Ye Olde Carving Commission of Gourd Folke

Note: This post is not the original draft, rather it's a reimagined Old English-style version created using ChatGPT4 (GPT-4 model). I initially wrote a normal post and then decided to make this version for fun. Surprisingly, I found it substantially more entertaining and it just flows better than the original.

The content remains unchanged, just rephrased. I fed the post to ChatGPT, made a few variations and then composed the best parts to create the final piece. Feel free to read or compare the original draft. Enjoy!

Of late, I didst complete mine first sculpture commission! 'Twas a merry affair, albeit a trying and emotional adventure at times, akin to the twists and turns of a mighty roller coaster. I hath penned this missive to conclude this undertaking in mine own mind, to fashion a remembrance of the lessons learned for future consultation, and to amuse thee. Perchance thou shalt find it of use if thou art venturing into the realm of sculpting. At the bare minimum, thou mayest chortle at mine own foolish missteps, which I candidly divulge herein.

If thou dost wish to spoil the revelation and gaze upon the finished creation, thou mayst scroll to the nethermost part of this page. Else, accompany me as I escort thee through the fabrication process and share some captured visages from the journey.

The Endevour

'Twas in the year of our Lord, 2021, whilst grappling with the suffocating plague response in the fair city of Toronto, it came to pass that I rekindled my passion for the art of sculpting. To hone my skills anew, I resolved to fashion a pumpkin in the likeness of one from the Dwarf Fortress Waddlesquash series, as depicted by the esteemed Kruggsmash. Upon sharing mine humble creation with the vary same Kruggsmash, he showed great kindness by featuring it in one of his moving pictures!

I beseech thee, if thou hast not yet partaken of his offerings, make haste to do so, for he is a master of great talent and creativity.

Behold that simple sculpt I wrought:

The grand gourd of magnitude

By the grace of Kruggsmash's commendation, a noble viewer beheld my pumpkin and thus commissioned me to bring forth a different illustration from the selfsame series. Lo, the image I was entrusted to breathe life into:

The origin sketch

Upon beholding this sketch, I was certain that a grand opportunity presented itself for the crafting of a most wondrous creation. I recognized that I must elevate the standard of my craftsmanship, for, as it were, I had become a professional artisan. I possessed but a hazy notion of how I might achieve this feat, yet that mattered not, for such is my preferred approach: to embark on ventures exceeding my own abilities and strive to bring forth a marvel. Methinks this to be the most effective method of enhancing one's skill. Thou shalt undoubtedly stumble and be confounded by the unforeseen, but let not this deter thee from commencing. The tribulations thou endurest may cause suffering in the present, yet they shall transform into the crowning jewels in the tales thou regalest later.

Verily, having dispatched the customary discourse of encouragement, inspired by the humble corn dog, prithee, let us now proceed with the matter at hand.

The Dimensions of Import

Verily, verily, verily vast (somewhat)

Ere I laid hands upon the malleable clay, I deemed it necessary to contemplate the dimensions of my creation with utmost precision. Never before had I shaped a sculpture of considerable size, and thus I deemed this a fitting occasion for such an undertaking. Behold my calculation of the proportions most desired:

Dimensions of the sculpture Lo, I have become an engineer in my own right.

Commencement of the Discourse

Art thou prepared for some marvelous stuff, smooth stuff, wondrous stuff, unrefined stuff?

To commence, I fashioned the semblance of a diminutive pumpkin, employing an amalgamation of Super Sculpey soft—the clay of rosy hue—and Super Sculpey firm—the clay of ashen tint. The latter excels in preserving fine detail, and thus I favour its application upon the exterior. At this early juncture, my chief aim was to secure the proper proportions. 'Tis folly to plunge headlong into the intricacies of detail when the foundation itself remains unsteady.

Genesis of the diminutive gourd

The wee gourd springs to life

Petite gourd with eyes of the googly sort 'Tis wondrous how the simple addition of eyes that do roll and rattle can breathe life into an otherwise unremarkable lump of clay.

Fashioning the Cask

The barrel was to be a grandiose and realistic spectacle, and so, with great care and precision, did I measure each component and cut it accordingly. Alas, I possess no depictions of the early stages of this labour, but allow me to regale thee with some details of the work that transpired.

Commencement of the cask

The inner core, ye see, is forged from compressed aluminum foil, a customary technique amongst practitioners of polymer clay, designed to lessen weight, preserve clay, and diminish the likelihood of thicc sculptures cracking in the fiery oven. In this instance, I desired the cask to be a substantial fellow, such that it would not topple when the pumpkin gentleman was perched atop. The proportion of clay-to-foil, I must confess, was but a matter of conjecture, and fortune smiled upon me in this regard.

Initially, I endeavored to construct the gentleman around a wire inserted into the top. Yet, for reasons that have now escaped my recollection, this plan did not come to fruition. Instead, I pursued the time-honored path of creating a separate armature.

