Chimpanzee Sculpture is Done!

This is a reader-supported site. When you buy through links on this site, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for your support! 🙂

The chimpanzee sculpture that I started three or four weeks ago is finally done! I really like this guy. As soon as I finish painting my kitchen I’ll make a stand for him.

This is a mixed media sculpture. The face was cast in Aqua-Resin, and the body was formed with paper mache over a clay master. When the paper mache was dry the clay was removed. Then I added texture (and the wrinkles on the fingers) with more paper mache and paper mache clay. When it was absolutely dry I sealed the sculpture and sprayed on a primer to prepare it for the iron coating from Sculpt Nouveau.

When the second coat of iron coating was still wet, I sprayed it with Tiffany green patina (which causes the iron to rust). After allowing the patina to work it’s magic for about 24 hours I then sealed the sculpture with Sculpt Nouveau’s clear metal wax. I finished buffing him about 15 minutes ago, and I couldn’t wait to show him off.

By the way, since I’ve never used the iron coating before, I relied heavily on these videos from Brick in the Yard on YouTube.

I have never used such expensive materials in a sculpture before, (or such a complicated construction method!) but I love the way he came out. He’s about 12 1/2″ high, 14″ wide and deep. Click on the photos below to see them enlarged.

35 thoughts on “Chimpanzee Sculpture is Done!”

  1. Hi Jonni,

    Your art is beautifully done. I had no idea till this past weekend that paper mache was such an evolved medium. My favorite is your chimpanzee. He looks like he’s in deep contemplation. Thank you for all the information you have provided on your site and on youtube, I’m hanging on every word. I used to carve wood when my hands were younger and I draw, yet miss working in three dimensions. I usually read the news online but ran out today and bought a pile of newspapers. I think the resurgence of paper mache may singlehandedly save the newspaper industry. I can’t wait to start, this is going to be fun!

  2. Jonni-
    WOW I love him! You did an awesome job. He looks like he is casted. What an amazing way to get a rich final Master Piece! Bravo!!

    While I was searching the web for a paper clay recipe ,I stumbled across a blog that led me to you. I love your work!

    I am a mother of 6 and I am a high school teacher at a home school co-op. I teach a class that is called “Creative Word” it is three part class. It combines youth group (open discussion of life’s issues and what they are facing),Bible Study( as far as talking about what the Word says about a particular subject how it can be applied to everyday life) then we interrupt it into some type of Art work. Right now we are working on a Mosiac Self Portrait entitled “Speak Spirit Speak”. I took Photos of them had them draw the out line of their photo on tracing paper then transfer that outline on a primed MDF board. They had to write down on the right side of the paper all the wonderful characteristics about themselves.
    after they were done with that on the back side of the paper on the left they had to write down all the traits that were not so good about themselves, things they struggle with etc.. across the paper on right side of paper they had to write the opposite of the negative, with a supporting scripture . Example : fearful – courageous Phil 4:13 or 2 Tim 1:7. The mosaic comes in to play they must use words, colored paper, painted paper in gradation if they need to have variations
    for shading and highlighting etc. It all has to be torn and they are not allowed to cut so the edges need to be considered. I cant wait until they are done. They are doing a fantastic job. The Lesson I want them to learn from this is they are multifaceted Masterpieces Created by the Almighty. I want them to replace their negative thoughts of themselves with what God says about them and see how that can become a part of who they are. I love what I teach. Art Therapy is my passion. Now that I explained who and what I do, I hope you can help me.
    Are funds are low. I would like us as a class to make a life size (adult) human form. I did this in my sculpting class in college using found objects. I used white rolled paper wrapped around me then used masking tape to secure and keep the form them my friend cut the edges and it was removed in sections them reassembled,re-taped and filled with shredded paper to bulk out the form(so it didn’t collapse) then to stand it up on base I used a steel rod armature, then I sprayed painted it white it was monochromatic piece. But I want something more durable because of how I want to install it. Do you think I could make a wire armature secured to steel rod then bulk form out with masking tape, tin foil, styrofoam and foam insulation (the kind you spray) then I can carve it then add your clay recipe? What and how did you use the Aqua – Resin to make the chimpanzees head? I would like detail, but strength. Which recipe is better for this application? When we made paper clay in sculpting class we use shredded paper for office (free) white glue and crushed dried scrap clay (also FREE) I still have my small sculpture from college, we baked it in the oven. Any advise would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for all your sharing… I love to teaching, sharing and see all the different interpretations and applications using the same media. Thank you for any advice…God BLess You Abundantly!
    Ann Reed

    • I forgot a step important one in the life size sculpture I made after retaping paper form back together and filling it with shredded paper I wrapped it with more masking tape , then covered it with strips of white rolled paper and liquid starch that made it hard, then once it was dried I sprayed painted it all white. It was actually 2 female forms and was a statement piece about woman needing woman to accomplish a mission not one is more important than the other both are equally needed. title “Judith and the Hand maid” I will have to see If I have a picture of it somewhere.

    • HI ann. I haven’t done anything quite like that, but it sounds like it would work. Here’s a guest post showing a project that is really similar to what you describe.

