Saturday, October 26, 2019

It's been awhile, but I am still working.

Compatriot Michael Tieman
Didn't like the bottom section, so I tore it apart and redid it. Added about 10 lbs to him, not me, and still working on the details.

Friday, September 20, 2019

The Devil Is In the Detail ...

Journal Entry - Sep 20, 2019 

Compatriot Michael Tieman
 I have spent the last month or so working on the details of the piece and building up the musket and I added the possibles bag and powder horn.

Not interesting for you to look at, but here are a few newer pics.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Patience grasshopper.

Compatriot Michael Tieman
Finished all the basic forms. Now to continue the detail work on the fabric and weapons. A lot of work time left.

I found some "firmer" clay, not as good as the foundry clay, still a bit soft with the outside temp. in the 90's. A/c and fans can only do so much. But foundry clay (the tan clay you see) is not available yet.

I will hit some of the clay with frozen air in a can to harden small areas to get some of the finer detail, but not practical on a full life size figure.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Bloodied by the Frog.

Journal Entry - Aug 19, 2019 
Compatriot Michael Tieman

Day Fourteen

Today I thought I would work on the weapons and the Frog. The frog is that leather piece that holds the tomahawk and the bayonet and is connected to the leather strap that goes over the shoulders. You can see it on the side view photo below.

Concentrating on the Frog, and getting the shape and weapons looking right, but not on my clay knife and my fingers. Yep, knife slips one of my fingers is in the way ... blood all over.

Time out for Nancy to become the nurse.

Bandaged up and back to work. I have used that knife for decades without a mishap. Age slows the reflexes and the little gray cells I guess.

Oh well, it is true, an artist puts their blood and soul into their work.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

New Clay Arrived

Just arrived. The new clay is here. A bit warm since it was in a hot UPS truck all day. It has been sitting in cooler room and is firming up. Have it sit in air conditioning for a day or two. Hope it works.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


So, no new foundry clay yet. I had to go to plan B.

I bought clay from a supplier in CO. Here is the cost breakdown.

The CO. clay is $1.50./lb  more than foundry clay including shipping if I buy 30# or more. But it is $2.50/lb. less than if I buy retail. I will use more than 130lbs. of clay per sculpture times 3 sculptures.

Fingers crossed I can buy my foundry clay soon, until then 30# at a time from CO. Thing is I have never used clay from this supplier before.

Exploring new possibilities is what artists do. Otherwise life would be boring.

My first shipment arrives tomorrow.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

A Good Days Work

Journal Entry - Aug 1, 2019 
Compatriot Michael Tieman

Day Eleven

Finished the face/head and working on the folds.

Called the foundry to order more clay but they have halted production because the price of the vegetable oil tripled. They have been reformulating it for 6 mos. to get a new batch that works and keeps the same retail price.

They say they might have it, just need to test it. Could be 30 days before shipping. I have 5lbs left. Won't last that long.

May have to take a vacation.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019


Compatriot Michael Tieman

Journal Entry - July 30, 2019

Day Ten

Today I started to add some personality and a bit of attitude.

Monday, July 29, 2019

I Came Back To A Sagging Old Man!!

Compatriot Michael Tieman

Journal Entry - July 29, 2019

Day Nine

So, remember I talked about the clay melting if it got too warm in the room.

Yep, it happened. Today I went into the studio after not being in it for a few days and the hat had melted and fell into his arms. And it had slumped a bit, he gained a few inches around the waist and it was lower. In other words, he got old.

So today I turned on the air conditioner, pushed his gut back,  replaced and rebuilt the hat. Drove a few screws into the hat and into the foam of the head.

Once I did that, I added clay to the musket to cover the wood base.

Then, I started to add the harder foundry clay covering the base clay.

My hands were screaming so I had to stop for the day. I put the fan on for the night on the clay and put my compression gloves on me for the night.

Tomorrow I call the foundry to order some clay as I am on my last ingot.

Friday, July 26, 2019

One Fold At a Time ...