The most arduous moments in the making of this cask involved the wrapping of hoops around it whilst ensuring their parallel orientation to the ground, all the while avoiding distortion, and the carving of the wooden strips, ensuring their uniformity. Forsooth, it vexes me when I receive a pizza with slices that are but thin slivers. I endeavored to avoid such irregularities.

Embellishing the cask with fine detail To bestow upon the cask an air of authenticity, I added chips and scratches, suggestive of a well-used vessel. The moist sheen visible upon its surface results from the application of rubbing alcohol brushed upon it to eradicate fingerprints and banish dust.

Apex of the barrel

The Naming of the barrel occupant

Hark! Henceforth, let it be known that the barrel gentleman shall be christened Master Pumpkin. A fitting title, deserving of reverence, for he is of noble countenance. Prior to devoting a considerable measure of time to the creation of Master Pumpkin, it was essential for me to ascertain his proportions. Thus, I hastily fashioned a rough draft of his likeness.

Roughly shaping the Master pumpkin

Converting a flat image into a three-dimensional form proved to be no trifling matter! I endeavored to replicate the visage of Master Pumpkin gazing down upon his pet, whilst also permitting the observer to appreciate the intricacies of his upper torso and countenance, without the need to stoop or crouch. To achieve this, I revised his form and the angle of his head innumerable times during the course of his fabrication, until all appeared as it should.

Constructing the Skeleton

Having no previous familiarity with the art of armature crafting, I sought the wisdom of Youtube for instruction. Alas, the task proved more challenging than the experts had portrayed. Behold my pitiful inaugural attempt at fashioning legs:

Inferior appendage framework

Alas, this venture did not bear fruit, and so, with a fresh start, I fashioned this peculiar alien-like structure. By Jove, it shall suffice!

The alien's structural foundation

Bulking Up (Dost Thou Even Hoist Iron, Good Sire?)

With mine otherworldly armature in grip, I could commence the bona fide construction of the Grand Gourd, Master Pumpkin, in earnest.

Master pumpkin begins to animate

Master pumpkin's vitality continues

Marry, the gauging of limbs' proportions proved a task of great challenge! 'Twas my desire to render him comically, akin to the original whimsical illustration, yet also with some semblance of humanity, for he will perch atop the cask and needs maintain a pleasing appearance from all vantage points. Methinks I became overly preoccupied on replicating the source image.

Master pumpkin gains sustenance By my faith, those legs were excessively elongated. Blast it all!

I cast aside my previous attempts, until, at long last, the proportions appeared befitting. I found satisfaction with this iteration.

Master pumpkin gains sustenance I didst apply a modicum of texture unto the garment by tenderly mollifying the clay with Sculpey clay softener, and then, with a firm paint brush, stippling the surface thereof.

Further attention was devoted to the head. In manner akin to the crafting of the barrel, I pursued a sequence: a core of foil; clay of a soft nature encompassing; baking, to fix the core's form; and the application of firm clay to the outermost layer. His head would undergo many a revision!

Master pumpkin acquires a cranium

It was needful that he be granted arms, hands, and feet, and thusly did I fashion them, along with more details for the shirt.

Master pumpkin now bears limbs, legs, and feet

The folds of the fabric were wrought by means of a soft silicone implement, employed to gingerly manipulate the existing clay. The outcome was passable. Should I e'er sculpt fabric anew, I shall simply add worms of clay upon the surface and blend them in. In sooth, this method shall prove swifter and yield more pronounced delineations.

The corpus is nigh complete

The texture for his trousers was achieved by rolling the grip of a metal tool upon the legs. It proved a challenge to apply this evenly across the rounded surface, particularly in the inner thigh region. In future endeavors, I shall press fabric upon the clay for a more uniform and realistic texture.

The Revisitation of the Cranium.

With the trunk mostly formed, I found it prudent to direct my attention once more towards the head. Observe the abundance of dust and fibers present? Such is an inescapable predicament whilst engaging in the art of sculpting, regardless of how immaculate one keeps one's surroundings and hands. This debris appears to manifest from an alternate plane of existence. The most effective method for its removal is the application of isopropyl alcohol via a paint brush or cotton swabs. Exercise caution in your rubbing, for the alcohol shall dissolve the clay, and one could unwittingly erase fine details. I expressed no concern for the dust, as I intended to conceal it beneath layers of paint.

The cranium takes shape

Allow me to leap ahead in the tale, for I neglected to capture any images whilst fashioning the hat. I resolved to craft it using Cosclay, a novel blend of plastic and rubber polymer clay that retains some pliability post-baking. There was no particular tactical rationale for this choice; I merely wished to experiment with a new medium and deemed a floppy hat to be a suitable subject.

