Moose “A” Makeover

If I Were a Moose “A” Miner…

Witness the changes as we give Mr. Moose “A” his beauty makeover at my artist studio. This miner is looking for gold in the hills of Chewelah WA. Initially, he appears sporting a pair of patched blue jeans with red suspenders with his yellow miner hat. Miner Moose is a little large, okay VERY large and extending well beyond the edges of our table. I have to pay attention to drop cloth placement for this guy today. Doesn’t he seem like he is worried, as he lays on the table waiting for a “new look” after all his repairs?

moose A 02 ready for paint

First, his moose antlers are created with a light gray background that is shaped by working darks and lights into the wet paint for the different rounded horn surfaces.

Fur

moose A 03 fur moose A 04 fur

Similarly, the next step is to cover his fur with a basic brown.  I pull out 3D shapes in his body and face, by using combinations of red, blue and yellow in the wet paint. Oooops, mustn’t forget his hind legs showing at the base of his pants.

Blue Jeans

moose A 05 blue jeans

Next, I apply blue to the jeans followed by their highlights in white. If, while I am working, I have a color on my brush and notice an area that needs it, I simply apply it right then. You will notice that I like to use blue to make surfaces show more in the distance or shadow. With that goal in mind, blue applied to the eyes, leg backs, nose and around his ear.

Green Burlap Bag

moose A 07 damage gone moose A 08 damage less

The addition of a significant change as I add a small green burlap bag to hold gold treasures along his belt line, which eliminating the suspenders. This should draw attention to his middle body region instead of his legs. Just maybe, if the majority of the pokes are on his body center, it is possible that his spindly legs will stand a better chance at survival.

Moose Face

moose A 09bag moose A 08 faceHis eye and face are re-created here along with his little yellow “miner” hat, which is put-in without the light.

moose A 08 damage lessmoose A 07 damage gone

Stepping back, I examine Moose “A’s” makeover progress. While, I can still see some of the screw holes from the repairs from a few angles. But, honestly they are not all that noticeable when you step back. It is amazing what a good coat of paint does, isn’t it?

Gold Treasures

moose A 11 gold ready to gluemoose A 12 gold pebbles

Now it is time for the finishing touch in our Moose “A” makeover! The gold treasures are placed in his bag, and he is ready for his final sealing coat. He is all new and ready to go back home to his place up on the hill.

moose A & B done

There is a series of animal sign characters that were repaired by myself for the ski hill up at 49 Degrees North in Chewelah WA.

Leggy Frog Miner Sign

Frog Sign

The leggy frog miner is a relaxed and smiling green dude with large feet, He wears  a yellow gold miner’s hat and red pants. If we were to see a frog, mining for a living, this is the character we would see. It is obvious that the damages this amphibian has sustained over the years consist of concentrated target areas.

Ribbett Said the Frog

Are there amphibians on the hill? Is there water on the hill, oh yes!

frog 02 damages

Extent of Damage

Both the left side of our frog body and his eye are showing massive wear-and-tear. I don’t have pictures of him, but I remember him having a back pocket with a sling-shot protruding, which is now missing. There remains only two slight bumps at his pant line and near his hand. That sling-shot must have been a target area for little skiers to poke. Additionally, more than half of his right eye is missing as the wood has been worn off the right side of his face. It is safe to assume that this guy has been poked in the eye several times.

frog 03 repair plan

Changing Traffic Patterns

Re-routing the poke traffic seems a high priority for this leggy frog if he is going to be able to survive awhile. If he were to be holding a gold nugget, which is a natural draw, on the central part of his body than he would be able to withstand the blows better. Additionally, to be able to put his eye back in I will have to shift his face slightly to the right to give us room .

frog 04 repair frog 05 face

Using yellow, green and blues I begin making close portions light and further-away areas dark. A three dimensional impression results. Yellow spot freckles line his back and accentuate his smile. White eyebrows and blue outlines brighten his eyes.

Our frog’s pant line is lowered to allow more room to show his arm over his mid section. I decide to make his pants red and blue flannel with his blue sneakers, just because.  He is ready for his gold nugget to be glued in after a small slingshot is put in his back pocket.

frog 06ready for nugget

One of the most important changes in this characters repair is distraction. Our froggy miner holding a gold nugget in his hand attracts damages to occur in a more central location. Here is a picture of the nugget freshly hot-glued in place before sign sealing. Hopefully, a central location will make it possible to withstand the forces of ski pole pokes with more stability.

frog 07 gold nugget

Taking a step back gives a better perspective of this green guys fascination with his newly found nugget. The expression passes the test.

frog 09 frog looks at nugget

Another step back, shows our leggy frog dude body finished and ready to go back up on the ski hill.

frog 08 complete

Foxy Miner Sign Repair

Fox Miner Sign

Foxy Miner Sign

This red foxy miner looks like he is saying, “Aw, Shucks!” with his thumbs tucked behind his yellow suspenders. He must have a bag of gold nuggets stashed at the lodge. You can see that he has some damage around edges and at the base of his feet. He has minimal pokes all over his body in random areas with no specific areas concentrated on. With this in mind, my repair will concentrate on patching more than repainting the entirety of this foxy character.

