Thursday, February 28, 2008

March 8th release for Hazel...

That's my goal. If I am successful in the next few days and get her in the mail to the casters early next week.. theeeen I will be confident in announcing that date firmly to my yahoogroup and preparing sales material (photos and sales terms).

For now it's my goal. I'd really hoped to be ready by March 1st. Frankly though I'd rather perfect some of the details.

I *do* need to take on money shortly after shipping (one reason alone is that I insure to the hilt and have paid $85 for faster shipping/bigger triple boxing in the past). But also because once the horse is at the casters, they want money for .. well.. casting. :) Quite a bit. I've never understood casting without knowing the mold and casts could be paid for.

Meanwhile, veining is going nicely. I just dig her feet with nail holes & nails (not extra holes, but just those little divots above the crimped nail ends. I'm on the fence about 3 or 4 nails per hoof. I had a long talk with my farrier about how he'd shoe a horse for all-purpose but tougher work like eventing. I've long ago decided to leave calks off because a performance fan can always make wee ones to tack on, but calks aren't desirable in a LOT of things Hazel could potentially be doing.

And what's keeping me company right now while I'm delving into all this finite last minute fiddling is this:
Chosen by a Horse: How a Broken Horse Fixed a Broken Heart (Audio CD)
by Susan Richards (Author)
I'm listening to the version read by Lorna Raver and recommend that specifically. Her way of delivering the dry humor has forced me a few times now already to lift my tool from poor Hazel because I am laughing too hard.

It's a memoir and I'm sure it will soon be bringing me some tears, but for those who read earlier about my own horse, sometimes it's good to stop and appreciate the good and bad together. Anyone who's had pets for life goes through these things eventually. Anyhow, I am a whole decade younger than the author but I really can relate to a lot of what she's going through. A big thumbs up recommendation there. I don't normally rave about the many books a week I get through the library but this one really stood out as worth mentioning. :)

Ok, break over and back to work/listening! :D

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Capillary conundrums

and this;
really show the EXTREME of what I could justifiably put on.
Since I was on the site and it's easy to post, THIS;
is more along the lines of what I'm thinking... a heavy breed, even with a thicker hair coat, still has some evidence of capillaries when it's galloping all out.

Capillaries are tough. They need to blend in since they usually have a softness around their edges that isn't defined the way I've typically seen them on sculptures (painted on last and are almost too crisp, or worse imo, far too large). All the same, when people finish the horses and there are many (sometimes more, sometimes less) layers of primer, paint and finishing sprays on... well, the detail is either gone, or raised up.

So I'm going to work with a material that bleeds a tad to blend them in better. We shall see...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Peeee-ewwww! Stinky!

I'm now at the point where I'm filling in/adding details akin to what you might do in prepping. It's REALLY important to casting to not have sharp edges on the mane and tail or too many grippy bumps. What happens with those undercuts is that they grab at the silicone mold every time a horse is removed. In short order the subsequent castings have blobs on them where the tears (little holes in the mold) are. In spots like the nostrils, making sure the insides are super smooth ensures that hte mold will pull away easier. But it's so easy to leave grooves that are too deep when sculpting manes and tails. And even little lines will pull.

SO, what I do now is sit there and define/smooth with Apoxie Sculpt (red is the smoothest I've found). Then I sit around with a jar filled with primer (sprayed from the can), and a brush and a jar of thinner and brush over these areas to make sure the smoothness is coming along well.

Can make you HIGH (and destroy some brain cells while it's at it). So I'm taking a break. The mask (of course! it's a must have!!) I wear has left lovely marks across my nose that seem to be permanent so I wonder if I've got some rosacia (sp?) type skin reaction to the dang thing.

Anyhow, I snapped a few pics and I'm tickled with how her mane revisions are coming along. :D Once the mane and tail are satisfactorily smoothed (probably another day?), I can turn to crispening up some details and adding the veins.

A week. I think I will be completely done in 7 days. I'm very excited!!! WOO HOO!!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

1 wk/several books on tape later.. :)

Well hopefully despite the blurries the 3rd comparison photos these will clearly show how bringing down the hair where the mane meets the neck more clearly defined her poll. It's a tricky region I didn't overemphasize at first because I really wanted to have a nice blend from body to mane.

Also, although I don't have a great comparison photo for it, the first pic there shows how after getting the heartgirth bigger her back muscles over the croup looked very weak - so this is her with a stronger back there. This photo was taken from the height of her ears or so pointing down so I don't have a previous comparison for it. The best I have is that blurry 3/4 pic (second from the top).

All the while I'm doing these things I'm also smoothing things like ear/lumps, teat blending, pec shapes etc. The hocks are really the one big area I've got to fix before the veins and wrinkles and hairs can be started/done. The points of bone that are most prominent there are too prominent and not quite angled right. Argh! :)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What I've been working on...