On the whole, I found Cosclay a pleasure to employ. One vexing aspect, however, was its inclination to become sticky due to the warmth emanating from one's hands and fingers. The simplest remedy I discovered was to dust one's fingers and/or the clay with a smidge of cornstarch, which promptly alleviates the adhesion. Naturally, this recommendation may be disregarded if one is a member of the undead with frosty dermis.

Master pumpkin is wholly assembled Behold, Master Pumpkin, baked to perfection and poised to don his ornate cape.

Master pumpkin rests within my grasp He didst fit so snugly in my hands and hath possessed a most satisfying heft. He was my little clay offspring. Following this, I fused my babe to the barrel employing some liquid clay adhesive. Prithee, forgive me, my dear child.

Of the Marvelous Cape

I did fashion a most wondrous cape, wrought from the pliable Cosclay substance. I endeavoured to carve out the form from a flat segment of clay, but found it nigh impossible to render it pleasing to mine own eyes. After a handful of ill-fated attempts, I resorted to the haphazard tapestry technique, stitching together various fragments that were then melded together.

Master pumpkin's cloak takes form

Master pumpkin's cloak takes form At this juncture, it doth appear woeful, but anon, it shall be rendered fair and sleek.

Calamity Befalleth!

Alas, my first foolish blunder occurred during Master Pumpkin's final sojourn to the infernal realm. In my zeal to preserve the folds and contours of his new cape, I placed it face-up towards the heavens, with Master Pumpkin resting face-down, with the tips of his shoes and hat brim pressed firmly against the tray. A most grievous mistake!

Master Pumpkin's footwear doth fail

All of his heft bore down upon his extremities and the brim of his hat. This led to the breaking off of his boot tips, the back of his feet cleaving asunder, and the hat parting a tad. In the portrait above, I have already rejoined the tips with liquid clay. I neglected to capture an image of the hat's affliction. 'Twas at this moment I became enlightened on the diverse methods to bolster a sculpture with delicate components.

Lesson the First:

Cured clay doth soften somewhat when rekindled. Apply not pressure upon fragile portions whilst baking!

Thou canst support pieces by placing them upon or within a heap of cornstarch or baking soda. I favour baking soda over cornstarch, for the latter is less likely to leave a faint white residue. This alabaster hue is troublesome when baking translucent or coloured clay that shall not be painted post-baking.

Calamity Upon Calamity (WITHIN THE SELF-SAME DAY)!

I mended the breach and recombined the points of the shoe using liquid clay, a substance likened to Elmer's glue which we in our schooldays utilized (and savored...avow it, thou hast tasted it too). Upon baking, it becometh a hard polymer akin to common clay, yet translucent it remains, thus well-suited for the sealing of rifts and adhering of fragments.

Upon retrieving the mended sculpture from the fiery furnace, I, in a moment of folly, desired Master Pumpkin to cool on the surface of my counter, forsaking the baking tray. Such an act is wholly unnecessary! Disturb not the heated sculpture.

Dost thou remember Lesson #1 aforementioned? Clay that is cured doth soften when warmed. That day, a mathematical equation was brought to mind: the mass of Master Pumpkin + the enfeebled bond to the barrel + the force of gravity = HIS PLUMMET FROM THE BARREL AND COLLISION WITH THE EDGE OF MY CAST IRON SKILLET, WHICH BY FORTUNE'S WHIM IS POSITIONED TO INFLICT MAXIMUM DAMAGE. Thus was wrought a grand tear across the expanse of the cape, and perchance unseen structural harm as well. Verily, I was not utilizing my mental faculties that day.

The mantle of Master Pumpkin suffers a breach

Fortuitously, the damage could be repaired without the necessity of fashioning the piece anew, but a heavy heart I bore nonetheless.

Lesson the Second:

As the clay cooleth, so doth its curing complete. Thou hast already shown patience for the space of 30 or more minutes whilst it bakes; thou canst surely endure another quarter of an hour as it cools upon the tray.

Upon the grievous misfortunes of a brace, in one singular day, did I cast prudence to the wind, for I was verily swept up in a tide of folly. In haste, I sought a union more steadfast twixt Master Pumpkin and his trusty cask. This bond I did secure by the application of a powerful adhesive.

Alas, the glue took fast as if by sorcery, affording me but a moment's grace to ensure his proper seat upon the barrel. His limbs, as I endeavoured to position them, did slip and slide, spreading the adhesive o'er the cask. That very smear, a vexing spectre, pursued me to the project's end. In grievous revelation: paint, it clings not to super glue. With great care and a sharp blade, I did labour to remove the offending marks. A task most arduous, as one might expect when dealing with a substance of such superlative strength. A merry endeavour, indeed.

Smeared adhesive Ye shall find the smeared glue betwixt the lines.

