Round table conference

I was quite surpised the first batch of Foppe's sold so quickly and while new orders came in yesterday I had to cast a few more. These kids are waiting for their final coat of paint.
Busy days at the studio. While I'm still working on the Buddha Cats I need to start working on a new commission of two sweet critters who will grace another sweet treasury box (can't tell too much about it yet as it's a present for a friend of my client but I'll show pictures once it's sent and presented). I need to finish Mick's portrait too and I'm brooding on a few new figurines. So if you miss me you know where I'm at!

Available for adoption!

Only one day listed in my shop and two Foppe Buddha Cats have already found a new home!
One Foppe travels all the way to Florida (USA) and the other Foppe stays in Holland. They travel with the original 'Foppe's Acre Coat of Arms' and their own passport (of course).
Have a safe trip and a happy new life sweet boys!


Foppe's Buddha Cat treasury box

After Foppe passed away on December 30, 2014 I decided to make a treasury box for him to safekeep things that belonged to him and remind me of him. I sculpted the figurine in air dry clay and after painting mounted him atop a wooden box which I painted in Hindeloopen folk art style. I've used a few iconic photos of Foppe to work from and gave him the recently designed 'Foppe's Acre Coat of Arms'. The animals on the shield repesent the residents of Foppe's Acre on a field of green and blue (the wide Friesian countryside and skies) and part of the Friesian flag (white ribbon with two red lilypads) which also symbolises our lovel for Foppe's Acre and its inhabitants.
This box is a one of a kind and understandably won't be for sale but I've made casts from Foppe's figurine and will eventually list them in my shop (with- or without box).

Decorating Foppe's box

Working on Foppe's box today. I know there are people who don't particularly like this folk art type of decorating because it doesn't always fit in with modern interiors but it's so relaxing to do, almost therapeutical. Making my head empty and just paint the day away.
Note to self; make more Hindelooper boxes! 

Foppe versus Foppe

Okay, one last picture before I show the whole, completed box.
Taking into account that I don't do realistic work I think I nailed Foppe in this one. 


Normally I paint the whiskers directly on the snout of my cats but this time I wanted Foppe to have a real moustache. I broke my head how to solve this problem and suddenly it dawned on me, the nylon bristles of a broom would be perfect! Off I went to the general store in our little town and found exactly what I needed.

Making a silicone block mold

After having made several silicone relief molds for my Green Men it was now time to make a first block mold for my three dimensional Foppe figurine.
Before I went to work I studied lots of Youtube tutorials, it all looked quite straight forward, so on I went.
I took all the necessary steps, measuring the amount of silicone needed using dry rice, preparing the figurine. mixing the two silicone components together, pouring the mixture and waiting 8 hours to one day for it to set.
Shortly after pouring the mold started to leak, the silicone had found a tiny hole and started seeping out. I tried to stop the leaking but it continued to seep out little by little.
The day after pouring the silicone still hadn't set and the mold was still leaking, it remained liquid. I was surprised as I was sure I took all the righ steps. Dissilusioned I poured the silicone out and called my sculptor friend Corine for advice.
Corine thought that perhaps I had used not enough hardener so I tried again adding some more hardener hoping it would set the second time.
I repeated all the steps to prepare the mold, added more hardener and poured again. This time the mold didn't leak but again the silicone hadn't set the next day.
Then it dawned on me (like Corine mentioned) that by calculating the amount of hardener I used volume instead of weight. So the third time I weighed both ingredients, mixed them properly and poured again. Lo and behold after two hours the silicone started to set!
I waited 8 hours and with holding my breath I opened the plastic cylinder to find a perfect mold!Phew!
I couldn't wait to cast the first copy, mixed the resin, poured it into the mold and waited a few hours. Out came a perfect and exact copy of Foppe's figurine, tack sharp and no air bubbles!
It was an exercise of trail and error but I succeeded in the end and will never forget to use weight instead of volume when mixing the silicone!

Foppe's figurine waiting patiently inside a plastic cylinder for what comes next.


Buddha Cat Finished!

 Phew, this was a lot of work but worth every second. I could go on and on adding and carving but at some point you have to say that it's enough, and I think it is.
I love the shape of his body and face and can only imagine how perfect he will look painted in Foppe's colors and markings. It certainly was a labor of love but Foppe deserves nothing less.
So now I'll have to seal him to prevent the silicone from dissolving the clay and finally make the mold. It will be my first time making a three dimensional mold so wish me luck!
After casting I will paint him in acryllic and finish the box, then I'll cast more copies to sell in my shop as a stand-alone sculpture.
Stay tuned for updates on making the mold.

Buddha Cat made an appearance!

Not yet finished but I'm (now) well on my way.
A lot has happened since my last post, I just wasn't happy with Foppe's look, he still looked like a bear instead of a cat so I carved away, added and carved some more. Most importantly I changed his face and made his ears bigger, that turned him into a cat instantly! I raised one of his arms and changed the position of his leg, much better. I removed the mouse to sculpt Foppe's belly and legs and I'm not sure the mouse will return, maybe something else will take the mouse' place, haven't decided yet. It became too much a story which I didn't like.
I'l refine his features and will smooth him all over this weekend. He's going to be cute and wonderful!

Foppe's Buddha Cat treasury box, more changes

Today's progress, Foppe is slowly appearing!
Of course Foppe wouldn't be complete without a big fat mouse so I gave him a little friend. smile-emoticon
It will be tricky to make a silicone mold from this sculpture but I'm willing to give it a try.
I'm debating if I will smooth this one over or leave the clay texture visible for a change, time will tell. Tomorrow is another day!

