Season of Love

   by Connie Andrews for Build A Dream (2014)

I started off with crumpled up plastic wrap and a few packing peanuts on the tempered hardboard. . I started my tree off by planting the Styrofoam rod in the plastic and wrapping the dampened plaster cloth around it's base. I continued to use the plaster cloth wrap to create my ground. It dried pretty quickly while I was holding it. Then, I used the packing peanuts for the bark on the trunk by shredding each one in about four pieces. Then I dipped the smooth outsides in water and stuck them to the Styrofoam trunk. When I got up to the location of the first branch I used the aluminum wire and stuck it into the styrofoam trunk. I used 2 pieces for the larger branches, wrapping around some areas for strength. Then, using the plaster cloth, I wrapped the branches and bent them to shape. Some areas got filled in with packing peanuts in the same manner as on the trunk. At the ends, I pulled the small strings of cloth out and held them until stiff to make tapering branches in some spots.
I made the dog and the little bird next from the Van Aken Clay.
Next, came the little old man and woman. I used the aluminum wire to build their armatures, or 'spines'. Then just started building up the heads and bodies with the modeling clay. They were both hand sculpted and then painted with oil paints. I pressed a lace pattern onto her dress to give it more character. I tried to keep them very similar looking because I love it when 2 people have been together for so long that they start to resemble each other. But I did think that he should have a bit of a cute pot belly, so I "unbuttoned" his shirt and stuck in a little flat clump of clay. I did not do that to her. I made her clay roses instead.
For the porch swing, the larger wooden dowels were sliced into thirds, length-wise. The smaller dowel was sliced in half. These were then glued together using rubber cement. That didn't seem strong enough though, for the weight of the clay figures, so I also used hot glue at the points where the arms met the bench boards. I quadrupled the string, creating four separate sections. Then I looped them and tied them onto the porch swing.
The bush is just the sea sponge painted in various shades of green. I then painted the tree and the grass with acrylic paints. The leaves were a nice finishing touch. Made with plastic from the kit, I painted the pieces orange and shades of tan. then I cut therm into pieces. Some I glued to the ends of the branches to show that they are not quite into the winter of their lives yet. The rest were glued down before the whole thing was taken outside to be photographed. Notice how the hanging ones are translucent like real leaves.

I think the happiest folks are the ones who have created a life with their best friend. They are able to withstand the various seasons that life sends their way because they have that special person by their side. I hope to be a half of one of these couples that get to grow into old age together. The little dog with a brown patch on her eye and on her back, with the ring around her tail, is created from the memory of my favorite dog of all time, Mindy. I created this cozy place with the porch swing set in my favorite time of year. This couple, in my mind has no big problems anymore. Their kids are grown, healthy and on their own, but come over with the grandchildren quite often. The dog is happy and whole. The air is filled with the song of birds. While I hope I have a lot of living to do yet, and am not yet ready for this serene of a life, this peaceful, happy place is my ultimate dream of how I want to live in the autumn and winter of my life.