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.

So...art 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 http://rosenblumcoins.com/files/img/39e/087.jpg is echoed thousands of different ways over the centuries as seen by a general search for "horse + ancient +coin"
https://www.google.com/search?q=horse+ancient+coin&biw=1252&bih=580&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=SQHhVPu0D4jEggSmlYLYDw&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ

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! ;)

Monday, February 2, 2015

So Very Very Overdue!

Last post was from May 2014.. what has gone on since then?  Wow!  Where to start!! :D  I've sculpted 3 traditional sized horses since this last posting - ack!!
Long Mane Version of my "Ranch Mare" painted by Mindy Berg of http://www.sprucemtnstudio.com/

Quick catch up in reverse order I suppose...

Currently just picked up a huge # of resins under time payments.  While visiting the Will & Sheri (my casters) I also was gifted a stamp of my logo which will allow me to imprint my name on new sculptures instead of etching it in (poorly!). ;) I have been meaning to get something like this, many thanks to Will Rhodes of MVS for the most cool laser cut tool!

Going back in time a bit, I was picking up a bunch of timepayment horses from this past year.  Doing year long timepayments and 6 month editions means I can get quite the backlog of horses being paid off!

Here lies some 40 Quartermeister resins (a huge # are due to be paid off these next two weeks via the neat new PayPal autopay feature).  And more than 20 more of my newest release (well that is being sold by me);  my new Ranch Mare (see her in bay, photo above, or her sales page here http://www.artbymorgen.com/ranch_mare.htm ).  She is still available until April 7th.

I've finished off a # of things since last May as I said..  some commercial work, one of which was revealed by Breyer this past Nov & Dec - at least as an announcement that I will be one of the 3 sculptors they release this year for their Premier Club. They haven't shared the photos of the other two, just the first release (a mare & foal by the uber talented Brigette Eberl).  They also did share this teaser photo/tidbit (painted by Carol Williams) which of course I cannot confirm nor deny as being my sculpture, however I've really gotten a huge kick out of folks' conjecture about this photo... 

So there is that news (which is to say.. not much so far but something to look forward to later in the year!) :D  I'm SO excited I can't tell you btw.  People who know me know it's been my lifelong sculpting ambition to be "Rich Ruddish" essentially and get the chance to inspire future generations myself. It's still quite surreal to be here having accomplished one and now a second!  I'm very much a firm believer that children need GOOD art too.  I know as a kid I coveted the more realistic horses and found myself very inspired by big sculptures.  My inner child is very much bathed in warm fuzzies to be able to give my heart and soul to these projects!

Ok, enough blather - sorry!

This past winter I made a new medallion and sculpture of one of our dogs for my husband.  :)  Both of these I hope to sell more of quite soon.   It's primarily that I've been working on another couple of projects I hope to share soon too.  The medallion thwarted me a little in casting and had a fair # of pin holes so I only sold some 6 or so on a Dec Outlet webpage sale.  I plan to do these again (and I've been selling 2nds). 



The dog mold was not so successful & broke after a couple of castings.  Hey, this is why I normally turn to professionals for these! ;)  Anyhow, I do hope to do more of these soon.  I will be using lighter blocks of wood, not marble though for shipping safety!

 
Ok.. lets see.  So that brings me back to fall now. (Wow, so much still to cover!)..  I had the AAEA Fall Show and then I taught my workshop the following week.  I don't have too many photos from that but I have these two:
We tried to cover a lot this time around on a variety of subjects.  I plan to focus the next workshop a tad differently as the 2 part hardening clay media was so foreign to half the class! :)  Food for thought, I haven't outlined this year's class yet / committed to anything.

Speaking of committed though, I did commit to making a Civil War piece for the AAEA show in Oct and so I came up with this (it's very big!) bas relief;

And before that I was working frantically on my Ranch Mare who was introduced October 7th (for a 6 month limited time edition).

Prior to this there was Breyerfest, sales were great.  It wore me out.  Exciting highlights there of relevance were that the roan color auction mold (one of a kind) Wyatt sold for $4300! I was floored & although I was standing there I couldn't keep track of who was bidding (I never can with auctions).  Anyhow, how neat!  This year they have already announced he will be this very neat buckskin appaloosa, but only as a "Sunday" raffle model  ( http://www.breyerhorses.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=6975 ).  Thus I just hope I get to see on up close.  Those are hard to win too!  :D  The little kid in ME is getting impatient to see him in a regular run color - lol!  Soon I guess.  I have some kids I'd like to gift some to but so far they've been a bit out of kid price ranges, soon I'm sure though.

MEANWHILE, well.. that nearly brings me back to May since around that time I was pretty much focused on the Breyer sculpture for 2015 (which I can't share until later this year! torture!!!).   

I did do some other small things but not all came to fruition.  Like these skulls were fun to make;
But they overall turned out to be a hair too large for most 1:9 scale sculptures.  I do 1:9 scale to 16.3hh-17.2hh warmbloods.  I need to STOP and do 1:9 to 15hh horses.  ;)  There have been some exceptions but of course they were all pony sized (Kipling obviously but also Maxixe and Johann were 14-14.2hh range 1:9 scale works).  Anyhow, POINT is that these skulls are a bit large.  I personally don't mind because it's still easier to file them down all around to have something symmetrical to start with. Some of us need all the help we can get keeping things symmetrical! (There is my favorite contour too btw for that as well - available at any Lowes or home supply store). ;)
With that, I will leave you with this head study, made using a (different) Super Sculpy firm.


Hopefully we're all (mostly anyhow) caught up now!