Thursday, August 13, 2015

Happier w/him (months later), mini Hazel becoming a "thing"! & Silly # of updates here..

Catch up time!!!  So very much has happened since the spring.  Quickly, Tetradrachm man here has gone back to the chopping block and had a bunch of revisions. I honestly haven't been working TOO hard on him.

I'm THRILLED with my changes to Tetradrachm in accordance with what I feel are the ox-head characteristics of the different orientation of the parasphenoid bone... shall we just say simply the "ancient Roman" look to be less intimidating sounding? ;)

I've been painting a storm, (more pics in a sec) and also now have mini Hazel ahead in line "to be
completed" soon.

Mini Hazel wasn't really on my radar but an old friend started poking me to scan the big girl and print a mini-me version.  I said "honestly these days though it seems like sales are a fraction of what they used to be and I'd need like at LEAST 150 orders to be sure I made a profit to cover the month of sanding/detailing AND the thousands (just shy of 2K anyhow) it costs to scan, print and mold and mold again.".  Well I looked into the price of scanning and printing and it went down a few hundred dollars ... and she suddenly tags me on FB and says "look at this spreadsheet of people I have signed up for one.. or two or three or four".  Well THAT blew mind mind eh?  Mini Hazel wasn't even a "thing".

Sooooo I contacted the company for the scanning and shipped her out.  A few weeks later I had a print back from Shapeways.  It's not NEARLY so simple.  Kelly Sealy of   had to help me out because the scan I got was too complicated but that is a long story.   Suffice to say Kelly rocks! :D

So here we are.  I've got a mini Hazel going... a big long list for her (over 200) that get first dibs (if you want in on this sort of thing in the future please join one of my 2 mailing list types here ..!) :)  I expect mini Hazel to be offered to the "general public" (not that list but the others who never heard/demanded me to make her - lol!).. probably this winter.

Aaaaand I just wrapped up this gal after .. well 5 years! You can read at the bottom of her page on how she got rolling.

I made the first production mold myself so I could have mini army of them to sell at Breyerfest.  They are all gone though and the second mold is being made by Mountain View Studios professionally casting the rest. It's too much work for me!

I've got some 3 painted horses still wrapping up... and here are several that are wrapped up/sold...
This lil guy is on My Auction Barn right now
Sold during Breyerfest

Sold during Breyerfest

Sold during Breyerfest

PROBABLY going to wrap up this fall.. I shared an "intended auction schedule" with my mailing lists too!  There are 2 other horses coming soon too not shown..

In a few weeks I'm teaching another week long AAEA Workshop at the KHP (still time to sign up!!) :) 
AAEA Course Details

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand because the Ranch Mare and Quartermiester started and ended around this time last year I have piles and piles of resins shipping out making life complicated.
You thought I was kidding?  This isn't all either.. time payments take a toll on household space if you order them all at once (which I prefer to to prevent delays - but it's not without problems as you can see). :)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand then there is the special shipment here of my cold cast bronze Quartermeister to the Society of Animal Artist's show that I"m seriously honored to be included in for a second time.  It's not a small feat. It took me applying 2x to get accepted into the organization.  Every work they select is some of the best for it's style/subject that I've seen.  Cannot say how much I'm honored.   & Please check out the SAA previous exhibitions online here (pdfs) - amazing work.  I cannot wait to see this year's book!

And that's the long & short of it.  Spring -> Summer.  There ya have it. :)

Oh, (checking and I guess I didn't share this here yet - like HUGE doh?  However I'm frustrated because I was hoping she'd be here by mid-Aug and waiting is really REALLY hard...) last big thing?

--> Breyer is coming out with this horse I sculpted ANY DAY now and that is killing me a little bit... ! 
Bad phone photo but I got to see and hold her at Breyerfest and the details they can capture now in the plastic is absolutely amazing... if I ever do another I'm going to really go wild with those (if the sculpture permits).  I cannot get over how technology has progressed!
Of course again, it really is about the kids & I'm not just saying that.  I cannot wait until the less exclusive "regular run" colors like plain bay are in stores.  Because then kids can get them (well for under $200!, more like $60) and play with them and get inspired.  In the end it is ALL about inspiring the next generation people.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Just sharing one today... :)

I believe his profile will be a tad straighter than this even but he's starting to get a little personality!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fascinating Read! Well Worth $4.95!

