Carving Pumpkins with Villafane Studios

My latest pumpkin for Villafane Studios - "The Pumpkin Artist"  3D pumpkin by Brandy Davis

“The Pumpkin Artist” 3D Pumpkin by Brandy Davis

Woah!  This has been quite the Fall season!  So in addition to everything else this year, Villafane Studios has asked me to be a part of their growing team.  It’s still all very surreal to me….Just 4 years ago I remember sitting at home admiring Ray Villafane’s 3D pumpkin carvings on my computer screen thinking about what an amazing artist he is. I tried to mimic one of his 3D pumpkin carvings by carving my own with some old sculpting tools I had on hand from an old high school project. Although I wasn’t happy with it, I entered it into a local contest and won. A year went by, and I carved another just for fun, and a couple for friends and family. I remember seeing Ray Villafane on the Food Network and just being in such awe at his talent. The next year (2012) I really started to get serious about it and really attempt to go “gung-ho” to see how far I could push myself as a pumpkin-carving newbie. I entered a few of my pumpkins into the online Sullen/Villafane Fan Art Pumpkin Carving Contest, and ended up winning (Click here to read about my contest experience). I also took part of that season to make a few pumpkin carving time lapse videos, all in good fun.

Fast forward to 2013, and here I am, again, sitting at my computer, still in disbelief that just a month ago I actually flew on a plane (for my first time) to Boston to carve a Flo Pumpkin for Progressive Insurance….and in disbelief that I now work with the very artists I look up to (and still look up to) just a few years prior over a computer screen – and not to mention, carving PUMPKINS, of all things!  Ha!  I never could have predicted this in a million years!

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again – Keep doing what you love, and do it with an unselfish passion – great opportunities will come of it. To continue the journey, you must then take those opportunities and fearlessly turn them into something amazing. Keep with this method, and great things will always be in store for the future….Having said that….great things are in store – so stay tuned! It’ll be quite a journey!

Happy Carving!

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BIG NEWS! ~ A Flo Pumpkin Carving for Progressive Insurance! PLUS Video!

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(I will apologize in advance for this unusually long post….)

So, I’ve been keeping a secret for the past few weeks! And man oh man, this has been a hard one to keep. So a little over a month ago I got an email asking if I’d be willing to come out to Boston, MA to carve a Flo pumpkin for Progressive Insurance! – There is a campaign out right now encouraging people to dress like Flo for Halloween, and they were interested in a “Flo Pumpkin.” About 2 weeks and a dozen emails later, I found myself waking up at 3:50 in the morning getting ready for my first flight EVER! Destinaton: Boston, MA!  (They were even nice enough to fly my husband out with me and put us in a wonderful hotel for a couple of nights! Awesome! Just awesome!)

Once I was finally sitting on the first flight all I could think to myself was, “Holy cow! What did I just get myself into? Is this for real?…..Am I really flying on a plane to Boston to carve a FLO PUMPKIN for PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE????” I mean, really…never in my wildest dreams could I have ever have predicted my life at that moment.  Nonetheless, as soon as we were in the air, there was no turning back! It was time to officially soak in the moment and live it up!

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My first flight EVER!

I ended up not being as nervous as I thought I would be while flying. Having said that, I was a NERVOUS WRECK about the thought that my sculpting tools wouldn’t make it to my destination. We had a layover in Denver,CO so I was crossing my fingers that my tools would find their way on to our new plane. I knew that if I didn’t have my tools, then quite simply, I couldn’t produce a sculpted pumpkin.

At 4:30 EST we finally reached our destination!  Long story short, to my complete relief my tools made it! YAY!  And although it took about 20 minutes to finally get a cab, we finally arrived at our hotel at about 6:30pm!

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The Colonnade, Boston!

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An amazing, and HUMONGOUS fountain next to our hotel.

