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. ;)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Waiting for paint to dry...

Is just torture... I realized in almost all of my blogging of him over the past 2 years I NEVER shared his off side so here ya go! I'm going to get smacked for not showing really decently taken pictures again (glare and out of focus and all).. My friends are so great to try & steer me in the right direction... but I'm just off in left field. :)

This fellow is waiting for his primer here to dry so he can get his veins painted on now.

This really is blurry.. hrmph. Oh well... know better than to do this... I just couldn't resist sharing that face & those chunky rump bumps! :D

Editing to add on one more... made while waiting for dinner here.. I'm STARVING (we're making pizza here it takes SO LONG tho!) :D

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wild Pony Photoshoot Adventure! :)


Since moving down here to North Carolina I've been wanting to go out to Shackleford Island (isolated island of the Grand Banks) and see these "wild horses". They're ponies by everyone's standards but they are the descendants of shipwrecked Spanish (primarily they believe) horses from hundreds of years ago. "Banker Ponies" is another moniker they have if you're curious to look em up. :)

Now as my friend here (Maggie Bennett - she's the one in the leather jacket in the first pic) who went out there with me can tell you - no full size horse would survive on this island! It's got this low scrub brush interior that's ideal for tucking into during hurricanes.... and we very nearly had to get on our knees to navigate around ourselves on the horse paths in our exploration!

It was just the most fun ever! From our ferry trip out where wild dolphins leapt around our little 15ft ferry... to being dropped off on our own to explore like naturalists. Mosquitoes and swamp lands and all. Finding ponies (as you can see hopefully in many of those pics), in all kinds of surprising nooks and crannies all along the way during our adventure. :)

There are a little over a 100 ponies on this nine mile island. In four and a half hours we only made it half way down the island - no small feat with the hilly dunes and grasses that were really strong & tripped you all the time! At first it seemed like we kept seeing only the same 5 or 6 horses but in reviewing these pictures - and even then, you realize the hip numbers are different. It's almost surreal.

I don't get too excited about horses in real life anymore to be honest. I've spent half my life working with horses on a daily basis and I adore them but I don't get all"eeee" excited like a little kid usually anymore... I love to work with them and enjoy seeing them do well at what they do, or in interacting with them... but on the whole, I'm not one to go to uncomfortable lengths like this to see them usually. Not to horse shows per say, unless there is something exceptionally different going on. But there is something really magical about sneaking around to see horses in bands behaving like horses really do. It really rejuvenated the childlike wonder somehow for me - I joke that it was a "magical island" but it sincerely was pretty mystical.

So thank you so much to Maggie for going with me! She and I drove 4hrs from different directions to converge on this place. I'm really glad to have had company - and she also convinced me to use my nicer Nikon camera I bought this spring (I'm so afraid to take this thing out of the studio! It's a D3000 and I'm still really barely able to use it).. And she also convinced me to skip the tripod biz and use the auto settings (she has nearly the same model - I'm so used to "auto" being awful!). My Samsung point and shoot 1st choice camera's batteries didn't hold a charge in the cold I guess...

I would absolutely recommend to anyone wanting to go see wild ponies to consider this particular island. I just can't wait to go back this coming spring. I did want to go first in the fall here when the ponies were at their heaviest & had sprouted woolen coats... I'm so glad we did. From spring through Oct there are other ferry services that converge on it with groups - typically guided type ones as near as I can tell... but this was just a ferry service. When we landed there we looked at each other and had no clue what direction to start off in! Anyhow, so hopefully my little photo essay gives you a real feel for it. The weather was wonderful! Light warm breeze on and off. Around 70 degrees F and believe me, any warmer with that dune and sand walking and I dunno... we both hike with our dogs regularly but neither of us was in shape so it was a good workout! Next time though, I hope we can get dropped off at the other end of the island to see what's down there... ;)

Edited to add in the dolphin picture!
Maggie just sent me these. I looked for dolphins when we went to Madeira Beach last winter the WHOLE time we were down there. Everywhere we drove, I was staring off at the water afraid to blink... since I was told they were out there "ALL the time"... well I did finally see a few... far far away and I was pretty goofy excited. I've seen lots of dolphins in aquariums too and they don't get me too hyped up either... but wild? Hanging around checking out the people??? Nothing is more cool than that! So when these guys sprouted up as we were crossing the water, I was blown away. Our ferry fellow stopped for us. Maggie at least was ready to snap pics within 30 seconds.. me? I'm swearing and cursing and happy at least I brought two camera... ;) But no really, I was mostly just fumbling because I was afraid to look away from the water. Dolphins just rock. Magical wild pony island protected by wild dolphins. What a blast! :D

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Actual product pictures - ornaments :)

Web pages are now updated with actual pictures and massive enlargements of them so you can really see the details well. I’m so tickled how these came out!

They’re here; And
I’m just going to stick with the two colors there. There may be slight variations of course in the bronze color especially, it’s all hand finished.

Please note also that Serendipity is going to be an “Open for 2010” only edition. And that Bravo is going to be limited to a one mold run – which is actually getting nearer than not to being sold out now.

Next post will hopefully be really exciting/new! ;)