Monday, April 7, 2014

A Bit Overdue!

I had a fun photo essay to share but when I came here I realized that last month the whole Quartermeister release was time consuming & the blog fell off my to-do list!

Anyhow, soooo I have that to share and also my Academy of Equine Art course details & registration is up now;
Go here to register though (I don't handle any of that); http://www.aaea.net/workshops/

Then as I said, the Q-man is up for grabs for the next 5 months (now, he is a 6 month open edition lasting until Sept).  His page is here; http://www.artbymorgen.com/quartermeister.htm
and I'll leave you with a photo of him as well taken on a rather cold damp day at sunset on my porch.  My misting breath was getting in the way (the south isn't always warm!) but it was the first time we'd had sun in days so I gave it a whirl!



Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Not-Duke Creation (The Making of Q-man)...

Well I’m almost ready to open up his edition here, planning to debut him at a local show “Carolina Gold Classic” which now has 84 entrants (!!! I *know* right?!!!).  That’s in under 2 weeks.  His page is done/ready to view here; http://www.artbymorgen.com/quartermeister.htm
BUT meeeeeanwhile, before the edition opens officially in March I want to share some in-progress on him to re-emphasize the fact that he is NOT anything like Deputed Duke!  ;)

Truly tho this seems to be something I can't show enough pictures of! :) It’s so funny how many people have commented to me (even as they bought preorders I got some of these comments!) that the side by side comparisons really showed them that he’s a whole different personality/look/build and that he can do totally different things (well do ALL the classes really!). :D


Sooo here is probably the most convincing photo I hope that I completely build up all over the resin until you really didn’t have resin there anymore.

But let me back up.  Here is what I did.  Around 10 years ago when I sculpted Duke I wanted to make a straight trotting version.  Realizing how daunting this was I tried two things;  first I cast apoxie sculpt in a shell inside the Duke mold, roughly making the same thing as a resin but in parts, that I cobbled together, that’s the grey fellow on the left below,  the picture just below that is where I photoshopped the head back on & made some changes before deciding "ok, let's try this again!"...


The white guy above (who a decade later became Quartermeister/the Q-man!) I started as a hacked up resin.  I don’t remember what his deal was but I have to assume he was a second of some sort.  Anyhow, note that the head wasn’t working out at ALL so I lobbed it off somewhere , at some point…

How I started that white (eventual Q-man) fellow was similar, I chopped a resin into a million pieces.  Then I took armature foam and used it to hold the center together, then I superglued, duct taped and apoxied the rest back together like a giant Humpty Dumpty project.  Somehow though it was much much larger than the resin it came from.. so the resin head just wasn’t cool.  It was way too small.  Anyhow, so it went over onto the other grey Duke for a while.. because he seemed more promising.  For ONE SIMPLE very sad little technical reason:  production cost.  The longer, taller, wider (anything) a sculpture is, the more it costs to produce in resin.  Also, the post office had raised the cost of shipping back then by size primarily.  It had a big effect on the niche market I sell to:  we all suddenly started making our sculptures smaller.  To fit in a box.    It sounds trivial but when you ship out 50 boxes and they cost $10 more ea time, this is a $500 new cost.  At the time resin editions were 150-200 on average so several thousand dollars in savings just by opting to go a little smaller was nothing to sneeze at.   Customers pay more for shipping now on average than they expected to in the past.    This is a relief to sculptors who for a while were still doing postage paid editions and just paying more out of their own pockets. ANYHOW,  so if you reaaaaaally wanted to know the reasons why some horses get shelved, this is it!  Ironic that it has nothing to do with artistic  motivations at times, but just one of  “now is not the time to make something this expensive to make”. 


Still, he CALLED to me..


As I moved from home to home he caaaaalled to me until this past fall I was looking at grey passaging boy there, alongside “working trot” Duke as I called him (honestly he’s in medium trot more than working, this is a shade below when they get those snappy extensions of the extended trot…


So I began anew this fall!

I pulled that head back off of grey Duke there & cut it into pieces, resculpted ALL the boney points;

I sat down with the horse itself and photographed him & started fiddling in photoshop to see what changes I planned to make;

 Then after I took down/rebuilt that skull entirely (above 2 headshots).. I still had the task of balancing them out & adding character.  So here we see some of how I busted out with the “contour tool” to match each side up. 

