Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Holidays!!! :)

Madness and mayhem took over this month and in the past week especially I've been completely overwhelmed. Anyhow, I thought I'd quickly post something at any rate. I'm dying to get back into the studio...

This is a super cool HUGE book (probably still some floating around at Sam's Clubs across the country).. It's 2 feet tall! Great big high resolution pictures though. Very helpful.. now to find a way to keep it in the studio..

And this is a really awesome tool - a contour matching doohickey. (Ok, obviously I've forgotten the real name). Wouldn't work so well for clay I imagine.. it scratched Hazel a bit when I did this section (no worries though). Basically you press it up against one side then flip it over and hold it up to the other. You can also just trace the contour onto a piece of paper and then compare the two that way. Hopefully the pic here will explain it better...

Good times!

Anywho, I didn't get to see all of my family still but Christmas wound up being fairly nice all the same. One half of my family decided to meet at a restaurant in between all of us... Chinese.. and it was pretty packed in there to my surprise. It was nice not having to rush around cooking/cleaning/shuffling etc.. Cheaper probably too for everyone. Wondering if that will become a tradition now that we're all so distantly located.

Anyhow, so that's my Christmas update. Looking forward very much to a highly productive '08. I am already getting a lot more aggressive about my goals for this coming year.

Hope all is well with everyone!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Almost OT cute horse to share...

Cute blog to share here:

Check out the Shower and Shave video, post; – hysterical dubbing :)

I confess, I was looking at his face more than the hat.. his owner calls him a “Fauxriesian Cart Pony” (he’s a Friesian x TB) and you can find many more of her anecdotes through the years about him on the UDBB: ) I confess… I’ve become mostly a lurker there, the conversations tend to get far too involved to join in for my limited time.

My focus hasn’t just been on the head. I’ve done a lot of little tweaks and tinkers with other parts of late. Nothing worth sharing in pics just yet. It all sort of comes together in the end but tweaking is sometimes hard to pick out until the final picture comes together. For the few people who begged me not to change the nostril – don’t worry! :D That’s one spot on the head I like. I’m just trying to find that tricky balance now btwn frog eyes and balloon head – a tad more here, a tad less there kinds of things. I don’t want her to look like she sucks on lemons in other words (narrow dry face). And conversely, a lot of draft crosses have very bloated/undetailed faces – clunky heads they’re sometimes called.. I don’t want that either.

Farrier gave me a tutorial on eventer shoes yesterday. I’m trying to decide if I want to bevel the bottoms all around like they have. I won’t be doing calks though. I thought a lot about this and have decided that she’s too generic to any activity and the little nubs are so easy to simply stick on should someone want them. My focus on the feet still has been getting the right kind of shape (round in front, almost triangular behind).

That’s about all I have to mention at the moment. :)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Just another quickie of the head...

If you click on it you can REALLY see in large detail how rough she still really is. The mane and forelock especially but probably you'll be able to see it in other places.

I'm not taking these just to amuse myself. What I do is flip it in photoshop to help speed up detailing the other side to match. Measuring can only do so much. Like I said waaaay waay back in my 'Ambiturner' post, I am challenged when I try to do things in the opposite direction in strange ways, some things I can flip flop with ease, other things I can't. Some shapes for example I can do in either direction easily, other shapes.. well.. I sit there biting my tongue, furrowing my brow and really struggling to flip. Dane bramage I tell ya! :)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Details begun...

I was think about how I am probably one of the few sculptors who really leave some big aspects for last. I've noticed that others really like to put the "character" into things like the face first. I think the only horse sculpture I've really done that with was Godiva. My focus on head shapes tends to be mostly just basic measurements.. but I tend to leave things like the size of jaw, shape of eyes, muzzle etc pretty bland until I'm happy with the overall horse proportions. It's primarily how I tend to measure (the jaw depth does screw me up some - like in this case and in Flitwick's and Duke's cases IIRC). Mostly though it's just what I lump into "detail" work. I think a lot of it also has to do with how I envision something in progress. I personally know the finally "look" of the character I'm going for. I think that's the best way to explain it really.

Anyhow, the bottom line is I've started what I think of as "feminizing" her face by drastically reducing the beef of the jaw. I've spent a good deal of time in the past couple of days really studying the amount of emphasis I want to place on certain facial features. I've completely rounded down the eye orbits in many ways but probably will want to fiddle with them some more (I don't want a surprised or 'big eyed' look - I also don't want a sleepy draft look that even some hunters over fences can sometimes have - I want a focused look.. that has been a tad tricky to even find great refs for).

Righto, so my fingers are numb and cold so I'll shut up now. :D Here are a coupla links I snagged off of the COTH forum about draft crosses since I was having fun surfing and actually remembered to save them for this post. :)

Most are too heavy or are pony crosses so they don't apply much here excepting to show delightful all around horses and some details. Too many thoughts to log down here though. Sorry!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The 4x6" square world...