After grabbing a bite to eat and relaxing in our room, the nerves slightly started to sink in. My imagination started wandering with what to expect for the next day. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night….Remember when you were a kid trying to sleep even though you were going to Disneyland the next day?? Yeah….it was kind of like that! ;-)

Phoebe from their film crew met us at the hotel at 8:45am. We took a stroll on over to their studio (since it was right across the street), and got to work right away. They had an amazing set prepped that was made to look as if I was in my own workshop right at home:

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On set, waiting for filming to begin.

And let me preface the picture below by saying that this picture was showing how my face was a lot of the time when I was getting used to the bright, BRIGHT, (and did I mention, BRIGHT?) lights in my face the whole time! Sheesh! I felt like I needed sunglasses! lol. Luckily those lights weren’t hot.

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Some time into filming:

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One of the several cameras that was filming at ALL times!

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One of my favorite shots

Finally, when filming was wrapped, the crew took my pumpkin to be photographed in another room. They invited us to stay and eat dinner, but they had already done so much for us during the day (including buy lunch) that we didn’t want to impose. My husband and I thanked everyone for everything and said our goodbyes. It took weeks for the editing – after all, I assume it was no easy task editing down hours of footage into a 45 second clip! (Speaking of which, the final video is posted below. Please note, although I am in it, I did NOT make this video. This is the official Progressive, Flo 3D Pumpkin video.) Having said that, Enjoy!

I’m so happy with how the clip came out – they did a fantastic job on the editing!

It was such an AMAZING experience that I will never forget! I feel so blessed to be a part of it! And if I may add, many thanks to everyone who has supported me and encouraged me in all of my artistic ventures. I truly appreciate you all!

And a special thanks to everyone at Arnold Worldwide/Progressive for inviting me out to take part in this project! I am so honored!

This experience was just a testament to me that if you just keep doing what you love, simply because you enjoy it, great opportunities will come out of it! And if you are prepared, you can take those great opportunities and turn them into something amazing!

Happy Carving everyone!

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NEW! 3D Pumpkin Carving by Brandy Davis AND New Time Lapse Video!

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If this guy doesn’t scare you off of my doorstep, I don’t know what will! Yes, he is spooky indeed, but it is Halloween after all! :-)

I have to admit, this pumpkin is one of my new favorites, and it really was so much fun to carve. This one involved some intricate carving, but mostly it gave me the opportunity to try my hand at some new carving techniques. The horns, ears, and “earrings” are all separate pieces of pumpkin. The horns are attached with steel wire and the ears are attached with toothpicks. (There really isn’t a reason that I used wire to attach some pieces and toothpicks to attach others – again, just experimenting.) The rest is a solid piece of pumpkin.

I almost carved the eyes, but decided to leave them blank. I think it works well for this piece though. Below you’ll see I also made a black and white rendition of the photo above simply because I think it looks cool. :-)

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And finally, the pièce de résistance! A time lapse video!  Hope you enjoy!

 

If you want to try your hand at sculpting your own 3D pumpkins this year but don’t quite know where to start, please feel free to take a look at this post here for my recommendations on tools. Or, click the pumpkin logo on the side of my blog for all the resources you’ll need! Happy Carving!!!

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NEW 3D Pumpkin Carving! “BANE”!! Plus A New Time Lapse Video!

Ok, NOW it’s that time of year! Pumpkins, pumpkins, and definitely more pumpkins!

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This is only my first batch!

Well, being that it is officially pumpkin season, and because I have gotten my hands on some pumpkins that are excellent carving pumpkins, I have gotten to try out some new, and difficult carving techniques.

