Monday, August 22, 2011

Inspirations - big and small! :) (photo fest!)

This past week I completed my 2nd full horse sculpture done in oil based modeling clay – Kipling! :)

(Full Album )

So Kipling was inspired by a little munchkin of a guy whom I met precisely a year ago this week (learned that from a FB module that cropped up saying “pictures from a year ago today” :) my memory isn’t that great..) ;) So in Aug 2010 I went with the neighbor & her son to a local “zoo” that actually impressed me with how many acres the various animals had to roam about on. Buffalo out on at least 20 or more acres – we could hardly see them. That and a camel were their most exotic critters really. But by the parking area they had a pasture that held among less pushy equids apparently – a mini (or a Shetland pony, I’ll never know because the owners don’t know) who shoved aside his horse and donkey pasturemates in hopes of getting treats. And thus that inspired me to start up Kipling the pony.

I spent some time this past week when I remembered to try to find the photos of that fellow but I just can’t seem to find them. Suffice to say however that he was a charmer.

Since that day they seem to be everywhere. These diminutive little equines. I’ve found more at a local gardening center – a stallion, mares and a foal who was cute as a button! At Breyerfest of course I found Patrick (!! talk about a charmer!! Check him out here;!/pages/Patrick-The-miniature-horse/158571254155212 )

and several of his stable mates who allowed me to take reference photo material as well.

This is great because honestly the horses I’d found in all of my books and magazines this time just did not quite fit the bill. They were a little too hairy or too distant to really get a feel for their build. And then in Kipling’s case, I wanted too to get the feel of a pony in someone’s backyard… hair a little long & overgrown… belly a bit big… not show ring perfect in other words!

Here we have the cutest baby horse in the world that I felt compelled to stalk...

He is uncertain of this...

He stands behind the (begging) adults and tries to decide if we're safe and what all the hubbub is about!

More scrutiny...

Lingering now... (we didn't hand feed these guys more than a few blades of grass so the adults wandered off in short order)..

Clearly though I am enchanted by this stuffed toy looking little guy eh! :)

ANHOW... so inspiration of course comes to artists from both the subject and the media and I've just felt immersed in refreshingly new varieties of both! To be clear, there are lots of new types of horses around me everywhere in North Carolina (we've only been here a little over a year). My native New England is home to the shades of brown english style horses.. Of course you'll see a little bit of everything but it's nothing to me like the variety that I see around here anytime I venture out - a plethora of colors and shapes that were not so common for me to see before as much at least! So new fodder for inspiration & working in soft, non-hardening clay is clearly lending me 'wings' so to speak. I suppose it's more a mindset of appreciating these things that move us and embracing it really.

What has been the most exciting for me about working in (very soft actually) clay so far is what I get for organic shapes when I’m finally spraying down the master prototype the final time. My goal mind you isn’t to get too lumpy… but there is a level somewhere of a more organic texture (“organic texture” like my thighs and love handles are body textured!), that imparts a horse who sure loves to get folks to give him all the apples!

His mane was just a blast to work on in clay with smoothing being soooooo much easier for me too. I’ve really found that the things I spent eons agonizing over in apoxie sculpt (not all sculptors get stuck in the same areas), just come easily to me in clay. So these latest works have reminded me of perhaps how it feels to jog with weights on your legs and in your hands & then do something without the handicapping. Well, that’s essentially what it is.

ANYHOW, enjoy the albums and some of these photos I’ve taken of some fun characters I’ve had the delight to meet!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Happiness is smooth revisions!.:)

This fella is drying in my kitchen – the first layer of primer is to check that my chop in half (previous post) worked out, And to check that I didn’t have so many pin holes (I do actually… sadly but they are easy enough to address). My red apoxie sculpt for patching those up is a lot more easy to work with than the white (white is like toothpaste – my red is like silly putty). So while I tried to get “nearly done” I didn’t sweat it.

It’s drying in the kitchen because storms are sprouting up! It just go dark & the wind is howling! Eek! Good time to get offline…

This week has been a whirlwind. A lot of busy work on the computer and in the studio: wrapping up this pony sculpture and a medallion.. AND actually starting another medallion even! I don’t want to discuss the medallions yet – it’s too soon. I definitely won’t be offering another until 2012’s “open edition” though soooooo it’s almost safe to say that these are likely to be nothing that is coming soon – even if I do release them myself.

So with that… back to work!. Hopefully I’ll be sharing a sales page for “Kipling” very soon. I may do 1 month rather than 4 weeks this time. My group will definitely get first dibs on all that info. :) Ack… I need to double check what the casting queue is like at MVS… see? Never enough time! :)

We’re going to have a COOL weekend! It might get below 90 even to 89 degrees. I will be SO excited. Fall feel man! :D (you have to joke when it’s this crazy hot all the time… it’s kinda scary to be honest.) Hope everyone is having a good end to the summer out there though!

Opps! There’s the thunder – gotta shut down! :D

Tuesday, August 9, 2011! :)

The last post's comments/questions suddenly reminded me of a site (yes lol!).