I primarily have friends who’ve are in the medical fields as physicians, scientists, programmers or engineers. I worked for 8 years at a genomics company and started in the labs. A little over half way through my employment there I’d reached a pretty clear ceiling and also really felt that additional promotions/growth in my position (my final lab position was running a data analysis group and assisting launching others across the company to monitor each areas’ throughput). So I eventually was dealing more with the VPs and dept heads – promotions were only aiming in the corporate politics direction – which is not me. So I moved into marketing. Because I obviously prefer my artistic side to being a corporate groupie. :)

I took a lot of flack for going into that position. The gal who worked in it before me was just plain flaky. Nice, but it was not considered a brainy job given her precedent. Still, my brain was starting to hurt from the lack of common sense in the sciences which should’ve been clear and straightforward, iow; despite the data in the lab politics and personalities played a big role. So rather than continually fight the strange politics that shouldn’t have even been present in genetic data production, I just walked away in the only way I could and keep my only bone (stock options) and made a massive lateral career shift.

I was also being talked about behind my back mind you. People assumed you can only rise up in the levels if you’re sleeping with someone. Take my word for it; I wasn’t. Still, it got REALLY old to hear these rumors and get the cold shoulders for no apparent reason.

My favorite was also when people assumed I was rich when our stocks peaked. Sadly, I didn’t get a lot of options as I wasn’t there quite that early in the start-up, I had an ok #, but when I started I was at entry-level employee and they didn’t give them stocks. The people who thought I had at least a million (some scientists and higher degree folks there from the get go did get a million or two from the stock peak -> it wasn’t an insane assumption), anyhow, those people were really fun to be around.. if you can imagine. Meow! Morgen the rich ho. That’s how they saw me. You can imagine how I finally just said “to hell with this” and made a drastic lateral move to maintaining the web site and advertising.

I have a secret (well the man who hired me to the dept knows this but few others). I only took 2 classes in college that were remotely related to this new career -> electives in web page design and graphic layout. I was hired on the basis that I would “grow into it” and I faced a pretty steep learning curve to jump right into producing all the corporate materials.

When I got the position I got a hold of a 700 pg HTML book to refresh my memory (hell, to learn half the stuff). I also got a copy of the web site and sat down and studied every tag on the site. It took a few weeks for me to “get” how the site worked because I was a) so damn rusty (it had been a few years I believe), and b) the site was designed by that flaky girl (copied from another company I later found out) and had multi-tiered subset framing.. believe me, I can’t even think of an example of this bad design because it’s just not done, it was ridiculous and a great lesson in figuring out how something extremely backwards works via desconstruction. Anyhow, I also bought some other webmaster books and a ton of CGI/Perl books and really gave myself an education. The hardest part in the end turned out to be learning the language of the other side: the preparing printed media side of the job (prepress graphics).

To that end, I owe a lot of thanks to the printing companies we worked with who gave me plenty of tips and tricks and just overall talked me through layout specs. We also got to tour a goodly # of woo-ing company’s facilities.. This gave me a greater understanding of things like why color separation happens and what those interesting boxes to the side of uncut printed materials are there for.

The hardest part was that there were definite red-herrings in the way. For far too long I struggled to understand why my color chart reference guide had only 4-5digit #s and the publishing companies guides had the typical pantone guides the rest of the world uses had 6 (see to understand what these are. You’ve probably seen these somewhere. Anyhow, I would ask for “real” guides but was always given the “they cost too much” crap. I did a layout of a really neat newsletter issue that was supposed to be in light spring tones & dark blue. When the proof came over it was all blue – we thought this was what’s called a “blue line”. No. That’s the freaking color the stupid CHART I had was… and what we told the printer to print it in. The newsletter of course looked ridiculous. And I was still in my probationary period and sweating it out badly. After a few very painful first months like this I found out this mysterious color chart was actually a bar-code label color chart from a scientific company.. it had nothing whatsoever to do with the printing business. I just happened to see it in one of the dept head’s offices and asked what it was. I was sooooo supremely miffed at this moronic misleading by these marketing and advertising specialists. There were lots of little incidents like this. It’s a great illustration though of how the transition went. Basically I was sort of treated with extreme condescension: “you aren’t experienced in this field so we’ll humor you”. The tone sometimes was unbelievable.

Marketing departments really ARE like the Dilbert cartoons portray. Sincerely and for true. Many aren’t I’m sure, but I have to say that often they seem to have a serious lack of substance behind the image.