I decided a while ago that I wanted to try to sculpt “Bane” from the movie, The Dark Knight Rises. And also, thanks to my cousin Amanda who is constantly posting Batman/Bane related images on her Facebook feed, it served as a huge inspiration for this project. (Thanks Amanda! ;-) )

Now, I’m not sure why I’m so drawn to incredibly complicated designs, sometimes not even being sure I will be able to execute them properly….but as they say, “No challenge, no reward.”  (Ok, I’m not sure who actually says that. I just made it up).  Anyhow, I’ll quit rambling and just show you the pumpkin:

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“Bane” 3D Pumpkin Carving by Brandy Davis

And if you are not familiar with the the character Bane from The Dark Knight Rises, here is a side by side photo:

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A little detail

 

The mask involved an insane amount of detailed work and took about 8 full hours to complete (I am still learning how to create very fine details with a paring knife among other things.) You’ll have to excuse the eyes and the lack of depth in the overall face – you just never know how deep a pumpkin’s wall is going to be until you cut into it. Having said that, the eyes were already thin as it was, so I decided to leave them the way they were, sans pupils. Anyhow, this pumpkin didn’t come out too shabby – It’s all just for fun anyway!

And speaking of fun, here is a time lapse video I created that shows the entire sculpting process of this pumpkin! Hope you enjoy!  And feel free to share it with anyone and everyone! :-)

 

If you want to try your hand at sculpting your own 3D pumpkins this year but don’t quite know where to start, please feel free to take a look at this post here for my recommendations on tools. Or, click the pumpkin logo on the side of my blog for all the resources you’ll need! Happy Carving!!!

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It’s That Time of Year Again!!!! Pumpkins!! Well….almost….

Oh man, oh man!!!! I have been waiting and waiting for this time of year!!! I feel like a little kid again…but not exactly for the candy…

Like a crazy person, back in August I started looking for pumpkins to practice my sculpting technique with. Now, if you are familiar with Idaho’s climate as well as their pumpkin season, then you are probably laughing at me right now: “Really? Pumpkins? In August??? Ha!”   Well, my friends, in desperation I did the unthinkable and posted an ad on Craigslist asking if anyone had pumpkins in the middle of August. After a few replies from locals kindly stating I had cool-looking pumpkins but that I was crazy to think I was going to find any in the middle of August….guess what???? I FOUND SOME!!! Albeit, they were very unripe pumpkins, but hey, as they say “Beggars can’t be choosers!” So I was more than happy to take what I could get.

Anyhow, here is a peak at my first “practice” pumpkin of the season. I am currently working on speed and refining my carving technique – This pumpkin took me about 4 hours to sculpt with some pretty major setbacks. I’d already started this pumpkin knowing that it wasn’t going to have a very thick rind – But it was all I had at the moment. It turned out to have only a little over 1 inch of “pumpkin meat” to work with which is ridiculously terrible (normally I would have just abandoned the pumpkin as soon as I made the discovery) – the eyes were literally hanging on by threads. And again, in case you are wondering, the pale flesh and green eyebrows were due to the pumpkin being unripe.

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Now, at the time I received these pumpkins, I tried my hand at another, rather ambitious one. (Which was pretty dumb of me since I knew the pumpkin wall wasn’t going to be thick enough. And in case you are wondering how I could tell before I started carving, it’s simple. The pumpkin was entirely too light-weight for it’s size. If you are looking to do your own pumpkin sculpting this season, it is very important that you find pumpkins that are VERY heavy for their size. Generally, a heavy pumpkin means a lot of inner “substance.”)

Again, it’s just a practice piece. I decided to try my hand at some detailed sculpting here. It took me about a solid 6 hours to sculpt this pumpkin. Wish I had some better pictures for ya – I will apologize in advanced for the crummy lighting – as you can see in the pictures, I tried various lighting setups to get all of the details, but for some reason I just could not get it right. Anyhow, this will do for now. I turned the pumpkin on it’s side to do this sculpture, so the stem is actually in the back of the pumpkin. In the bottom center, there is a picture of the inside of the mouth – In case anyone is wondering, I took a separate piece of pumpkin and sculpted the tongue and molars and attached it inside to create some depth. I will redo this pumpkin the future once I get a better pumpkin to work with and refine my skills a bit more. For the record, I really do not like this pumpkin….Let me say that again in case you missed it – For the record, I REALLY DO NOT LIKE THIS PUMPKIN. In my eyes, it is nowhere near my best work, nor is it what I intended the finished product to look like. Am I hard on myself? Sure. But that is how I force myself to become a better artist. I am sharing it anyway because I believe that as artists, every piece we do is just a stepping stone to becoming a better artist. Having said that, here is my pumpkin experiment gone awry:

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Anyhow, that’s it for now, but only because I am already in the process of writing my next blog post with yet, another pumpkin to share with you all! So stay tuned!