Now I know how much folks like to learn from blog posts! Aaaaaaaaaand I'm just terrible about that because I'm simply not the best teacher, I cannot seem to easily explain what I'm doing - even if it's making scrambled eggs? (I'll say to just swish it around some? Oh right! Break the egg first - oops!!!) There was one painting technique that was easy enough for me to explain (fleabites - see RESS TBIII article). But painting a color, how to move the brush to achieve a certain effect? No way.. Sculpting an eye even? Not so easy for me to say beyond the most basic aspects (which is why I'd teach Sculpting 101 in a 2hr format... well maybe even a more advanced workshop, but not an auditorium sized class probably without a MASSIVE amount of planning.. years of planning I think to figure out ways to explain things... lol!). ;) I'm not trying to hide any great secrets either (contrary to popular belief I'm happy to share - I just don't have good skills at explaining). I'm a lefty & I'm sure that has a lot to do with it. Things are not a, b, c steps in my head. They are "make it smile, make it frown".... When I step back and focus on critiquing myself THEN I can get very left-brained (right handed) and think about where in relation to this or that something should go. Maybe that's right brained? Can't remember but THEN at least I can verbalize somewhat things I "see". Buuuuut being able to critique does not often translate into being a good teacher - giving positives is easy too - yes! But saying "start here & do this ...or that" is ... wow ...hard for me! I couldnt' tell you how to go about getting up from your chair and taking a step easily either in words. It's a skill and I envy it! :D

Anyhow, here's a site I haven't visited since I sculpted my kiger mustang "Bosco" back in 2005. It's going strong - I see many new revisions of articles up there on my favorite subject, biomechanics (this was something I actually pursued for a while in college as a subject to major in postgrad.. I was a bio major & didn't happen mind you. ) ANYHOW, I've been an avid follower in advances in biomechanics -> there's been HUGE leaps and bounds in this field wtih all the new imaging and graphic rendering abilities we now have .. Soooo there's this page I invite you to start at; But the whole site is full of fun & informative material I'll bet (internet slow can't get through it easily)...

I lost a lot of good bookmarked sites years back with the loss of one computer. Fortunately I've got tons of printed out stuff here. Again though, when folks want direction I don't even always know where a chart was printed out from! Like I said... not a good teacher. The irony is there are some GREAT teachers in my family. Oh well & sorry again to those I've lost who were looking for better answers. Sorry guys! :(

Monday, August 8, 2011

Measure twice cut once…

I know like I know like I know that this **SHOULD** be my motto but often (unfortunately) it’s not when a wild hare gets me..! SO, when I redid this pony to sculpt him in clay I measured very quickly and the first version (in brown Apoxie Sculpt) was already suffering from too short of a back length... and I just had to cross my eyes while I worked on the rest of him knowing that when he was cast I'd have access to that area to fix it finally …

Today I cast him & was FINALLY able to do something about that!

There are two castings there because the first was really icky, even had some uncured resin spots because I mixed very very badly. I'm pleased to say though that the 2nd casting had almost no bubbles AND almost no seams despite that I cut out 2 sections, making a 3 part mold (and those are tricky enough to lock up tight when doing production molds... nevermind a hand cut one! (And my hand cutting is rough - I've had a lot of anatomy classes where this whole scalpel technique for clearing off fascia is an artform.. you would think, since I master that over the years, that I would be more careful... ! Really it's actually upsetting to my engineer fiance for him to watch me work & eyeball & wing this stuff. You can train precision all you like but.. it's art in the end! Sooooo yeah, I'm REALLY tickled that it worked like magic!). :D

I wanted to do a diagram showing how tricky it is to lengthen from the point of origin of an armature but well.. I just can’t sit still here at the computer long enough.. ;) Suffice it to say? It just wasn't worth the time/ruination of the extremeties to tackle it before casting the prototype.

The body lengthening issue is one I repeatedly have, I know & use many proportion charts and tables in addition to real measurement conversions but somehow so many of my horses have literally grown larger than their starting size. You can look back on this blog & see that just from past works being chopped in half. It's a common issue in horse sculpture in general, interestingly (well ok, maybe only to me but I really do find it interesting that we all tend to exaggerate similar features/points of reference). :)

Off I go! Real pics soon - some spots to smooth & areas to detail out more precisely & WOOT!!! (I am bouncing off hte walls SOOO excited about this guy!).

Monday, August 1, 2011

Just waiting for my molding supplies order...

This guy is getting his last spit and polish details before I mold him up. After that it's just a matter of a week or so before I release him. The Mango sculpture actually only took a week to clean up and there I had much more to do - sculpting whole other halves to the legs! If you look back the legs were sort of submerged into the surface I was sculpting on & it seemed easier to cast it and recreate the rest of them rather than try to life him off the surface - piano wire like a pot might be lifted ... and then do it in clay. Here with Kipling I've only got some spots to touch up where the armature wire is too close to the surface - hey! - it's HARD the smaller they get! :D

Meanwhile, I really hate to show you clay in progress because it looks lumpier than it is due to darkened spots -> color variations. But I'm getting impatient waiting for my order over here so I'm going to share anyhow.

And here's where I left off on the Friesian foal (see last post - and my novel in the comments! - for full details).

I really need to catch up on bookeeping. I've hit some confusion and that makes me want to run away and hide in something I *can* do easily. Ugh though. Time to face the music & figure this out tho. This is why the molding rubber is delayed -> I'm meant to be doing something else here, clearly! ;)