 Symmetry in heads is important.  To some extent it’s NOT a requirement for realism HOWEVER.. humans are very preprogramed to find symmetrical bodies healthier (and therefore  more attractive).  It’s very weird but true.  You can change the expression from side to side but I feel like those bones need to try to be as aligned as possible.  And that IS SO HARD for me personally.  And since I know other artists who have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves to do it as well, I have to assume other artists feel similarly;  it’s a challenge that any trick helps.

Those contour tools are found at Lowes or any hardware place, or online btw.  They’re not great for soft clay as the pins don’t push so smoothly. 

Other tricks I like are to take a completely 100% front view & flip half of it in photoshop.  I probably didn’t save any of those as my desktop is hideously cluttered at times.. with sculpture blotting tissues and things that look more gross than they are so I may just have not saved that..  if you look back to 2008 I did a post on that there though with Hazel.  :)

One of the tougher things with this fellow as the shoulders.  Both the hips/haunches down and the shoulders from the scapula down, were COMPLETELY cut off & then reset on using the armature foam as I said before.  However it took some time to rebuild up the ribcage through the body extremities in these places.  The shoulder of the front right leg for example was still too compressed looking even late into the game. So I had to cut here;

and then pull it all out again and THEN slather on more apoxie-sculpt to a new more outward moved point of shoulder (this is where the humerus meets the scapula)… and then add new muscles all over until I was happy with this here;

So that was some of the challenges of salvaging an old sculpture.   Sadly like previous times I”ve done this I come to this point where I say “this would’ve been vastly faster in clay from scratch”.  This time however at least I can say that waste molding clay here would have been more expensive than I’d like to consider. 
ANYHOW, musing about costs aside, I really think he came out vastly different and hope you can see this too without even having to hold the two side by side.    Owners of Duke will NOT be disappointed & feel like they got a repeat;  this is totally NOT Duke, I promise you!  :)




Again, check out his final big bad self and all the comparison shots here; http://www.artbymorgen.com/quartermeister.htm
Thanks for looking!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Must.. Share.. QUARTERMEISTER!



It seems like the middle Friday of every month is when I like to get around to posting here!

This month isn't much different from last..  and looking back I see that it's been 2months since I posted - wow!  Ok, well quickly, I've gotten & shipped out most of the Pixel resins ordered to date.  Hoping that more arrive today actually even though they seem to have stalled in transit.  ACK!  (This is when tracking is frustrating!). ;)  Anyhow, I've been so pleased with the casters, they really outdid themselves on nice clean castings AND super speedy turnaround time.

Since I'm so close to wrapping up my next horse (mostly anyhow).. I am working in my head on a way to offer some incentive reward for those who buy Pixel now & then want the next guy too.  Generally I like to leave a longer time between editions to let people recover but I'm just TOO excited about this next guy:  Quartermeister!

Here he is as of today, chilling out, getting his glamour shot test hairdo picture here in photoshop.  He's patchy looking still since I haven't primered him yet to make him more uniform.  I see I haven't discussed him on my blog so quickly;  he's a former sculpture of mine that was half-passing.  I took a wireless, hollowcast resin version of him cut into him from every direction until he was a humpty dumpty shell.  This was around 8 years ago.  I then pieced him back together to be trotting straight forward.  It required more than just removing a hind leg for example.  I removed it & cut it at every joint nearly to change the entire horse.  When I'm done I'll show some of the in-progress photos and a side by side comparison with the former horse.  They are NOT the same anymore.  Every inch and nook and cranny of this horse has been covered over or carved into.  I haven't found any points left of the original still showing... including even tendons which all need resculpting.

Basically though it sped things up in a major way for me:  proportioning and joint position along the length of legs, neck etc.  These things are a major time consumer in sculpting.  If I took a Breyer and wittled it down to sticks  & completely filled in every corner it would STILL take me less time than working off my own aluminum armature.   So here where I have roughly the same muscles in place for a haunch flexed forward in this position, well WOOT!  So much much less time to figure it all out from scratch & hundreds of photos.  NOW I get to do ONLY the fun stuff:  searching through photos to decide just how much fleshy flexed muscle mass is appropriate and artistically exciting for THIS horse.  In other words, it's all the fun stuff when the body underneath is roughly worked out for me.  GOOD TIMES!   