If you want to try your hand at sculpting your own 3D pumpkins this year but don’t quite know where to start, please feel free to take a look at this post here for my recommendations on tools. Or, click the pumpkin logo on the side of my blog for all the resources you’ll need! Happy Carving!!!

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Update: Western Idaho Fair Fine Arts Exhibit

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Just a quick update for you all – Well, as it turned out, my two feather painting entries did quite well in the Fine Arts competition at the Western Idaho Fair this year. One painting (Fancy Dancer) won 1st place in the Mixed Media category, and another one of my paintings (Honor) won 1st place in the Portraits category, a People’s Choice Award, and a special award – “Best Acrylic” out of all.

 

On top of that, I was really touched by all the local support and encouragement from everyone at the Western Idaho Fair. I also got to meet some fantastic artists during the day I picked up my artwork. So I still stand by my last statement in my previous post – even if I didn’t win a ribbon or plaque, it’s people like the ones I described above that make me already feel like a winner. It was such a wonderful experience – I really couldn’t ask for much more.

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My New Feather Painting – “Fancy Dancer”

If you have noticed my absence recently, I can assure you that it is for a good (artistic) cause. I have been painting for what seems like the past 4 weeks straight. I have worked on commission pieces, as well as completed a new feather painting of mine. My new painting is one of my larger paintings wherein I mount numerous feathers together to create a “canvas” of sorts where then I can paint a larger scene or the full body of a person (As opposed to only their bust).  The painting was done with Master’s Touch Acrylic Paint, and is painting on a fan of turkey tail feathers. The actual painted area is about 6″ tall, while the piece as a whole is about 16″ tall. To put it into perspective, her head is about the size of a quarter. I’ve invested approximately 27 hours into this piece, and that is still not counting the matting, mounting, framing, and adornments.

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“Fancy Dancer” hand-painted feathers by Brandy Davis. Acrylic on turkey tails.

 

This painting is also different for me since I normally do not work in color. I tend to prefer painting in black and white because of the overall effect it gives a finished painting – those paintings tend to portray emotions better while exuding a slightly vintage feel, with a modern twist.  Anyhow, having said that, I sometimes forget what an impact vibrant colors can make on a painting.

 

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I have already received great feedback on this painting which makes me smile from ear to ear. More-so because it makes me feel like all of the frustration I went through with this painting was worth it – Let me just say that I was ready to throw this painting away about 3/4 of the way through: feathers splitting left and right, things not coming out just the way I imagined it, and don’t even get me started on the headache that mounting, matting, and framing was for this painting! And to top it off, the reference photo I was using in for this painting was taken in TERRIBLE lighting, which forced me to use the good’ ol’ imagination (and a bit of logic) to get lighting and colors right, which made the technical aspect exponentially more difficult. Even then, I am still not 100% happy with this painting; If I had more time I would change a lot of things about it. But I had to call it a day on this painting to make a deadline for entry into the Idaho State Fair Fine Art Contest/Exhibit.

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Although the judging is in two days, the great/encouraging responses I have already received from people have already made me feel like I have won. Sometimes I forget that my paintings aren’t about “me” and what I think about them – I have to remind myself that if I can make even one person smile or feel inspired by looking at one of my paintings, then my painting is a success – ribbon or no ribbon.

 

Happy Painting everyone!

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A Few Pics From the Art Show…..