At least I wasn’t finding myself on the receiving end of snide looks for being assumed to be sleeping with anyone anymore… lol! Now I was just a company misfit all around. ;) Fine by me really. I still hung with the engineers and talked with the programmers all day on the phone (there wasn’t too much thinking to the bulk of the work so talking/music/anything was a must). But I wasn’t privy to the daily grind gossip anymore as much, except when it needed to come up in internal moving and shaking (I at least was an “in” for the lab people to get changes made to improve life around the place now that I occasionally had the exec ears to bring things up to).

Anyhow, the 4x6” square. This will truly illustrate the scenario of what life was like for me struggling to not screw up the ads I made (thus saving thousands in having to hire outside ad firms to design each). The simplest part of ad design is the shape specifications. You have the full size, (the size to which all color goes to with some extra mm for “bleed” where the page is cropped). You then have the magazine’s “trim” size to which there are no guarantees things won’t be cropped off at (so don’t go too close to that either or it’ll be at page’s edge). Then the space within… and in this company the CEO was always trying to fill it with the most amount of text possible. Insane stuff. Ads for a PhD head needed to include a preference for those who had hobbies along the lines of “philately” (the study of stamps – I believe that one made it to print). Really inane micromanagement to this stuff. I was once given the wrong specs and wound up with an ad that was far smaller than the page – it resulted in an award for it’s notability… because it stood out… because it looked idiotic… Thus I was pretty sensitive about double checking specs after that when they were handed to me (I’m sure you can imagine).

So one day as I’m dreading how I’ll have to fit a 500word essay into a ¼ page ad, I call the manager who handed me the post-it with the “specs” and ask,

Me: this 4x6 ad – is it horizontal or vertical?

Answer: “It’s square”…

Me: “No, 4x6 is a rectangle; did we buy space that is horizontal or vertically placed on the page, this magazine has both types of 4x6 ads”.

Answer again, “It’s square. LOOK! If you don’t know how to do your job I can’t help you!”.

Anyone read Abbott's Flatland? Try living it... lol!

It was a lot like that every day. I was surrounded by people I could not relate to on any level. And you wonder now why I find this current impoverished life to be so utopic? (I’m sure readers here don’t really). ;) They thought my horse-obsession & my mare was rather plebeian. I frankly thought they were a bunch of dolts in nice clothes with overinflated egos and income.

Harsh? No seriously; here’s another quick anecdote. We had a trade show booth to design. I made a quickie mock up in photoshop and printed it out on a sheet of paper and cut it up to make a little scale model of the booth. We then had a meeting with the director. Have you ever seen Spinal Tap? How about Zoolander? Well the director took one look at it and said “No, it needs to be MUCH MUCH bigger than this”. I kid you not. We were nearly in tears trying to explain “scale model” concept to him for 10minutes (complete with me drawing some little people to stand next to it. I believe he made at least 6 figures. It’s dumbfounding to see this stuff daily. The humor of it eventually escapes you as it numbs your mind.

I don’t have a total contempt for corporate types. I know there are LOTS of places that aren’t straight out of a comedy sketch. Probably the majority (I hope). I wish I was of the mind to remember code well enough to program entirely – that at least tends to be in basic languages that don’t change nearly so much. In the course of my career in that venue I spent the majority of my spare time learning every program I could and a keeping up with developments. When I started there (in the lab) we were working in Unix codes and when I left there the internet and programming was spitting out new languages & code types every few months. Eventually it became clear that only the quickest minds were competitive in the web development market – php & cold fusion for example was still newish & was showing up on most job skill requirements (I’d just gotten a chance to dabble in them but wouldn’t have called myself proficient). Now I believe (4 years later) those are rather standard expectation or even obsolete. It really is a dog-eat-dog field. I so very much hope I don’t need to go back to it. The continuous “improvement” aspect becomes a tad annoying as most of the new/latest/greatest tools are really plain old redundant. I’m also not much of a technophile. I don’t like to constantly toss “obsolete” when it works just fine thank you!

So today I was reminded of that life when I saw a 7’ x 7’ rectangular sketch my [engineer – told you I liked their common sense!] boyfriend had quickly drawn out. I glanced at it and teased him about it. He totally got the joke without missing a beat.

Ahhhhhhh how I love common sense and the life I live today! :D After my "Black Hole" post and as a general thank you to the awesome people who wrote me fun things, I just had to say that and reflect on how ridiculous my former life used to be. ;-)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bunny ears. New/more sincere pics...

New gallery HERE

My title says one of the things that's immediately apparent to me right off the bat. Fwiw I don't think I mentioned that I finally got a new tail made up (ok, obviously it's really rough still of course). There's a Bosco in there for comparison (I need to speak with the caster before I think much more about the base/peg arrangement.. I don't want to find out something alarming later after I've spent time detailing her feetsies). I have started addressing the left side details/matching up now. Much measuring to do. Someone found a minor incongruity and this has prompted me to really remeasure (you can never do this enough) as I start matching up right and left side things. Then onto the more fun detail accentuations. :D

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Life in a vacuum..