Now if this wasn't my own sculpture originally though, I would have to concede that someone else's hard labor did more than half the battle here, even if I'm putting whole new layers of epoxie over everything. but fortunately it was my own labor from exactly a decade ago.  How fun to return to it and revamp every inch with a new mindset and armed with all sorts of cumulative experiences!

And with that, I should go & run to the PO and see if my package is here even though tracking says it's been sitting somewhere else for several days.. and then dive back into this fun adventure.  OH!  I meant to comment on the hair.  I plan to do a very short "ready to braid" trim that's loose.  I was initially thinking I should braid him up but truly, if the mane and forelock are lightweight and bouncing off the body it's easy enough for people to customize. ;)   I think it makes him look more manly though to have spiky hair! :D

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Wyatt! A Very big first for me! :)



I decided to go with what I sent out to my yahoogroup and email list the other day...   there is only so much I can say here anyhow.  :)  But NOW I can at least share this news! (for those who haven't heard this already I guess.. there are some here still probably!) ;)
Introducing the new action stock horse that Breyer commissioned me to sculpt early this year (I giggle but no one seemed to wonder why Oceania was taking me so long?) ;)



http://www.breyerhorses.com/2014_premier

Truly I don't know much more than anyone else here. I am basing all of my answers on what I see there in their web page page there. Of course with any commercial work there are many answers I can't give too.. but really, the page says it all. I am not a Premier or Collector Club member but I do believe if you wish to join it's explained there as well - $20 to join, $100 deposit and then you are committing to buy all 3 models for the year for $175 each. Hope I got that right!!! :D The mold, as I understand it, will be introduced into their regular run (normal stores, less complicated colors and regular Breyer prices) line in 2015.

So I said this yesterday on FB when the news was leaked a little bit (but I didn't have a page or pictures to share so I waited here).. anyhow, but this is a huge honor to me to be asked. Aaaaand I'm delighted that people are excited about the performance possibilities... I hope he helps inspire kids the same way Breyers inspired me as a youth! I just need to say this to give you an idea of how BIG this day is to me; When I was 10 I read an article about Rich Rudish sculpting Sham for Breyer. It was a pivotal point for me, I realized there are some people who actually mostly sculpt horses for a career. It took 30 years to get there but I’m pretty pleased. I'm really really looking forward to the day when I can watch a kid playing with a Wyatt model!!!

Ok, well .. I guess that's all I can say except a big ole squeeee!!! (little kid in me cannot wait to play with my own copy). ;)

Ok, ok, yanno what? That's not true, I owe a LOT of my customers a tremendous thank you. I mean this. If it wasn't for the patronage of you, I would not have had the time to be taking on commissions like this, I'd be working a 9-5 job still to make ends meet and these sorts of commercial tight deadlines would simply be out of the question. So truly truly from the bottom of my heart, a thank you for your support here for your steady patronage over the years that has made me able to follow my dream and bring this to more children in the future... ((big virtual hugs!!))

(and again hehehe squeeee hurry up May, I want to play with my plastic pony!!!!) :)

Pixel!

I'm really overdue for some posts here.. things got very busy for a bit and I'm sure the next few weeks will continue to leave me behind on a lot of things...  for now, let me introduce the final sculpture:  PIXEL!  :D
There is a full gallery on his website /  ordering page:

http://www.artbymorgen.com/pixel.htm


aaaaand the gallery alone is http://www.artbymorgen.com/galleries/pixel/album/index.html
I'll leave it at that for this post.. on to compose my other post for the day really quickly! ;)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Married, AAEA Board Appointment, Pixel & more..!



I have a large number of big announcements here so brevity would probably be best... but these brief summaries below are in no way reflective of how excited I am about each! 

