – The 30 Day Challenge Begins

Steampunked – The 30 Day Challenge Begins

This was inspired by a great photo of a snail that my brother took.. But as you can see I added a little to the original inspiration ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m posting these starting January 1st but I actually started my challenge Dec 28th since I had a few days off and it seemed silly to wait. This particular piece stretches “the rules” a bit since I started the sculpting even before that. I wanted to prove out how I was handling the odd shaped frames.

But I didn’t finish it until the first day of the challenge so I’m counting itย  ๐Ÿ™‚

This was actually 3 curings. Once for the initial baking layer, once for what you see here – the dirigible and the snail shell, and the final layer below. I did it in multiple bakings because I didn’t want to crush the shell as I sculpted the snail and it’s harness.

Doesn’t look like too much yet in black, does it?

Wait until it’s all painted.

Posted by Skygrazer in art, Challenge, polymer clay, 0 comments

Octagonal frames

I’ve had 15 really cool small octagonal frames for awhile.

Well actually 14. One of them’s a hexagon. They’re all handmade in hardwoods like cherry, mahogany and oak. I bought them from the art association because another artist was destashing them.

Even though they’re so nice, I can understand why. They’re an odd size. Oh, and they’re not all the SAME size either. Only two of them had glass and it looked like it was painstakingly cut and then they gave up…

So… I’ve been figuring out how I can use them in my upcoming challenge.

Normally I sculpt on a ceramic tile or glass. It’s hard, flat, and the clay pops off easily after it’s baked. I could have drawn an outline on a large tile and used that, but as you sculpt, the clay smudges and expands. Any lines would be covered and erased and it would be hard to recut them without ruining my sculpture.

It took a few hours (and my husbands help on the first few) but I was able to trace and cut templates/backer boards out of mat board.

Tip: Use a corkbacked metal ruler (it doesn’t slip and you can’t cut into it), a very sharp exacto style knife and multiple cuts as needed. Switch blades often.

The problem with mat board is that if you leave the clay on it for any length of time, the plasticizers (what keeps the clay pliable) will leach out into the mat board. Forget trying to leave it overnight and working on it over multiple days, as I often do – even during a challenge.

Solution: I baked a thin layer of clay on one of my matboard template. Then I peeled it off and used that for my backing. A couple drops of diluent, another layer of fresh clay, and I was ready to go.

I’m thinking steampunk or the fantastical… ๐Ÿ™‚

Posted by Skygrazer in art, polymer clay, tips and tricks, 2 comments
30 Day Challenge – January

30 Day Challenge – January

I will be doing another 30 day art challenge in January. I did this last year as part of Leslie Saeta’s 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.

One of her rules is that there are no rules, which is good because I did small polymer clay relief sculptures instead of paintingsย  ๐Ÿ™‚

This year, she’s running it in February instead of January, but since I was all psyched up to do a challenge in January, I’ll be doing it on my own.

I’ll be posting here to the blog, and on Instagram ( ChristyShermanArt ) which automatically posts to Facebook.ย Stay tuned…ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Let me know if you’d like to do your own challenge and I’ll post a link to you.

Posted by Skygrazer in Challenge, creativity and inspiration, my news, 0 comments

Framing my Velvety Rabbit Miniature

Here it is all finished and framed.

As a tip – try to pick a frame BEFORE you do a sculpture. I’ve had to do a few creative things when I didn’t that make the whole process a lot more work. The sculpting part is the fun part ๐Ÿ˜‰

This is the frame I designed it for – I actually used the glass from the frame as my sculpting surface although I popped the clay off afterwards.

This was another option… But I didn’t like it quite as well for this sculpture.

This plain black frame set the clay off a little better (and I’ll be using more of these) but it wasn’t the right size so I couldn’t use it this time around.

Stay safe, happy, and warm, and let me know if you have any questions about the process.

Posted by Skygrazer in animals and nature, art, polymer clay, 0 comments