Sunday, April 17, 2011

Santa at work

Last month after viewing the post of my sister's seated Santa I made the comment that I would probably never make another seated Santa due to the challenges I'd had with my one and only earlier attempt. A while later I thought about that comment, and realized it sounded like I wasn't up to the task and I was backing down from something that was a bit tougher than my usual. I don't like to think I'm a wimp or afraid of a little rough going, so I challanged myself to make another seated Santa.

I've been working on this Santa just short of a month now and although it wasn't always an easy road to travel, I finally completed my journey. If you've been following my blog, you probably know that I work on several pieces at once. This medium requires patience as there are many times when you have to stop and let things dry or harden or whatever. Also some breaks are required to let these old eyes have a rest. I seem to like to include loads of detail when painting the cloaks and robes my figures wear not to mention the small detail work on the faces, and paper mache isn't the easiest surface to paint on. Since I've never been known for having any patience I'm forced to have pieces that are at different stages of completion so I always have something to work on.

My sculpting seems to be taking over the whole house. There's usually something in the oven, and I wouldn't suggest trying to eat it. I have more pieces sitting on and surrounding the drying racks in front of the small heater that I bought solely for the purpose of drying my projects while other pieces are sitting on my one and only available heating vent. I have more bits and peices on the work table and at the painting station that I've set up with several light sources as I have a very little natural light this time of year. Since I've only been doing this for about three and a half months, it's been overcast this whole time, I'm not sure the lighting gets any better when it isn't overcast.

So, back to the point I was trying to make, I have been working on this Santa a little here and a little there everyday over the last 26 days. I've stuck fairly well to my original sketch making small changes here and there during the process which seems to be the way I work. I knew I was getting close to end of our time together and wouldn't you just know it, I was reaching the same point with two other pieces.

The other day, I finished all three. I was shocked and dismayed. I had this huge decision to make. Which piece would I blog about first?

Would it be:

A. Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden

B. Santa at Work

C. One who must not be named (At least for now)

I selected Snegurochka to go first. She and I spent a great deal of time together this week. I'm going to miss working on her.

I'm also going to miss working on this seated Santa. As I feared, there were many ups and downs working on this guy. He is made over a full armature of wire, card board and paper that had to be left in place. I don't like this method but had to do what I had to do.

Santa sat on a over turned coffee mug for most of the time I worked on him. I had to decide what kind of a bench I was going to build, and what materials to use to build it and if he was going to need another piece of furniture to put his painting supplies on. I settled on building the bench out of paper mache clay over a cardboard armature. I made it wide enough to hold his painting materials so building a table could be avoided.

He's just finished painting the face of a hand puppet and there are some dolls sitting on the floor nearby that need features painted on their faces.

This whole piece is 100% paper mache clay with the exception of the paint brushes and the base which are wood. I used acrylic paints and walnut stain for antiquing and applied two coats of polycrylic sealer. Sitting on his 8"x12" base, Santa is 11 1/4" tall.

This is a better shot of his painting supplies and the detail around the yoke of his shirt and the silver buttons that attach his suspenders to his trousers. For some reason or another, this photo also makes Santa look more slender across the backside.

I'm not saying I won't ever make another seated Santa, but will say that if I do it won't be for a good long time.

Thanks for stopping by.


Maggie said...

OMG, this is the best ever! I love him! There is so much detail. beautiful pallette. Love the costume, the puppet, dolls, etc. The sweater is beautiful, too. GREAT job!

Marlene said...

Sis this is awesome, he is so unique. I do hope you decide to do another seated one sometime in the future. Love all of the detail.

Linda in New Mexico said...

He is wonderful, the puppet, the painting supplies, the dolls all are such a wonderfully detailed bit of scuplture. You should be very proud indeed.
I know the frustration though. Once I did some chicken scratch cross stitch on gingham. The first piece of the 3 piece kitchen towel set was a rooster. After completing him, finally, I said he was going to be a bachelor. Too much eye strain and brain drain, but like you I couldn't let the challenge beat me so Hen and Chicks followed but it was months later.
You did a superb job on the seated Santa.
vert word noldimi. What my grands might call me on my mindless days. Oh Oma's just a little noldimi today.

Rona Gregory said...

Maddy he's gorgeous. You have so much patience with all the detail!


Heather said...

I am so excited to get a glimpse into Santa's world....I was wondering what he was doing! this is an adorable piece. His face is just as I picture Santa's.
How sweet that he's got the little dolls at his feet, too...i like your attention to detail! I like his outfit, too!!
i also wanted to thank you for all of your encouraging and sweet comments this week! You are so kind! and your comments are so so appreciated by me!!!!!
have a great night up in the north pole!!!!!! xo