As promised, here are just a few pictures from the art show. As you can see, it was a beautiful day ! (But what the pictures fail to show you was that it was HOT as heck outside!!!!  I believe it was 103° – yikes!).    And the even funnier thing is that it was cool and raining in the morning (mixed with a bit of thunder) – but that’s Idaho weather for ya! – it is not uncommon to experience all 4 seasons in a day! :-)

Once our booths were set up in the morning I got a chance to snap a few pics before the show started. There are a few pictures mixed in that were taken by the Meridian Summer Arts Festival – they were taken later on in the day when things got going a bit more.

 

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I was wearing a few pieces of my tribal regalia – so in case you are wondering, that is a knife in a sheath I made from scratch and hand-beaded. I also made my belt from scratch and beaded the buckle, and hanging from it is my medicine bag. I normally would have worn my full regalia, but a heavy cotton long-sleeved shirt and an extremely full skirt with knee-high buck-skin moccasins just wasn’t sounding too doable considering the hot weather forecast. Although, I sometimes feel like such a wimp compared to my ancestors – they were wearing that stuff down in TEXAS during this time of year while they worked and gathered food among other things – much respect to them!

 

There were so many talented artists at this show – even children!  I can’t even tell you how much I love seeing children take pride in their artwork! – Art was such a huge part of my childhood and I know what a huge self-esteem builder it can be. There were also some amazing performance artists at the show who shared their talents to entertain everyone – Even in the scorching heat they never missed a beat – that is dedication right there!

 

Now I will be completely honest and say that normally I enjoy walking around to see my fellow artist’s booths during my downtime, but on this particular day it was just too dang hot to do anything else but take cover under my own canopy! (Thus the lack of pictures) ;-)   Although at one point, go-figure, me and a friend (also a fellow artist) helped another artist move their display table from the outside of their tent to the inside of their tent – her artwork wasn’t responding to the beaming, scorching sun rays too well – We all pitch in from time to time to help each other out.

 

Other than that, it was a good day and I met some really wonderful people and made some new connections!  I also landed an invitation to another art show in Washington – so we’ll see how that goes.  Every day gets more exciting when you decide to share your talent with the world!

 

If you have any questions or comments about art shows, always please feel free to leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to read my “Top 10 Tips on How to Have a Financially Successful Art Show”!

 

 

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The Feather Artist ETSY Store GRAND RE-OPENING!!!

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IT’S TIME!!!   My whole entire stock of hand-painted feather earrings, as well as full-sized feather paintings, are now officially available for sale in my online Etsy store: The Feather Artist: Hand-painted Feather Earrings and Fine Feather Art. And if you are wondering why this is the Grand “Re”-Opening – well, that is because I have technically had an Etsy store for a few months now, but I have only had about 8 items listed to test the waters. But after such a great response when I posted my first few pairs of feather earrings, I decided to create a larger inventory. And truth be told, I just genuinely enjoy feather painting! :-)

 

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So now I will be consistently making and posting new sets of painted feather earrings, painted feather key chains, and full painted feather portraits….and who knows what other painted feather “goodies” I will come up with in the near future……   ;-) So check back often, or better yet, favorite my shop and be the first to see when I post a new item!

 

If you would like to share the link with friends, it is http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheFeatherArtist .

 

Here are just a few of the items I have for sale currently:

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Click here to see my full inventory of feather paintings, and painted feather earrings on Etsy!

 

And if you are not familiar with Etsy, it is similar to Ebay, minus the “bidding.” Everything has a set price.  If you are interested in making a purchase, I accept credit cards, PayPal, and Etsy Gift Cards.  Similar to Ebay, to make a purchase you must sign up for an Etsy account – it is quick and very easy – if you would like to do that now, click here to sign up.

 

You can also contact me directly if you have any questions or comments about pricing or anything else regarding my artwork.

 

(P.S. Photos from my latest art show coming soon!…..)

 

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