Ere long, I came to rue the day I didst affix Master Pumpkin to his cask with such a permanent bond. It came to pass that super glue, when heated beyond a certain measure, doth emit fumes most noxious. The very temperature at which I baked was perilously close to this limit (as you may have guessed)! I imagined my good wife's displeasure at such toxic vapours filling our hearth, and with no protective attire at hand, the cape's rending I could not mend with further clay. Thenceforth, I became a man committed to the ways of the glue.

The torn edges I did rejoin, yet the method proved a muddle, and a seam, albeit slight, remained visible. With a knife, I scraped away the neighbouring clay, a gesture that bore a modicum of improvement.

Lesson the Third:

Eschew the use of super glue upon clay destined for reheating. Prithee disregard this advice if thou dost not fear inhaling the breath of doom.

The Petite Companion

Having surmounted the most arduous sculpting tasks, I returned to the diminutive pumpkin companion to bring him to completion. Henceforth, he shall be christened as the 'little fellow'.

I regrettably failed to document the initial stages of his refinement, wherein I enhanced his countenance, imparted detail unto his form, and fashioned the spigot and valve that protrude from his flank. Despite his impalement, the little fellow appears unperturbed, displaying a commendable stoicism.

Behold, the first vine experiment employing Cosclay, as depicted in the accompanying image:

Little fellow begins his awakening

I surmised that employing Cosclay for the entire underside of the creature would reduce the likelihood of harm whilst applying paint and during manipulation. Verily, the results were most satisfactory! I found great pleasure in the appearance and subtle pliability of the Cosclay. The thinner the material, the more flexible it becomes.

Little fellow is complete!

Little fellow is complete!

Little fellow is complete!

The Epoch of Chromatic Adornment

Lo, the moment to daub had dawned. That earliest effigy I unveiled unto thee at the commencement of this record hath been embellished with acrylics. I derived scant joy from the act of painting it, nor found delight in the outcome. Methinks acrylics oft prove a vexation due to their hasty drying properties. And I deemed it unwise to engage in airbrushing, for I lacked experience and desired not to expend a great sum on the requisite apparatus.

In this juncture, I recalled the wondrous craftsmanship of Sir Dmitry Fesechko and his instructional missives on the art of besmirching plastic figurines with oil pigments. I became enamoured with his masterpieces upon first gaze and resolved to emulate his techniques. Delving further, I discovered Sir James Wappel's visual narrations on the art of bedaubing plastic effigies with oil colours. The gentleman is both a daubing dynamo and a wellspring of wisdom for neophytes! Behold his Twitch conduit for frequent painting streams. I devoured many hours of their shared expertise, striving to absorb as much knowledge as I might ere embarking on what would transpire to be A MOST TIME-CONSUMING JOURNEY.

It remained uncertain whether I would achieve similar results whilst painting polymer clay, yet, as the clay doth harden into a form of plastic—thus the polymer in its name—I pondered if it would not differ greatly. I crafted small effigies to assay various tinctures. Pleased with the results, I resolved to employ oils in my quest.

My initial undertaking was to prime all things. Priming is not compulsory, as I gleaned from my preliminary trials, but doing so bestows a pleasent, uniform surface upon which to labour. Moreover, the primer aided in concealing some of the fissures from aforestated damages, such as the rend in the cape. I shall welcome any assistance proffered!

I employed the very primer that Sir James Wappel utilises, known as Badger Stynylrez. This self-levelling concoction is a veritable pleasure to manipulate. One may airbrush it or apply it with a brush. And what I most adore about it is the ability to labour upon regions ere they dry, ultimately achieving a perfectly smooth application. Such is not the case with substances like varnish or acrylic paint.

Behold, the before and after:

Ere the priming

Post priming

In the illuminated portrait above, gaze upon the visages beyond the statuettes, and thou shalt behold minuscule vessels of pigment. These be oil paint droppers, which I fashioned from empty flasks procured on the grand marketplace of Amazon. Within each bottle, I did place a modicum of oil paint, thinned with the elixir known as Izosol—an odourless, low-toxic mineral solvent—and did add unto it small metallic orbs to blend the colours. Inspired by Sir James' teachings [1] [2] [3], I created a veritable collection of these vessels. Alas, the process was most tedious, disorderly, and time-consuming. Yet, in the end, the saved hours whilst painting and the consistent dilution of my pigments made the undertaking worthy. As a fledging practitioner of the oil painting arts, I held this boon in high esteem.

Why, thou might inquire, must one thin the paint? Employ oil paint directly from its tubular vessel, and thou shalt find thyself waiting an eternity for it to dry—a matter of weeks or even months! Even the slender layers I applied took ages to fully harden. The duration of this process doth depend upon myriad factors, including humidity and the hues employed. By thinning the paint, I reduced the waiting period to a mere few days between applications. At times, I hastened the process further by incorporating a stabilizing gel from the esteemed house of Schmincke, called Malbutter. This wondrous substance proved particularly useful when working with colours derived from the cadmium element.

