Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sneak Peak #16

HauntForum $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #16: Standing Tall

Clue #16:The new prop measures just over 4 feet tall. Total spent so far....$15.41.

Sneak Peak #15

HauntForum $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #15: Against The Grain.

Clue #15: I was very board, bored creating these sections of the prop.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sneak Peak #14

HauntForum $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #14: Peeling Off The Bone.

Clue #14: The first time I have incorporated this technique into one of my works.

Sneak Peak #13

HauntForum $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #13: Hands Down.

Clue #13: Final Nail In The ______.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The DNA Model Project

Last evening my oldest son started working on a project for his 9th grade biology class, the project involved creating a 3D model of a strand of DNA. The original concept was to create the model with toothpicks and marshmallows and it became apparent that those materials would only result in an unstable sticky mess. A second plan was developed based on materials we had on hand; craft sticks, utility wire, foam sheets and hot glue. The project came together quickly and the end result was clean, colorful and neat.

Over the years I have helped my boys with many school projects, something I enjoy and consider one of the rewards of parenthood. Anyway, for the past several years I have had the idea in the back of my mind that papier mache would be a great medium to create educational and museum models such as huge molecules, cells, organs and even life sized skeletons. Imagine a full scale Triceratops made from mache, it’s enough to give me chills.

Maybe this year I will make time to create a few educational pieces, if nothing else they would make a nice donation to the science department of our public schools.

Just thinking.

Before And After

The long winter was not kind to our real pumpkins from last October, left outside to endure the elements they are now reduced to fragile, paper-like shells. The pumpkins had their moment in the spotlight and now serve as an interesting study of texture, decay and the passage of time….

Ok, that was way too deep and pretentious, the fact is I think the textures are way cool and seeing that I’m easily amused I opted to post these pictures.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Good Pumpkin

Just playing around with some light painting techniques.

Animal Anatomy for Artists

Checked out this book a while back from our local library and immediately fell in love. Animal Anatomy for Artists by Eliot Goldfinger is an exquisite collection of black and white skeleton and muscle illustrations that are not only informational but also inspirational.

Here is an editorial review:

“Goldfinger, author of Human Anatomy for Artists (1991), stresses that bodies have specific volumes created by anatomical structures, and he reveals how the interrelationship of muscles and bones determines shape and proportion. His straightforward guide starts with animal classification and a listing of nonmedical terminology and then explicates the "basic body plan." Detailed line drawings, black-and-white photographs, and silhouettes, as well as explanations of skeletons, emphasize the functions of various body portions such as lower leg and shoulder joint, and Goldfinger thoroughly depicts individual muscles before progressing to elaborate side views and cross sections of complete anatomies. Feathers, horns, and antlers are treated separately with both diagrams and photos before the text concludes with a brief overview of the venous system. Many will find especially useful the extensive, multimedia, annotated bibliography. This technical treasure is sure to find an audience among artists and serious animal enthusiasts alike.

Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Available at

Speaking Of Cardboard And Sculptures . . .

Ok, so we weren't actually talking about cardboard but as you know I'm a big fan of using recycled cardboard for prop construction.

Over the past couple of months I have been using cardboard to create the majority of my armatures so I was thrilled when I stumbled across this site which specializes in "neat stuff for your home."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Speaking Of Nails And Welding . . .

Since we are on the topic of welding and nails check out this link to some unbelievable sculptures made by artist Bill Secunda, simply amazing.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

How Cool Is This?

Last week my oldest son surprised me with a gift he made in his 9th grade welding class. Created from 24 hard cut masonry nails this iron spider has to be one of the coolest gifts that I have ever received.

Thanks Carter….now you need to teach me to weld.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sneak Peek #12

HauntForum $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #12: Totally Tubular.

Clue #12: One dozen clues and the last for a while. No "bones" about it this is one of the bigger projects I have ever created.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sneak Peek #11

HauntForum $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #11: Can Do Attitude.

Clue #11: Eat your veggies if you want to grow up to be strong and tall.

Sneak Peek #10

HauntForum $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #10: The final cut.

