Friday, October 22, 2010

The art of making a scarecrow - sculpting his head

Mr. Hospitality • © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

Calistoga's current art event is the First Annual Scarecrow Contest at Indian Springs Resort and Spa. The variety and creativity that went into the scarecrows is something to behold! Here you can see a little of what went into the sculpting of the head of my scarecrow, Mr. Hospitality.

Mr. Hospitality, early stage • © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

The basic structure of his head depends on a water jug. I've cut off the bottom so that it will fit over the upright pole used for his scarecrow body. Over it I formed shapes of newspaper, masking tape, and duct tape. His head was actually lying down on a table here, but it's easier to see the image upright.

Mr. Hospitality, early stage • © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

I've begun to cover the armature (the sculpture's underlying structure) with a two-part epoxy clay that air-dries pretty much as hard as a rock. (I've got bits dried onto my fingernails, and can really testify to that.) It's called Magic Sculpt. This is the same clay used by all the artists who worked on the statues of Charlie Brown, Snoopy (as Joe Cool), Woodstock, and this year Lucy, in Peanuts on Parade, a tribute to the work of Charles M. Schulz. (I was honored to participate in it each of the first three years, working on one Charlie Brown, two Woodstocks, and two Joe Cools.)

Mr. Hospitality, later stage • © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

At this point, Mr. Hospitality is mostly painted. I am still working on his hair and eyebrows. I wanted him to be a genial, friendly, good-tempered fellow. He made me smile back at him, as I was working on him.

Mr. Hospitality, on site • © 2010 Karen Lynn Ingalls

Here you can see him, assembled, on site at Indian Springs in Calistoga, California. I had already put together the frame, with the help of Tom Atkins and my technical consultants at Silverado Ace Hardware (thanks, guys!), patched the pants, stuffed his legs and arms, and attached the flowers. Once I got on site, I attached his head, his hat, the crows, and the straw (thank you, Ellie Robinson, for the straw!).

I still have a couple of things to add. They'll be coming....

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