contemporary art studio

"American Beauty" mold making finished!!!!

The final day of mold making on "American Beauty" by the Deep in the Heart crew.

They got here on Wednesday, worked 17 hour days for 4 days, and left Sunday morning having finished a high quality silicon rubber mold of a 4 X life-size sculpture titled "American Beauty."
They loaded up the 81 separate mold sections on their trailer as well as a couple of my large sculptures that Clint will take to his gallery in Austin, Texas.

They left my studio cleaner than when they got here. ( I was very happy about that)

The next step in the "American Beauty" process is casting waxes into the mold sections. This will be done at the Deep in the Heart foundry in Bastrop, Texas (just outside of Austin)

more to come.........

Mold making crew (+ me)

plaster mother mold cont....

building the mother mold flanges

mother mold pretty much finished

getting ready to stencil mold IDs on each section

beginning to stencil

finished with stenciling

Clint drilling alignment holes in mother mold

first mold section being removed

off comes the mother mold section

cleaning up the rubber mold sections

removed mold sections layed out

50 mold sections on the torso alone

matching rubber to mother molds

mold almost completely removed

Patty helped match rubber to mother mold sections

mold removal done, loading the trailer

Early Saturday evening

beginning to load mold

Gary strapping down "Paradise"

Beginning studio clean up

rolling up tarp

moving torso off the tarp

Tarp is rolled up with all the debris 

Tarp went directly to the dumpster

early Sunday morning; ready to roll back to Austin

So long!!

Silicon Rubber Mold Making Continues......

Day two of rubber mold making with the Deep in the Heart Art Foundry crew.
The first unthickened coat of rubber is almost completely finished. The silicon rubber is white but the normal set catalyst is purple which gives the first coat the lilac tint. The second coat is slightly thickened  and some higher speed catalyst is used which changes the color to tan and makes it easy to see where the new rubber has been applied. The third coat is very thick and applied like putty.
Today is the third day of the crew being here. I expect the rubber to get finished up, plaster mother mold.

last of the first coat going on

Gary is blowing the fresh rubber with compressed air to pop any trapped air bubbles

second coat going on

Clint pouring rubber into the belly button

beginning to add the thickened third coat

spreading it out

third coat is applied to the entire  surface first, only then applied to the shim line

mixing more rubber

preparing the second drum of rubber for use

at the end of day 2, leg rubber is done, torso almost done

Keys have been added and rubber flanges trimmed

Mold making begins on "American Beauty"

I finished sculpting "American Beauty" today. I know I finished because Clint Howard brought his crew from Deep in the Heart Art Foundry and started mold making. 

This is it; I have to stop now

Laying down floor protection

She's finally ready to go

Creating an efficient work space

using playing cards for the shim lines

Gary joining the playing cards with masking tape

If you knock one card down they all fall like dominos

Shimming is finished on the legs, some of the crew moves on to shim the torso while Clint demonstrates how to apply silicon rubber on the legs.

Final sculpting on American Beauty

I'm at the stage in sculpting "American Beauty" that I pretty much have to do all the work myself.  Jose Rodriguez has gone back to Austin after six weeks or so up here in the studio.  The last couple of days I've spent refining the hair and should be done tomorrow. Next up, arms & shoulders. I've thrown in a few shots of other sculptures hanging around the studio.

A double life sized Pastoral Dreamer was delivered to the Tom Ross Gallery in Santa Fe last Saturday by Deep in the Heart Foundry and was set in place by crane man extraordinaire Roger Lamoreux.

Today I'm teaching Christie Owen to mig-weld and I'm finding that she's a natural born welder.

David L Phelps

American Beauty

Christie Owen arrives

practice welds

Big skull

1.5 X life size Pastoral Dreamer
Christie Hackler for scale reference

Life size American Beauty

Watership Down on a 5000 lb steel pedistal


David Tamez of Public TV Station OETA brought his crew in last night for  final shooting for the Gallery program he's producing about my work. He shot at night so he could have total control over the lighting without any daylight coming through the skylights.

Yesterday morning I got a message from Cynthia Rodriguez saying "you stole my husband and I'm driving up tomorrow and taking him back home." Cynthia & Jose had come up from Austin to go to a niece's wedding in Norman two months ago; Jose decided he'd help me in the studio for a few days and he's still here. But no more, I'm losing him today. Cynthia and their kids Isabella & Gabriel should arrive this afternoon to see why Jose disappeared for two months. Then they'll kidnap Jose and take him back to Austin. It's been a great, productive two months of work on American Beauty and she's almost ready for the foundry.

David L Phelps

Boots filming

David Tamez, Myself, Boots

Ryan setting up lighting

Dave Tamez setting up camera

Camera dolly

Mice in the foreground

Skull in the foreground

part of the filming

The End is Near

Tuesday  August 7th 2012

We're getting close to completion with "American Beauty."

It feels so good to be so close. Four of us cleaned and organized the studio today, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Tomorrow we unify the color in anticipation of the final push to being ready for mold making. Time for a celebration. I foresee a big letdown when "American Beauty" heads off to the foundry. It will be a time of catching up on all the tasks that have been put off in order to get this piece finished. Tomorrow's my parents anniversary; they're off on a much needed adventure at Pismo Beach. I'm ready for an adventure myself. Will probably have to wait until Thanksgiving when Patty, Me,  Sarah and Mike go to Sedona  to Garlands' Lodge for giving thanks for family and happiness.

David L Phelps

Fridays work on "American Beauty" with Jose Rodriguez

Friday morning I finished sculpting the second foot ( other than overall surface smoothing). Jose continued work on the hair. I built a platform that allows me to get up close to the face without being bent over ( I need to protect my back). I made good progress on the nose with a little more to go. This morning I'll finish the nose and move on to the eyes and mouth. Looks like another long day today.

David L Phelps
sacrificing the knees to save the back

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believe it or not, the white model is life size

American Beauty on Friday

I got a lot of sculpting done on the right foot today and Jose continued making great progress on the hair.

A couple of days ago we had all seven toilets in the building overflow at once. This is day two of the plumbing crew. They had a camera down the pipe and now have 90 feet of snake down the hole but haven't found the problem yet. Yikes. 

The good news is that all the toilets are being completely rebuilt. Shouldn't have to worry about them for a while.

Hi Patsy!!!

Continued sculpting on "American Beauty"

Busy day today: made another double batch of oil-clay,  Jose Rodriguez,  Christie Hackler &
Christie Owen were all in working, Hackler left to do a news spot with Linda Cavanaugh of KFOR-TV about the upcoming Fringe opening this Friday and Dave Tamez from OETA came back to shoot more footage for the Gallery segment that will air this fall.

David L Phelps
Jose Rodriguez,  Christie Hackler & Christie Owen

Jose Rodriguez,  Christie Hackler & Christie Owen

the Bad Boy oil-clay maker eying his new batch

Monday's progress on "American Beauty"

Today Jose & I sculpted hair & ears; made great progress. Over the weekend,  we added a layer of clay over the entire form to unify the color thus making it much easier to understand the form we're sculpting. Tomorrow will be more sculpting of the form as well as smoothing the overall surface with flexible steel ribs.