Progress update

The last week has been busy.  Kevin and I have been sculpting False Solomon Seal leaves and together we produced one more clay form with a dozen new leaves.  I put silicone rubber over it today and will finish the mold on Thursday when I return after the snowstorm!  I also tried another casting test with 5 minute epoxy.  I mixed up a fairly large batch of epoxy and added a small amount of green oil paint.  This makes a nice translucent green casting material that I hope I can use for the leaves of the Solomon Seal.  The epoxy goes into the rubber mold with a layer of fiberglas fibers, but comes out unacceptably glossy.  To matte it down, I added dry green pigment while the surface is still tacky and today, I even added powdered sugar over the surface and the surface turned perfectly matte.   I haven’t given up on translucently colored hot glue as a casting material, but I haven’t had another chance to test it.  It takes time and tends to be quite fussy.  Most preparators use vacuform leaves when making a diorama, but the vacuform plastics are all clear.  I haven’t yet learned how to paint clear acetate extrinsically so it doesn’t go opaque.  Does anyone out there have a technique for this?   My experimentation casting intrinsically colored materials is because I don’t hold out much hope for extrinsic painting giving me the translucence I want.

Epoxy leaves-getting the translucency but more "bugs" to work out.

Dorie has come by and shown me progress on the painting of the cast of the black-throated blue warbler.  She says she is having trouble with the vinyl paint drying too quickly.  I bought acrylic retardant for her to experiment with so we’ll see if that helps.  Dorie and I discussed the thickness of the paint.  She thinks that if she paints too thickly, she loses the feather texture in the carving, but I thought from looking at examples of the quality of her painting work, that skillful painting can hint at feather textures possibly better even than the carved texture.

Three painted juniper branches. All color on these branches is oil paint.

Alexis has been working on the juniper and has knocked out all 3 branches that I collected from Stony Creek in December.  A friend was visiting today and I told him how these branches are completely covered with oil paint.  He couldn’t believe it.  He questioned me about the gradation from dark green to a more yellow green at the tips of the needles.  “All oil paint,” I answered.  “And the branches change color too?” he asked.   “Same thing, I replied.  Just skillful painting.”  I have to get more of the branches from the freezer so she can start on those on Thursday.

Freeze-drying juniper branches-what remains to be painted by Alexis!

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One Comment on “Progress update”

  1. Dorie Says:

    Michael,

    I spent a good portion of yesterday, during the snowstorm, working on
    darkening the two bl. thr. blues. I added more brown to the scapulars and
    darkened the primaries. I think they look close to the skin/mount pigments in the natural light in my studio. ( maybe different under flourescent) I’ll bring
    them in tomorrow after Rick’s class ( 10:30 )

    Dorie


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