Thursday, September 30, 2010

Later same day - a tip occured to me! :)

I just realized that while we did this in college (and if it was taught there, it wasn't any big secret in other words!) :D buuuuut I've never seen anyone doing it with horse sculpting..??? I've seen similar but not quite the same with the cloth tapes. So I figured I'd share these pics & the why-for's.

Basically the green stuff there over the leg wires is athletic tape, very coarse as the pictures show if you click to enlarge them. I super glue it to the leg wires & use some baking soda that reacts with the super glue to give it more to tack on to. There's just nothing I hate more than epoxy popping off of wires - so maybe this will help with non-hardening modeling clay at this scale... I dunno. We did it only on a larger scale in college - like I said it's just worked for me with epoxies. So no one shoot me please if it turns out to be a terrible idea.

I show this close up because it shows how nicely the open weave of the athletic tape mooshes into the clay for better 'stick'.

Btw, it's crackin me up that the camera is adding pounds to this boy. He's still in the emaciated stage as I get his joints (shoulder & hip ones right now) to stand still where I want em.

Anyhow, so that's the follow up to the last post there! It became this beastie who was inspired by a horse (well a couple actually) I saw last weekend. :D

And where that all wound up after a day of "can't pull me away from this!" :D

I'm going to set him way way aside for a good long time and get back to more pressing things now. :D Pony who's also got to wait for further attention is very curious about him...

Gettin the sculpting mojo to go with the flow! :)

I sculpt in apoxy sculpt primarily. (It's a 2 part clay that mixes & works like clay for a bit and then cures hard like wood or plastic). It really suits me, you have to sort of plan out areas and then while one area is curing you can focus on something else (or another work entirely). When all is cured you can dremel or hack away at it.

Traditional modeling clay and epoxie clays are 2 diametrically opposed ways of working nearly. One is softer and you have to be much more careful (clay) and the other you can beat upon but it's also a lot less easy to make changes - even the most minor moving of a leg requires hacking & tacking (sawng the leg, moving it to the new spot and somehow tacking - I use super glues - back into place).

I like the breaking/tacking process.. there are all kinds of ways to try first to decide if it'll work or not.. the thing about clay is that the end stages of detailing are nearly impossible in soft clays (although frankly I know some artists are just unreal at what they can accomplish with the soft before casting a prototype to be refined for the final production master). I like the apoxie breaking and thus can get to the refinemnt faster and never have to make a waste mold casting and production master.. I get to work on the same lump that's become horselike from starting with wires, foam or tinfoil and cardboard (my typical start points). THAT said, there is a certain amount of slowness to finding the "form" and "feeling" of a sculpture. And certainly if you do not have to refine it ad infinitum, softer clay is the way to go! :D

Anyhow, well yesterday to get myself feeling "productive" again I decided to ask for a birthday gift of a few pounds of nice soft modeling clay.

I guess I can cast things, who knows if I'll try that hard... it's just giving me an idea of if I want to continue with apoxie or perhaps move on to the wax clays they're making now (which vary in properties but I'm intrigued by those that soften/harden more easily- some clays even enough to stand horses with good armatures! ...well maybe not in our 90degree temps tho..!), but anyhow, the easiest thing to do while waiting was whip out a medallion-esque bas relief.

I'm in LOVE with the softness for the flow of the mane/tail.. not sure how much I like it for the body... lumpy lil body. My first effort with this my fiance looked at and asked me how the horse broke it's neck... actually, he said (this is an inside joke I guess for those who read my FB post yesterday on the NC arts org's health program name).. " now THAT should be called 'Fractured Atlas' ".... btw, the 1st really broken necked one is not the version you're seeing here (but think what you will of course - lol!)... just so you know I completely redid things there with the relief's pose.

I should do this every night before bed while we watch a tv show or two. :D It's just such a relief to do something that flows so much easier...