(above) Fun black hole image from NASAs public domain archive

vac·u·um [vak-yoom, -yoo-uhm, -yuhm] From


a space entirely devoid of matter.


an enclosed space from which matter, esp. air, has been partially removed so that the matter or gas remaining in the space exerts less pressure than the atmosphere (opposed to plenum).


the state or degree of exhaustion in such an enclosed space.

Huh. SO that’s why one gets stir crazy (definition3)..

Despite being very busy all the time my primary sources of human interaction tend to be with my man in the evening and the occasional human who calls on the phone or stops by the barn. It’s a weird state to exist in. I’ve done a lot of customer service face to face in my lifetime (and of similar sorts in other fields – same principal of “serving”)… so to exist entirely through electronic communication primarily is sometimes really sucks the life out of ya!

Yesterday I was SERIOUSLY in a funk. Fortunately it was pretty clearly a hormonal peak. Fortunately for me also, my man could see I was utterly sapped and he took me out for a very nice (and costly – yikes!) Japanese Hibachi dinner. I didn’t really want to. I sorta had stopped feeling human what with all the poop that never ends and the coldness that creeps deep into your bones.. hay in my hair. epoxy under the nails. Just a robotic machine drifting from the same thing to the same thing. At times like those I guess it’s important to get out but honestly – sometimes you also feel completely inadequate to be social. It was a great idea to go somewhere where the chefs just throw food at you (literally) and entertain & interact but don’t expect witty conversation. ;) I highly recommend it to anyone who’s a little drained.

Working in a vacuum can be so deadly to the creative spirit too. I suffered from it a good deal at the end of my career as a web designer/webmaster. A few layoffs had removed most of my coworkers and the ones who remained were, uhm, not marketing savvy creative thinkers – or even familiar with the processes of producing materials. So there was no one to bounce ideas off of. Working at home listening to gawdawful TV shows, books on tape, or the crickets btwn my ears ;) is actually a step up from hearing nothing but the common rhetoric thrown around in cube farm industries.. still, I am mighty grateful for those who email me from time to time and send input – even unsolicited. You (a) brighten my day greatly! And (b) are a continuous source of hope that there are indeed continual happy customers out there. I love my human boarders (owners of the horses – haha – to think I could have more humans in this little apartment!) for this same reason. I don’t see them much but when I do, they are always full of happy feedback and gratitude. It really yanks me out of the black hole.

Most motivational speakers, theological preachers (of any denomination) and other inspiring sources place "being grateful" as one of life's most fundamental moving forces. It sometimes comes across as hokey sounding but man is it the truth.

So for today’s thoughts, may I suggest anyone starting to get sucked into winter blahs or holiday funk consider thinking of all those who ever say even the slightest kind/appreciative words. It really helps to reflect on things we’re grateful for like this. It’s a necessity really. Today (and I try to remember it every day but often get lax) I am extremely grateful for my wonderful customers who prevent the black hole vacuum from sucking me in. Tx guys!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

One of my life's biggest lessons..

You know how you always think your parents are crackpots? Well I did too of course, even from a fairly early age I remember always thinking my father's far out ideas, constant idea designs and crazy concepts were sometimes primarily pipe dreams. Ok, well in truth a lot of them turned out to be just that.

Anyhow, I just heard an ad for a product on the news today that reminded me of this HUGE underestimation I had of one project my dad was working on when I was little.

Huge. As in the success of this product is taught in both marketing and design schools - it's that historic.

I was 9 I believe. I used to hang out with him in his shop at Coleco. He was part of a design team that took the new licensing (of Smurfs or Dr. Seuss characters for example) to the blueprint table and made 3 dimensional sculptures & prototypes that eventually were made into everything the company put out: from figurines to big wheels and kiddie pools. There really were Smurf and Cat-in-the-Hat big wheels. I was a little too old for those at age 9 mind you. ;)

Anyhow, so one day I go into his shop and his desk is covered with this hideous and somewhat scary little 2" round faces of munchkin/troll looking people. I'm really fascinated but even at 9 they kinda creeped me out. So I ask what they are. He tells me they are going to be the biggest new craze ever.

9 year old brat: "Oh ya right dad!"

A year later I had to wait in line with the rest of the Coleco kids to get one.

Why? Because Coleco literally couldn't make enough to meet the demand that first year. News reports everywhere of parents actually fighting in stores to get the last ones. 20 years later and they are still being licensed out (by other toy companies), and the lesson of their appeal is being taught to adults in college and studied by people who try to understand what moves people. lol!

