It’s been a while since my last post. Work and the loss of a computer kept me from my blogging
responsibilities but the wait is over. So with a new laptop and several new projects, I am back and full of fire!
Recently, I was asked to make a Black Crappie. It was to be a gift from my customer. After getting some specifics for the design, the work began.
I drew the pattern and cut out the template. After the blank is cut, details are sketched and the carving begins. I prefer to use Poplar for these types of projects because the wood is dense and the grain is very forgiving.
When all the waste wood has been cut away and the details added, the fish will go through several rounds of needle filing, sanding and steel wool to remove all the wood burrs and facets left behind by carving. The steel wool also helps create a smooth finish that cannot be accomplished with sanding alone.
Primer is applied in two coats when all the sanding and steel wool is completed. Steel wool is also used in between priming coats to remove brush strokes.
After the priming is completed, the airbrushing begins. Airbrushing allows me to add several coats of color in a layering method to add realistic depth to the fish skin. A special additive to the paint gives the impression of scales and increases the depth in the colors.
When the last coat of color is added to the fish, I start the hand painting process to add the detail. I don’t like to use prefab grids for detail effects because each fish in nature is distinctly different so I believe the replicas should be also.
With the detail complete and the eye inserted, the base is assembled and the fish is mounted to it. The base is designed to look like the pond bottom and painted to match. Clear coat is applied to protect the final project and it is shipped to the customer.
Projects like this one is very rewarding. As an artist, I get lost in details and hope that the recipient is able to see the tiny things that make the piece come alive…that is the true reward!
I hope you enjoyed this project and stay tuned, more on the way….