Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas D+1

Well another Christmas past. We had family at our house Christmas eve, then went to my in-laws for Christmas day. We had plenty to eat at both. We decided to make a Turducken this year almost on a whim. It was delicious. If you've never had one, it's a turkey stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken, with layers of dressing between each layer. It was huge, about 20 pounds. There are leftovers, in case you're wondering.

On the modeling front, I have several projects underway. I'm still hacking away at the Gunshoe vignette. I touched up the face a bit to give it a harder look. I'm about 80-85% through a commission of Andrea's Billy the Kid. I'm getting ready to add a bit to the building backdrop at the patron's request. Both projects are on schedule to be finished before Atlanta.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finishing up some commissions

Here are a couple of commissions that I've been sitting on for nearly a year. The Samurai is for someone I work with, and the OIF Marine is for a friend of my Mother. Getting both of these done should have happened about six months ago.

I've gotten a bit done on the cigar box gumshoe. I have the setting nearly complete. It's now down to painting the figure. I took on a commission to paint Andrea's Billy the Kid. My goal is to have it done for Atlanta. The Gumshoe should be done by then as well. I should have a fair display for Atlanta this year, providing I can get the Samurai's owner to allow me to take it with me.

I've been reading "Kill Bin Laden" by Dalton Fury. I saw his interview on 60 minutes and decided that it would be worth reading. It's a first person account of the SF operations on Tora-Bora by the Delta operator that was the commander of all Special Forces in the region during that period. It's written in pretty plain language and you get an inkling of an idea of what these fellows are made of. I may sculpt/convert a Delta operator in 54mm soon if the inspiration lasts long enough.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Getting some work done

You can see above the cigar box gumshoe I have going. I want to create an Edward Hopper mood with my Raymond Chandler style character. I have a couple of other ideas for this dude that I may or may not use. It's my goal to have this done in time for Atlanta. I should get some time off from work soon that will facilitate the studio time.

I have a commission that is coming to a close. I'm painting one of the Pegaso Samurai for someone at work. It's going pretty well. I find painting the lace a challenge in meticulous detail. Some of the lace isn't well molded and a bit of knowledge and imagination is required. I'll post photos when it's completed.

If you read the comments on this blog, you'll see my Mother is on my a** to get a piece finished for her. I've had it in progress for a long time (too long, sorry Maude). It's a modern Marine. She intends it as a gift for a friend whose son is serving in Iraq. I completed the flesh portions yesterday. I hope to have it finished in about four weeks. I'm not looking forward to painting the digital camouflage though.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Post Chicago Enthusiasm

Actually, I had gotten over the modeling blahs just before the Chicago show. But, going to a show always inspires one to do more and better work. To encapsulate the show; there were many nice shadow-boxes and a few large dioramas that were ambitious to say the least. They were all very well executed. Also this year the Chicago show broke out a separate Fantasy category. I personally don't see a need for a separate Fantasy category, but I suppose that marketing such a thing will draw painters from the fantasy/sci-fi ranks. I entered a fantasy piece this year, but chose to leave it where it was. I suppose I should have entered in Fantasy and perhaps brought home another award. As it stands, I brought home a Silver for my vignette entitled "Recruiting for Dog Co." seen above in BW. I picked up a couple of commissions this weekend, and did a little other business. A well spent weekend, all in all.

I always enjoy the annual trek across the Illinois farm land. There are some very neat farms that, when viewed from the highway, seem to me to be out of a Norman Rockwell painting. In October, you can see the farmers bringing in the corn, soybeans and milo, or prepping the ground for the next crops. Also this time of year the leaves are beginning to turn. This adds to the scenery and the mood. I made the trip by myself this year, and spent a contemplative ride home. The whole process; drive out, attend show and visit with fellow artists, and drive home will hopefully kindle the enthusiasm until February and the Atlanta show.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Getting back in the groove

I'm just getting through a spell of what I considered lack-luster performance at the workbench. It was a combination of burnout from meeting obligations for others and some difficulty improving on my next figures(which is a personal goal). I think the remedy for this is to get to work on something you really care about. So I got back to a couple of projects that I have in various states of completion. Things that sit on the bench for too long tend to get forgotten. It felt good to get back to these "exiles from the back-burner". I've gotten back to my shadowbox diorama and I did this little project that you see pictured. I want to do something special and different with this one, so watch out for more. I'll be going to Chicago this weekend. I thought I was going to miss this year due to some work conflicts. It should be good as usual, and I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn Eve

It's been a while since I updated. The work in the studio has been slow this summer. The summer itself was very busy. The boy had to have an emergency appendectomy while on vacation in Yellowstone. A few weeks after he got back, he and I went on a week long fifty mile canoe trip in Canada. Like I said, busy.

I did manage to get some painting done and also some sculpting. I tried my hand at some 1/72 scale figures. It was a frustrating experience. I was able to get a convincing face, but getting convincing poses and anatomy was difficult at best.

I finished the figure in the featured photo last weekend. I will have this and the paratrooper figure at the Chicago show in the next few weeks.

I have a couple of commissions to work on next. One is more of a favor. They are an original OIF Marine, and the other is a Samurai from Pegaso.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I call this one "Recruiting for Dog Company". I tried a couple of dogs before I settled on converting the one in the scene. I had to do some surgery on this dog to get the pose I wanted. He was posed as marking his territory, which didn't fit the scene.

I've got a fantasy figure in the works now. I don't really understand the background of the guy, but it looks cool. Hopefully, I'll have a completed work soon.

Time in the studio is scarce lately. This week and next the rest of the family is in Yellowstone, so I've been able to get in there more frequently.

