Friday, November 26, 2010

The saga of Johann!

The skinny on this beefcake! :D

Scale comparison of my newest (the standing fellow) sculpture "Johann" next to classic 1:12 scale "Iaret" (on his left), traditional 1:9 scale "El Embosco" behind him, and galloping away in black on his left behind "Iaret" is 1:9 scale Hazel. I'm calling him small traditional but you'll see below that he scaled up to 1:9 of the life sized horse I modeled him after (who was pony sized).

You can see above how he compares in 1:9 scale to "normal" sized horses as he did in real life to my 16.2hh horse here;

Johann's inspiration, the real personality :D "Rocky" being introduced (hence the halters) to my own horse.

Yesterday I shared the sales plan & full album with my yahoogroup – that’s not here, this is just info on his name history and the horse(s) I modeled him after. There was too much to say about him, links & pictures and all, to put on a sales page. I figure it’ll be more fun for a blog post – where photos can be clicked on & seen at supersize!

Johann is pronounced YO-hahn.. and he's named after Johann Pachelbel (pah-KELL-b'l -- hey I wasn’t sure either and kept worrying I was making a feminine, Joanne, name here!). Johann Pachelbel’s “Cannon in D Major” was the one classical piece as wee tyke, that I really adored... Everything else was background noise to me really but I loved this and would curl up next to the stereo whenever my mom put it on (which was probably around bedtime or when company came over I guess??! I’m sure that was the case; I was a pretty hyper / talkative child…). ;) So we’ll just say “it’s special to me” and leave it at that.

I started him somewhere around mid June 3 years ago; Friday June 15th (bone/armature stage) and settling on his pose Sunday, June 17, 2007 (links off to the first blog posts there - SCARY PICTURES WARNING!!!) :) and a year and a half later... just about a year ago you can see how much he built up off of that "skeleton" there...

When he wasn't being sawed in half..this poor boy has spent more of his time in a box, waiting for me to be overtaken by "inspiration" - which I definitely got this year, despite moving and a large # of paint jobs wrapped up and numerous other distractions... anyhow, but he's really evolved from that little dog-like skeleton (that was a fairly small horse skeleton before the weight/angles of the hind end sagged entertainingly like that!). This very well may also be my last Apoxie Sculpt sculpture. I wouldn't mind, it takes a LOT longer to work in this media. :)

Back to the beginning though; I promised Rocky’s owner that I’d name this sculpture after something musical. He’s not a direct representation of Rocky, and Susie (his owner) and I discussed this. He was my boarder and immediately I knew I wanted to somehow capture this vibe he oozed! Kinetic energy – he was NEVER still but even when he paused, he was just letting the motion move through his body to strike off in a new direction promptly. And he always adopted such classical poses, despite that he wasn’t nearly as beefy as the breed’s ideal. In fact his breeders had left him a stallion until 6 I believe in the hopes that he’d bulk up in areas like his neck. As you can see from my photos below.

Rocky is unable to stand still, a firey ball of energy that you can sort of pick up on, even here. And when he moved, he was all kinds of action too (knee, hock - really marchy marchy little steps!).. I used to call him "Wiggle Worm" when I wasn't thinking of him as "lil Bub". :)

That said, his bones were all pretty much in the right spot for what I was striving for. So when I asked Susie about using him for measurements we discussed the beefing & his blood lines. And that was where the musical name theme came from – Rocky was short for Rakhmaninov (a German composer) and his sire was Beethoven. The theme of his offspring were to have musical names. So while my sculpture wasn’t intended to represent this bloodline specifically, I felt it important to honor that horse who’s dynamic presence was the inspiration for this work.

As you can see above and if you were to look up Beethoven’s line on google that his is *not* the body type I’m representing here in my Johann sculpture at all. I wanted to represent my vision of an idealized all around build, not a show ring one.. but that of the cool gelding that maaaaybe he gaits a little, maaaaybe he’s done some show ring work or some really impressive trails… maaaaybe he’s even got a career in show biz (civil war reenactments, movie doubles, you name it). Just an attractively built horse who’s likely to be a gelding.

Initially I was intending to represent a Lippitt or Bunk bloodlines…but I kept shying away from doing such a heavy front end/neck… Striving for the more generic/less extreme, yet still Morgan horse look. You know, the General Gates looking horse ( ). It’s easy enough to go back and make him more extreme – but I wanted to show that “everyday” sort of guy with loads of charisma rather than a show horse.