Yet, in the creation of these bottles, a caveat doth arise:

Lesson the Fourth:

The paint, in time, shall harden within these cheap plastic vessels, for their lids are not airtight! Thou must often agitate them, and occasionally add more mineral spirit.

This truth did not dawn upon me until some time had elapsed following the project's completion. Seeking to employ these bottles for a fresh sculpt, I discovered them bereft of moisture. Sir James Wappel, ever industrious in his painting, faces not this plight, for he exhausts his paint supplies with regularity. In future endeavours, I shall procure paint directly from the tube and thin it only as necessity dictates.

Of Painting Begun and Misfortune Befallen

I began to adorn the leaves and tendrils of the little fellow. 'Twas proceeding well, yet alas, a woeful mishap transpired thusly 😢

Fragile tendrils fractured

This lamentable fracture of the arm came to pass whilst I tenderly coaxed the extremity, so as to revolve the figurine whilst embellishing the lower part. Methinks the clay was not entirely cured. Yet I did not let my spirits sink, for I was well acquainted with the art of adhesion and would in due course employ it to reunite the severed limb. I delayed the mending until the project's culmination, as the absence thereof eased the task of painting the anterior region.

Yet more foliage and vine pigmentation Advancement, indeed!

'Twas a lengthy endeavour to grace all the hidden recesses and crevices of the nether side, for some locations were nigh unreachable. Pray, let me counsel thee: rotate thy subject frequently to discover the untouched regions, which reveal themselves only from queer perspectives!

In truth, I am well content with the outcome. The shifting tones, derived from the diverse hues I employed, are fair to behold, though my humble mobile eye did ill capture their full essence. Yet, the effect shall be more discernible in the final depictions once the varnish is laid.

Little fellow acquires a tinge of orange

Little fellow acquires a tinge of orange Of the transition from the radiance of light to hues of a duskier nature upon the creature's cranium and foliage, 'tis mine own endeavour to imitate the illumination of the sun, with its light's warm embrace upon the fore and rightward side. Subtle I have kept it, for lack of prior familiarity with such a task. Nevertheless, contentment fills me with the result, and henceforth shall I render such effect more prominent in future works.

But lo! Upon engaging with the vibrant hues of orange (verily, the cadmium yellow deep), I was struck with the realization that to paint in the medium of oils would require a considerable passage of time.

This pigment hath wrought much tribulation upon me. An opaque concoction it may be, yet mysteriously it laid upon the canvas in streaks and translucent swathes. Numerous applications I endeavoured to achieve the desired smoothness and consistent coverage. Initially, I pondered if the smooth primer might be the culprit, and so, with gentle touch, I sanded the surface. Yet, no change was observed. Then, opting for the unadulterated paint from the tube sans thinning with spirits, still no difference appeared. Alas, the root of the problem eluded me evermore.

Master Pumpkin imbibes the hue of orange Lo and behold, the esteemed Master Pumpkin too hath been graced with the sun's touch, with the golden beams of sunlight gracing his posterior left flank.

A Grievous Misfortune Befalleth

I intended not for this chronicle of labour to bear such a dark and woeful tone, but many a blunder occurred along the journey!

A calamity of great magnitude transpired. I had completed the painting of Master Pumpkin's noble visage and positioned him within the confines of my wardrobe, atop a chest, for the process of drying. This secluded nook hath scarce air currents, thus minimizing the quantity of dust which might adhere to the still-wet pigments. A se'nnight or so elapsed, and the visage approached a state of dryness. Huzzah! Alas, on one fateful day, I found myself in haste to attend an engagement and required a satchel stored at the summit of my wardrobe, above the very resting ground of Master Pumpkin. Canst thou foretell the impending catastrophe?

As fate would have it, my portable scriptorium's protective sheath was obscured from view, resting atop the very satchel I sought. Days prior, I had, in slothful fashion, placed it there instead of properly ensconcing it within the satchel. Though fully aware of the perilous gambit I played, my executive faculties were lacking, and I dismissed the thought. Alas, I reaped the bitter fruits of my negligence. As I withdrew the satchel, the sheath tumbled down, and, by cruel chance, it struck Master Pumpkin, knocking him from his perch...

Master Pumpkin's cranium doth cleave in twain

The hapless gentleman plummeted a metre and a half, landing upon my chamber's unforgiving stone floor below. His visage bore the brunt of the impact, bursting asunder and severing from the body, leaving a multitude of fissures upon the posterior aspect. His chapeau splintered in several places, and the cask sustained a modicum of damage. To behold such a dreadful scene after investing copious time and affection in the creation of Master Pumpkin was a heavy burden to bear. In that dire moment, all I could do was to compact my anguish into that of a dense wad—as if a neutron star—and bury it deep within, ere I hastened to my confounded appointment.

