Saturday, August 25, 2007

Insights into my workspace..! (8-o (eek)

No seriously. Anyone who's seen how I work knows it gets cluttered fast. I like to hunker down and be able to glance from this to that and compare, rather than to be shuffling/flipping images in a clipbook around. I can then turn the horse this way and that way and see some approximations. Those are just a couple out of (I wish I was exaggerating), 50-75 sheets of printouts and magazine croppings and a few books buried on the workbench.

True chaos. It's grand though. The perspective variations from picture to picture help eliminate the pitfall of sculpting sans translation from 2D to 3D. When it comes time to test with measurements I don't get such nasty surprises.

The pile is about a foot deep.

My old marketing director boss would laaaaaugh and laaaaaaaugh and then shake his head with something akin to dismay (worse I'm sure).

I prefer sensory overload. I get very agitated when I can't spot how the bulge of a neck muscle can have subtle variations for example in 5-10 different horses is in a specific tuck. I do not like to "wing" certain things and anatomy books are only useful to a degree imo - only starving horses or ones in the epitome of fitness look like anatomy book horses - and even then, usually only when standing. I want to see exactly how the muscles are working at that very specific skeletal position and compare it in different body types so I can get exactly the build I'm looking for.

That's me anyhow. & There's a sad little peek at true clutter like you don't want to know. ;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

For Carol H. :)

Since I never know how long it will take me to wrap up painting a horse, I don't share step-by-steps of painted horses. Nevermind that the underlying colors usually look insanely wierd until the softer moderating colors are laid down on top. All the same, I have something fun here. The acrylic 'base' coat is crucial to map out exactly before brushing on oil over it. Also, I just don't do white oils anymore for anything other than modifying other colors. Non-yellowing oils are not always foolproof (they probably soak up underlying oil color layers). So sealing off oil paints with good finishing sprays and THEN adding acrylic white is my preference. Since this horse is primarily white he'll be mostly acrylic. The color of the markings is killing me right now but patience patience before getting there.

I've been just chomping at the bit to do him after all those gorgeous pintos you see who have tons of ghost spots. I only have one of these resins (it's sculpted by Sarah Rose), and I really wanted to emphasize the cute factors of his face with marking that didn't obscure his muzzle for example. So milky soft greys were my preference.

Once I'm done with the 'basecoat' here on the other side. Then I'll paint the dark markings with oils until there's a little depth to the chestnut coat (start light go dark in other words). Then I get to respray the horse to seal it all up. And go back over the edging with whites and blend it back into the very pinky/gray body color white. I just LOVE ghost freckles or whatever you want to call em. :D

Aside from some really nice QHs in magazines (big stallion ads), I've chosen this pattern to stick closest too:

There are many Pusher bloodline foals out there (a few friends directed me to them - tx!), that carry this pattern. I really loath the aspect of creative freedom that limits a pattern type to a breed. I'm thrilled there is this crossover.

I'm getting all these cheesy ideas for names too right now. Like Pushbutton. Or Pushpin.

Anyhow, there ya go Carol. Blogged a horse in painting progress that will probably take ages to finish despite how excited I am to have finally started him. ;)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Haven't shared Rocky for a while..

Mane tail and ear's are photoshopped in. Being classic scale there's very little detail room so I won't be doing those for real for a while.

I saw these very cool pics of a Halflinger pony mare (so scale is off some) swimming and asked HelenBrew if she would let me share. I was just playing but I like. :) Anyhow, these aren't serious comparisons;

I just really like the shapes and it's so rare you find a good shot of the area behind the withers like this. Tx Helen! Summer is for sale btw. All pics here:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hump day humor!

So I’m terrible at retelling jokes but here goes. I have a point in all of this…

Jesus and The Devil went to God to see who really influenced the world of computing the most. Jesus posited that he has managed to bring enlightenment and hope to far more people than ever before, productivity of mankind was at an all time high. The Devil merely snickered and said “Sex still reigns as the #1 google search and even the most pious swear like sailors upon getting the blue screen of death”.

Anyhow, so God proposed they have a little contest. He set them to work creating documents and images featuring their respective highlights, Word essays, Photoshop images, Excel charts and such. They worked at speeds unfathomable generating files upon files of content – when suddenly there was a tremendous cracking boom as God threw down a lightning bolt and the power shut off. The Devil leaped to his feet screaming and ranting at God that he’d just lost everything and what purpose could he possibly have in this contest by this??!