Tetradrachm as of March 3rd here.  Just painted his face... lol!

So I highly recommend anyone interested in ancient breeds read Xenophon on The Art of Horsemanship with Translation and Interpretations by M.H. Morgan...What a great resource on the riding horse in antiquity!  Very nearly half the book is filled with scholars interpretations of "The Greek Riding Horse".  I wanted to pull some quotes but it's been a week or so since I read through it & I didn't take notes.. suffice to say for now that I was all over the place on my "strongly agree" vs "strongly disagree" spectrum on reading it.  However it's fascinating to hear the extent to which various points like size & roundness of gaskins are compared.
Frankly I personally feel that just like "riding horses" of today, they probably had horses breed for running, horses breed for war (so they'd be doing more collected work..).. etc.  There apparently is plenty of evidence that they bred for harness work (chariot) differently .  So I will carry on with my pursuit here towards the ideal proud (pageantry) riding horses of antiquity presented in a myriad of ways over a few millenia on coins most especially.  This, in my opinion, being a riding horse of a lighter nature with a rather flat yet hammer head type shaped head as opposed to the later Roman noses or the early proto-Arab that was emerging at that time too.  Also a fairly young horse of 6-9years old.  Horses get much heavier looking as they age, if you haven't seen this I suggest looking at racing Thoroughbreds aged 6-7 verses how they look in their teens and twenties.

So at any rate, here is where I got with my sculpt before I decided I actually needed to rework his neck pose further (below).  The more ancient art I studied, the more I saw this trend of horses heads being thrown or pulled back just a bit more in a fairly defiant and excitable pose.  Here we see a rider on this coin probably using a heavy hand  to get this reaction but you also see it with fiesty horses without humans influencing them!  High headedness was definitely a trait the leaders and warriors of a bygone era really seemed to prize.

 So here he is getting his neck adjusted from T1 down. ;)
Much was done after that here so I made a quick comparison so you can see some changes more easily... the red & green lines below for example are the same color and angle from the left pic to the right picture... looking to where they start & end you can see where I've added some angles in an effort to get more tension as befits a war steed.
There are things I'm not liking much too at this point..  the neck;  I've thinned & thickened it .. oscillating back and forth about this.  Some works show huge exaggerations here & I'm not aiming for cartoonish... yet I believe that if a trait was emphasized in ancient art it, like a caricature, was something that stood out.  It's about looking at the context of the art as well to see how much & of what nature are the exaggerations occurring.

I have more waxing philosophical on this matter but less time right now & I'd much rather pull out some excerpts and art again to discuss.  Meanwhile, the headshots here shows something else I've been dancing around.  I posted this to FB today about the white skull showing through:  True confession: I've only done the skull method for whole horses using my Sculpey or apoxie sculpt close-to-the-clay-colored skulls outside of classroom practice & busts. I'm not liking white as a background color for getting details on & finishing this. It's one thing to smear apoxie sculpt across white resin or foam (especially in the larger 1:6 scale busts that works ok).. but this 1:9 white resin to red clay contrast is too distracting to me. I may peel off the clay & paint the white resin a similar color. Normally with sculpy I wouldn't do that - it can't be baked then! But I can here since I'm casting the prototype normally.  

Later I added: Btw, this reads like I've done more sculpy horses than I have... only like.. 4 I think to completion now. I only started playing with it seriously last year.

Anyhow, after posting that this morning I painted the white exposed areas of the skull that will probably be "bone" right up until the end & am much happier with trying to work on the face now!

Stay tuned however for me to be truly frustrated when dealing with paint peeling as I use solvents to  smooth areas. ;)
I have a long ways to go still. I'm quite unhappy with this right/off side.  So many thoughts but I'll let it gel for a while. 

Anyhow, so there ya go. I was interrupted too many times but I will very much try to save some passage quotes to share from that book in upcoming posts.  In the meantime, it's available on Amazon I see!  I cannot vouche for which editions might contain all the conjecture & other works of the era though that talk about hoof shapes, and mane trimming styles.  Still, the one I show above does so check it out if you're into this sort of thing! :D

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Updated on Tetradrachm

Obligatory size comparison with my Wyatt copy here..  somebody sure has long legs! I'm not sure that will stay..or if I will shorten them a hair.  Adding even a small amount of bone can substantially appear to shorten legs.  Ah the joy of wicked soft clay!