Terrible pic but it shows the areas well enough. I've fleshed out that right side more.

After careful scrutiny of the photos I took last week and feedback. I remeasured and in a few spots (blessed be the contour tool!), I'd sanded down the right side a tad too liberally too.

Anyhow, you can see the heartgirth addition sorta in this (super duper dark pic but it's just to spot check myself). You can also see the thicker trap area and slightly different contour of the ribs (better "sprung" ribs now top to bottom basically as I'd sunken them in a tad more on that side).

I think it makes her look a little less long from 3/4 views. Granted the pose is just going to make the horse look long and my photography skills are not going to help much. All the same, we shall see. :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

One idea I like...

pretty self explanatory I guess. I did take a LOT off there a little while back.

Last call for critiques! :)

Hard to believe that a coat of different colored primer and a clutter free background can make all the difference but it does - to me at least - she looks SO much smoother now! :)

Gallery is here:

Anyhow, as I go over her with a fine toothed comb and find the last of the blips and blops to fill in.. and smooth the mane and tail better ... and add wee things like nails and veins... I would LOVE to hear if anyone spots anything very OFF here that I ought to remeasure. AAAaaaaand I'm really wondering about the base. I know performance showers like to cover up the bases sometimes. And she's a do-it-all performance type horse so since it's not an integral part of the image (where as with my sculpture Flitwick, the whole thing just "made sense" with a rock wall base)... I'm up for any kind of base styles to consider. I'm pretty much just wanting to keep the thickness around what it is here (shoot- for the sake of shipping weight cost alone! lol!). No seriously, I'm all ears if anyone has reasons pro or con for certain things. I was wondering if the materials used to cover bases sometimes got caught up in the rougher styled bases.

Ok, I'm bracing myself.. lay it on me! :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

This is what I mean about the marbling effect..

Those weird striations are caused by various layers of Apoxie Sculpt applied at different points. Here's the same pic but not in grayscale:

I'm very excited, she's got all sorts of details coming along happily! You can see the horseshoes in the background there? I'm detailing those out along with the frogs and bars of the bottoms of her feet. Anyhow, this isn't really much more than a progress sharing - although it's just impossible to see the leeettle subtleties f details going in with this mis-matched color in photographs. TIP: When working on sculpting or prepping -> use one very bright light and try to keep the rest of the room as dark as possible. It allows you to see the shape much better.

As for life in my corner of the world: We're looking at 5 days ahead of rain/sleet/snow mush. Not pleased about that. :(

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Hand. Staple. Forehead.

I have a friend who says that - such a great way to put it.

Anyhow, I had one of those moments today when I realized I omitted some reasoning to my auction on why I didn't stick with the normal Spanish spelling. Anyhow, here's that auction (with the new and improved foot-in-mouth addendum note at the bottom - lol!)...

I considered doing a better job on the photoshop aspects of that photo. I'm torn with those - they look GREAT when collaged together nicely (I mean all out effects of blurring and blending, light highlights especially). I just prefer to NOT photoshop much when it comes to selling something people have only seen in photographs. One photos with minimal effects is more my style I guess. The random small horsie standing around like a diminutive bird on the enlargement's butt though cracks me up. It looked better with lighting effects but as I said, I don't want folks to think there's a lot of touching up going on in these so I leave em pretty straightforward.

Random candid thoughts there.

Meanwhile, back in the studio I have to say I am finding the contour tool to be the best thing STILL since sliced bread. Sliced bread was invented in the late 20's if you are curious (I was). Anyhow, I'm having a blast making sure all parts match. I've also been detailing out girlie parts (thankful to still have a use for my equine repro texts since I don't have plans to ever breed a horse again). I also picked out some horse shoes from this collection I've made for my boyfriend who welds. .. over the years I've just been setting them aside after each farrier visit. I have opted not to give her caulks (calks alternate spelling) nor heels nor anything too specialized in the shoes dept. Just clips. It's interesting that front shoes have the toe clips set slightly farther back (counting by nail holes) than hind shoes. The difference in front and hind shoe shapes make it interesting too measurement wise. REALLY nit picky stuff but that's me. I always find myself doing some detail and loathing to fudge it so I wind up digging out a reference of some sort or going back to measure.

I really like how her face is turning out iwth the more subtle shape details coming in. I am really really starting to get wildly inspired...yay! :D And now to get back to it. .. ;)

Friday, February 1, 2008

Wrapped something up at long last!!

Here's a gallery of this fellow:
I know I've shared pics of him over the past 6 months but I finally figured out that my camera has had the macro setting turned off since Nov (duhduhDUH!), which is why the hair details wouldn't appear in photos... so I got a few detail shots last night before the batteries went dead - these are huge pictures when you click on them (just warning ya) :)

If all goes well I'll have that up on eBay tomorrow..