God simply replied: Jesus saves.

This is a joke someone gave me when I was a professional graphic designer. It was stuck to my cubical wall somewhere. Believe me, there were many times I’ve lost content after some intense work and simply sat there thinking.. yes… Jesus would have saved. (probably followed by a @(#*$# demonic string of curses as I’m hardly a saint). Other virtues of saving I later learned are thus;

- mid stream work sometimes is better than the offshoots you go down

- saving versions allows you to go back and refind where you strayed

- avoids reinventing wheels you’ve already invented

This gives me some fodder here to chew over during my lunch today. I have found that sometimes I look back and see I’ve reinvented something many a time – it’s rather mortifying really. I’m quite the dense individual. ;)

Anyhow, so a hiphip hooray for blogging to organize in easier to access linear fashion. In looking for some photo last night I came across another in progress photo and it cheered me greatly. :) I wish I had an accurate date on it. It’s a few months before the final version was completed but with my computer dying all the files are now date stamped with the day I ported them over. It’s started out as a BUNNY!

For full effect here’s an earlier in progress page;

And the final horse;

It's good to reflect on past work to help you move forward. Cheerio!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mien Umwelt (my "subjective universe")

I like this better to summarize the subjective theory;

Reality tunnel is a term coined by Timothy Leary and popularised by Robert Anton Wilson.

The theory states that, with a subconscious set of mental "filters" formed from their beliefs and experiences, every individual interprets this same world differently, hence "Truth is in the eye of the beholder". (source)

I have gotten some help from friends with different pictures today to address that hind leg a great deal. Bless them! I seem to have sanded her femur happily away. Their pics also helped me spot the bottom line of the tibial to hock outline. Vastly helpful. And a most keen eye of one gal encouraged me to add to her belly some which I think makes the entirety of the hind end tie in work better. I have a lot more to add/smooth here but it doesn't scream out so much at me.

In the real world of posed animals there is almost always some angle / leg that doesn't appeal to me. So it's tricky not to impose my subjective preferences into the leg in sculpting it. I think a lot of artists face this. Yes it imparts some style but there's that fine line between what we like to see as artists and what's really there. Hence why it's important for me to peek out of the reality tunnel once in a while. :)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Yes nearly everyday...

It's like watching paint dry/cement set eh? No wonder I don't have friends hanging out with me in the studio.

Since this is just for posterity when I look back later.. I'll try to poetically simplify my thoughts.

Haiku critique:

Today I dislike
her left hind leg the very
most. Needs more flexion.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Heartgirth and tail changes

I added the curve to the tail today. The heartgirth and some small points to further tone down big butt syndrome yesterday. Also some points being added under the jaw which is the start of 'building a head' as I think of it. This is that before and after:

I would like to find a really spectacular head shot that matches this mare's but with very clean details. I spied an Irish Draught horse ad that could've been Hazel in chestnut jumping a giant oxer - the head was absolutely spot on with one of her tiny blurred pics (and of course what I know of the mare from caring for her and seeing her regularly!). It really had the right eye and intelligent expression overall - with a tiny bit of spark I like about the real mare as well.

Anyhow, there's my thoughts for today. Maybe keep working on that shoulder, balancing the two sides overall up better, and getting that head expression 'just so' which I think will help the other missing puzzle pieces become clearer and fall into place better.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Gorgeous day.. & here I sit inside.. ;)

Not for long mind you - gotta go clear some weeds from electric fencing. Realized I needed more sun screen. Spent the morning trying to catch a white dove that flew in yesterday in the cold and rain. It's banded and seems to have clipped wings so it could use some help getting back home I would think. Animal control (her son) is on it so I stopped in for lunch and a few hours of sculpting. This is fresh out of the painting area (me with mask taking pic before primer even dry). I really really wanted to lay down some lines around the shoulder in areas muscles would be - right now it's still somewhat haphazard but a bit more 'intended' than previous ones were. Was just curious to see how it affected her overall shape though.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Doing little happy dances :)

Today I woke up to a far less swollen finger with a lot more range of motion. I'm still bracing it, things like opening a jar (an easy one) or sanding or anything with sideways motion is definitely not cool. All the same, there's very little bruising around the joint and tons less tenderness. I can also type a LOT easier with that finger (and a good sensitive keyboard) ;)

So thusly I sat down and studied what I did manage to get done in the past few days aside from my finger PT. :D

I am seeing a horse along the lines of what I wanted to create, being cruely honest with myself its still a long long ways off though. The face is homely as heck (not in a good homely way imo), but there's a lot more to be done there and it doesn't totally hurt my eyes right now. Left side didn't even hit my radar in my 'To Do' list today.

