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I found myself rather fond of this sculpt when I found out about it, but I wanted to go with basing that was different than what seems to be the usual, or hinted at in her renders.  I'm still tempted to do a second rendition of her later on, and I even have an idea for such, but we shall see what comes of it, since I only have so much room to display things. 

 

Anyways!  After a bunch of thinking, and trying out a few different scenes and angles, I've narrowed things down a fair bit to hopefully tell a good story of things - one of Oleana stepping into an ancient, sacred grove, with Japanese influences.  Many things were tried, but some things have been removed or narrowed down in the process to try and keep things less cluttered.  Originally I wanted two Inari statues, as such is tradition, however I didn't want to compromise on the water feature, as well as the whole... Oops, it really does conflict with her spear issue. 

 

But yes, the water feature (aka sacred grove) is one that I wanted this to be centered around, and preferably with the bonus of the scene being visible AND viable from two different angles. 

 

So here we are, at its fourth? incarnation, the second of which has had Play-Doh used to build and shape a temporary base to verify the flow and design of things...  Because it's a lot easier to modify this way, and there's very little pressure, so one can experiment a fair bit. 

 

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So here's where we are now, with the general basics temporarily laid out with Play-Doh.  Hoping to actually get started with the air dry clay in the next few days. 

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17 hours ago, Chaoswolf said:

I like that layout. :winkthumbs:

 

Thanks!  It's one that took a few tries to get to where I wanted it, but I'm glad I did rework it a few times because it has a much better flow than the first few I came up with.  I'll try to remember to post those pics when I get home, as I have a feeling some were curious where it started and how it developed. 

 

3 hours ago, Glitterwolf said:

I agree!

Looks interesting!

 

Are you going for a Wolf or a Kitsune look for her?

Given the base, a Kitsune look could be awesome.

 

Ever thought about this?

 

 

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Hadn't thought of much with fur patterns or whatnot, but that's definitely a strong contender now.  Fur pattern and colours is something I had relegated to "it'll work itself out as we go", partially because most of my focus was on sorting the base out first. 

 

2 hours ago, kristof65 said:

Ooh, can't wait to see this finished. 

Same, although I suspect it will be aoderately long process, even if it's going to be worked on for Large Model May. ^_^

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Past few days have been rather crazy at work, so here's how the various revisions of this piece have gone as I started not only working out the overall theme, but bounced between two very different ideas, and then eventually settled on not only the sacred grove idea, but also on just painting one version for now.  I'd love to do two, but I've realized given all the various things I would like to do I also feel I'd rather give those other things (like the 75mm Meirsoa, Akata, and various other things) a chance at being painted too.

 

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So here's where the idea originally started, with a Reaper 170mm Oval base, as not only is that what I had lying around, but was also a size I felt would allow me to incorporate the water feature that I was already thinking about.  The original thought process on this was focused on figuring out where to put her on the base, and since I couldn't quite figure it out and I asked a streamer friend who has painted for some time was open to giving advice what kind of things he saw for pros and cons.

 

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About half an hour or so of back and forth with said friend and with his advice this is where we wound up going.  I still like this pose to this day, especially it's sheer focus on her, and might wind up making use of it if/when I do a second print of her, but after a few days, I realized what had happened.  I kept mentioning vignette, as I had been looking at IPMS entry rules and other ones to try and figure out the difference between a vignette and diorama...  Without realizing that what I wanting really did tend to fall under the description of diorama in the miniature painting world, especially given just how strongly my focus is on selling the whole story of not just balance with nature, but a peaceful moment in a sacred grove.  Absolutely love how focused this one is, and it really does give off a regal sense, and would also allow for a water feature, but a very different one (the main thought that kept bouncing around between various people was a dirt path in front of her, and a water feature on the sides as well as behind the steps with reeds.  Brain has also said if/when it does this it will probably have an Egyptian theme to it due to a few factors, but the biggest one it would play on the symbiotic dichotomy that would be between this version and the one I'm moving forward with (first one is I keep thinking "Priestess of the Moon", so naturally this would be "Priestess of the Sun").

 

Not going to lie, I do want to do this, and odds are I more than likely still will, I'm just going to make sure there's a project or three in between the two versions so while it still falls under the same model two different ways there's also a gap in between them so the risk of burnout isn't anywhere near as strong.

 

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And here is after I raided Michael's, and then did some really quick posing of things to figure out where I would put things on a 5x5" or 5x7" oval or rectangular base.  The 5x5" circle as well as 5x7" rectangular bases were set aside fairly quickly as I didn't really like how they were looking, and next time I'm at Michael's I'll pick up a second 5x7" oval, because I really like how it's more balanced overall for things, but especially as it will allow me to play up that path AND the water feature more with the Priestess of the Sun version.

 

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And here we have the first version of the base tested out with Play-Doh.  Actually ran out of Play-Doh from the first tub (didn't break out the second one), and so the stone lantern looks a tad off.  Yeah, at the time I had a few ideas for things like a Torii gate and a Toro or a second Inari, but the next morning I kept thinking it didn't feel right for flow, let alone for having a viable path for her spear as she walks down the stairs.  I was originally thinking of having the grove's bank much more pronounced, but once I laid things out it really felt like it was taking up too much of the scene, plus I didn't like how the crescent moon "snuck" into the bank felt very much so like it was not only forcing awkwardness into the flow of the scene, but also how she wasn't even looking DOWN THE PATH that she was walking along.  I also didn't quite like the fact that the "viewed from the edge" or head on had her kind of looking like a deer in headlights, or looking right at the viewer.  Just felt unnatural, and in all honesty, like it broke the scene if viewed at that angle.

