Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas from Sprightly mouse

Don't forget to win me in that easy peasy contest!
Enter by Jan 15.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My CafePress Dexter snafu

I write this to the distant sound of hysterical laughter as Meridee watches 'Elf' in the living room.
A top notch movie I must confess.
Oh, don't expect any cute fluffy bunnies in this post: There aren't any.
So anyway, CafePress, the site where you load your genius designs onto all manner of merchandise and just wait for the public to discover you, has had me a bit hooked lately.
I couldn't resist doing a macabre bumper sticker or two tapping into our miserable current state of affairs, so this is what I came up with...
And since I was on a roll, I bashed out this one too...

What do you mean, 'similar'?
Ha, I told you it was macabre. Must be all those horror movies I watched with the covers over my head as a kid.
Anyhow, after doing those, and having enjoyed the third season of one of my favorite shows, Dexter, about America's favorite serial killer, I couldn't resist incorporating the two. Dexter, and fixing Wall Street. I wondered if it might be a bit naughty, but since I didn't use the actual logo, and also I noticed bucket loads of other Dexter stuff on CafePress I thought (and hoped) I might be OK.
Here's what I did on a button...
I did loads more than buttons.
Like T-shirts, a bag, hat, mugs, stickers, you name it.
Then I posted a pic of this button on some Dexter fan sites to see if anyone else would get a kick out of it, and before I could say 'knife', I had an email from CafePress announcing that due to possible trademark infringement my Dexter handiwork was being pulled from the site.
I think it must have existed, unseen, for about an hour before it got noticed, then yanked down.
I'm not complaining, and I'm not really surprised.
But I cried and cried and cried.
Bummer, I really kind of liked that one!
Oh well, as the French would say.
Or words (probably in French) to that effect.

Oh, if there's any corporate or Wall Street fat cats NOT in my other car's trunk who are eager to re-distribute the wealth, I'd be more than happy to help!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Time for a new post, and this time I'm going to GIVE AWAY a Sprightly mouse in my first ever competition. He sells for $250 in numerous galleries and on my website.
If you email in the winning photo by January 15, 2009 you will get a FREE solid bronze Sprightly mouse mailed to you, I'll even pick up the shipping so it's totally FREE to you.

Q. OK, who can enter?
A. Anyone, any age, anywhere - get the whole family involved!

Q. How?
A. It's EASY.
Since Sprightly has turned out to be a bit of a crowd pleaser, here's how you enter.
Just take a picture of as many people as you can get to hold up SPRIGHTLY WANTED posters all at once.
One poster per person, and as many people in the photo as you can get.
Here's how you get your posters...Save to your computer then print out the WANTED poster of Sprightly and photocopy it to fit nice and big on a letter size sheet of paper (you mustn't cut off any of the words).
Make more photocopies and get your bunch of people to hold them up (ONE copy only must be held up by each person).

I will disqualify anything that looks fishy (I'm pretty photoshop savvy, so don't cheat!).
If you say there are ten people in the picture (no image manipulation allowed), I need to be able to see them all, and that they are holding up ONE copy of the picture each.
The WINNER will be the person who sends the picture which shows the most people participating as described. So if someone else sends a pic with eleven people holding up the posters, your ten won't cut it!
Also, I won't post any results until the contest is over, so no one else will know what number they have to beat!
You can enter more than once. Let's say you find yourself surrounded by more willing participants at New Year than you had in your entry picture from Thanksgiving. Just re-enter!
So you might as well have a go ASAP, in case you forget later. You've got nothing to lose!

Send an email to me from the CONTACT PAGE of my website, subject header 'Sprightly mouse contest # people'.
Replace '#' in the subject line with the number of people who were holding up the picture of Sprightly when the photo was taken.

For instance, 'Sprightly mouse contest, 11 people'.

Don't try and attach your picture yet, because you can't.
I'll reply to you with my direct email address so you can then attach your picture when you reply back to that.
You mustn't mind if I use your entry picture on my website or blog (so you should make sure everyone in the pic knows that too).
Remember I won't post anything until after Jan 15, the closing date of the contest. Your photo with only three participants might end up the winner, who knows?