Here's the gallery. Here's the 'to do' summary given what I fiddled with and want to address most next. Photoshop fiddling is all great and fine until you forget what you altered and why. ;)


Photo 1

  • Cloned out peg
  • Slighty flatter area to lumbar (pushed down just a tad)
  • Tail tip rounding instead of inverting,
  • Hoof shape ups around the heels
  • Eye shape angled a tad more
  • Nostrils narrowed for expiration
  • Chin just a tad more defined towards jaw
  • Ear shaped a tad more
  • Forehead flattened a tad more before and after eye
  • Blurred just to soften some ragged areas for less distraction (eye and tendons on rear leg the most)
Photo 2
  • Cloned out peg
  • Slighty flatter area to lumbar (pushed down just a tad)
  • Tail tip rounding instead of inverting,
  • Eye shape angled a tad more
  • Nostrils narrowed for expiration
  • Forehead flattened a tad more before and after eye
Photo 3
  • Slighty flatter area to lumbar (pushed down just a tad)

Photo 4

  • Nothing
Photo 5
  • Slighty flatter area to lumbar (pushed down just a tad)
  • Tail tip rounding instead of inverting,
  • Eye shape angled a tad more
  • Nostrils narrowed for expiration
  • Forehead flattened a tad more before and after eye

Photo 6

  • Slighty flatter area to lumbar (pushed down just a tad)
  • Tail tip rounding instead of inverting,
  • Eye shape angled a tad more
  • Nostrils narrowed for expiration
  • Forehead flattened a tad more before and after eye

Photo 7

  • Slighty flatter area to lumbar (pushed down just a tad)

Photo 8

  • Nothing

Photo 9

  • Nothing (just really looking to see how much her shape/definition “pops” in these unaltered ones)

Photo 10

  • Played with tail shape a tad

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Irony & Good news too

Sprained middle finger (I think) and am not sure how entirely - think it was when horse jerked leg I was picking or a bump accident w/water buckets. Took a long while for pain and swelled only a full day later. Irony is that the blisters are now almost all scabbed off from rope burn on that hand.

No shadow puppet theater tonight I guess. ;)

Good news!
My charity case appy filly is going to a most appreciative and skilled trainer's home to learn that life isn't all eating, bucking and picking on the older women (mares). Such a giant relief I can't tell you! :) It's awesome to find a trainer who likes a true blue fiery mare for the big heart and effort she'll give, yet is also capable of dealing w/it reasonably. Wish the little gal luck in her life please. :)

I am referencing/studying up on matters today. Over and out.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

later same day..

I hatched out the neck changes and reglued the ear (not crafted with love and epoxie yet even). Just comparing (before left, after right). Hatched = dremel and no sandpaper/technique really here. Whole horse is sans technique still really. :)

So much to do still..

This shows a photoshopped ear and removed peg. I can see pretty clearly the ear was too low after I primered.

Shoulder muscles are killin me. All wrong. Neck could loose more even crest (easiest fix of the to-do list at least; with the mane more gestured out). I'm going for less drafty in the cross, yes, there are plenty of draft cross mares with necks muscled up this well but Hazel isn't one of em and I like that a bit about her! :) Leg details need a LOT more definition. Look clunky/big here. Below tho you can see they aren't quite so thick. Details will help.

Undecided if this is the facial expression I prefer.

Leg at least doesn't looks so distorted and mismatched now. Big time work to neck shoulder on this side as well as to hind leg on left.

Back to work. Sometimes it comes faster when the issues really start to stand out like this. Let's hope!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Ack ack! Just had to address it...!

Speaking of deluding one's self.. I hope I was not, however I have learned the harder way that wonky in pictures isn't good - even if it does reflect real life.

One of my most popular models sold is a horse with legs all pointing in different directions - and he's NOTORIOUSLY hard to photograph. In real life your eye adjusts, in pictures you wonder however.

Anywho, so you can imagine I suppose, my dilemma when my reference photos all tend to show this foreleg thrust forward and slightly outward. Real horses move in really different ways but the majority I have (draft to arab breeds) in this pose have some degree of this. All the same, just SOME. Meaning I have room to play around and get it more aesthetically attractive. Just as some [example] Lippizans and related body type spanish breeds wing out below the knee badly;

and others do not nearly so much. It's a point more to conformation AND (imo) especially fitness and the actual degrees of flexion involved in the pose.