It looks like the Expo in Girona was a terrific success based on all the on line galleries I've seen. I wish I could have gone.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A couple of photos to show what's been going on in the studio. I finished the Continental Marine. It was sold to John Gossage and the proceeds given to the Artist's Preservation Group. John has bought some of my best work over the years. I have started painting the figure for a small vignette I've had going for a while. I had the idea in mind, but the composition was a little evasive. I finally worked out the right backdrop and can proceed. In the photo is the head for the project. It's from Hornet and they really are the best out there. I have used the technique outlined in Danillo Cartacci's book. I really like the results from this technique and will continue to improve at it. I have noticed that it's difficult for me to adapt it to anything other than a perfectly sculpted face though.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Getting over the hump & AMFS thoughts

The Atlanta show is a week old as of this writing. The club there really does a class A job with organizing a show. The hospitality suite was a busy good time this year. This is a bit in contrast with years past. At times in the past the AMFS hospitality suite has been a little quiet for my taste. I suppose I'm used to the Tulsa way of doing things, where we have two big parties around the show. At any rate, I had a great time, had several drinks with friends and just as many laughs. I had buy some reading glasses to view the figures properly. I paint with an opti-visor so glasses aren't a necessity for modeling. I noticed that in regular situations that I couldn't focus on figures at a distance that allowed me to see detail properly. So, I gave in to aging and bought some off the shelf reading glasses. I guess I'll keep them packed in my show box to wear at shows. I noticed this happening somewhat at the last MMSI show. So, that was my last show without glasses.

I got back with a pocketful of inspiration. I got out a handful of in progress work and tried to figure out what I could get done for Tulsa in June. I have a nice little scene of a US paratrooper(a favorite subject) sharing a snack with a timid shell-shocked dog. I've had this project going for a few months but wasn't really able to progress appreciably. The other night I finally worked out a viable composition. It got me to thinking about what puts a project over the hump. I think for some it may be getting the face painted properly. Or for another, getting that one reference work that fulfills the last bit of curiosity. I think for me it's getting the final composition to the point that I can see the final work in my head. Once I get to this point, a project gains the proper momentum and I find that I even become somewhat obsessive about getting it finished. So this week, I'll be making some progress on that particular piece of work and hopefully have some photos to share by next week.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Valentine's date

Saturday night and our plans to go out with a group from work kind of melted. We decided to go out on our own for some early drinks and appetizers. We have wanted to try Touch since it reopened under the new name (formerly Chardonnay). It turned out to be an excellent choice. The drinks were potent and generous. The food however, was off the hook delicious! Some of the best we've had in Springfield, or anywhere for that matter. We chose a Mediterranean sampler platter and the baked goat cheese. The sampler had some bacon wrapped dates that were terrific. The dates were so good, you didn't really want to swallow them. We like to go out and try different places that we read about in the paper and local magazines. We've been disappointed by some of our choices. It seems like when the food is good, the service is poor, or the atmosphere isn't what we would like. Touch had it all. Live music that wasn't in-your-face loud, an excellent waitress that helped with recommendations, and very nice furnishings. It is now our new favorite.

Atlanta is this weekend and I'm still working on the Marine. Watch this space, I gotta get it done today if at all possible. I'm going to try to get back to at least semi-weekly entries. We'll see.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Winter Saturday

In the middle of the Saturday routine. I just dropped off the dog to get a haircut and tuned in to Bob Ross. He usually puts me in a relaxed and creative mood. We had an ice storm this week that was almost as bad as last year's. I think there was actually more ice than the last one, but the damage was not nearly as bad because most of the trees that were a problem had already been broken and trimmed back. Tornadoes a couple of weeks ago and an ice storm right on its heels has created a bit of mess in most of the yards around the neighborhood.

If you look at the photo above and compare it to the last installment you'll notice that the coat is markedly different. After posting to Timelines on the progress on this dude, I was advised privately by Gary Dombrowski that the Continental Marines of the period wore green coats instead of blue. If I had done the slightest research on this guy beforehand instead of relying on the boxart for a painting guide I could have saved myself the embarrassment and trouble of repainting. I considered leaving it blue as the whole reason that I chose this figure from the gray army was because I wanted to experiment with some blues. The more I thought about it, the more I decided that it should be changed. This figure is to be donated to the Artist's Preservation Group and I felt I owed it to the group to do it right. Of course a change in title of the piece would have worked as well, it didn't ring true to me. I was able to create a mix using the shadow colors of the blue to create the green. The result was very pleasing and I'm glad I went to the effort. It really is a better figure after the repaint.

I'll be attending the AFMS show this coming weekend in Atlanta. It's always a good time and I look forward this show every year. It kicks off the season nicely and provides the inspiration to get work done for my second show of the year in Tulsa. If you've never attended a show, you should. Viewing the work of others is one of the best tools to get better yourself.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A new year

Well another year gone. A lot has happened this year. I have several projects on the bench right now. I'm kind of having a hard time concentrating on any one thing. The picture is of the Art Girona Continental Marine. It's a fairly nice figure. Fit and cleanup were a bit of an issue. I plan on using the harbor elements from Romeo for a setting. I hope it turns out well. It will be my donation to the Artist's Preservation Group. It should be done in time for the Atlanta show. I have a few other things in the hopper. The sculpting is wrapping up on my shadowbox. I've hit an engineering snag. I hope it's temporary. I'm trying terribly hard to get a master finished. I've had a very difficult time with this one. It's finally turning into what it's supposed to be. I started hammering together a small vignette using some figure bits that I hope will turn into something. More on that another time.

We had a good New Year's Eve party. There were about ten of us here. I had several too many drinks and playing Wii golf was a challenge at 1230.