Clue #10: Go back and look at clue #1.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sneak Peek #9

HauntForum $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #9: A tisket a tasket wonder what’s in the basket.

Clue #9: Bite me.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sneak Peek #8

HauntForum $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #8: Zygomatic Bone.

Clue #8: Anatomy lesson for the day, you may now resume your normal programming. Helpful wasn’t it?

Sneak Peek #7

HauntForum $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #7: Great balls of fire….um, foil.

Clue #7: Obviously balls of foil serving as the armature for eyeballs. The contest is limited to a $20 budget so I wrapped two small sheets of aluminum foil around a core of crumpled newspaper. Recycled newspaper is free…aluminum foil is not.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sneak Peek #6

HauntForum 2010 $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #6: OMG, there’s a skull on my laptop.

Clue #6: While it’s easy to assume that because I’m referencing a human skull photograph for this prop you would naturally think that I’m making a “skull type” of prop. You may be right or you may be wrong. Weak clue, interesting photo.

Sneak Peek #5

HauntForum 2010 $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #5: Criss Cross .

Clue #5: In my years of doing papier mache this is the first time I have ever used brown craft paper, or in this case a recycled paper grocery sack for my paper source. The result was very strong once dried and very easy to work with while applying.

Here’s a little secret. I suck at strip mache. The fact that I suck doing strip mache is a tidbit of information that I have shared with the students in several of my workshops. I suck at applying strips because I find the whole thing tedious and as a result I end up rushing the process. I rush because I know that the strips will be covered with clay but that is no excuse. Trust me; I’ve seen people do BEAUTIFUL strip mache. During my gargoyle workshops I had a couple of students (you know who you are) that painstakingly stripped their gargoyles resulting in a smooth, beautifully detailed piece that really didn’t need further enhancement.

Now back to me. For this prop I took my time with the strip mache and achieved a smooth, well done look. I worked with extremely small pieces of brown craft paper (about ½ the size of a dime) and managed to incorporate fine details and intricacies. Lesson learned....don’t rush.

Final thought, I apologize for the crappy photo…it doesn’t show much so you will just have to take my word that it’s brown craft paper used for strip mache.

Until the next clue.

Sneak Peek #4

HauntForum 2010 $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #4: Look into my mind, what do you see? Pizza and Honey Nut Cheerios?.

Clue #4: This prop will feature new armature techniques.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sneak Peek #3

HauntForum 2010 $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #3: The Clipboard. This clipboard is kept handy during the construction as I use it to write the materials used...the little box with scratch marks represents hot glue sticks used. The clipboard also keeps all of my sketches, diagrams and reference photos.....yeah I blurred out the sketch.

Clue #3: This will be my first prop to have a back story.

Sneak Peek #2

HauntForum 2010 $20 Prop Challenge entry.

Photo #2: I Smell Something Evil.

Clue #2: This prop will incorporate several never before used techniques.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sneak Peek #1

The next several weeks will be consumed with the construction of my HauntForum $20 Prop Challenge entry. This will be my second time entering this contest and my current concept is quite fun while being quite ambitious considering budget constraints.

Here is a quick snapshot of my progress, albeit the photos are nondescript but they will be supplemented with a clue relating to the mystery prop.

Photo #1: The Starting Point.

Clue #1: The first of three proposed new pieces for our 2010 Halloween Display.

Cyclops Revisited

The Cyclops Skulls created in 2007 sort of got the “short end of the stick” when it comes to making public appearances. They were only displayed for a couple of days in 2007 then packed away never to be seen again.

When I teach workshops or give talks on papier mache I always show an assortment of different pieces but always fail to include the Cyclops. I like the Cyclops, I think they are different and original but for some reason they get neglected sitting all alone on a shelf in our garage.

Several folks have requested more information on the templates used to create these guys, so here are a few construction photos showing the simple cardboard shape that served as the guide for the final form. The Cyclops were created “on the fly” without a definite vision, sort of tribute to doing whatever feels right at the time.

Anyway, here's a little more face time for the Cyclops:


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