First and foremost, on Mon Sept 23rd at sunset in the front yard of our farm I married my best friend, a man I've been with since January of 2004.  I will be taking his name but professionally I will still be "DBA" (doing business as) "Morgen Kilbourn".  As we are both practical types we had a short honeymoon at a local state park, and I hope that absolutely nothing else changes! :D It's been a great 9.75 years so far and I'm looking forward to many many more equally wonderful decades with him! :)










Second big announcement:  on Sept 14th I was elected to the American Academy of Equine Art's board as the Dean of Sculpture! This is such a tremendous honor but also an equally weighty responsibility.  For those not familiar with the Academy, (AAEA), one of their stated goals is that " AAEA serves to educate and encourage a broad awareness and appreciation of contemporary equine art as a specific and distinctively worthy segment of fine art in America".  Many commercial and model horse sculptors have had their work featured in past AAEA shows, this isn't surprising to me as often a well done sculpture can be appealing in many mediums and venues.  At any rate, I would like to take a bit more time to compose a more thorough outline of some of my goals to bring into the roles of helping to oversee the shows and implementing some old and new teaching venues.   I also hope to bring some new technology ideas to the table and help in small ways with the website as well.    I will be doing another workshop in the spring, this time I believe it will be held in the Kentucky Horse Park.  Details are being worked out on that and also will be forthcoming in the next month or so!  For now you can see an updated list of all board members and a short biographical of the newly elected president here;  http://myemail.constantcontact.com/AAEA-Elections-.html?soid=1109152397904&aid=ntNUyZFBdG4

Speaking of upcoming engagements:  next weekend (Oct 7th) I will be a guest judge at Laura Behning's 26th annual (wow huh!!!) SouthCon show in Covington GA.  Then  on November 2-3, 2013 I'll be a judge in my old stopping grounds of New England at the Region X Regional Championships.

Lastly, my little Andalusian mini now has a name:  "Pixel"... I loved this name the moment I saw it!  Thank you to Jordan B (please contact me Jordan if you see this!) for the suggestion... there were so many great ideas and my list of possibles kept growing and growing, most were Spanish in origin.  However I wanted something unique that grabbed me and embodied "tiny" too, which this did right off the bat for me.   Anyhow, back to working on him at the moment!  I'm hoping to be wrapped up in a few weeks here!

Wishing everyone a lively fall as well!  All the best!!!
-Morgen

Kilbourn Studios

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Still Taking Name Ideas..

Since I haven't decided fully on the tiny Andalusian's name, I just wanted to let folks know it's still open.  I have several names here as final choices but another could still sway me.  It's unbelievably hard to decide (in general, for me it always is with any sculpture).  They're all great ideas.  It just has to speak to me in ways I can't quantify or explain. 

I'll post a couple more pics here if it helps any.  I use these to decide on many things.. such as where to continue to refine.  With minis this small you almost can't refine them enough.  Soooooo back to it..
Please submit name ideas on the last post though, not here.   Tx guys and sorry to torture you with my own personal torture!  At least I can make it worthwhile to someone though!!! :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Andy Needs a Name...

And he's not really the Andrew type. :D

I don't know what it is about the 15th that finally reminds me I need to post to this blog once in a while but yet again, a post a whole month later.

This time for something fun!  So this Andalusian sculpture is getting closer to completion here.. and I'm still at a loss for names.  I could use some fun input and am very willing to give the FIRST person who gives me the name I go with a free copy (postage on you but otherwise free).  :)

THE RULES:
  • The name must begin with a "P"
  • It must be posted in the comments below to win, I will (maybe repeatedly) post "done" when I finally decide on one.  There isn't really a time frame, I just need to go "omg I love it!"
  • Keep it clean please!  
  • Not a rule but PLEASE look through the previous names submitted so you don't waste your effort! :)  
I may not have time to answer questions (and it might get confusing), so just give it a go.

I'd better turn the moderate comments feature off this time otherwise it will cause GREAT angst I'm sure..  that moderated comments thing is a frustrating feature that I only decided to use when some scammers started posting links to smarmy stuff that had nothing whatsoever to do with anything horses or art related.  Lets hope I can get away with a few weeks without that though! :D

Blahblah - SO here he is hanging around in my studio.. his legs are setting after some intense reconstructive surgery.  Those are my blinds behind him at a weird angle.  He has work left to go clearly.. but it's more fun to work on a pony when he's named. 


