Kneesaa the Alpaca is Finished!

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The paper mache clay alpaca portrait is now officially finished … maybe.

As you can see in the video, there were lots of complications. Almost all of them happened because I was experimenting, and experiments don’t always work. But I did fix most of the boo-boos – now I’m just not sure about those eyelashes. I’ve put fake eyelashes on a lot of sculptures lately, and I’ve always liked the way they looked. But this time, I’m not so sure. If you have any ideas for making them look better, let me know in the comments below.

If you think I should just remove them, you can tell me that, too. :)

The brush pen set I experimented with would probably work well over smooth air dry clay, but the grey and black colors smudge and never seem to fully dry. And the color on the cap isn’t even close to the color in the pen, so you have to do a lot of searching to find the color you need.

If you know of a good video that would help me learn how to use them, please leave a comment below. I would love to do a portrait sculpture of a parrot or other brightly-colored bird, and that’s why I bought the pen set. But I don’t want to try it until I’ve figured out how to use them.

10 thoughts on “Kneesaa the Alpaca is Finished!”

  1. I agree with Teri that the eyelashes need to be trimmed a bit.
    As far as the foam eyes being eaten away by the nail polish, I wonder if the foam eyes were covered with a thin layer of paper mache clay. That would eliminate the problem altogether. (Not for this project, but for future ones.) I use the nail polish all the time on the clay with no issues.
    I have no idea what happened with the brush pens. Aren’t they supposed to be like acrylic paint? When I use any sort of marker on a piece, I spray the varnish on rather than paint it with a brush. Wet varnish brushes tend to smear the marker. Good luck with your research, let us know what you find out.

    • Hi Eileen. Yes, I’m sure paper mache clay would work under fingernail polish. But yes, it’s a little late for this one. I just have to give up the idea of painting directly over foam without covering it with some form of paper mache first. Silly me.
      I removed the lashes, and I’m still trying to figure out what to do next. I don’t think I’ll use the fake eyelashes. I might ‘borrow’ some hairs from my Charlie dog, who has some very light blonde fur. He need a clip, anyway, and I might be able to make them work on the Alpaca. We’ll see… :)
      Are you busy with shows this month? Or are you taking time off to get ready for the holidays?

      • Could you use regular wool and tease it out to look like eyelashes? You could stiffen it with glue, just a thought. I think you might be able to find some trim in a fabric store that could be adapted as well.
        I had to hurry up and make some more sculptures for my February show. I sold too many at the October show and they were slated to go to the February one. Not a terrible problem to have but I need to get my inventory submitted by mid December. The sculptures are done but not painted yet. It will happen but it has added a bit of stress.
        My son has moved his family to Switzerland for one year for work. They will be coming home at Christmas for a few weeks and will be staying here. Mainly, during the day I am getting ready for them(they have a one yr old baby as well as the two older girls that you have heard about before) it’s been a long time since there has been a baby in the house so I need to baby proof, etc. Looking forward to seeing them though. But that’s what is keeping me busy
        Good luck with the eyelashes!

      • That would make a great video on how to make eyelashes from pet fur!!!
        I have a donkey I made that needs eyelashes but after trying the false eyelashes, I removed them. Didn’t look right.

        • I’ll do some experiments with it – if I can find my tweezers. And I need to find a glue that’s tacky so the hairs will stick to the wet glue, or they’ll just slide off. If you have any ideas for me to try, please let me know. :)

  2. “It worked–until it didn’t…” really made me laugh. That’s one of the treasures about your web site. You share your difficulties with us which helps us recognize that any art project involves experimentation, and sometimes things don’t work out as planned. That’s a place where creativity thrives as you solve the problems–and sometimes, that offers ideas for other projects. Thanks, as always.

  3. Alpaca eyelashes are shorter than the original length of those fake eyelashes.
    Also, Alpaca eyelashes tend to slope downward (unlike fake eyeleashes hey don’t curl upward, not even a little bit.) That because an Alpaca’s eyelashes serve as some protection to the eye from dust/etc even when the animal has its eyes fully open.
    The other thing that strikes me about the fake eyelashes is that the individual hairs of the lashes seem to be a bit too thick. They also seem to be too white in color.
    All that said, I think your overall form of the Alpaca is wonderfully spot on! :)

    • Thanks, Carol – I wonder if it’s possible to get fake eyelashes that are the right shape and curl? It sounds like you’re very familiar with alpacas – do you have some?

  4. I like the eyelashes, but wonder if they need to be trimmed a tiny bit shorter. She’s very cute! The eyes and smile are most important to her expression., so of course you want to get them right. I often struggle with the dilemma of choosing between replicating the subject and doing what works best for the artwork.

    • That’s actually a good idea – I didn’t think of that. I looked at the photos again, and they are shorter. Maybe after clipping them I could cover the top part that holds it all together with a tiny bit of paper mache clay, and paint it. Thanks for the idea! :)


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