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11 hours ago, Corsair said:

I think that larger base area looks well balanced for the scene with water features. You could even add some koi fish since you have dropped the idea for the torii gate.

The Torii gate was removed from the idea early on simply because I would have had to go with a much larger base to add it in, or even just hints of such, and then figure out how to fill the rest of the base, and as tempting as that could be, I probably wouldn't be able to be as suggestive about the story (and let the viewer add in their own spin).  Loved the idea, but while I am aiming for balance and it to be an environmental diorama, I also want her to be a focal point eyes go to. 

 

As for koi, it's something I'll have to think about.  Such could work, but it would also then imply that the pond is very much so a permanent thing, as opposed to the grove idea which are generally seasonal things.  It would add an element to the water, but in a way it also feels like it would pull away from the theming since tradition druidic beliefs for such areas would be more along the lines of leaving the area be as is, versus a more temple like process where there would be rituals around the koi being moved into and out of the grove. 

 

However, if I were to hint at a creek feeding this grove, and lean the basing more into early to middle of spring for theming, it would indeed follow things, because they would then be migrating to the area naturally... Or so a quick google search tells me.  Hmm.  Requires additional thought, so thanks for putting the idea in my head ^_^

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She's glued in place, and the first layer of Das clay is down.  Stuff has a bit of a smell that catches you off guard at first, kind of like stale cheap beer mixed with vague hints of actual clay.  On the other paw though, many comment about this being a coarse kind of clay (compared to some of the Japanese paper air dry clays), and I can feel that, but it's also something I rather LIKE the feel of.

 

Rear bank will take a few sessions to fully build up, first in order to avoid cracking, and secondly to allow me to precisely dial in exactly how it will be shape-wise.

 

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Edited by WhiteWulfe
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I think I'm going to wind up what will be a fair bit of work to her base, but will sell the whole image significantly more.  While browsing various areas as I waited for this migraine to die off, I wound out finding out about Unesco World Hertiage Site's website, and one thing led to another, and I've found a "solution" to that nagging feeling I've had in the back of my head regarding those steps I'd originally put in.  Something just didn't sit right with me for them, and the back of my mind kept wanting to sneak a creek of some sort in, even though that's a significant amount of work to blend in.

 

Well, I'm going to wind up pulling inspiration from two separate areas in Japan, both of which are fairly old areas, with one of them being a pilgrimmage site that's been around for over a thousand years, and has a lot more of those natural elements within it that I've been craving.

 

The first is Yakushima, specifically the first photo here: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/662 , at least for inspirations.  Not sure precisely what I'll be pulling from there, but I definitely like the overall vibes it gives.

The second will be the sacred sites and pilgrimage routes in the Kii Mountains, specifically the Kumano Kodo, and specifically the Magose-toge pass.  First two pics from https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/104/ will be part of the inspiration, as will the stone bridge and path (second photo here: https://www.kodo.pref.mie.lg.jp/en/course/08.html ).  I'd link the page on Japan Guide, but unfortunately that site has a fair bit of commercial elements to it, so I'm not certain I can link to it due to forum rules.

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Good idea to use reference pics from real places in nature.

Basically you need to paint/create a lot of moss overgrown stoneworks still looking a bit wet here and there.

 

How about letting those steps descend into the water?

The bottom one half submerged?

Just a thought.

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10 hours ago, Glitterwolf said:

Good idea to use reference pics from real places in nature.

Basically you need to paint/create a lot of moss overgrown stoneworks still looking a bit wet here and there.

 

How about letting those steps descend into the water?

The bottom one half submerged?

Just a thought.

Indeed using real locations as inspiration, especially when you're aiming at having that same kind of vibe and energy of said locations, is a rather handy thing...  Even more so if can look rather cohesive plus add that aged look.  They used rocks for those trails because of just how rainy the area is - it provides a natural barrier against erosion once a trail is created.  They're also extremely low maintenance once everything settles, too.

 

We shall see precisely what elements I incorporate though, my first few tests for a stone bridge really didn't pan out, as it completely changed the story being told and didn't really work, however I'm thinking I'll incorporate the many small rocky creek scree or talus waterfalls that are found throughout that region along the back, and have them flow into the pond/spring she's walking into.

Edited by WhiteWulfe
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Schtuff I very much so hadn't planned on has delayed things while I wait for my energy and endurance to return, so in the meantime here's how she looks with the clay dried and cured.

 

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Figured I'd take pictures from a few more angles as well.  With the sheer amount of work that's involved alongside the whole bit about her being a passion project for me, a different model will be used for Large Model May, and instead I'm contemplating entering her into r/miniaturepainting's Fall painting contest.  Not fully sold on the idea yet, but a small part of me does like the idea of such as a focus, since arguably the planned story would technically work well with their theme of "Elements", but, y'know, me and that whole competition word and whatnot.

 

I suspect it will be a few more sessions to get things fully fleshed out where I want them, but what I'm trying to figure out is how I'll do the rocks.  Obviously some items will be a mixture of the various types of rocks I have in my basing toolkit, but since there's a lot of larger rocks along the trail I'm using as inspiration, I do want to sculpt up a few of those.  The biggest question though, is what to use as a support material for them.  I've heard foamcore can work with air dry clay, but I wonder if cork does as well...

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8 hours ago, WhiteWulfe said:

I've heard foamcore can work with air dry clay, but I wonder if cork does as well...

Yes, Cork will work with air dry clay.  I used it on my RCon 2018 diorama entry:

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Everything below the castle is air dry clay on cork. 

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