It was always something I remembered when I looked at my little Cabbage Patch doll. My dad couldn't remember the name they were going to be (he thought it was "Radish Patch"). The man who helped him maintain the strict adherence to his original cloth doll design, Xaiver Roberts, had called them something else at first too. As a kid I couldn't exactly pinpoint what my dad had done with those early prototypes to make them go from creepy to cute, but I remember the progression. And sure now, I look at them and I think, eh - they're still a little weird to me! lol! He certainly didn't work alone on that project: please do NOT misunderstand me. These companies have a lot of people take something from that rough resemblance to final product. In fact I might credit the majority of the cutest add-ins to the final folks on the project. What I saw leave his desk was a darn sight better than what he was handed to work with. But it was hardly as "WOW" as what I saw rolling off the shelves when I finally started begging for one. ;)

Anyhow, so the bottom line is I think fondly of dear old crackpot dad as having always had a LOT more insight into potential than I do. (go hug your crazy old parents for me, will ya?).

I wasn't a kid with a lot of toys btw as a total side note. My parents really believed in the principals of fostering creativity through.. oh hell, I don't know - not giving your kids much to play with. -snorts- But I did get one (after all the other kids at school got one mind you). I didn't talk much about what dad did at work either because I remember kids teasing me about never having actual toys to show for it. hehehe. Cabbage patch kids have always stayed in my mind though as "Radish Patch Kids" and how this dreadful little monstrosities somehow became cute with just a few modifications. All the toy withholding in the world can't replace that enormous lesson in having faith in your dear old dad and the ability of creative insight to bring out the likable aspects of things.

When people tell me they can't see the diamond in the rough in a work in progress - be it graphic design layouts and some client/executive not "seeing it" or someone trying to give a critique on a sculpture. ... I completely understand. I have been there.

So for what it's worth -> I just want to thank those who can, and try to offer input. It really DOES take a team of eyes sometimes. :) That commercial for Cabbage Patch Kid stuff just reminded me of that important revelation in my life.

And on a less monumental note, here's a quickie snapshot of Hazel today from a different angle (I'm holding her and took it with a flash & then darkened it).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bunch of things today..

First I'll start with the pertinent stuff. :) Hazel's brow and nasal bone (and neck oh and lip lol!) is getting to more of a place I'm happy with:

that image is so blurry I made a quick contrasty one of another shot:

Second, I'd like to share a fun video snippet from the spanish horse national champion ship (it's ather long and I kept pausing it to go do things while I was getting ready this am). My favorite bits are the 10horse cobra, the random Icelandics and the liberty guy at the end (10min into it - maybe you can skip ahead if your connection is slow?):
And I would love to learn to flamenco dance (hope that's spelled right - spell checker argued about the feminine 'a').

Lastly, on a less happy note.. I'd just like to share a memorial my boyfriend made this weekend for his friend Brian who passed away recently. Brian and he had just started to venture off into their own timberframing business last year when Brian was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was only given 3-6 months to live but he lived a very full year following that. I'm not good with touching words but I am at least relieved to know he got this extra time with his family and that everyone helped to pull together for him to make the transition for his wife and children smoother. Rest in peace Brian.

His obituary is here

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm getting to that point..

Where primer is no longer your friend.
That is to say, I'm at the point where primer starts to clog up details. It's a strange feeling.. it's a definite clear 'next step' to this sort of work. At this point things start going faster really. (hooray!)

In noticing this as I have been really stuck working out a few sticky points (not literal), and also in realizing there IS indeed a magazine out there with whom I might want to advertise her pending completion (in the order of months still but you have to prepare yourself for these things)... I decided to move her to the box area so I could take some pics. My dual reasons were
a) to see what stood out still to me as these things have to be addressed first now. In other words I can't go making fine details on the sides of the face when the nasal bone isn't quite right - primer will mute these details. Hope that made sense.
b) to see if she's at a point where an advertisement of "coming soon" would be fair and honest. Sans tail (second pic) that kinda sucks. I do think I ought to get some strong wire/long screws in there soon and do that step first (make a more sincere effort at the final shape of the tail and not just a gesture). I want the same 'S' curve from the birds eye view that the last one had. I don't want quiet as much bow upwards...

I made one tiny photo shop alteration to the body (aside from the obvious fake tail there!) . I have been playing around to see (ala point "a" above) what's major that still needs addressing. I guess I'll let the readers here try to figure out what that change was (it's not as if I really tried to make it perfectly blended). I am off to the studio to go implement it. :D I've been in photoshop (and thus on the computer) far too long today!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Unreal! 35hrs a week...!!!

I was just having a time management reality check today and realized that with driving back and forth and such.. I spend 35hrs a week on the farm "hobby". It's almost technically a "hobby" business wise now from a financial standpoint. When my accountant asks me how much I "pay" myself for the farm labor I really never have any clue as to how to answer. hahaha!