Master Pumpkin's cranium doth cleave in twain

Extraction of shattered fragments from Master Pumpkin's brow

Cask bears a flaw

It is a marvel that greater destruction was not wrought. In that regard, fortune smiled upon me.

Commencement of Restorations

Lo and behold, I found myself too entangled in this matter to abandon my quest, and well aware that repairs could be wrought, though the sands of time would e'er be pouring.

The initial undertaking required me to rid the visage of its paint with the aid of Izosol. This task proved to be most tedious, spanning the course of several days. Perchance it would have been swifter to recreate the head anew. 'Tis difficult to ascertain.

Scouring the hue from Master Pumpkin's ruptured visage

Thereupon, I employed an assemblage of aluminum foil, liquid clay, and Sculpey firm to reconstruct the cranium.

Restoration of Master Pumpkin's noble head

Restoration of Master Pumpkin's noble head

Master Pumpkin's cranium restored! I found myself sanding this even more after capturing this image, striving to achieve a flawlessly smooth finish.

The head was rejoined to the body by applying glue upon the wire and sliding it into the cavity from whence it had been removed. This proved mostly effective, save for an obstruction encountered within the head, causing a minuscule gap betwixt the head and torso. Howbeit, I daresay none observed this gap besides myself.

With a trusty blade, I mended the chipped barrel edges and then fashioned Master Pumpkin's hat anew. The hat appeared superior to its predecessor and rested upon the head with fewer visible crevices. Delightful!

Unto the Art of Painting I Return

Master Pumpkin's countenance repainted

Methinks, at first, I didst direct mine gaze unto the visage, and with great diligence painted it whole, desiring to finish the most arduous task. Then, anon, I re-primed the hat. Pray, do not attempt such folly! Prime all ere the application of colour! With utmost care, I didst prime, thinking mine work to be of merit, yet upon the morrow's inspection, I spied flecks of primer marring the splendid orange hue. Such misfortune came to pass as Stynylrez doth run like water, easily flick'd off the brush, even with the slightest of gestures.

I have thus marked the offending specks of which I speak, to be dealt with ere the end draweth nigh.

Illuminated Specks of Primer upon the Cranium

Perchance, now, I shall paint the remainder of his attire:

Garments and breeches approach completion

Garments and breeches approach completion

Garments and breeches approach completion

I stood uncertain in regard to the hue of the hat. As it dried, the colour did lighten, a surprise most unwelcome. Loath was I to paint it anew, and so I let it be, later imbuing it with a shimmering effect most wondrous, through the application of a blue pearlescent acrylic wash atop.

Raiment, leggings, footwear, and cap are perfected

Now, to the barrel once more, I shall return anon, striving to render it ever more ancient in appearance.

The cask received its artful hue

Whilst labouring upon the barrel, I didst tenderly elevate the nethermost portion of the cape, that I may colour the hidden regions there behind, and lo! A fissure did reveal itself! Methinks it hath been compromised by the aforementioned calamitous fall, merely biding its time to make its presence known.

Tattered cape of misfortune

There existed a sole remedy to mend this ill: I summoned the elixir of super glue once more and reunited the sundered parts. Moreover, I affixed the cape's base unto the barrel, that such calamity might not reoccur. This did render the act of painting the cape's fore part a taxing toil, yet I favoured such strife o'er the prospect of repairing yet more fractured clay with the adhesive potion.

'Twas around this time that I resolved to conceal those specks of primer and amend certain regions on the heads that necessitated additional paint. For this task, I employed some leftover orange paint opon mine palette, which, albeit still pliable, had commenced to become somewhat tacky as it dried. Oil paint is not a trifling expense, and I would not let it go to waste! I believed this would suffice, for I was able to rejuvenate the paint to its original consistency with the aid of Izosol.

Combining scarce luminosity and the reanimated paint, I "improved" the craniums. It appeared rather splendid in that fleeting moment. I retired to slumber without a care in the world.

Upon the morrow, I examined my magnificent handiwork, and it was then that I perceived the patchy, blotchy, and coarse appearance of the new paint. I have indicated some of the afflicted areas in the picture below. Though the camera's capture falls short of the true extent, trust my word that the appearance was most dreadful and sorely conspicuous. The excess of mineral spirit yielded these deplorable dried blotches, and the tacky paint appeared unrefined. Curses!

Ill-applied pigment upon the cranium

At this juncture, I had little choice but to embrace my destiny: I would have to repaint the heads in their entirety for the third occasion. Most disheartening.

Lesson the Fifth:

Do not act in the manner of a fool, as I have, and employ desiccating paint. Moreover, strive to eschew nocturnal painting, save for the presence of lamps with the illuminating potency of the sun.

Mine heart desired to endow the cape with a vibrant hue, one which should stand in opposition to the warm tinctures of the head and corpus. And lo, the shades of turquoise didst serve this purpose well. On the right flank, I mingled it with the hue of cobalt blue, to feign a lesser measure of sunlight reaching that extremity.

