Creating in 50 Shades of Grey
It’s December and I’m writing about 50 Shades of Grey and showing you Valentine’s Day dragon. Weird, I know. Those of us who sell our work are always working a few seasons ahead 🙂 Normally I wouldn’t be posting about it this early, but I entered this piece in the Polymer Clay Artist’s Guild’s January Challenge “50 Shades of Grey-A Study in Value.”
While the PCAGOE “50 Shades of Grey-A Study in Value” has nothing to do with the infamous book series, it is all about “technique.” For this challenge we were asked to explore gray in all of its glorious shades between black and white. We could enter a technical study or a finished piece. Small pops of color were allowed, but we were asked to photograph the piece in black and white. Here you can see min in all of its colorful glory.
I found that photographing my works in progress in black and white is helping me improve the way I see color values. Usually when I’m disappointed in how colors come together in a finished piece, it comes down to the fact that their isn’t enough contrast in the values. Doing some test shots of color palettes along the way can help me make adjustments before it is too late.
Voting Opens Soon
The “50 Shades of Grey-A Study in Value” challenge is open for public voting January 1 through 7. Everyone who votes is entered in a prize drawing so head over to http://www.pcagoe.com and choose your favorite entries. There are some really clever takes on the theme. Many of the artists even let you see the behind the scenes of their process on their blogs.
A 2-inch sculpture can hold an incredible amount of detail. Take for example this polymer clay miniature dragon baby that I tucked into an real chicken egg shell.
He fits in the palm of my hand and yet his story is big.The sleepy dragon’s eyelids droop as he drifts off to sleep. His tale of an epic nap is beginning to unfold. Yes, as a fire-breathing monster in training, he should be guarding the cave opening. But mama is there, she can take the first shift.
Creating a Miniature Dragon Baby
I sculpted him from a leaf-green tinted translucent clay that was accented with a hint of gold and darker green inks after curing. Each scale segment was painstakingly created from a custom texture that added by hand. I didn’t use any molds for this piece.
The egg that he curled up inside is a hollow chicken egg shell that I lovingly covered with a durable polymer clay finish in fiery mokume gane pattern. The pattern was created by added thin slices of clay to the egg. No paint!
I sculpted everything by hand in my rural Pennsylvania studio. He is one-of-a-kind.
I just listed him in my Etsy store: Scoop him up here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MarieYoungCreative
Malcolm Gladwell wrote in the Outliers that it takes 10,000 hours to master a field. While I’m a long way from dedicating my 10,000 hours to sculpting, I do know that I improve every day that I’m in the studio.
Working Toward 10,000 Hours
Meet Emily, my entry in the PCAGOE Re-Do Challenge.
What people don’t often talk about in terms of self-improvement is that there is down-side. Upon creation of a new piece, a romance can blossom. The journey of watching an idea manifest in physical form is intoxicating. Yet, as one works toward their 10,000 hours, the rose-colored glasses that you see your previous work through become clearer.
As a result, I fall out of love with my creations as my sculpting skills improve. I am forever “re-doing” things that no longer make me happy. On the upside, when we voted in the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy to explore “Re-Do” as a theme, I had no shortage of pieces to enter.
I chose “Emily as my make-over piece. I talked about the creation of the original piece, modeled after and Art-Deco era cigarette girl in this post last year: http://marieyoungcreative.com/art-deco-cigarette-girl/
Vote in the Re-Do Challenge
Voting is open through Dec. 7 and everyone who votes is entered in a prize drawing so head over to http://www.pcagoe.com and choose your favorite three entries. There are some really clever takes on the theme. Many of the artists even let you see the behind the scenes of their process on their blogs.
About the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy: PCAGOE is a global group of polymer artists united through Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade, supplies and vintage. Members create amazing things using polymer clay, including jewelry, supplies, art, sculpture, functional art and home decor.