It’s not uncommon for painters to paint after live models, be it people or still life. As expected, this isn’t quite the same as painting after a photo; in the latter, you have the option to divide the photo up in lesser squares to make it easier to place correctly on the canvas. This is of course rather difficult with a live motive.
However, there is, of course, another way to paint a model. Yes, I know bodypaint is an option, but that’s not what I’m thinking of now. I’m thinking of something more complicated. A way where you really have to work with your models before even thinking about painting them.
It’s when you first make the models. From the ground up. and then paint them. Well OK, I know you can buy finished models, too, to paint, but this time it’s about the modelling act. Making models out of clay.
Years ago – or decades ago really – I bought some air drying clay. I never got any further with it than repairing the toe of a chicken-figure, but I kept the clay, airtight so it stayed soft. This was what I was looking for when I found the Folk Art acrylic paint mentioned in an earlier post. But why would I look for this? Am I tired of painting, wanting to sculpt instead? Nope. Not at all.
However, I got curious again, after having watched several videos by Ace Of Clay on YouTube: Where is that clay of mine? Do I still have it? Honestly, I don’t know. It might hide somewhere, or it might’ve been thrown away. No matter what, it doesn’t matter.
This isn’t because I lost interest in the topic, far from it. It’s still fascinating to see the figures made, and also dioramas, houses and more, be it from air drying clay or baking clay. And while I won’t give up painting, I have made some purchases …
The first purchase was the DAS air drying clay. An impulse-buy after I saw it in the shop. Then I needed some tools, of course, so I ordered the first set. This was a toolset to cut and mark the clay – but I noticed that pressing cavities in the clay was occurring often – so another set of tools were ordered.
Also, was air drying clay the best for making figurines? Maybe not… But at this point, I had already bought a package of baking clay. Professional, even, which should be extra good for that kind of work. I also bought some copper wire that can be used for armature and a roll of aluminium foil. This can be shaped roughly into the form of the figurines – the models – so that I don’t use as much of the expensive clay. I only need to use a thin layer.
Do I need more now, to start modelling? Probably not, not equipment, at least. Even if a pasta maker seems to be a favourite tool, as it makes it easier to knead and work with the clay. But what I need most, is the time to sit down with it. Currently, I prioritize the painting on canvas. I’m still learning there, and need to spend time on it to become more confident and faster.
A modelling career will have to wait a bit longer – but this time I don’t intend to forget it for decades 😉