So? How to define “Charismatic Everyday Guy!” as a breed to call my new sculpture??? Well I was stumped… ;) Over the years friends and I have given me all sorts of great suggestions… I shall now share some with you… SPOTS and all! :D

Connemara Pony anyone? (look at that gorgeous color too!) :)

Florida Cracker Horse? (I almost feel insulted for it?! The name origin is in there too btw)


KNGHA??? (the spots that I’d promised!) and this guy (!!!) “Post Rock Thunder Mountain” here is pretty much the vision of what I picture when I picture “a nice all around mount” (swoon!!!) .
All the the actual Morgan horses (and other breeds) I used photographs of as reference for this sculpture tended towards this last fellow’s look. Less cresty, very "robust".

More examples of wonderfully robust little KNGHA registered horses;
You can call it an amalgam rather than a typical definition of a breed, to me they are just a collection of wonderfully "can do" looking horses!

In truth someone pointed out to me a little while ago that I’ve been aiming for a Cavalry style look. I looked into this too and lo! There are just some wonderful photos out there in the public domain. Horses of unknown/mixed lineage. I also learned that the practice of gelding horses for the cavalry (here in the US) started around the time of the Civil War (it goes back to Greek/Roman times and probably earlier of course but I’m speaking of in the US). And a great deal more on how the bloodlines intermingled throughout the states as armies marched and horses were commandeered. Fascinating, and pretty ugly all around. That said, here are some amazing photographs from the Library of Congress;



source: (title [O.H. Hart, full-length portrait, standing, left profile, in uniform, alongside horse] ) (title Captain Beckwith's horse) (title Officer with horse) (title Cold Harbor, Virginia. U.S. Grant's horses: on left, EGYPT, center, CINCINNATI, right, JEFF DAVIS)
City Point, Virginia. Gen. U.S. Grant's horse, CINCINNATI) (title City Point, Virginia. Gen. U.S. Grant's horse. JEFF DAVIS )

Well if anyone needed any breed ideas for fun colors aside from standard "Morgan Bay, Chestnut & Black"!... there ya go!

Anyhow, I wonder sometimes if my creative process will ever be a nice simple story again. All the same, it's worth letting collectors know where these things come from. These days I've lost touch with Susie, she moved Rocky closer to her home where she could ride him more often. I then heard she moved out of state. Hope all is well with them and Susie, if you read this - I'd love to know how he's doing these days and if he ever did beef up! :)

Thanks for looking guys and thanks so much for all the enthusiasm about him. I'm just so eager to see him in coats of many colors soon. ;)


Becky Turner said...

Hey Morgan... he does look like a good little morgan gelding.. and hey.. those pics of the Calvary horses.. all but I think 2 are were actually morgans..I know the last one of grants horses was a morgan gelding and one of his favorite horses ( just read something about that in a morgan magazine not long ago.. his name and reg number are in the article I just cant remember it) ) .. the other one was not a morgan but forget the breed... and the group in the pasture with the 2 people I dont think are morgans.. they look to tall and lean.. more like thourorbreds or crosses.. but you do know the government did breed morgans for the war as remounts right? thats why so many look like morgans ..because they are! lol .. I like your little guy... just need to figure out how the hec to get one for my morgan collection.. grrrr.. lol.. and the other breeds you posted..Id bet they all have morgan blood in them. ... sure looks like it! I know the rockys do and the fox trotters do but not sure about the crackers. I bet there are a few back there in the lines though... great pics! and rocky sure is narrow.. did he gait? the gaited morgans tend to be more narrow but not all..we have 2 types here.. one more western morgan thats gaited and one more rocky narrow looking that is gaited.... well when he is not a fat pig that is.. lol anyways.. love the sculpt!
Rebecca Turner

Morgen said...

That's so cool to hear Becky! I thought they might be but it was hard to tell... faces being more coarse and such back then before the breeding really got specific I guess?

Anyhow, I do not know if Rocky gaited.. he sure could buck as I understood it? lol! Point being I think he needed a lot more riding work first - on his own he nearly seemed to be single footing it around... but it was hard to say. Like I said in the post, he was full of SO much action. Definitely not typical Morgan when viewed from some angles though, which was why I asked Susie if she minded me borrowing her horse's measurements but didn't want to make Johann a very literal "portrait"... rather going instead for the idealized look (in my minds eye anyhow!). :)

Morgen said...

Ps too - yeah, I'm pretty sure even that Leopard appy there has some Morgan descendants. I was shocked to find some very old ASB horses that were pretty much lean Morgans as far as I could tell? It's just the coolest breed ever imo! When I was little I wanted to breed them... then I grew up too big. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for finally writing about > "The saga of Johann!"
< Loved it!

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