Drool on the Frog

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Artistic Legacy

art toolkit my mother gave meI got e-mail from my mom recently. She and my dad have been reading my blog and keeping up with the progress on SAM. She made a comment I hear a lot that, unlike her, I'm a "true artist". Although this is completely untrue, for most of my life I thought the same way about myself in regards to the creatives around me. But that's part of the reason I began SoulPerSuit - I believe everyone is an artist. (Stop laughing. I'm totally serious.)

This gives me an opportunity to thank my parents for the arts they exposed me to.

My earliest creative recollection is making peanut butter cookies, standing on a foot stool, in the kitchen of our first little house. I was probably 6. Anyone who doesn't think a peanut butter cookie is art has never had my mom's cookies.

ceramic palette my mother madeA pivotal lesson in art happened on a little folding table in that same little kitchen. My mom was into ceramics then and she let me paint the telphone on a figure of a hip teenager. I was devastated when I went to bed because I couldn't stay in the lines and I had made a mess of the figure. The next morning, to my delight, mom had completely corrected all my mistakes. I learned that I couldn't ruin it and I was given the freedom to try.

We took piano lessons. I wish I could have been better but music just isn't my thing. I can't sing and, despite the lessons, can't read music. But I still know how to play the first 8 notes of the theme song to "The Sting". I'm a hit at parties.

My up-bringing was filled with one creative adventure after another: potholders, wood burning, oil paints, models, sewing, quilts, calligraphy, macramé, cross stitch, jewelry, cake decorating, flower arranging, doll houses, etc.

And my dad? Yes, he's an artist too. (Now he's laughing.) He instilled in me a love of literature. When I was in Junior High he handed me a novel bigger than all of the books I'd read stacked on top of each other: "The Stand". I was never the same. I LOVE READING! Stephen King, Tolkien, Jane Austen, Orson Scott Card, Asimov, C.S. Lewis. They inspire me.

For a few years now mom has been into fabric. She made drapes; now she makes quilts. I use to tell people my mother was a seamstress. I thought that was the highest compliment because she does it professionally versus, "She sews." Now I realize I should just say, "My mom is an artist."

Is there anyone you'd like to thank?


Monday, March 27, 2006

Attaching to the Platform

What methods are you using to attach your forms to the platform?

My Geek is going to do this for me but he's not sure the best way to do it.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Dog Box Alternative

My brother called this week. He's a fabricator/builder. He's been in racing ever since he could sit on a motor bike and take apart a car. He had a great idea for my upside down painting quandry.

upside down styrofoam saw horseYou could use two extra large styrofoam blocks, cut "V"s into them and craddle the form upside down in those. The form would not only fit snuggly without sliding around too much but the foam would be gentle on any painting already finished. It's like an upside down saw horse.

Brilliant idea, Robert. Thanks.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Lots of Sketching

blank back of dog
I did lots of sketching this weekend and no painting. But I think transfering the design to the form is the most time consuming task. I feel good about getting these sketches painted quickly this week.

I also took pictures of the areas of the form that have no design. These are the areas that are on a 3D form but don't show up in a 2D picture: the belly, nose, chest, and back. I printed these off so I can fill in the design.

water leg the siblings french guy pirate
Each portion of the design is taking on it's own identity. There's the vine, tattoo, heart slide and water leg. This weekend I sketched the Siblings, French Guy and Pirate. I also settled on colors for Pink Tail. I'm still nervous about getting it all done by April 1. But I have a great circle of encouragers that are cheering me along. They are great at keeping me positive. I love this project. I'll be sad when it's done.


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Day Off

I knew I would need to take at least one day off to work on SAM so I took Friday, March 10 off. I don't know how the weekend got away from me so quickly. I thought I would get so much more done. But I have a theory.

Pretty much all of my work has been with the designs on the legs. I may be wrong, but my theory is that these are the most time consuming portions of the project. I have to move the form into so many postions just to work on one leg. When I spend more time on the body and head, we'll see how this theory plays out.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Dog In A Box

SAM upside down in two boxesThis is how my dog in a box theory turned out. Works pretty well, too. I've put the whole thing on the rolling platform. I've got lots of mobility with this. I can even lean SAM over, almost laying him on his side. I can work on all parts of the leg much better this way - except for the feet. They're a "right side up" job.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Transferring A Pattern

flower paisley patternThe pattern up the right foreleg is a little complicated. The images themselves are very simple: a round flower, stem and two large curling leaves (I was studying paisley when I came up with this pattern). It's their interlocking repetition that's complicated. This is a piece of the design that needed to be completed in 3D to flush it out. Now I'm wondering, when I was originally drawing the design, "What was I thinking?" where the pattern stops.

cut out patterns stuck on leg with temp adhesiveIn addition to figuring out how many of the flowers I can get on the inside of the leg, I am having trouble drawing the straight lines of the stem around the tubular shaped leg. Your eyes play tricks on you.

PaperMate dryline temporary adhesiveI finally decided to proportially increase my pattern on the computer and print it out. That way, I could place it repeatedly all around the leg, using temporary adhesive, turning and twisting them, until they fit. If you've never used temporary adhesive, you don't know what you're missing. I've had this in my basic office kit for years. The first one I bought was PaperMate. Tombow also makes one. You can get them at office supply stores.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Table On A Roll

my drafting table on top of the rolling platformI've finished painting the rolling platform with iridescent white. I thought of putting SAM on it and rolling him around to make it easier to paint and draw but I'm so worried about scratches.

Well that's just silly.

I went ahead and put my light, little drafting table on top of the platform. Under the feet of the table I put some fun foam. This should keep the table from scratching the platform and grip it at the same time. So far, it works like a dream.

I still need a way to work with the dog upside down. I grabbed a couple of paper boxes from work yesterday. They're not very big but I might be able to make it work temporarily. Good thing this form is fairly light. I'm really moving him around a lot to work on the legs.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Tools: blending stub

using a blending stub to eraseDo you remember having blending stumps in drawing class?

These are just tight rolls of paper in varying shapes and sizes used for blending, smearing or removing graphite or charcoal. I pulled one of these out of my tool kit the other day to "erase" the charcoal pencil I'm using to draw on SAM. Works great.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Thank You For Being A Friend

I have a hard time considering myself an artist next to my friend Erin. She's a wonderful mentor and always has great ideas. She's miles away from me now but we try to talk regularly. (Her blog is also wonderful to read.)

front fore leg designLast night I was thrilled she wanted to talk about SAM - how it was going and what I was working on. I unloaded my latest frustrations and then thought, "Hey, let me send you a couple of pictures and maybe you can help with the design on this front leg. It's bothering me and I don't know why."

I love technology (but not as much as you)!

I quickly fired over a scan of my drawing and a photo of what I was actually doing on the leg, because they were different. (I didn't like the original design. It seemed boring.)

It was really encouraging to hear her say she loved the original design and that I should stick with it. "Look at your Dr. Seuss books again," she prompted. She also reminded me to have fun and not worry so much.

I feel like I've taken a deep breath after being under water. Thanks Erin.

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