      The resin chimp head was created using a mold. It was a rather long process, and I’m not sure I would do it the same way again. I started with a modeling clay head sculpture, and then made a negative mold using re-usable wax mold material. The aqua-resin was applied in several layers, and when it was solid I removed the wqax, which destroys the mold. There are instructions on the aqua-resin website, but they aren’t very detailed. And the stuff is really expensive. I enjoyed using it, though, so I’ll probably find more projects for it.

      I’ve never used the recipe you desribe, using paper, glue and clay – but it sounds interesting. the original paper mache clay recipe does’t need to be baked, and it’s really strong.

      Good luck! (and Im sorry it took so long to get back to you – I was away from my computer for several days).

  3. Thank you so much for looking at my site. I do all the illustrations/designs there & hope to have more soon. I keep thinking your chimpanzee should be in a museum of natural history or something like that where a lot of people can see him & enjoy his company. Not sure how you’d go about that, but he truly is wonderful. I also think you would do very well if you do decide to open a shop or just post your work for sale.

  4. Jonni – Your work is absolutely amazing. I could stay on your site reading and looking at your work for hours, and plan to! First, I’d like to thank you for being so kind to share your tips, how to’s, etc. I’m hoping to join your daily group soon and try my hand at paper mache again. It’s been years, but I’ve always loved it. One thing I was wondering is, do you also draw and/or paint? It seems like you may do so in order to recreate such lifelike sculptures. Also, (sorry for the 20 questions 🙂 – do you sell your work? If not, what do you do with all these wonderful creations? Many thanks! Lori

    • Hi Lori. Thanks for the kind comments. Did you design the t-shirts on your site? They’re very nice.

      I do draw, but not as often as I used to. I sold pen and ink drawings at the Pike Place Market in Seattle about 30 years ago, but I haven’t really spent a lot of time drawing since then. You’re right though – it is really helpful for sculpting. I have not sold any of my paper mache sculptures, but I would be willing to sell the chimpanzee if someone made me a nice offer. Then I could afford to make another one. 😉

  5. Jonni,
    Kudos! Absolutely brillant and I don’t even like monkeys! I like him though! I have mentioned your work and site on a Art Doll site and I know that at least one other artist likes your site! I look forward to your finished Harry and seeing pics of your color on the Kitchen! You are not afraid of color thank goodness! lol:)

  6. Oh, congrats, Jonni! He turned out really great! I like the iron finish with the patina, too. How did you remove the clay? Just scrape it out, or cut the paper mache and pull it off the clay somehow?

    Did you do some painting on the eyes before or after your iron finish? I detect some iris coloring, don’t I?

    You are really going to have to figure out how to sell your artwork, y’know!

    • Hey Xan. The clay was built hollow, and I didn’t cover the bottom of the piece. When the paper mache was dry, I just pulled out the wet clay. It stayed wet because I covered it with plastic before adding the paper mache, and I also threw a damp paper towel inside to keep things moist. Getting the clay out was easy. The bottom was then covered with a sheet of aluminum mesh and that was covered with paper mache clay. I like how easy it was, once I got all the steps figured out.

      I dabbed on a little iron on for irises. I’m not sure that worked – I’ll have to live with him a while to decide. I’m sure that acrylic paints would work well over the iron, since it’s also acrylic with iron powder mixed in. I can imagine all sorts of interesting things happening, if one were bold enough to play around a bit. I’ve ordered a dvd about patinas to try to learn more about it. I like not being able to completely control the color, so that things happen unexpectedly over several hours – it seemed to have a life of it’s own, once the patina started to do it’s work. One patina I tried didn’t work very well – I sent an email to an expert on the process to get some help with it. I wanted the face to be lighter. Next time… 🙂

  7. Awesome!!!! It looks like all the hard work and extra expense in materials paid off in creating a wonderful sculpture. Kudos to you. 🙂

  8. He’s magnificent, Jonni. I just happened onto your site a few weeks ago….have not had time to really take advantage of your teachings but plan to. I want to make a reclining cat for outdoors…thinking about Paverpol over your paper mache.

  9. I thought I already sent this, but don’t see it: he is awesome! He looks to be museum/fine art quality, so that you can up the ante on him sufficiently to cover his costs and then some. Neat to see what you can do when you let yourself loose on art supplies!

  10. Jonni,
    This really turned out wonderful it has been fun to watch him (Or her) come to life. What are you going to name him? Really Impressive to see…….Thanks for showing us all…..

    • I have no name for him. It’s definitely a him – probably young to middle-aged adult. I want to do a juvenile next, or maybe a mom with baby. I do need to finish Harry first, though, and get my kitchen painted.

  11. Congratulations! He sure is incredible. The fur and the details are great!
    I know it cost you lots in time, effort and materials but I am sure the learning proces was worth all of that and is prizeless! I realy love your chimp.

    • Yes, as compared to art school, I’d say the cost was a bargain. There are a lot of things I’ll do differently next time, if I can remember what they were. (I really should write things down as they occur to me. My brain just ain’t what it used to be!)


Leave a Comment