So in summary, lol, I think I'm justified and within bounds of biomechanics here to tip the humerus back towards the sternum more as I've just done (note the white line where I cut in those pics). Hopefully I am not suffering from barn blindness in that choice.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Critical thinking here…

I *LOVE* this summary from wikipedia (under critical thinking)

What is and is not universal in critical thinking

Critical thinking is based on concepts and principles, not on hard and fast, or step-by-step, procedures. Critical thinking is principle but not procedure based.

Critical thinking does not assure that one will reach either the truth or correct conclusions. First, one may not have all the relevant information; indeed, important information may remain undiscovered, or the information may not even be knowable. Furthermore, one may make unjustified inferences, use inappropriate concepts, fail to notice important implications, use a narrow or unfair point of view. One may be a victim of self-delusion, egocentricity or sociocentricity, or closed-mindedness. One's thinking may be unclear, inaccurate, imprecise, irrelevant, narrow, shallow, illogical, or trivial. One may be intellectually arrogant, intellectually lazy, or intellectually hypocritical. These are some of the ways that human thinking can be flawed. Further information can be found in the Thinker's Guide series by Richard Paul and Linda Elder.

Human thinking left to itself often leads to various forms of self-deception, individually and socially; and at the left, right, and mainstream of economic, political, and religious issues. Further analysis and resources about this interaction may be found in Roderick Hindery (2001): Indoctrination and Self-deception or Free and Critical Thought.

The challenge of an artist is exactly this; are we deluding ourselves!

In classical/realistic figure study there’s a pretty straightforward task. And yet it’s undeniably hard to achieve realism – those who can do so AND convey feeling and expression into the subject matter are my idols. In my niche, we call it being “barn blind” sometimes. I have plenty I feel I am barn blind to as people say I do xyz stylized thing and I swear to god I try all kinds of ways to see it but just do NOT. Totally mortifying to me that I don’t see my particular style… seriously..


Ok, enough theory. Now to the practical application of todays off the cuff self-critique: (ergo here’s my latest to-do list). I’m really writing this for my own edification – I will come back and wonder later some of these things. I primered her a few days ago, after I made the attacks a few days ago (that afternoon primarily), then wasted time battling with my PC and Comcast (yes more) for the last couple of days.. so now (hooray!) I’m ready to take these few snapshots and give a critical & hopefully fresher eye. I’ve been mirror imaging them and inverting the color here and there to challenge myself to spot areas that are off.

What I like:

- her blocky/square/robust build appropriate to a less refined warmblood type (aka Premarin grade draft/QH/TB only the heavens know cross)

- lack of overdone muscles (ok, not 100% in technique in several areas still but noting to self not to emphasize it too much more)

- overall the flow is starting to be more appealing to me, some aspects of the mane and tail, and the perky ears of enthusiasm feel right for the pose and attitude…

What I want to address (for the moment at least – lol!):

- symmetry is wonky (I think I’m at a point where it’s valid/worthwhile to now start with the more accurate measuring tools – they’re getting dusty!)

- head symmetry really needs attention finally – whole head is off period

- feet need to be measured made just a tad smaller still and THEN maybe perhaps it’s time to start hashing in lines for shoes – this will be my first work with shoes fwiw

- overall careful refinements now to the limbs ->especially the hinds

- left toe way long/low heel but all feet need matching up so do the best first work to the worst when others are good

- right side of mane needs a small flop like the left, not as pronounced maybe

- arm pit skin & trap. Definition & angles isn’t right for pose – especially on the left

- need to find a way to add something somehow to tail on left that doesn’t interfere with the swishing or wind drag maybe

- perhaps a tad more definition/muscle stretch to show the shoulder blade on left up to the wither..

- right ear looks angled wrong – check perhaps it’s because it’s too flat at the moment in front (left needs it too but whole of left face off so do that first)

- that’s plenty for a while I guess.. lol!

I should mention that I photoshopped out the peg because I want to “envision” her as she’ll look on a base. I am awaiting an inspiration on the base still. Since she’s clearly destined to be doing something under tack, I absolutely plan to keep the base as thin as possible. Other than that, nothing has come to me (oval/square/texture/super smooth wood or acrylic, etc).

That’s plenty for me to chew on today. :)