In the event of a draw I will use a coin toss to determine the winner.
Since it's my mouse and my contest, my decision is final.
Anyone I disqualify for a seemingly 'fishy' looking entry (any kind of doctored photo, not using real live people to hold up the pictures, etc/whatever) won't be allowed to protest. I'm the judge and jury on this one, so there! My decision is final!
So, get stuck in!

Monday, October 27, 2008

My greatest achievement (and how it helps you!)

Time for another post.
This time it's a two parter.
Part the first involves my recent discovery which will no doubt win me the Nobel prize in thirty years or so (the best ideas always take a while to become generally acknowledged by academia-fortunately the arts are not so lumbering).
You, beloved reader, will however be able to take full advantages of its practical applications more or less immediately.
You won't be disappointed.

Part the second is merely me blowing my own horn once again. So I might as well start with that.
My big (24" tall) sumo wrestling toads (weighing in at a hefty 110 lbs) have been selected for the National Sculpture Society's 76 annual show where they will be on display in New York for a bunch of months, and then Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. I am of course extremely chuffed at this news.

Now for my life changing discovery. It has the potential to improve human existence the world over, starting with yours right now, so get ready for a raise in your standard of living.
Next time (and after you try it, every time) you take a nice hot bath, fill up a hot water bottle with the same hot water you are running the bath with. This rubber bladder can now be used as a very comfortable cushion behind your head or betwixt blades of shoulder.
Perfect for a bit of extended book reading, but it gets better...
Once you have finished your gripping adventure and returned with a thud to reality, you realize that your bathwater is just about stone cold. Hardly the perfect end to any great story.
Aha, simply retrieve and uncork your water bottle.
The water inside is still nice and piping hot, perfect for a last minute dousing before you emerge from the tub, all shiny, warm and clean.
Life will rarely feel better.
You and me can appreciate this at once, but it will still be 2038 before that Nobel prize shows up on my doorstep.
Where's Winston Churchill when you need him? (he did all his best thinking in the bath, so he'd have sped up the process a bit)
Luckily in the meantime I have little Binky's prizewinning achievements for consolation.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tiny Binky wins a prize!

I just got back from opening the mail. I'm delighted to learn of an award for tiny Binky, one of my very small bronze rabbits in an upcoming exhibition.
Apparently the other sculpture of mine in the show, an extremely tiny turtle, sold during the jurying-in process!

The Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Society of Washington, D.C. awarded Tiny Binky the Second place winner for sculpture in the 75th Annual International Exhibition of Fine Arts Miniatures.
At the Strathmore Mansion, North Bethesda, Maryland.
Find out about the show here, and see more tiny bunnies on the rabbits page of here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

My blog won an award! Brilliant!

Not just any old award, but one from a reader.
The Brillante weblog award!
Thanks Liz for my award, and now, in true reciprocal fashion and according to the rules, I name 7 more blogs I like to also receive this award (is this an award pyramid scheme?).
The rules are as follows:
You are allowed to display the Brillante Weblog Award on your blog - Link to the person you received your award from - Nominate at least seven other blogs - put links to those blogs on yours: Leave a message on the blogs of those you have nominated.
So here goes...
'I like drawing Z00 animals...90% elephants, 10% of the rest.'
Science blog
'Science news straight from the source'
'This is not a diary. This is an attempt to develop a philosophy of life.'
'Cartoons drawn on the back of business cards.'
Taught me a lot about drawing, and I love his painting too.
I am an artist- a landscape painter working in oil and pastel. I'll be posting small paintings for sale as well as showing work I am doing for shows and galleries.'
Wired Science blog
More sciency stuff. What could be more interesting than the world around us?

Unrelated, the Horseman's Haven truckstop style cafe near our house shares its parking with a Phillips 66 gas station (just park around the edges of the gas station basically).
Inside the eatery there is a sign stating that under no circumstances can you bring your firearms inside while you eat.
Outside I spotted a spent 9mm shell casing where we just parked.
That would be just feet away from the gas station.
Mmm. I'm picturing a wild west style shootout where the combatants are hiding behind either gas pumps or newspaper dispensers.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Small Sumo Toads bronze

Here's the all singing and all dancing small Sumo Toads (12.5"tall) for your viewing pleasure.
Big ones (24"tall) are still at the foundry.
They are total monsters compared to these little guys.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sumo Wrestling Toads