Had fun making a little "horse sculpt" here to put on the armature. If you aren't familiar with horse armatures made from pipes and fittings you should go check out Lyn Fraley's Wire to Whinny info online to see the REAL process. I just did the wee pony there to tease my guy who made this for me - see how essential the armature stand is? ;)

Anywho, so that was some fun for me from last night to this morning (when the armature stand got bolted on). It'll be interesting to see what tonight brings after dinner! Woohoo! :D

Oh! Sorry about the awful pictures - I have the camera set for studio settings and while I braced it against something it really needs the tripod & hands free timer at those settings so there is no forgiveness for hand movement... the hand-dandy point and shoot one is outside in the vehicle right now... I'd have to put shoes on.... so lazy. I want to get back to work I'm all jazzed & in a hurry! ;) I get really "lost" when I find new media to express myself in - or in "a zone" when I'm really plugging along... last night I started playing and then said, ok, just 1/2 and hour more, my eyes will barely stay open... and then I glanced up and it was 3 hours later. ..! So yeah, I have to be careful with these sorts of projects or I could become lost in them. Good for the creative flow tho - woohoo! :D

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reference photo bonanza!

Here goes - 468 pictures, yikes! No editing! I decided to post nearly all of my photos taken at Benson Mule Days parade and rodeo for a number of reasons. One being that I know a lot of horse art collectors tend to be (like me) limited to certain breeds/styles of riding… and forget that there are a whole segment of people out there we will never see in magazines, books or much else. People who use their horses for work such as hunting or tree moving. The vast majority of horse owning Americans who you hear of on statistics, see on demographics (if you look at these sorts of things), but tend to assume are uncommon. It was rather fun to see they are more common in a much greater variety – and nothing can bring them out than an event I guess that’s horse friendly and free to be in! :) Part of the photo essay's purpose is to share how totally overwhelming the VOLUME of horses there was too!

Now I thought also long and hard about cleaning up this album to be more "politically correct" – and decided for all kinds of reasons to leave it as exactly how I saw it.. some people are not following textbook horsemanship shall we say? The rules of the parade required riders to be clothed - it was casual and literally a free for all 'anything goes' as I understand it. You just DON'T get to see this in this volume so I thought it only fair to show it all. I didn’t catch much misbehavior on film because I wasn’t trying to much – I also don’t like to see it per say (upset horses). That said, I think of this merely as a photo essay. Frankly most photos contain interesting tidbits that are helpful to me … please keep in mind that the most helpful of pictures to me are not always the most aesthetically attractive ones. In fact even in choosing live horses to help you sculpt, it’s nice to have a more gaunt one about – think of how some Akel Teke horses could be used for moving, living breathing anatomy lessons! In the past I’ve found leaner horses can help me discern where the top of the scapula is at various points of forelimb movement – with the help of a saintly older horse who lets me walk alongside his shoulder poking and prodding and holding a getting a “feel” for that odd swivel thing it does! (It moves very much like an oar stroke does - try it, go get a less beefy horse and walk along side feeling how it moves on all 3 planes!). Anyhow all hail the saintly older horses. That said, I can’t look at horses beyond a certain point of skinny – all these posts people make of starved terribly emaciated horses – good god please do NOT send me those.. they give me nightmares. I’ve adopted horses and I’ve placed horses. I’ve donated when I can to horse rescues all kinds of things – I do what I can when I can… But wow yeah, I wouldn’t be able to work if I started getting wrapped up in tragedy like this all the time so those are not helpful artistically in any way to me.

Anyhow, and so you’ll see a lot of wahoos and crazy things here – a few show how very close I came to getting trampled even though I was behind a pole or next to a car I hoped would be more imposing than I. ;)

The MULES and donkey varieties were an absolute delight to me. And of course that was my reason for attending in the first place. I’ve made albums like this one (GLEEP ALBUM) of how donkeys have different anatomy from horses to the extent of missing chestnuts sometimes.. and funny little sheath vestigial teats. For a sculptor who has to sculpt every area – and a donkey owner sure might know if that’s wrong (horse shaped chestnuts again for example)… these albums are for my own as well as anyone else’s benefit. What really struck me is just how MULES though can vary so very very much… their hooves might be horse like on one, clubby on the next – there’s a driving team where you can really see that for example. There’s one seriously handsome (to me) wedge headed gaited mule that was a TWH x Mammoth Jack offspring, he’s standing with the fellow in pictures # S6300214. Check out his feet! (:-o He was just the coolest thing – I’m so sad that they only paused for a short period of time by us, I had so many more questions for his owner! :D (I would love to have a gaited mule).