Anyhow, but I was reminiscing about how I'd gotten to a similar point with a different sculpture 3 years ago and I suddenly locked myself up for 2 weeks straight in the house. I really miss that. I live a very punctuated interrupted life at the moment. The weather sincerely dictates my productivity. Ptthhhbtt.

I'm pretty happy with a lot here, her lips aren't quite right, her eyes aren't quite the way I want the expression either, but (! because it is ok to sometimes not be so critical of ones self..) the overall fleshing is coming along exactly how I want it to. Hooray! (small brief party)

Oh. I have mentioned here that the tail was hardly the final product, right? It was far too thick in some points to dremel down so I get to remake it yet again at some point. I do miss my little priming handle though. ;) The mane too - these are things that I address last with a more rubbery slick epoxy and I don't want to get too much primer on it. The mane & tail "gesture" will be dremeled/sanded down thinner then and then very transparent-almost layers of this epoxy will be added over them. I really get only one shot to do it right or else I have to sand it all away and start over. That's my preferred way to get smoother manes and tails. I've learned from resin-casts past that too deep of a groove (the kind sculpted in using hard-material sculpting methods) tends to yank on the silicon molds and only the earlier castings from each mold stay true to the detail - then blobs start forming where the mold has had little bits pulled away with each subsequent cast. You really do have to consider the media when working in some part.

Anyhow, it's like the final details such as veins: it's almost the last step. At that point sometimes I'm not spraying primer on but painting it on from a jar very very carefully with lots of stinky fumes and masks.

She has such a cute naked butt, eh?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Not a dry eye in the house...

I have been meaning to address the eyes and depth of certain facial details for a while. Here's some insight into my "vision" on them for Hazel.

It's been pointed out to me several times that she's a little too severe.. ala drafty eyes in super scowl. To be honest, since the real horse and the version of her I want to create do not have super inset drafty eyes (like this -->, that wasn't quite the image I was going for.

I was hoping to get her more QH focus looking:

And to understand how extreme dry facial features can be, sometimes it helps to look at extremes like this Arab:

Anyhow, so I'm getting there. There's still some building up & defining to do in the surrounding areas. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Someone took my toy.. :(

I had to chuckle when I went back to that tetris game there and saw it was taken away for copyright violations. I have to also admit I'd wondered about that but the URGE to play was too strong to waste time reading any of the developer nonsense. In truth I really don't spend much time actually online, just short breaks and spurts of 10min here and there (mostly while on the phone too and other activities, say washing dishes, would be too loud for the caller to hear me over).

Anyhow, here's a new angle (and it shows better some areas I haven't even started on like the tail)

And an overlay of some muscling changes I want to do. Her point of shoulder muscle tie in's were too narrow (the inset is a photoshopped version - how I *want* it to be).

Draft crosses still seem to have those bigger muscle bellies, even in the long-fiber muscles. I have a vast array of very cool beefier breed (not heavy horses though!) photos I've been studying from all angles to get these little details appropriate to her specific build here.

I had about 10 fun photos to share yesterday but the browser jammed up and I didn't bother to retrieve the history since I'd clicked through hundreds (and I wonder why this poor machine is so slow). Oh well. :^/

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stuffing... :D

Mary Wanless (riding instructor/author/clinician) uses the word "stuffing" to describe a horse (or rider) that is full of life and of a certain "shape" as I described in my last post. I've just been adding thin layers of epoxie here and there in a most agonizing effort to get this 'stuffing' right for her pose/type/weight/gender.

These are terrible ( quite distorted) photos but I'm stepping back here and deciding if it's at the right level of stuffed.

I've really got to take a course on making raw molds. This aspect would FLY with regular hard clays.

I suppose there's a lot to be said for really studying every detail in tiny steps and being extremely thorough and patient. However sometimes I just fear that my learning curve is rather flat.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


First off - someone please take this away from me:

It's like handing me a bag of pistachios.. I loose all willpower to this game in particular.. just.. can't... stop.... UGH!

I have this strange fascination with the geometric shapes of horse bodies. These are the things you don't see in anatomy books when the fascia is pulled off and the adipose is cleaned up around the muscle tissue. It's not even what you'd necessarily see when you first dissect an animal and remove the just the skin. The shapes I'm striving to get at are only present when there's life in the tissues. It's one of those things that in my very humblest opinion the best sculptors just "get". I suppose I can't say "I just get" those things. I have to pull in and pull out my focus to "get" those. How can I explain this better.. hmmm...

You know those "How To Draw a Horse" books? Where they make a bunch of circles and connected lines and a very geometric robot horse? Then the artist pulls some mad leap of logic on you and puts perfect bulges in various spots along the legs and blends in the croup areas and jawline with a finesse that no beginner is possibly going to "get".. It's a leeeeeeeettle like that. In fact on some areas it's *exactly* like that. However take it into 3 dimensions.

I envy those sculptors who can create what's called positive and negative space in form with perfect feel for the scale and subject - in their first drafts.