Voila! The large version of my Sumo Toads, which is currently at the foundry, so what you're seeing here is the clay.The smaller ones are half as tall, which makes them very much smaller volume-wise.
You wouldn't be nearly so shocked to come across them in the undergrowth as these guys.
I will have pictures of the small ones all patinated and what-have-you soon.
Since this pair of big boys wouldn't fit through the front door I had a fun time getting them out through the patio doors and then over a wall to the waiting SUV (luckily there were extra pairs of hands helping out).
I think these would look good combined with some kind of water feature in a garden.
Lots more pics of other sculptures at

Sunday, August 31, 2008

'Bumper to bumper' turtle sculpture - work in progress 4

I got the pieces back from the foundry nicely patinated, picked up the granite base, had some holes carefully drilled in it at the relevant positions and have assembled 'Bumper to bumper'.
The above pics I snapped at home with my Canon powershot, the one below was done professionally.
More stuff on my website.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sprightly down under

I got a bunch of pics emailed to me from someone who had taken their Sprightly mouse with them on a sightseeing trip to Australia.

Not sure how they got a pic of him on the airplane's controls, unless it was a local flight from one house to a neighbor's house several million miles away (I've heard Australia is BIG and there's lots of empty bits).Since he is essentially a bronze ice pick, I'd be surprised if you could get him on a regular flight.
At least there's lots of wet bits around Australia's edges to take the sting out of the overall dryness.Not sure what a road train is exactly, but Sprightly has the best seat in the house.
The pics were taken by Bobbi Valentine, who is the director of an organization in the Santa Fe and Espanola areas doing all kinds of kindly things for unfortunate critters.
Check them out here.
And more bronze critters on my website.
I just got another email saying the following...

'Love the blog. Actually, I wish I had been able to photograph or video the reactions of the security screeners at the numerous airports. At one airport two x-ray screeners and a supervisor were huddled around the monitor and I heard “is that a rat”

I calmly responded that his name is Ralph Sprightly and he is going on his first overseas trip. The looks were priceless and of course they wanted to see him. A backlog of 20+ people resulted as Ralph emerged from his special carrying case. He was a huge hit. After being patted, he resumed his journey in the comfort of the main cabin [never in the luggage].

The captain and co-pilot of the QANTAS 747 were delighted to meet him, hence the photo at the controls upon landing at LAX

Kind regards,
Bobbi Valentine'

Thursday, July 31, 2008

'Senior Moment' elephant sculpture is back from the foundry...

I'm excited to see that my elephant patina is looking good after a close scrutiny up close and personal.
I've taken some pics on my Canon powershot which is good enough for web purposes but not high enough resolution for any decent size printed output.
Also, my lights are pretty small. It's getting to be a stretch for them doing sculpture this size (20" tall)
So it's getting photographed elsewhere with a higher res camera and better lights.
Mind you, I like the way he's looking in my pics.
Nice job Bronze Smith.
More goodies on my website...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

'Bumper to bumper' turtle sculpture-work in progress 3

Well my turtles are cast, and patinated too thanks to Kristen's handiwork at Bronze Smith foundry in Arizona.
We have collaborated on several pieces now, most recently my elephant in Rodin's thinker pose.
The pics from the foundry aren't perfect for color, you can see the difference in their appearance from the two shots of the main turtle both indoors and outside.
I think that browny colored background inside is white (or neutral gray).
Strangely he grew an extra claw on his back foot during casting!
Actually, there was a rod running around the outside of the claws to allow the metal to flow to the ends, and it seems the end of the rod got confused for a claw at metal chasing time.
All better now though, my turtle now sports the correct complement of claws on his feet.
When I get the partly submerged ones they will need to be attached to the 32" long polished granite base so they can be reflected in its shinyness.
They won't be arranged like this either, you can see what they'll look like in my earlier post.
I'm pretty keen to finish putting them together and see them all done.
Lots more stuff on my website.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Even more 'Nosey' how it's done...