Cape adorned with hue

Yet, I must confess, the application of the turquoise did prove a veritable pain in the posterior whilst applying it to certain regions of the Cosclay cape. In some places, the paint appeared uneven and streaked, whilst in others it seemed to defy the very act of adherence. Without recourse, I laboured to rework it and applied additional coats. The dried paint in these troublesome areas would detach upon the introduction of new pigment, and initially, I surmised that the mineral spirit in subsequent coats was to blame. Alas, the same affliction befell the paint drawn directly from the tube. This odd occurrence left me puzzled, as the vast expanse of the cape bore no such ill. To my chagrin, the root of this enigma, dear reader, has remained unsolved.

Drawing Nigh Unto the Conclusion

At this juncture I began to perceive the end approach, and verily, mine spirits soared! I once more directed mine attention unto the barrel and took great delight in the process of aging it.

Indeed, 'tis no facile task to paint reflective metal with oils; thus, I endeavoured much practice upon test sculptures. Methinks I achieved a satisfactory result, further enhanced by the artful application of a rust effect. To craft the rust, I layered thin washes of brown and red hues, followed by more opaque reddish-brown details. I incorporated shades of blue to imply the reflection of sky and cape upon the metal. The wood was aged similarly, with dark brown washes and lighter tones dry brushed to create the semblance of scratches.

Metalwork nears completion The upper metal hoop is nigh complete.

Metal hoop gleams with cape's reflection To the top metal hoop, I added a touch of turquoise, reflecting the cape.

Metal hoop gleams with cape's reflection

The Final Painterly Endeavours

Alas! I found myself compelled to repaint the entire cape, for the dried paint crumbled away as a fine powder upon touch. There was a certain quality to the primed Cosclay that did not agree with these colours. I encountered no such issue with other Cosclay varieties...

Hitherto, I remained undecided on whether to varnish the sculpture, lest I commit an error and mar its beauty. Yet now, I was left with no choice, for the turquoise paint must needs securement.

At long last, I addressed the task of repainting the heads once more, concealing the unsightly errors from prior attempts. This marked the final, grand endeavour in painting. The finish line loomed clear and near.

Cape and head, freshly repainted

I adorned the buttons of the tunic and the clasp of the cape with metallic gold, wrought from the finest acrylic, and overlaid it with a glimmering touch of silver pearlescence for the merest hint of additional lustre. The cap, too, bore witness to the sparkle emanating from the pearlescent blue wash, which I hath previously mentioned.

Master Pumpkin, a grand finale

Naught but minor labours remained for the little fellow. I coated his tap and valve with metallic acrylics and reconnected his sundered arm using my steadfast adhesive. The mending was executed with considerable ease, and the inflicted harm was masked in a satisfactory manner. At last, I could retire the glue for good.

Little fellow's valve imbued with color

Little fellow's arm, once more affixed

Varnishing: A Most Wondrous Improvement to All Things

I allowed all to dry for several fortnights and thereafter commenced the noble task of varnishing. Alas, no visual record of this undertaking exists, but I shall impart the knowledge gained, for the experience was not without tribulations!

I endeavored with diverse varnishes upon trial sculptures ere approaching the completed work. Possessing acrylic varnishes within reach, they proved quite effective on the oil pigment, save for a single anomaly: gloss acrylic varnishes became murky upon encountering the paint and metamorphosed into a gelatinous substance. I attempted numerous gloss and high gloss varnishes from the likes of Folkart, Liquitex, and Golden, only to encounter the same curious outcome. Peculiar indeed! The satin and matte varnishes, however, presented no such quandaries. Perchance some element within the gloss mixtures reacts adversely with the oil pigment? Regardless, the satin varnish suffices in mine estimation and is scarcely distinguishable from its gloss counterparts.

In my search for a suitable varnish, I chanced upon Gamvar, a gloss varnish forged by the Gamblin artisans, specifically tailored for oil paint. My heart rejoiced at the ease with which it applied to my test sculpture. With the consistency of water, it didst level itself and allow for ample time to achieve a smooth application. So taken was I with its performance that I resolved to employ Gamvar as the principal varnish.

Heeding Gamblin's counsel, I began by applying a modest quantity to the barrel and set it aside to dry for a few days. Alas, the varnish did not fully dry, and a slightly adhesive sensation lingered in some areas. I encountered no such issue on my trial work, thus I surmise I applied an excessive amount. I entertained the notion that employing a blow-dryer would prove beneficial, and though it appeared effective momentarily, the stickiness resurfaced ere long. The varnish was fated not to dry further, despite my best efforts.

