My wife Pam was the final helper, filling minor imperfections with Winterstone icing. Our focus was on the princess' legs and bag. We were tempted to use a broad spatula to smooth the bag and remove all indents from sculptor's fingers but that would make the bag too perfect for a princess wearing it as clothing so we left most of the finger indents intact.
The next day I worked alone, sanding the entire sculpture except for the hair, making final adjustments along the way. I discovered some clumps of Winterstone on the princess' face near the hairline. Since they were too stubborn to be sanded away, I used a file to shave them off then sanded the area to remove scrape lines made by the file.
Using the same file, I deepened the contours between the fingers and toes and shaped the nails. It felt like I was giving the princess a manicure and pedicure.
The face is the most critical part of the sculpture. Human nature will cause people to study the face to see the characteristics and emotions. Subconsciously they will notice unnatural imbalances and instantly know whether the face is nice or odd. To avoid making a critical mistake, I used a pencil to draw the eyes and mouth on the sculpture. The circle for the left eye looked good but the right one was a bit too large and needed erased and redrawn twice. The left side of the mouth curved down in a beautiful smile but the right side was ragged. Erase and redraw. Repeat until it looked balanced. I stepped back to get a better look and decided that the centre of the mouth was too close to the nose. Erasing and redrawing it lower gave the princess a more emphatic smile. I drew small dimple arches at both ends of the mouth. They were too horizontal, making the princess' smile look wry. After being redrawn they were too vertical and unnatural looking. A few attempts later they were perfect.
For the next few days I sprayed the sculpture with water to help the Winterstone cure harder. Meanwhile, I studied the smile and compared it to two pictures that Michael Martchenko had drawn in the storybook. The picture of the princess waving goodbye to the dragon had very simple facial lines. The first picture in the book showed a beautiful face with more complex details. The face drawn on the sculpture was an ideal midpoint. With the utmost care, I attached a diamond bit to the end of my Dremmel rotary tool and slowly carved the face using light lines first then gradually deepening them with repeated gentle passes. The princess looks perfect but I'm not posting a picture of her here on the web site. I'm keeping it a secret until the unveiling at the library.
Thousands of potential sculptures lie within each and every uncut stone. Sometimes the destiny is obvious when I see a stone and sometimes releasing the sculpture within is a long journey following countless hints and inspirations.