Foppe's Buddha Cat treasury box

A quick snap of the sculpture this morning before I continue working on it today.
After my post yetserday I fiddled with his posture last night. I kept seeing a pig and if Foppe was something; he certainly wasn't a pig (no intention to insult the piglets of course). This is much more like him already.
I kept looking at photos of Foppe while modeling and as a result I started to work more realistically which wasn't my plan. So I put the photos away and tried to work from the miniature painting (though it's only a two dimensional image). Going to fine -tune his features and add some sweet things in his lap. Stay tuned!
Oh yes, more snow in Friesland!

Foppe's Buddha Cat treasury box, progress

Worked some more on the Buddha cat sculpture today. All in all I'm quite happy with how he turned out so far but I still can't seem to shake the bear (or panda, or raccoon), though he looks more like a cat already. He needs a lot of work still, after the clay is dry I'll start carving and adding and he might change quite a bit but that's all in the game! 

Mick progress

Worked some more on Mick today, softened the hard contrasts and tweaked the coloration of his fur a bit. Far from done but I'm on my way. Not sure about the color of the background though, don't want to make it too colorful in total but it's on the dull side now. Leaving it for today and add more paint tomorrow.

Foppe's Buddha Cat treasury box

First round of modeling with air dry clay over the wire armature.
It's a beginning, right now he resembles a bear instead of a cat but Foppe was a heavy boy so I'm on the right track. Will let if firm up for a day before I continue to even it all out and fine-tune his features.

Foppe's treasury box

I've saved some of Foppe's toys and things that remind me of him, all meant to be treasured forever in a remembrance box. Today I started to make the wire armature and will use the miniature I've painted of him earlier (Buddha Cat) to work from. I'm going to sculpt him in air dry clay and might consider taking him into production too as Foppe had many fans.

Portrait of Mick

First layer of paint to determine the dark and light areas, this will change a lot in the course of the next weeks but the mood is set!

A new project!

I haven't done much yet in the new year beside my daytime illustration work, somehow after Foppe passed away I lost my inspiration, but that's going to change now.
A good friend of mine helped me recently when my glasses broke so I owe her a favor. In return I'm going to paint a miniature (4x4 inch) of her beautiful and sweet cat Mick. Prepped the canvas today so now I can start painting!
I'll post pictures of the progress.

Some sad news from Foppe's Acre

On December 30th we had to say farewell to the most important resident of Foppe's Acre, our sweet and beautiful boy Foppe passed away after fourteen wonderful years with us. We miss him terribly.

Foppe was a stray cat who chose to live with us when we moved to our new home in Friesland fourteen years ago, we guessed that he must have been about three years old at the time. He was a sweet and gentle soul and we didn't have to think twice about adopting him, but the truth is in fact that he adopted us. We decided to name our new property 'Foppe's Acre' after him because he made this house and land our home.
Foppe lived a long and happy life with us and was loved by all who met him, he was a remarkable cat.
Foppe suffered from an intestinal condition (megacolon) for ten years which we had under control for all those years, past summer his kidneys started to fail him and a few weeks before Christmas it was clear that his health was deteriorating fast.
December 30 we had to let him go, with a broken heart.

Foppe was my soulmate and inspired me to start Foppe's Acre Originals. He will live on in our hearts, in the many artworks I've made of him in the past and all the new pieces that I will create in the future.

Let's make the world a greener place!

4 new Green Men, they're still lacking a coat of varnish but then they're ready to start their journey to their forever home!

Cast of characters!

I've been casting more Green Men today. I may try a different painting technique on these. I'll let them tell me what they want to become. 

Matryoshkas finished!

Last phase of the Matryoshka nativity dolls; finished!
I'll pack them carefully tomorrow in a fitting gift box and send them on their merry way to the UK.
Recieved an email from one of my customers who bought this set recently and she was thrilled with them. She told me that her kids can't stop playing with them.

I've got one set for myself too (of course) and always start opening the first doll (angel) four days before Christmas and the next one every following day to show the last one (baby Jesus) on Christmas day. It's become such a sweet tradition.

Color between the lines

Now all that is left are the black outlines, a coat of varnish and they're finished! I need a steady hand for the lines so I'l wait till tomorrow, will start right after my first cup of hot coffee! 

Draw the line somewhere

I draw the Nativity characters freehand, it's easier than using a template because of the curves of the wood and this way each character is slightly different which adds to the charm and uniqueness, even though I try to make them as similar to the originals as I can. Next step; painting!

Going Green!

All my Holly Kings sold in the past week, so I'm in the process of making some more!
These green friends make every Christmas bright and cheerful. smile-emoticon

'Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Happy Holly Days from Mr. GreenMan!'

Greenman in Amsterdam

While walking around in Amsterdam recently I came across this Greenman ornament and had to take a photo of course! 

On with the show

First layer of paint done, now onto the embellishments and contours!

New batch of Babushkas!

Drew the nativity characters on the wooden dolls and can finally start painting.
I'm a little behind schedule as our old man Foppe is ill and needs a lot of attention but I'll do my best, hope to get the first layer of paint done today. Stay tuned!

Melchior and the angel

Melchior (one of the three wise men) and archangel Gabriƫl, two new cards in the 2014 Christmas collection.
So far I've made Mary and baby Jesus, one of the sheperds, the ox and donkey, now these two and last will be Josef which will conclude the nativity. I'm planning to make a large print too with all of them together for framing.
Once all of them are done I'll list them in my shop, stay tuned!