Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tree in Progress

I will bring you through my process of creating a giant, sad tree, just like I did with Ms. Daisy. However, I will hold off on showing you the end result just yet...

I've started with a steel understructure, shaping the trunks form very organically around a central base using steel rod. Thank you Hosfeld bender for helping me do the job!
And have begun to tie on diamond lat mesh around the understructure.
Once the trunk was covered in mesh, I used a mixture of cement, masonry sand, fiberglass strands and water to create a nice "mud". I laid the cement about an inch thick onto the mesh using a pool trough. After it set up for about an hour or two, I went back in to carve out a bark texture. Now the trunk weighs about 250lbs.
I started with a double coat of what I like to call a "macaroni and cheese" colored exterior house paint. Here I've begun my first layer of glaze, a chocolate color.
I continued with two more layers of glaze, getting progressively darker each time, to end up with the final trunk color below.
I've handled the tree top the same way. A steel understructure with a central base that slips onto a piece of steel sticking out the top of the trunk. I tied my mesh onto the structure, and used a mache/plaster mix to cover the mesh.
I spent about 2 months testing out a variety of animatronic eye fixtures to try to make his eyes move. I successfully got them to look up and down and side to side. But after much deliberation, I decided that they way his eyes look when they move was not the look I was going for, so ultimately scrapped the moving eyes altogether to achieve a more stagnant, sullen look.
I got the tree top in place on the trunk and have started to add ApoxieSculpt leaves. I happened to buy lots of purple. But since this photo I have primed and painted the leaves to a cool green, and replace the moving eyes with permanent still ones.

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