It's time for an update...  I did a little hair transplant.. and some research given clues and tips people have sent me. I am by NO MEANS feeling expert enough to even paraphrase what I've learned to date.  However I have learned there are a couple of breeds that could be represented over many millenia that these artworks were being created.  They were used for chariots, racing and generally cherished as fine horses.  While different breeds may be being discussed, I came across frequent reference to horns (aka "frontal bosses").  Today only one breed of horse is still known to have these, the Moyle.  That said, Thoroughbreds sometimes display them apparently... google all of that to learn/see more, the one horse who's photographs show it best is "Riddle" I believe?

For now I've focus more on the big shapes that are most often emphasized in the art.  I'm still building but I'm feeling like that "type" is starting to appear.    Backing up a little, I started with a skull (a wittled down one of these shown to the side here).  I sculpted these skulls last year to use in a sculpting workshop.  I'd planned to sell them as armature bases but they are too big for your aveage 1:9 scale.   They're nice 1:9 scale warmblood size but that's it.  I decided they could remain classroom exercise tools instead & someday I'd sculpt another smaller one.
As you can see here I've been building up slowly onto that skull and the clean/white areas won't be getting much more than a transparent smear across them.  This is just skin over bone in all horses.  One thing that's the biggest challenge to me in teaching sculpture is getting folks to add very very slowly and evaluate.  Scale work is tricky and it's so easy to add too much too soon! (Take my word on this).  I'm sure everyone will just have to learn for themselves like I did but I try to spare people the torture. from this era shows some obvious stylization but then again, you do see some themes no matter the style.   The horse I am narrowing down my "ideal" towards seems to be the " Nisaean horse" which was distributed by conquerors apparently over the millennia.  There really haven't been most breeds in modern times for that long so I'm not sure the word "breed" is even accurate?
ANYHOW,  I could wax on & on but for now here are a few vases (amphora), that I saved off of wikimedia commons because I really am intrigued by the details.  The horses all do not have the same mane.  Their heads are clearly of 2 types;  the ox-eyed type and the more traditional type seen in horses today.  I'm aiming for the more primitive type with a straight profile but the eyeset is at a different angle.

All of the art of horses of this finer build and higher headset tend to show them with the roached style stiff mane.  It's actually pretty long for a finer horse... similar to a Fjord horse's mane length.  The average lighter breed's mane wouldn't stand at that length... it intrigues me greatly.  As an extinct breed of horse I don't not doubt it's possible to have breed a finer boned, refined breed that carries some more primitive traits (think sportier Friesians!).   ANYHOW, so I decided to redo the mane thinner than it was (you can't tell from previous photos but it wasn't too thin in width from above).  I needed a better mesh underneath.  So here is the transplant.  I also tried out the new crest in photoshop as I had to cut into wires.  Since I wanted this, I had to cut into (some not all) of the wires protruding from the skull & twisting it onto my armature in the neck.

Once I was happy iwth this I could address the ears.  I really thought I'd be going with a slight "relaxed" out to the sides look.  However when I pointed them back it really emphasized the look I'm used to seeing, moreso than ears forward.  It was a tough call but I see him parading into a situation where he needs a bit of attitude to win.

From here it's more & more becoming a matter of finding robust horses, from Arabians to Friesians... and of course tons of this 2-4 thousand year old art to ponder.   Below you can see how just inside the tuber ischiem bones of the hip there is nothing yet (hollow thighs, how we all should be so lucky!) ;).

Maybe you can also see I am attaching the tail via a strand to the back of the hock.  This is really a HUGE help in preventing shipping breaks.  Plus people working on the horse in the future will have a more stable cup handle to hold on while they paint.

