I finally finished the jeweled mantis. Whew!
I am most delighted. Here you can also preview the drowningly deep teal, the color of Homer’s wine-dark sea, that I have painted the atelier. The room is so big it echoes.
To the left of the jeweled mantis is another mantis, an experiment that failed. The thing I love most about the jeweled mantis is that you can see the scribbly wire armature through the gauzy layers of organza, paper and thread. So…
I have a long-standing obsession with translucent/transparent resins and plastics and I thought maybe I could do something similar with Translucent Fimo.
I made another armature of green florist’s wire and covered it with translucent FImo, as in actually the brand Fimo. In Germany you can get one or two brands or something, not fifty, and of course Fimo is a German company.
In the US I had used translucent Sculpey, which I’d had good results from. (This pin on my Sculpting Tips board explains all the different translucent clays amazingly.) I put the mantis in the toaster oven, since we haven’t had money to get our oven hooked up yet.
Probably it was ill-advised to put painted wire in the toaster oven, but I put liquid LSD in my eyeballs when I was fourteen, so I’m a little cavalier about toxins.
Sadly, the Fimo developed “plaques”, just as predicted on the wonderful Blue Bottle Tree. I went to the art store (two minutes’ walk to the U, a two-minute one-stop ride, there’s an entrance to Idee in the U-Bahn station) and bought some translucent green Fimo, and put a coat over the white.
Upon rebaking, it was clear I wasn’t going to get the result I wanted. Which is ok! Because I have another project that requires a posable mantis with a wire armature, a gold mantis, so I’ll just paint that little lady once I finish the sculpt.
Meanwhile, this shot in our kitchen kinda shows the jeweled mantis’ terrifying eyes, which have a luminous focal point that moves with your gaze.
This is because of a subsurface specularity in the beads I used. I learned about subsurface specularity and scattering when I worked in digital effects, and it’s remained an important concept to me when talking about painting human skin. It’s sort of related to my translucency obsession with materials.
In the last picture you can see Viviane is so over this mantis shit and has tipped out to Berghain to dance to techno.