I confess I was photoshopping the feet to see what I wanted to do next when the apoxie hardens here...  eeeee! (So hard to wait but I sort of consider that my "to do" list in sculpting. Plus it's a lot less trial and error to work it out virtually first typically - yay for instant gratification 2x!)


I inverted the photo just because it might help some folks see him better.  He's an Andy cantering along at liberty and wildly tossing his head - his ears are missing but they will be pinned a bit.  He's a stallion strutting his stuff!

It was really hard to take this pic actually but hopefully you can see that his mane's flip comes up to about 2.75 inches.

He is WEE!!!

And he needs a "P" name soooo GO!!! :)

 Adding one more of his face in here in case it helps anyone to get a feel for his character.  I wish I could comment on the names submitted but I want to remain impartial until I'm certain!! :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Moved & Almost Back in Business!


It’s not much to look at yet here but I’m SO excited!  Getting to organize a new working space is always exciting anyhow.

Sooooo clearly we’ve finally moved!  We’re very much in central NC now,  a different home than the one I posted (and removed) 3 or 4 months ago.  This one is just gorgeous but clearly the above isn’t the inside of a steel building! ;)  It’s slow going, most things are squirrely & need replacement or fixing so my current studio is eventually going to be the 2nd /guest bedroom. Eventually I hope to have converted either the garage here or this cinderblock building that housed cows and horses at one time here.  We’ll see… right now this is still a lot more space in the studio than I had previously AND I can tuck my boxes and packing peanuts elsewhere – doubling the useable space at least.  I’m a bit lost here so far as to what to do with it.  And it’s just SO charming and pretty to me.  What a world of inspiration that is, I’m just dying to tap into it!




(above) Two sculptures that I had to pack away that I'm anxious to find & get out of their boxes tonight! :D

Lost in literal space here but VERY excited to get going…  it’s like a huge lump of clay that could become anything.. ;)  Aaaaaaaaaaaaand I do plan to start a sculpture right off the bat here too.  Right after I unpack, lol!  In the meantime I’ve got vintage VHS of the entire X-files series (commercials and all – ala 90’s, so fun!), to keep me company in unpacking and setting up shop.

Just a brief update on where we’re at! :D

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Water accessory effect fitting video...



(I am cross posting this everywhere from my lists to make sure no one misses out on the info)
Hi guys!
I need to confess that this took me about 20 tries to make .. aaaaand even then this final footage still had a lot of out-takes so that I had to splice it together a bit.. I’m just NOT very good at this yet!  Still, I really really wanted to show how the water collar works (and more importantly, how tight fitting it does NOT work for pulling it on & off!).. So I just really felt I should give some basic tips so that no one ruins their finishes – even though it’s nothing really very new.   This is just the same sort of common sense needed in making & putting on tack; You have to plan for where it will possibly rub and make sure the fit is roomy enough and not scratchy!  Hoping this video will better illustrate my recommendations.. so please bear with me through the follies of trying that!

Towards the end at least it gets a little better in focus (youtube is always tricky though too).. but at the very very least I hope  you also can see how strong the final seaweed and magnets are!  There was a LOT of collaboration with the caster too in order to make sure the seaweed was as thin as it could be BUT still be strong enough to hold her without sagging down over time (steel rods prevent that).  I also use stronger magnets in the real final castings than I did for the bronze demo casting in that last video.  NOTE THOUGH!  :D You won’t be able to stick her to your car, or garage door.. nor upside-down or anything too wild or radical, but I’ve gotten  a lot of questions there about how secure she is up there so hope it helps show their strength better too!  (No ponies were harmed in the making of this video)

I’d really like to also to add that.. (hangs head in mortification)…my voice is sooo flat and unenthusiastic after those 20 tries too…lol! No voiceover career likely here I’m afraid…! :)  BUT here’s to hoping it’s at least tolerable though and that I’m mostly audible (and make sense)!  Truly need to add thanks for everyone’s support and patience as well.  Most of the paid for Oceania castings should be mailed by the end of this week.   In fact I’ve got 10 completely done that were only waiting on this url for their supplemental tips in the accessory packets.  That’s how much I felt I really needed to have “how to” in video form!!!   & Without further ado, here we go!
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Hope folks are staying cool and dry, all the best!
-M