Backside is starting ot get some flesh too.  I had to push the whole left leg under.  After this extremely nerve wracking similar adjustment to my Ranch Mare sculpture, where I had to do this with a hammer & having her in a vice.. I am happy to use less strong wire for this guy.  He might not stand reliably without his belly post until I cast him, but that's fine.  There *IS* such a thing as being over-horsed in sculpture! ;)

I feel like it should be very very obvious he's still pretty rough in these stages, although many are already asking how soon he'll be done.  So the answer there is not-so soon just yet.  I've got a lot on my plate right now & I'm just allowing myself a couple of hours a day to actually DO art. :D  I do want him to progress though as he's been floating around in my head for many many years now!  I hope to ultimately have him standing on a thin metal base via magnets in the feet (I really find bases so frustrating  & for once at least this one has two feet squarely on the floor!).  Other that that... so much is up in the air.  But isn't he a charmer!?!  :D  Having fun over here at least!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tetradrachm: Horse of the Ancient World!

It's time I shared something from the very early stages onward again.   This is 1:9 scale and I started on Saturday so he's pretty premature.

Ever since I stumbled across this one particular Scythian horse sculpture (sorry but I can't find it anymore!) have I been getting this hankering to do a chariot horse or one similar to what you see on the Greek and Roman reliefs and statues that still survive today.  These are different eras and the horses are each a bit different in significant ways (build and use), so I spent more time trying to find a theme that fit what I was picturing.

First I spent a great deal of time studying greek amphoras (click that link to see a really inspiring array of those!)

Then I began stumbling across coins.  Coins of all sorts of eras, with a similar theme.  Similar to that of conquerors mounted on steeds.

I have more to say on the subject but I want to do this in stages with pictures for now!  I will start with where I'm at after a day or so of work (not a full day yet either). ;)  I've gotten a ton of new sculpting media and toys lately and have been tinkering all over the place with old abandoned sculptures (most recently I FB shared a # of the Friesian foal).   This guy I'm more motivated to bring to life this spring (hopefully by summer!).    With a great deal of other things on my plate he is taking a backburner.  That said, I'm also forcing myself to sculpt for at least 1-2hrs a day (the duration of a tv show).. so that I don't get 'bookeeping burnout' where I realize I've gone weeks without sculpting.

Must feed the muse.

So first quickly to see what I was getting jazzed about... here are some wikimedia commons tetradrachms.    

Even better (but I"m unsure of copyrights so I will only link) would be to click here to see the STAGGERING commonality of this theme:  THIS is echoed thousands of different ways over the centuries as seen by a general search for "horse + ancient +coin"

My fella is pretty pretty thin still but I am adding slowly.  I want him more of the racing type.  Robust but long legged and regal.  Not a heavy northern war horse but a light fast horse.  That's enough babble for now (over a sculpture I've hardly started!). ;)  Enjoy;

I start with a typical armature wire frame.  Fwiw, my standard answer on how-to do these is now to google or youtube this because we all tend to really start out the same here.  I am trying out a PVC pipe this time instead of brass plumbing pipes.  You can pop the sculpture on & off easier and spin it around more readily as well.  Nevermind in the end if you create a block mold.  Detaching from the flange is a cinch!  It has not been a cinch for me with the regular threaded metal piping
As you can see I fill out slowly.  I pared off a tiny bit more on the hip bones there since this one.  Also, I used the super hard at room temp Chevant NSP Hard brown here.  It's almost as firm as a wax candle to give you and idea of it's firmness rating.  Very heavily wax based. 

Slowly building up all around I still leave him "lean".  In teaching sculpting the hardest part for me personally is to get folks to tone down in the adding on/build up.  Its sooo easy to get out of proportion in tough ways fast like this.  He still looks goofy lean but making him more "robust" will be easier if I don't fill in my negative spaces so there's more animation.

 Not bad for a start (I'm not complimenting myself, I feel like a lot came together fast here!).  I am dabbling with nick naming this fella Tetrad.  I fear that Tetris , while fun, is (a) very Russian and (b) very very copyrighted. ;)  I'll try to rememeber to share this one more frequently here as it's a lot easier to document the evolution!  :D
__________ADDED LATER 2-15-15 EVENING______________
 Wrapping up the weekend this is where I'm leaving off.  Not sure if "ommph" being added.  I plan other things to happen before he's done so I'll have some time to think on this.  No rush!  He's sat around in my head for long enough! ;)