Upon necessity, I was compelled to remove the Gamvar varnish using Izosol and Q-tips. Indeed, it proved to be a laborious and tedious task to strip the varnish away, and nigh impossible to preserve the paint beneath, however gentle one's touch. Lacking the time and knowledge to procure the proper substance for Gamvar removal, whilst sparing the paint, the process did sadly result in the utter ruination of my delicate layers of rust and wood scratches. Alas, I was left with no recourse but to REPAINT ALL OF IT. Yet, fortune smiled upon me, for the second rendering proved even more pleasing to the eye!

In my desire for the lustrous appearance of Gamvar, I endeavoured to apply it once more upon a minuscule and inconspicuous portion, using but a scant amount of the substance. Alas, the same undesirable tackiness emerged. Resigned to this ill fate, I ceased further experimentation with lesser amounts. Instead, I retrieved a satin acrylic varnish and anointed the entire artwork therewith, encompassing even the area afflicted by the sticky Gamvar. Lo and behold, it worked to perfection! The varnish dried without any discolouration or tackiness. A great relief washed over me.

Lesson the Sixth:

Methinks it best to abstain from using Gamvar on oil-painted clay sculptures, if such a course may be taken. I cannot place trust in it, given the fickle and inconsistent results. Shouldst thou desire a lustrous look, seek refuge in a satin acrylic varnish (or gloss, should it not cloud or gum) and proceed with thy life unburdened.

A Dream or a Fulfilled Task, Pray Tell?

At long last, the commission was accomplished, and I found myself able to prepare it for its grand journey unto my most forbearing patron!

Behold, the images of the completed work, having been anointed with a coat of varnish:

The concluding tableau

Master Pumpkin gazes downward

Little fellow extends limb skyward

Little fellow's facade, complete

Little fellow's posterior, final view

Master Pumpkin's visage, ultimate form

Master Pumpkin's rear aspect, concluded

The Art of Packing

As thou canst surely fathom, trepidation gripped me as I considered shipping this fine creation to its new abode. Its odyssey would take it from the realm of Canada to the United States, traversing the skies with the swiftness of priority air. Alas, I had no prior experience in packing a sculpture, and the scant resources I discovered in the vast digital world offered little aid. In the finale, however, it transpired to be the simplest aspect of the entire undertaking. I encountered not a single tribulation!

I spared no effort in ensuring the secure packaging of the creation, lest any harm befall it. Alas, I possess not the pictorial documentation of each step, but allow me to regale thee with a description instead. I first filled every nook and cranny with fragments of a foam cloth, fashioning a uniform surface. This was especially crucial for the delicate parts of the little fellow's underbelly. Subsequently, I affixed multiple strata of makeup removal sponges, thus fashioning a protective chrysalis. Lastly, I swathed the figures in several layers of bubble wrap, providing an additional safeguard against the perils of their journey.

Little fellow enshrouded

Master Pumpkin enveloped

For the casements, I did compress each sculpt into its individual receptacle, and with foam I did secure them firmly in their stations. The smaller housings were swaddled in the protective embrace of bubble wrap, and thereafter situated within their foam-appointed chambers. Thus cradled, they were suspended within the larger, maternal crate.

Diminutive caskets

The nurturing crate was garnished with sheets of foam, and thereupon the smaller vessels were snugly ensconced. Into all residual voids, I did cram air pockets, foam scraps, and paper wrappings. Verily, all was tightly secured, and nary an object didst stir.

Ultimate encasement

Was such a display of caution excessive? Indeed, it was! Yet, in my heart, I could not abide the thought of taking the slightest risk with my creation!


By the stars, this venture hath been fraught with trials and tribulations! Methinks there remains nary a word left to speak on the matter, so I shall cease my musings 😄

I bid thee hearty thanks for perusing this lengthy tale, and 'tis my hope that it hath brought thee great merriment. I must beseech thee to lend me thine ear for a brief moment ere thee departs, as I bringeth to thy attention a forthcoming venture of mine: an online emporium of arts!

At its inception, I shall proffer an array of polymer clay creations, and, in due course, shall expand the selection to encompass paintings and perchance garments and satchels crafted by my fair lady. For the sculptures, an assortment of wares shall be presented, including earrings, comrades for thy desk/shelf/plant, trinkets, keycaps, and unique one-of-a-kind treasures.

Behold, I present thee with a specimen of a canine-inspired design I am currently refining:

Canine lobe adornments, in their primal form In the process of fashioning earrings.

An experimental keycap tailored for mechanical claviers:

Typing device keycap, conceptualized

And behold, some of the more unusual works that I sporadically fashion. 'Tis likely that these shall be birthed from the more eccentric recesses of my mind – the very sort that my wife deems unsightly and implores me to conceal from her sight!

Curious effigies sculpted Fired and prepared for the application of pigment.

Should these curiosities pique thy interest, I encourage thee to follow mine emporium's account on the scroll of Instagram, and be watchful for forthcoming missives heralding the grand inaugration!

Published March 31, 2023