Carts and carriages and some interesting tack shots for friends who make tack… then some rodeo excitement. I never realized how BIG and BEEFY those “pickup” horses can be (pick up ones being used to catch mustangs especially – they need to withstand serious bumping and then take on a 2nd rider)… there’s a pinto one in those that’s definitely a draft cross. & this is totally something Hazel should be doing in performance classes – >she’s galloping – >some poor bronc rider could be leaping on her!! :) But no seriously, there was all kinds of new tack I’ve never seen before too. And NO it ‘s not because I ride dressage primarily (I had a couple western saddles these past few years – not just a cheapy synthetic – a nice roughout Cook – sure I can’t afford the show tack)… but ANYHOW, I digress… The horse’s build in image S6300628 for instance was my primary focus, but in that pic you can sorta see this crazy split ear romel type style I’ve never seen before – the split comes down to just next to the eye. It’s a neat new tack look is all – I’m not sure if it’s adjusted right, but my tack making friends may be interested in these sorts of things so I post it all. Their eyes for such details are a LOT keener of course. :)

So I think that’s enough babble about it all. I really could go on and on about the many things that fascinated me… remember that where I come from everything is chestnut, bay, dark bay and maybe grey. The random appy and pinto thrown in now and then. I could practically tell you how many gaited horses live in my old county! :D Around here there’s nothing but gaited horses of rainbow colors and dernit! It’s exciting to me! :D So yeah, I photographed EVERYTHING – and especially anything walking gaited…because you so rarely see this online except in competition dressed up (flat or not)… all these horses that get used for hunting? No one is out there photographing them! :)

Anyhow, and well, I say so at the top but feel free to ask me for any photo larger. Hope ya like most of it! All 40 megabytes of it – eek eh! :D

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Last call for Hazels over on MH$P now :)

(these sold out that weekend - thanks so much guys!!!) I always forget to mention things I'm selling in my blog (it's not entirely the right place but sometime it's appropriate)
End of an era there. I know a # of people have assumed she was an open edition but she's not. I decided to close it before I wind up needing to pay for another mold (which requires at least 10-15 castings to draw even on costs). So while she's been steadily selling at a few per month here and there, it becomes a matter of deciding to "invest" in another mold or say the limited edition is now at an end. And there ya have it! (My not-very-exciting reasoning behind edition when's & why's). :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tossing aside the paint brush (?) and more! ;)

Above, "dinky duke" (3" tall 3D scanned, reduced and digitally mirrored version of 9" tall "Deputed Duke") in cold cast bronze (bronze powder mixed into resin)cold casting done by Mountain View Studios.

My dilemmas are so small and trite and please don’t laugh! :)

This is what has been “weighing” on my mind lately … directions I’ve been considering. Not to mix it up per say but in a “where/what is more effective” pausing for reflection frame of mind. If anyone would like to send me some outside or words of wisdom input on either of these I’m all ears! Email is

My first really big concern of late has been if I should continue painting horses at all for sale. I am thinking I should not for a while. Focus on the sculpting specifically. Before there is a any outcry – and/or for those who have convinced me to take on a commission for them, don’t worry, those I’ll still be plugging away at the commissions. And I do plan to paint at least one of each of my own sculptures - as I”ve been doing, I like to paint the initial ones out there a non-flashy white patterned color so that the body shape can be seen but painted. I have never liked the stress of selling finished horses. And then too there is the factor that I am competing for the same business as my very own customers who bought this same said horse unpainted from me and painted it themselves to sell.. whether they’re selling at that moment in time or not. I may be taking away one of their potential buyers.. it’s not a small dilemma to me. I really do enjoy painting. I really do not enjoy competing against others – I’m into dressage and model horse perf showing because these center around the ‘competing against yourself’ aspects where “perfect” doesn’t exist and thus must constantly work at it… in life, in any competition a win over others generally feels awkward to me though. This from someone who’d done a lot of shows/halter only. It’s just weird feeling. But in real life dressage and in the ever so goofy seeming model performance showing, I love hearing the judges input on “here’s how you can improve” or “here’s what I saw wrong”… & THAT is what I like about competition – trying to make it really tough on a judge to find a flaw. Not trouncing someone else unless it’s a good natured game of something w/a friend and I really tend to lose most of the time there! ;) ANYHOW, I know that painting is NOT supposed to be a competition. I know this. Still right now it has that feel to me and try as I might not to feel this way, I do. I need to pull out of that – it hurts the art imo to be even remotely concerned about if an item is going to sell at all while you are painting it.

