Sunday, 19 August 2012

Home sweet home and other things

Yesterday we went off to Attenborough Nature Reserve.  Not our original destination but where we ended up anyhow.  The gravel pits have changed so much over the years.  When I was a little girl they were just pools with gravel paths, though even then a haven for wildlife.  Now they are managed areas with hides and viewing screens for bird watchers.  There is a centre for education and fund raising (opened by David Attenborough himself).  The centre also has a cafe, that sells sinfully gorgeous cake and coffee.

One of the managed reed beds, home to read buntings and willow warblers.

Cormorants, terns, sandpipers and others on a sandbar.

A conehead in the wildlife garden.
The area is very special; providing lots of ideas for the water sprite plinth, as well as many other sparks of inspiration for paintings and models.

So, once back at home, out came the clay and on with the modelling.

The clay is leathery at the moment and needs to dry out completely before painting.  I will need to make a felted base for the plinth, that will both strengthen and protect the base.  Then he will need a layer of glaze, something protective.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Which angle is my best do you think?

I have some ideas for the plinth he will sit on.  However I am now on the make or break section....painting in the features.

Quite happy with this look.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Frog legs and details

Work in progress, it is progressing slowly and presenting a problem for each prior one solved.  I haven't quite worked out how to attach torso and limbs yet.  Then there is the problem of display.... But each will come in time

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Guilty .... so here comes the confession

I just didn't think about scale and the deception perpetrated by a jumbo sized felt tip pen
So with a pencil and a Tate and Lyle tin as a guide here is the real size of the sprite in process.  I am sorry but this sculptor is just not that good.  Although as challenges go I might be up for it, although not with air dry clay as it is just too limiting on size.

sprites and spriggans

Having a chance to try out new (to me) media is opening up possibilities.  I have had a sculpted version of the water sprite character in my head for a while.  I quite like the needle felted version, but the face didn't come out quite the way I imagined and I am not keen on the colour.  The medium is too matte for a water creature.

With that in mind I moved onto Das, air dry clay.  Cheap, not too difficult to sculpt, as a result it seemed the ideal medium for the more slick finish this character needs.  Again the face has changed, but I rather like the alterations.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Having the time to play

One of the nicest parts of the long summer holiday is the gift of time. I have been enjoying the opportunity to just play with ideas; sketch with wool and play with forms and characters.  It also means a chance to play with one idea in different media.
This little character is going to find it's way into watercolour, wool and polymer clay.  He was inspired by the tiny frog that we found on the walk around Wimbleball lake.  From that fragile limbed amphibian to a fully fledged water sprite.  Maybe with a story attached.
There will be time to play today, with more ideas and then some updates to the post as they happen.

In the meantime we also made another find:
Identified as the biggest of the hoverflies in the UK. The picture doesn't really give a good idea of size, about the size of a thumb from tip to knuckle. An amazing mimic with wasp patterning.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Home again, home again

The most exhausting part of holidays is the coming home again.  There is that slight sense of being bereft, where something fleeting and very special has slipped away.  The anchoring back into daily life that is unpacking and washing; the way we move into our old familiar routines and places, all the time looking to hold the memories as tangible objects.

We have been away, in a small cottage on the edge of Exmoor.  Perfect for walking, peace and quiet, stone skimming into the ford and watching the clouds floating over wood and moor.
From this little base camp we took off for the sort of adventures that suit us best.  We found many things to delight and inspire; some of which I may share later, although we have stack of photo's there is a book planned for them first. However, this is a flavour of what we did on our holidays.
The sight of my very first river wash (some 42 years ago).

The best way to wash

Irresistible rock pooling

Three Hills dreaming

River symphony

A tiny find

I am pleased to be back in my own house, with my space and the walls that speak to me.  But I would like to look out of the door to find a ford, a river, a bridle path and the adventures on my doorstep rather than at the end of a drive in the car.

PS: I got to see and hear a range of wild animals and birds, but still not an otter!