No Stranger to Foxy Characters

This is not the first time I have painted fox images, the wiley fox is a character that has fascinated me from early days as an artist. One of my first watercolors was of, “Two Foxes“. Following is a link to the actual definition of the fox specie.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox

Fox Repairs

fox 02 white repairs

Starting off with the fox repair white areas, I paint his miner hat lamp, then eye ovals, his tail tip, and then the space between his legs. Many times, when patching white areas it takes more than one coat to fill in and get full coverage.

fox 03 yellow repairs

Next in sequence are his yellow suspenders, and yellow helmet, and I notice that the new layer of paint is much brighter.

fox 04 Body YlwOrg Repairs
fox 05 Body YlwOrg

fox 06 Body YlwOrg

Yellows, Orange and Reds

Keeping yellow on the brushes I am able to start on the fox body areas. To attain a 3D effect I begin with the lighter yellow (more upfront) areas, gradually blending oranges and reds into the further away surfaces. His nose is definitely upfront along with his arms and hands over his chest. Additionally, I accentuate the top of his tail, top of his left foot and the big toe and ball of his right foot or paw that is facing us. The most needed is where his tail meets the elbow and shirt areas.

fox07BodyYlwOrg

Down to Details

Now I am down to finishing the details on our fox with black, white, and his green shirt. Luckily, I discovered that I needed to let him dry before completing all of his details as there are too many edges wanting to bleed together. Consequently, the fox is placed on the table to dry with the raccoon and bear.

fox08dry

You may notice that his eyes are darkly outlined in black, well, those eyes being outlined like that call to me every time I walk past. They are looking wide open and scared instead of friendly and happy. This is not what I had in mind for him.

Many of the changes needed to my art are discovered in this manner. I hang it and walk away, and then the next time I see it something reaches out and grabs me. Fortunately, you just keep noticing it more and more every time you walk by till you change it.

Fox Rabbit 10 finished

Correcting his eyes and exaggerating the darkness between elbow and tail along with accentuated fur around ears and eyes and an addition of polka dots to his suspenders completes the details. Here he is drying on the table with the rabbit. the Mr. Foxy Miner Sign Character is all finished and ready to greet people on the hill again.

Bluebird Sign Gets Repair

Shovel Packing Bird Miner

This sign is a shovel-packing bluebird with a large orange beak who is ready to find his own gold mine. Spending some time on the internet I tried to identify what type of bird he must be. Unfortunately, I was not able to find him. But, there are really interesting things about birds to check out if you are interested in amazing beaks on birds.

bluebird sign dryingThis bluebird sign is in need of quite a bit of repair since he has had a lot of traffic on the trails. The first thing we do is sand him on both sides, seal the back with a coat of white paint and let him dry.

Standing Mr. Orange beak bluebird up alongside the table edge shows me that he is still stable and intact on the bottom, even though there appears to be a lot of damage.

bluebird sign vertical

He got hits all over!

bluebird sign on table

After lifting him up onto the tabletop I begin to see the details of his damaged edges and surfaces. It is evident that his claw feet are simply worn away on the bottom edge. Along the right side, his shovel handle has become quite uneven with repeated ski pole pokes. I won’t worry about the rough edges for these though, as both claws and shovel handles can be uneven and no one will notice.

Face and Neck Repairs

bluebird sign close face

Now, our bluebird has damages that require some creative redesign and crafty  changes. Wear and tear shows on his neck, his left eye and the light bulb on his helmet. I believe I can remove his mining helmet and use that upper area for his blue head instead. This will allow me to move his face to the right enough to be able to give him his eye back. Artistic tweaking.

Bluebird Back and Tail

His body back and all his feathers got traffic but his lowest feather got the worst of it. The bluebird needs lots of paint.


bluebird sign close tail

Beginning with his bluebird tail feathers and the rest of his body, then proceeding to orange claw feet and beak.  Browns are next for the shovel handle and grays for the shovel. I put highlights on wings and body, purposely making them rougher looking to help disguise the damage and uneven surfaces.

Using black and white paint to repair his eyes and the space between him and his shovel, the last touches are complete. I hit any highlights or shadows that seem lacking in other areas at the same time .

bluebird sign dry with raccoon

The final adjustment is taking his beak right across his eye in the rear, which gives a better representation of 3D with it’s overlapping. Another last minute item was the addition of some orange eyebrows.bluebird sign finishedOur shovel-packing bluebird with a large orange beak is finished and sealed, ready to go back up on the hill and be discovered by those skiing the trails. Another of the fun animal character signs at the best family ski resort, 49 Degrees North  Ski Resort in Chewelah WA.