Okay, so I decided to make a project that was a little, well….darker. My art is very animated, and fun I think. I just want to try something a little different. I’ll be curious to know what you think about it. Let me know, even if you don’t like it.
You know the drill by now. I crumpled balls into a torso (upper, right), hips (upper, middle), head (lower, middle), and a couple extras for who knows what. You know I like to have extra paper mache balls around so that I can add details to the project. As usual I used wire clothes hangers to put inside the legs, arms, and in this case the tail. (Did you know that lizard-like lady butterflies have tails? Well, they do.) Sorry, it’s hard to see the white clothes hangers clearly.
Isn’t she beautiful so far? ha ha
So why are people still making paper mache piggies? I don’t get it.
As usual, I cut the paper mache ball in half. I made some teeth out of Fimo and hot glued them onto the shell.
I made a tongue the usual way. Here is what they look like together. Don’t worry, I’ll cut away some of the paper mache shell on the bottom. The lower jaw won’t look like that.
Here they are after putting on the cloth mache. And here they are again after painting.
You know I love cats. This is my neighbor’s cat, Phil. This photo doesn’t do him justice. He is enormous. I mean, his stomach rubs against the ground when he walks. They don’t feed him that much (they say). He’s eating something. Phil is super sweet. He lounges on my front lawn, rain or shine and welcomes me when I leave the house.
So I’m going to start putting her together. Now just between you and me, I have more of the face and head finished than I want to show you. I know that those photos should follow the last ones I posted of the jaws. But the face is just kind of disturbing. I’d rather wait. I’ll come back to it later after the body takes shape. I put together two of the paper mache balls. Remember, everything is really rough right now. There is a lot of sculpting to do to get the shapes I want. Here are the two paper mache legs I made.
Below on the left you can see that I cut the knee and bent it. For the dillionth time, I love wire clothes hangers inside my paper mache appendages. They keep the knees in the position I want until I can fill them in. On the right is the basic body with the two legs added.
She will be hanging on a wall and I want her to lean out a bit. So I cut her in the back and bent her forward (on the left, below). I added arms, and although it’s hard to see, I gave her a six pack belly. She is starting to take shape isn’t she?
I cut another of the smaller paper mache balls into two pieces and pulled out the wad of paper in the middle. I added these as cheeks. Then I added her tail.
If you look closely at the back of the arms you’ll notice that I gave her some triceps. No paper mache shells here, just some wadded paper and tape. On the front side I twisted a long piece of paper, wrapped it with tape, and added a rather long bicep. The trick here is determine exactly what level of exactness (is that the right word?) to achieve on this body. I could go crazy here, like take a course on anatomy, but I don’t have the time. So I go with what “looks right”. Hope it does to you too.
Now it’s time to be afraid. I’m going to show you the current state of her face. I put the jaws inside another, smaller paper mache ball. I added some cheeks and cut holes for her eyes. Using very small pieces of paper mache shells (that were laying around) and masking tape I fashioned a nose. I inserted some nice yellow, cat-like eyes and added some wadded paper above them to give her some brows.
As you can see below I attached her scary head. I know, she still looks creepy. As I said earlier, this will change radically when she has lips and eyelids and hair (well, the equivalent of hair). You’ll notice I also added breasts. Max was curious about these. She will have scales when she’s finished. That will change how you perceive her anatomy. On the right you can see the beginnings of her wings. You can also see her fingers and toes in the upper right hand corner of the photo.
Here she is with the cloth draped over the spines. I let this cloth dry over night. On the right you’ll see Eddie complaining. He wanted me to stop working on the butterfly and to give him food.
A little closer look at her upper body.
And, for what it’s worth, here is what she looks like from the back. I added cloth mache to the backs of the spines.
Then I poked holes in her head and stuck them in. Of course I also added cloth mache skin to the rest of her face as well.
Now on to hands and feet. These were much harder to make than I thought they would be. The proportions had to be exactly right. First, I started by twisting paper around pieces of wire clothes hanger to make fingers and toes. Then I crumpled a small wad of paper and added a finger. I wrapped masking tape on either side.
Now I know what you are thinking. I shouldn’t have modeled her hands after mine. She’s long and thin. My hands would look too wide. And they did. So I cut them off and made them thinner. I just cut out some slices between the fingers and squished the hand back together. This is as close to surgery as you get in the paper mache world. I made the feet the same way I made the hands. But this time I made the feet longer proportionally than my own.
Like with the hands, I added some flesh to the under side of the foot. I put them on the butterfly and added some nice toenails.
… up the stomach and over the entire torso. I ended under her chin.
So this is where I had my revelation. She is supposed to be somewhat older, and craggy. Yet when I looked at her I realized that while her skin was older and wrinkled, her breasts looked like those of a 20 year old. I inadvertently constructed her like a high school boy would. So she needed a breast reduction. I wrestled with whether I should show this or not. In the end I decided that I wanted to show the entire process. I want people to see my equivocation. I must say, cutting off her breasts was hard for me. I worked really hard on them. I think I spent two days making them.
So here is my breastless butterfly.
No paper mache here. I just used wadded paper and masking tape to reconstruct the breasts. These are much more in line with what I wanted. They are smaller and it looks like she has some muscle.
I added new plates. I know it doesn’t look in these photos to be all that different than they were before the operation. But in person this change made a big difference.
I don’t often do this, but this time I used spray paint for my base coat. On the left I just blasted her wings with some bright colors. And I blasted her hair and face with some flat black paint. I did that so that I would be committed to using very dark colors. Then, I used masking tape to mask off parts of the wings.
Then I finished spraying the black paint over her entire body. Then I peeled off the tape leaving nice, crisp black stripes on the wings.
There is always a tendency at this point to want to resist blackwashing, to preserve the bright colors. Many people who use my paper mache techniques simply can’t bring themselves to add black paint at this point. They get severely attached to how pretty the colors are. But it’s necessary. The black brings out the colors. On the left you can see part of a wing after I blackwashed. It looks so much better! Now I did something kind of fun on this project. Not only did I blackwash the project, but I also splattered it with black paint afterwards. Then I used a blow torch to burn holes in the wings and to singe the edges. It was fun until I almost lost the project. I didn’t realize that the underside of the left wing was still burning when I lit the right side. Luckily where there is fire, there is smoke. I caught the extra fire just in time and was able to extinguish it. That would have been a real bummer (as I used to say in the 60s)(okay, so I still say it all the time) if I’d done all that work only to watch her go up in smoke, literally.
Finally I added some highlights. In this case it was various shades of blue. Below is a close up of the bifurcated tail.