Journal Entry - July 26, 2019

Compatriot Michael Tieman
Day Eight

And now that the base is in, I begin on building the body up and adding the clothes. One fold at a time. Here I need patience and a lot of clay.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Hands to the Musket

Compatriot Michael Tieman
Journal Entry - July 24, 2019

Day Seven

The end of work yesterday.

I added more foam to bring out the arms to where they need to be. Added the musket form, I traced my musket onto a 1x8x6' piece of Hemlock to get the correct shape and size. This will be the form I add the clay to.

The arms and hands are now in final position.

Took today off and went to the beach with family. Back to work tomorrow.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Clay, Clay and More Clay

Compatriot Michael Tieman
Journal Entry - July 22, 2019

Day Six

The easy part is done. The underside form. Spent the day just adding clay to the form. Tedious work, but some days are like this. Had the fan on all day as it was warm in the room and the clay was getting a bit soft. It made it easier to work with, but it can't get too warm.

Now to shape it so it looks human and work in the details.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Softer Clay As a Base

Compatriot Michael Tieman
Journal Entry - July 19, 2019

Day Five

After a few hours of work I had to stop early because the arthritis in my hands was acting up.

Because of that I am using a soft Van Aken Plastalina from Blicks. It is softer and easier to work with when my hands act up. Works pretty well. When I have covered the entire figure with it I hope to get back to the harder foundry clay as it holds the detail better then this softer one.

I will take Saturday and Sunday off then hopefully back to work Monday.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Clay Begins to Take Shape

Journal Entry - July 18, 2019
Compatriot Michael Tieman

Day Four

For those who may try to apply oil based clay to the foam. Don't, it won't stick.

Again, Home Depot has what you need, a roll of 6" wide gutter screening. The perfect base. Cover all of the foam with the screening then apply the oil based clay. I also use the screening as a base for fabric as it can be twisted and folded and retains it shape.

This type of clay does not dry out or harden which for me is great. No water to mess with and clean to use, and I don't have to worry about it drying too fast or keeping it moist as in a water based clay. And if I don't like something, I pull it off and redo it. I have gone back to unfinished pieces I started years ago, hit the clay with a bit of heat from a hair dryer and continued on. The oil based clay becomes soft with just the heat of your hands. I buy it in 10 lb. ingots from a foundry. It comes in soft, med and hard. The hard I use for detail work, the base is soft.

This clay is perfect for when I did demos in a gallery. I can work in a 6'x6' area in the gallery and I don't have to worry about people spilling water, or getting the clay on the floor, or keeping it moist. The galleries I have done demos in love it.

Beware though.

Don't leave your work in a hot environment. I had a friend that completed his sculpture, went away for the weekend to celebrate and when he came back the piece had melted. There was a heat wave that weekend and he had not turned on his fans on the sculpture before he left. I have had to put fans on pieces while I was working so it would not become too soft. I have also hit small areas with cold air in a can to freeze a portion so I can add detail.

Also, I reuse the clay from sculpture to sculpture. When a piece is finished, molds are made and the last piece in the edition has been cast, I tear apart the original and reuse the clay. Frugal. I guess there is a piece of all of my past sculptures in all of my future ones.

You will notice that there is a heart. I always start my people sculptures by placing the heart. It gives the piece a soul.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

And Now the Foam

Compatriot Michael Tieman

Journal Entry - July 17, 2019

Day Three

Cutting and applying foam board. I will add the clay to this 
and sculpt the figure. The foam gives me a firm support for 
the clay, I use less clay and it is lighter in weight as a 
finished piece.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Starting the back board

Compatriot Michael Tieman

Journal Entry - July 16, 2019

Day Two

Working on the life-size sculpture of the Revolutionary War Rifleman/Militia soldier. Went to my favorite Home Depot to get the supplies I need as the support for the clay sculpture. Then I cut the boards and cleated them together to make a 7' x 2' back support board.

Next I drew a 18" x 6' rectangle, the finished size of the end of the ORWM wall. Fortunately I have 8' ceilings in my small studio. Final step today is drawing the figure onto the board in a rough form.