17 November 2017

Valak -- Intro & Prepwork I

What a difference 2 years make!

When I first conceived of a project with a nun as the centrepiece, she was affiliated with the Light. 24 months later, I am ready to revisit this project, with one telling difference: Sister Sonia has gone over to the Dark, and the project will proceed as Valak, the Demon Nun! As much as I would like to be able to claim this as an original concept, the subject will be based on the cha- racter in The Conjuring cinematic franchise.  

Things are moving along quite nicely. When we last left the Sister, I had removed the rosary/cru-cifix, started general clean-up, and pegged the bust (nb: as per usual from this manufacturer, no means of display support (read: column) is provided. Since then, I have:
  • removed the upper portion of the veil and bandeau; 
  • restored the upper cranium;
  • begun to rework the eyes, removing the upper lids; 
  • separated the head from the torso (as a preliminary to reposing);
  • begun to rework the guimpe.

Before closing, I would like to clarify the issue of scale. I have seen this bust advertised as being 1/8, 1/9th, and 1/10th--the manufacturer claims 1/8. However, this is most definitely not a 1/8th scale bust! In reality, it scales out at very slightly larger than 1/10th.

More to follow. . . 

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

14 November 2017

Mary Read -- Prepwork IV: Beat to Quarters!

As I fast approach the end of the prepwork, this is what remains to be done:

  • Cleaning-up and finishing the buttons.
  • 'Stitching' the button holes.
  • Texturing the hair.
  • Final finishing and polishing.

She should definitely be primed within the month!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

12 November 2017

Anne Bonny - Painting: The Kerchief--UC'ing

The kerchief (i.e., headwrap) was the only item remaining to be undercoated. This was due to the fact the colour selection would be critical: hue and temperature would be instrumental in any im- pression this bust would have.

Once I finished the face, I had pretty much decided that it would it would be a dark colour, and a cool one at that. That left me a rather considerable spectrum from which to choose. Anne's gin- ger locks effectively were the final determinant: a deep indigo. The fact that it was one of the more common--and universal--dyes of the period, made it all the more a no-brainer. 

So the kerchief is now undercoated. Oils will not be applied until the bust is permanently mount- ed on its display base.

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

Anne Bonny - Painting: Intermezzo 3 -- Historical Note

Most of the painted renditions of this piece have a bold, vibrant paisley pattern on the bodice and/ or kerchief. While paisley was known in Europe as early as the first half of the 17th c., it was not 'established' until the mid-18th c. Thus, while depicting a paisley pattern on a subject in the West Indies is not an absolute historical faux-pas, the likelihood is quite slim. 

I chose to depict Anne wearing a calico bodice. Not only is it historically plausible, but if nothing else as a nod to John Rackham. The problem here is that calico has as convoluted a history in the West as does paisley, and the large floral patterns usually associated with calicos were not the norm in our period. And we won't go into the historicity of Rackham's descriptive! So. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

09 November 2017

Anne Bonny - Painting: The Bodice/"waistcoat" and Stays

I want to be able to transfer Anne to her permanent display base as soon as possible; but before
I can do that, the stays and the underside of the bust must first be finished.

The undersides will be painted my usual "satin black" (burnished matte Vallejo Black), so the stays were done this evening. I am fairly certain I will revisit this rather underwhelming garment once the figure has been permanently attached to its display base; but in the meantime, I can proceed. . .

11.11.2017. . . Phase 1 of the bodice/"waistcoat" has been completed! 

12.11.2017. . . Phase 2 of the bodice turned out to be a bit more involved than I had planned. Ori- ginally, it was intended to be a "textural layer" with punched-up highlights and shadows to create more extreme contrasts. As it turned out, this would have have been just-the-thing as a single-colour bloc; but as the foundation for a block-printed pattern. . . not so much. I repainted the bo- dice this morning, set the colours in the oven, and painted the pattern (Phase 3) on the back of the bodice after lunch. I hope to have the pattern work completed by this time next weekend. . . FOLLOW-UP --  Finally, the undersides have been painted, but not 'finished'. Finishing (read: burnishing) will take place once the bust is permanently mounted on its display base. 

14.11.2017. . . Phase 3 continues. . . I've just completed the right front panel of the bodice, leav- ing but the left front to be done. . . So far, so good. . . 

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

08 November 2017

Anne Bonny - Painting: Fleshtones III. . . slight reprise

Briefly and in all haste, the reworked lower face has been painted. This gets me back to where 
I was before performing "surgery" on the bust. 

I also extended the glazing on the right side of Anne's coiffure to give me a better sense of values and lighting. VERY pleased!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

07 November 2017

Anne Bonny - Painting: Intermezzo 2

As Mistress Anne's partner-in-crime is well on the way to completion, I took time this evening to refamiliarize myself with the ginger hellion, and start planning the next phase of painting. . . 

It should come as no surprise that the hiatus from this project revealed some things that I frankly didn't like. After some minor reworking of the eyes, it was readily apparent, if not obvious, that the face was, for lack of a better word, "contrived". This was particularly noticeable in the lower half, so I reworked the mouth below the upper lip, resculpting the teeth and the lower lip. 

