Sculpting cat fur:
Yes, there’s now a cat to go with my Goat #3, and I turned on the camera while I sculpted the fur texture on the cat’s chest. It’s very ‘abstract’ or ‘painterly,’ (scare quotes added because I don’t really know what to call the style.) I didn’t want to make the fur look realistic because the goat’s texture isn’t realistic either, and I want them to fit together nicely. So – this is a video showing how I sculpted a texture to indicate a nice ruff of fur on a barn cat’s chest.
So – what happened to Goat #2?
A daydream took over my finger muscles. I told my fingers to do one thing, but they did something else. Too vague for you? OK, here’s what happened:
I intended to finish Goat #2 the same way I finish my masks, but instead of using the shop towel mache, like I did all the masks in my mask book, I would use plaster cloth, like I did when I made my Gorilla. You do it exactly the same way as you would if you were using the shop towel mache, but the plaster cloth hardens faster. Plus, I had some here at the house that I wanted to use up.
Then YouTube sent me a notice that Brick in the Yard had a new video. I watched it (big mistake!) They made a mold out of really stretchy silicone, and after the silicone sets up, you can pull it off the original like a sock – no dividing lines.
Why did that matter? Because I started thinking about making a mold for the goat, which would be totally impractical. The mold itself would cost about 80 bucks, but it looked like so much fun. The daydream took over.
I told myself I wasn’t going to do it, but my self didn’t listen. I made the goat’s details, unintentionally, as if I was going to make a mold. The plaster cloth, naturally, covered the details because they weren’t deep enough, and I tried to compensate by not putting on enough plaster cloth. When the plaster cloth was pulled off the goat, it simply collapsed, and the original sculpt was destroyed.
Am I sad? No. I like this final result so much better.
I love the interaction between the two species that are now illustrated in the sculpture, and I learned a lot about working with the Apoxie Sculpt. I need to learn more about it if I’m going to make the outdoor sculptures that I plan to make later this year. The cat’s fur helped me loosen up a little and add some tool marks. That’s one of the things I liked so much in the original sculpt of Goat #2, which was made with WED clay.
I used two different brands of epoxy clay on this sculpt because I was trying to use up the left-over product that I bought on a whim about a year ago. (I ran out and had to order more – this is an expensive project!)
Note for owners of slightly weird dogs: When I sand or carve into the cured epoxy I have to send my dogs out of the studio – one of them is attracted to the powdered epoxy that falls onto the floor. I don’t think he needs a tummy full of powdered plastic.
My goat sculpture has gotten away from me, design-wise, and I’m now rethinking my commitment to sell it for charity. It’s become a much bigger donation than I intended (I usually send the Heifer Foundation $20.) I’m now thinking that I will just send them a check and ask my local library if they’d like to have the sculpture for their children’s area. No literary reference, though, so they may not want it. I’ll see.
I also learned something about my artistic process that I should have known years ago:
Almost every time I start a ‘serious’ project, I have to go through at least three versions before I’m happy with it. Ideas come slowly to me, and almost never happen all at once, before the project starts. For instance, I recently decided to remake the pattern and instructions for the 2-foot tall foal that I made several years ago, and my Unicorn is how it ended up. That’s how my brain works. I’ve decided to embrace the process, and not worry about the time it takes for me to get where I’m going. It feels rather liberating, in a way.
Next week I start painting this piece, and I’ve ordered a new product that I’m really excited to try. It’s supposed to work with the Glazing Liquid to make really nice, transparent glazes. I don’t know if it will do what I want it to do, but I’m anxious to find out. Stay tuned. 🙂
Let me know what you think of this rough-textured cat fur. And if you have thoughts about this sculpture in general, let me know that, too. I always love hearing from you guys.