There are so many terrific painters out there & I produce so little, I hardly think anyone would’ve noticed if I hadn’t said this out loud at all. ;) It’s just that I think I may start gearing up my website to be more sculpture-centric and start removing photos of painted horses so much. In the time it takes me to paint 4-7 horses (3-4 months! J I just went through this!) I could sculpt a whole sculpture if I spent my days doing nothing but this. My artistic desire lately has been on not producing quantity but on producing a variety. I’ve actually be really intrigued with the idea of doing character studies (akin to exercises you typically see in drawing/painting classes), where I keep one element the same in all sculptures but you should not notice that in the “series” because all else is so completely different about them. I’ve already started on that a little and am looking forward to doing more pieces this way!

I’ve also not made a secret of this but I was surprised to hear some friends never knew this – my larger "life"/"career" goal is to sculpt life sized bronze horses. The costs there start in the XX,XXX digits (I’ve actually recently met with/discussed and toured a facility that does lots of large scale works, including horse and rider monuments– so I have a really great idea now of real costs and what’s really involved in their creation these days - much has improved!). It’s funny, it would be a cinch for example (who’d have thunk!) to make my scanned Bosco into a larger than life sized work (with many months of clay work still but this field is making leaps and bounds like all others in 3D!)... However this is not exactly something I can fund on my own just yet. We’ll see. I’m looking into casting one of my 1:9 scale horses in the nearer future. Possible patrons are always welcome I suppose to contact me. ;)

Ah but no, sincerely, I do want to re-incorporate the section of my website devoted to commissioning sculptures again. I’m trying to think of how to do this. I don’t wish to mislead horse owners, it’s not a small task for me to sculpt a horse & the expectation when they hear “portrait commissions is often of pricing under $1000. It takes me a few months in ideal and very focused conditions and I’d rather not get their hopes up. I don’t want to sound elitist either on the other hand! :) And also in the past when I had this portion of my website I also answered a lot of questions about customizing Breyers or Stones to look like xyz and I want to be clear that I don’t do that at all (actually I guess I never really did but when folks read “commission” in the hobby this is often what they think of so it was probably the #1 question I got). Anyhow, so rambling away over here but this is probably the “biggest” thing I’ve been mulling over since returning from Breyerfest.

I have commissioned finishwork I’m wrapping up. I even have some prepped horses coming back to me I may put color to. But will I sell them or use them as display models? I am thinking ‘display’ right now. Actually I’m thinking more about my next sculptures to be perfectly honest!!! :D

The second item under consideration has been moving most photos of finished horses (at the very least, customers and maybe my own too) to my yahoogroup. In other words no photos of finished horses on my website for the most part - except 1 or 2 as demo models of the scultpures... for several reasons.. But taking it all over to the yahoogroup section & making folders there that – ok, while not as nice and fancy as my album features I’ve got going on now (click on “high res” OR even “low res” for any of these albums here, I’ve got 2 types).... The benefit of yahoogroups hosting it is (a) they might get updated faster if I don’t have to mess around with albums.. every time one new customer sends in a horse, to add it to the album type I’ve been using I need to recreate the whole album. ALSO a problem is that it’s harder to keep the comments with the photos so I’ve been concerned about proper credit to the painter and the photographer. Meaning when I add a new photo I have to bust out with photoshop to add these credits. At least on my yahoogroup the info could be put in or changed I believe on an album. I think folks have given up on the idea that I’ll be updating my photo albums but I still have the “to add” folders going.. it’s just that when I got to add the photos I don’t have the painter/photographer information always. It’s a trival matter really. One I think needs a tad more thought but well, if you wonder what sort of issues a sculptor doing this for a living has.. this is one. Well one that’s worth sharing! Lol! There’s always the big concerns that can freeze you up creatively if you pause to think of them much at all. The same way jockeys refuse to dwell on the dangers as well other than basic precautions. If you really stop to think about the sanity of what you are doing and how many ways it can go wrong? You wouldn’t be able to go on doing it for long. ;)

And with that, off I go, willfully feigning ignorance of my "high risk" folly over here! :) And chewing on such dire life issues. ;) Tx for reading all this drivel, really guys! :)