The interaction between the hair and the face is now as it should be! And Anne has a manic, de- ranged air about her that fits her to a "T". To underscore this, I repositioned the bust--not a plea- sant undertaking, but well worth the time and effort. The ultimate success of the corpus of re-work will ultimately lie with the painting/repainting of the lower half of the face, but the vision is finally(!) coming into focus. . .

Better late than never. . . 

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

30 October 2017

Mary Read -- Prepwork III: Finishing

The finishing of the underside of the bust and the plinth is ABD (all-but-done). Which means that the plinth should be permanently attached to the torso very shortly. . .

The remaining work is all about realizing the vision, the finishing, and getting the "canvas" ready to accept primer. I hope that I am much further along that what my eyes are telling me. . . Re- gardless, much elbow grease will be expended in the days and weeks to come. 

Stay tuned!

FOLLOW-UP. . . The 'column' has been permanently mated to the reworked and re-finished plinth! The remaining pieces (5) will be attached during the painting of the bust.

02.11.2017. . . The buttonholes have been 'cut', and await 'stitching'. The locations of the cor- responding buttons have been finalized and tapped.

03.11.2017. . . The buttons have been sculpted! Save for incidental corrective work, the putty-work has been completed!! And the hat is now in final finishing. As a sidebar note, I would point out that the circumference of the crown is grossly over-scale! If you elect to use the slouch hat and reduce the circumference of the crown, proceed with extreme caution: by the time you are done, the 'walls' of the crown will be scale-thin--and very fragile!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

29 October 2017

Mary Read -- Prepwork: Musings

With naught but buttons and buttonholes remaining on the "to-be-done" list, some thoughts about the last 11 days. . . 
  • This project has been not only superbly enjoyable, but it allows me to strike-through an entry on my figure bucket list. I had long-resigned myself to the fact that if I want- ed to do a historical reconstruction of Mary Read, I would have to do it myself.
  • This project has afforded me the opportunity to pull some dusty tomes off the shelf, and re-immerse myself in the wonderful and challenging maze that is History. If no- thing else, it takes me back to the days when historicity was a critical underpinning of every release and/or project. Sadly, that has not been the case for longer than I care to remember. . .   
  • I started with 3 of the 4 stock pieces provided (nb: there are 5 pieces in the kit, but two of the pieces are different hats; I did not use the holstered flintlock or the cocked hat). My final pieces count is 7(!): hat, head, torso, baldric buckle+tongue, ends of neckerchief (x2); and plinth.
  • This is an original figure. In the interest of complete transparency, and in acknow- ledgement of the efforts of my fellow artist and manufacturer, Roman Rux, I recognize the "foundation" of this project without hesitation. Having said that, the fact remains that the figure before me is, for better or worse, entirely my own.

Back to the bench. . . !

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

27 October 2017

Mary Read -- Prepwork II

Finishing is now well underway, with all major mods involving putty at the very least roughed-in. The hat has been fitted, and the head repositioned and neck resculpted. 

The bust has been re-posed and the pedestal reworked. Permanent attachment may be post- poned depending on the accessibility to areas that have yet to be finished, but everything is ready to be finalized. 

More to follow. . . 

FOLLOW-UP. . . The 'column', a section of brass tubing, has been permanently attached to the bust. Once the underside of the bust is finished, the 'column' will be permanently mated to the reworked plinth.  

28.10.2017. . . The hair has been roughed-in, as has the baldric's buckle. UPDATE:  The hair is in the final finishing stages, as is the buckle and tongue of the baldric. I would note that though designed separately, the buckle and tongue were conjoined as a unit during finishing that will be attached after painting. Save for the ends of the neckerchief and the buttons, this concludes the putty-work. Finally, final finishing of the plinth is underway.

29.10.2017. . . The ends of the neckerchief are now done! Final finishing and polishing is under-way. . .

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003

22 October 2017

Mary Read -- Prepwork

The rework of the bust is, conservatively, fast-approaching the midway point.

As of this writing:
  • The underlying torso has been sculpted.
  • The head has been removed and tentatively repositioned. 
  • The "stock" hair has been ground-off.
  • The reworking of the face and neck has commenced.
  • The hat has been reworked. 
  • The left front panel of the shirt and the jacket have been roughed-in.
  • The front half of the baldric has been roughed-in.

Save for the underlying torso, everything else is a work-in-progress. IF I can maintain the mo- mentum, I am hoping to have Mary completed, primed, and on the painting bench by mid-December, at the latest.

More to follow. . .

UPDATE 23.10.2017. . . The bust below the neck, save for the details (e.g., buttons), is now completely roughed-in, fore and aft. I anticipate there will be significant reworking/resculpting in the weeks ahead; but for now, conceptually, I have an inkling of what the finished piece will look like. . . 

Movin' right along. . . 

UPDATE 25.10.2017. . . Preliminary finishing (more at clean-up) is underway. The neckerchief and the right sleeve of the jacket have been roughed-in: the former should be effectively done by the weekend. Finally, I will spend the next few days "posing" the bust and permanently attaching it to the pedestal. Once that is done, I can shift my focus to the head, resculpting the hair and fitting the hat.

Stay tuned!

When the cost of a hobby exceeds the fun and doesn't attract new people, the game is over.” -
Oscar Koveleski, August 2003