Today I am struggling to get that perfect feel on a few spots. I really feel it's what separates the mice from the men in figure study in both flat and dimensional works. & I will be happy to admit it's not one of those things that comes naturally.

That is all. & Please make the tetris go away.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tractor pull report

As many folks here know from my profile and posts I lease a small section of a farm (one small barn and a few acres) and board horses. The farm itself is huge and leases out land to several other people (5 other businesses!). It didn’t happen last year but several years in a row we’ve had tractor pulls in the late fall on the back half of the property adjacent to my area. It’s a lot of fun but of course a lot of work as well. In previous years my barn’s large community room housed the food buffet and rest room – fortunately this year all the facilities and electricity was available in the back part of the property so folks didn’t have to traipse across a giant corn field to these amenities. Now I only host the ring lights and help out in other minor ways... oh, and keep an eye on my charges too. I'm too much the mother hen sometimes.

It was still a VERY long and cold day… we didn’t get the snow showers they predicted thank goodness! 14hrs starting off with that would have been awful.

It’s really a terrific community event. There is almost always a “cause” chosen. Someone having a rough time – this year it was an old timer who’s been around the farm since it was a functional dairy; he and his wife were in an accident recently. They’re ok - he even visited for a bit which was great to see. About 100 people total were there this year, less than previous years (200 was the top year). However it was amazingly quiet and smooth running all in all. I believe the final tractor count was 40 but I saw a bunch of the bigger ones come in later so I’m not sure – they’ll know in a day or two when everyone tallies up everything. It is bigger than the pulls at the fairs though: anyone with a tractor comes and several people will drive the one family tractor sometimes which is pretty cool to see too. They also pulled some of the local guy’s trucks (but nothing rauckus like you hear in typical truck pulls with the modified engines/bodies and roaring stacks – these are just farm vehicles). My boyfriend pulled with his rebuilt ’56 chevy dually he had started building from a rusty old cab when we first dated. He won, beating guys who’d won their classes at area’s fairs. He’s pretty happy and ought to be – it took a lot of courage to test his workmanship that way: he spent about 2 years building it and it’s gone from construction site work, to car shows to a pull now – holding it’s own at each. Yay him! :)

Here's the triumphant '56 doing some work last fall & earning it's keep (and the timberframing work is what he does at the moment). It was a rusty brown cab (nothing more) when we went on our first date. I'm always just so impressed with his work. Can you tell?

In regular tractors, John Deere is just the name to beat. I won’t list out the class results by weight or anything, it’s just the tractor to own. The old, well cared for ones just can’t be beat though. There were two modified alcohol tractors, those don’t do the typical tractor 'putt putt' -> they roar like stock cars. Very entertaining. Overall though it wasn’t much more than a lot of catching up with everyone. The hay folks we buy from, the people we do business with or for and that sort of thing. Good times.

The horses were only bored silly by it all, they are used to louder stuff actually (the barn doors were closed most of the day too so it was really quiet in there) . They stayed in since there are 2 big worry-warts among them that would have lost 50lbs today just staring bugged eyed transfixed at the magically vehicle-filled field and forgetting to eat. I wish I was kidding. -sigh- The horses (different ones) have been out in the past and had no qualms about it all. But this gave me a fun excuse too -> I retreated to the barn here and there “having chores” (don't cha know) ;) when I needed to warm up. It was much nicer out of the wind and a little shoveling and soft shavings under foot got the blood back into my feet. Very quiet ending too – the bonfire raged all day and into the night and helped a good deal. Those that lingered to the end had to be assigned drivers though to get them home. ;) My boyfriend is just getting back right now from one of those designated driver runs.

Best part is that there seemed to have been little trash left over to be picked up tomorrow… I can just do business as usual. But oooooh maaaaaaaan do I really need a long hot shower right now. Tomorrow will truly be a wonderful day of rest. :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Weekend update: fun! :D

Well it has been a really busy weekend!

First off I want to thank everyone at RXR. I cannot say how wonderful it was to talk to folks. I left with the biggest warm fuzzies and rejuvenation! That's just such a great feeling.