Back in May I posted twice with various stages of making Nosey mouse from sculpting through casting, with all the steps involved.
There were some missing steps, some more of which are now filled in courtesy of Miles Anderson's pics.
His email is miles (funny 'at' squiggle)
About all that's left is patina application, which I might add later.
The molten bronze is poured into a canister of investment material, which used to contain wax replicas of Nosey, but the wax has been melted out earlier leaving mouse shaped cavities inside the plaster like material. The wax mice were attached to a wax stick which made it to the surface of the canister. That is what leaves the hole down the middle into which the bronze is poured in order to find its way to the mice. To see the previous stages check out my Nosey posts in May.

The white investment material is cleaned away from the bronze once the bronze has cooled.Here's the pair of Noseys which need to be cut off the main sprue and have their tails welded on. Then they get 'chased', which is where they get all evidence of having been attached to a sprue removed, then they get sandblasted, then they get a patina (stay tuned)...
Lots more mice and other stuff on my website.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Death of an elephant...

In our ecologically minded world being a cheapskate can be a virtue.
Once molded the clay can be thrown away, or re-used to make something else.
Maybe some of the molecules in my body used to be some part of an elephant at one point in time.
I re-used my rabbits to make a giant toad, and I'm re-using my elephant to make some more giant toads.
Here's my clay elephant back from the foundry ready for some impending unpleasantness.
The slippery surface must be scraped back since it's all covered in a release agent to facilitate easy mold rubber release. Can't save that stuff, so it goes in the trash.
A wire clay tool, a knife, and most dangerous of all, a cheese scraper, are all you need to get the job done.
The cheese scraper is dangerous only if your co-habitants spot you using it, when it might be all you have to defend yourself with against much more intimidating weapons. It's not very effective as an offensive weapon, or as a shield. Not so slippery now, the serious business of re-clay-mation can begin.
The box is starting to fill up nicely.

Ahh, if only shedding pounds was that easy.
A remnant of his former self ends up in the trash, (foam and pipes and wire covered in clay), while the rest gets to live another day.
Might have to get a bigger box.
He died that others might live.
Very 'circle of life', eh?
It's not all bad news for the elephant, he gets to enjoy eternal life as a bronze. Which should give him plenty of time to figure out whatever it is that's on his mind.
More stuff on my website.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Making 'Tiny mouse'

Tiny is the smallest mouse I have made at the time I write this post. I wanted to do a mouse balanced on a walnut and I really wanted to use a real walnut. But it was after Christmas and I couldn't find any unshelled walnuts anywhere. I was taking a walk through the snow with Meridee and as I bemoaned the lack of walnuts in the world, there laying in the snow was a walnut! I wasted no time getting going as soon as we got home.
I started first with a very rough clay sketch of my idea and took some pics of a mouse doing her thing...
I preferred the mouse with a lower head and more arched back after checking out my model's performance, so I went with that.
The real mouse got an extra piece of cheese for a job well done, and my finished bronze can be seen with many others on my website.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Miniature bronze turtles

Chasing tails around a penny.
I can't help myself when it comes to miniatures. I love to make things big and small.
More pics on my website's turtle page.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Great place for frames...

Steve and Deborah, some friends of mine run Mountain's Edge Frames, a great resource to get very nice gold or black 'plein air' style frames at terrific prices (standard sizes or custom made).
So if you dabble with the oil paints, they'll look right at home in those frames and it won't cost you an arm and a leg.
Check out Deborah's painting blog too, she does splendid landscapes and participates in shows and events (as well as her gallery representation).

Thursday, June 5, 2008

'Bumper to bumper' turtle sculpture-work in progress 2

I got my waxes back from the foundry and with the cunning use of a griddle (in background of photo) to melt down my critters, and some clay to work on new necks, legs, tweak heads etc, I'll have a nice crew of semi submerged turtles to take back again.
Here it is a bit further along (notice the front one has no legs yet).

Once finished and at the foundry they'll each be molded, from which new waxes will be pulled to be invested in ceramic shell, and then the waxes will be replaced with bronze.
If the foundry takes any pics of the progress I'll post 'em right here.
More critters at

Thursday, May 29, 2008

'Family Tree' turtle bronze

Here's my newest finished bronze of turtles basking on a floating log.
I like the suggestion of water that the reflective black granite base provides.
There's more pics of it on my website, and below is a pic of it before casting as it looked in clay.