Today I was hoping to get some studio time in but wound up spending almost all of the day at the barn overseeing horse-introductions. Rocky left in Oct. Did I mention that? Well anyhow, he moved closer to his owner and to a place where larger groups of folks went out trail riding. Unfortunately I've heard through the grapevine that his owner was bucked off and cracked a few things. Send "jingles" her way - that really stinks. All the same - at least it's turning cold fast and she's not missing much. This of course has no bearing on me sculpting my little Morgan fellow - a) he's not a 100% direct portrait (I wanted the shorter back and worked with some more old-stock proportions) and b) he's only 20mins/1/2hr away still. RIghto - I digress. So a week or so after Rocky left in comes this super cute little QH who is such a doll. I'll let you see for yourself, I made a photo journal today:
There was some poor behavior on my gelding's part after an hour or so of sizing each other up. He got "fresh" and started trying to mount the new fellow which earned him a justifiable wallop to the ribs. After that he just became an instigator until the new kid got wound up and then shot off doing the QH thing. After being run circles around, Mango gave up. New guy is definitely faster. But Mango won at the watering hole. It remains to be seen 'who's boss' but so far the new fellow has deferred on food matters to Mango. New cutie seems basically mellow (in other words when he doesn't have these rocket around in circles moments) at least and if that's the case all will remain calm. Mango and new guy seem pretty well matched in that they don't like things that hurt.

So enjoy the gallery. It's huge. I'm freezing cold and need to bundle up for a while longer or else I'd explain more about why I keep riding the poor little donkey too. ;) Isn't he awesome though? :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

And we're off!

Well, there she is all primered and about as smooth as I want to mess with now.. we're heading off to NY state for a year end hobby show (RXR! woohoo!). There's a sneak peek of the base too. It's just a slab at this point. I went with a clear peg (it's got tape around it to prevent primer spray) too - had to change out the wire the extra height of the base made the wire too short.

Here's a pretend photoshopping out of the peg.

Since yesterday's gallery I've done a little more tweaking on the neck and shoulder muscles.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Much better imo! :D

Well I think I'm ready to request input again (and anyone reading this - feel free to write me morgen @ from the folks who've been giving me input.

I get to these points where one big imbalance throws me off on balancing out the rest. That's the "fresh eyes" input so many sculptors talk about. Anywho, so now I can see lots of little things. In fact as I rebuilt the small gap to the neck there so much more became clearer about her shoulders and I reworked them some too.

Enough rambling tho, here's a mini gallery of all 7 pics:

Oh! I should mention I have started on the base though. I will need to use the wire under the foot until the very end for support but it won't be there in the final product.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Peer pressure.. ;)

I know... I know... I have done this before but it's definitely an improvement. Necks definitely get shorter when they throw their shoulders forward like this. And draft crosses have shorter necks sometimes. Still, a little extra balances it all out.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

FEI Petition - passing along

Petition is here:

The above screen shot is from the pictorial essay in "Horses For Life" magazine:
That issue is worth looking at if you ride horses or watch competitions of horses on anything other than a long rein. :) Lots of biomechanics and physiology in there of interest. Far too much controversy for me to get into here. Just passing along the link for those interested in signing.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Something completed at long last...

No, not Hazel, although I'm really having a great time now giving her character and refinements/details. :)

A sculpture I released in July of '06 and finally wrapped up painting one of my own few copies of:

I have sent a msg to my yahoogroup about it but here's his gallery link:

Back to shoeing Hazel now... :D

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Why is NOVA not on right now???

Programmers are cruel. TV is just really irking me these days... According to the online info THIS is supposed to be on right now:
The Ghost in Your Genes - Nova
An examination of the gatekeeper role played by the epigenome, which can shape everything from whether people develop diseases to whether they are fat or slim by turning on and off specific genes. Also: how a person's habits---good and bad---may affect future generations.
Well instead I am looking at UConn Husky discussion. All the other stations are playing what they are supposed to. Growl.

While I sit here I played with an overlay that is really a terrible match. The real horse looks to be an Arabian and the photo is taken at an angle to which I have no good corresponding angles... but I made this anyhow;

I think what interests me most is that the real horse has those jaw muscle lines you occasionally see in some breeds at some times. I like the look as it depicts more heart and soul in the effort but am not so sure it's appropriate for a thicker build. Although that Halflinger pony I posted a month back had some of it so I suppose I just may sculpt in some of those. Anyhow, the photo comes from this page:

MAN am I frustrated at PBS right now (CPTV). It's so rare something I'm really wanting to see is on during the day while I'm working in the studio .. well given my few channels in the sub-basic cable options. Growl.

Off to work anyhow.. got to keep working on those ears.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I had to do it.. I had to do it..

Moved the ear. From some angles the forward ear just looked too goofy, so I angled out to the side..

Quick Hazel check up..

I decided to do this for my own sanity - the multilayers get a little hard to discern, I don't think I'd make the best marble sculptor.. conversely clay is SOooooo much easier b/c of the uniform color. Despite using a gray primer that matches the Apoxie Sculpt I still get a marble effect when I start sanding, and the same goes for any layers below. So far white has been the one color that doesn't do this marble-izing over layers; however it's so sticky and pasty I just stick with the neutral color (which is cheaper too).

Anyhow, camera batteries ran out before I could adjust the lighting so I only snapped off these really quick. To compensate for the washed out detail I popped em into photoshop to contrast the heck out and answer some questions I had while I was at it... here ya go: