Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sketching & Reflections

This was going to be a post on Friday when I logged in to upload the pictures and discovered the horror that had happened to such innocent souls in my home state.   I was so dismayed and saddened that posting anything like this was out of the question.  I'm still left quite troubled & in deep sorrow over the matter.

That said, I'll simply post some sketches I've done of proposed and completed sculptures.  I have a class with AAEA coming up soon, and other things on the horizon but I'll wait to talk more about that.  For now, just sharing some exercises in sketching sculptures or sculptures to be.  The last being just practice (with no intention of becoming a sculpture, that's just one of my dogs).


It's been such a weird holiday season around here.  It's warmer than previous years (I think), even for "the south".  Granted NC isn't as warm as FL in other words but being just a jaunt from Myrtle Beach with palm trees & gators around here & yeah, it's not going to get exactly cold but still, I am pretty sure it's warmer than the last 2 years.  Our first year here it snowed & was nippy at times!  Lately it's been tee or light shirt weather during the days.  We aren't going back for any family holidays up north, and while we have a mini tree and decorations I just am more introspective than anything this season.  I've even been to a couple of holiday parties but still, I dunno.  It looks and feels like early fall to me out there still.  I'll get used to it!  In the meantime, more art underway over here... keeps one on course.

I heard a good quote on a sculpting forum I shared on FBs studio page, but I'll share it here too;  "People ask me, how do I get my ideas? I can only reply that I don’t need ideas, I need metal." David Vanorbeek, Artdeev vanorbeek.com

(and more time!) ;)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Challenging Myself..

A couple of years ago I was discussing with some friends, well, whining really, that my sculptures often are hard to photograph.  This lead to me realizing I'd never formally released any standing horses. .. and at the time I'd had only one standing pose seriously in the works (Johann).

Above "Johann"
This lead to me assigning myself an exercise, much like we all got in college;  find a way to make several different standing horses completely different from one another, yet in essentially the same foot pose.  In addition it became a bit of a mission for me to impart as much personality as possible to a standing work as well - very active and yet, standing AND frozen still for a moment.

Thus my next work to become bronze soon is the culmination of this personal goal;  two extremely different horses in the same foot stance but with hardly even muscle shapes the same (due to varied levels of fitness, or more to the point, lack thereof at least on the part of the pony!). ;)  This work I'm calling "The Odd Couple".

Above "The Odd Couple" comprised of "Kipling" (left) and "Max" on the right.
When sculpting them they were side by side on my bench and really they gave off these vibes of interacting, the pony in this rather pushy (overly inquisitive) fashion and the Criollo stallion in a slightly affronted (or perhaps a bit more bemused) demeanor.   It added another level of goal setting to strive for, works that could both stand alone and yet interact well with each other too.  I'm tickled to see that customers have found the pony similarly fun to play with!

So the progression was Johann, bulgy robust little package of fire, proud and yet frozen in a moment of looking haughtily about (after a real boarder I'd had at my barn).  Then onto Kipling the nudge.. and then Max (who was actually roughed out earlier than Kipling but really not "formed" in my mind yet), followed suit in this stance.   I figured I was done and then Wendy of Destriers by Design commissioned me to do a standing horse in this pose as well.  Ironic but it must have been meant to be.

Above "Nemo" 
Nemo, is in a different scale and was the result of looking at many a Spanish stallion about to launch into a bull fight or speed equitation competition;  and a whole different body type as well again. 

It should almost be no surprise that I'm reverting however to my preference of horses with legs-wildly-akimbo after these four.  Well in fairness in the midst of it I sculpted a laying down foal that was very popular but AGAIN -> he had a the foreshortening photogenic issue I guess I'll always be plagued with;  just doesn't play nice in photographs!   People will probably always get on my case about this, and I'm .. not very sorry I guess.  :)  I really enjoy making works that force a viewer to look at them from a few angles to get the gist of what's going on (half passing,  striking out, flopped on the ground, swimming, even galloping is a bit interactive with the viewer it seems).    As I wrap up the latest challenge I've given myself I wonder about what to do after swimming which led me to thinking about this 'exercise' I've been doing these last few years... and how I never really mentioned it here (at least I don't believe so, buuut I could have, don't throw tomatoes at me if I have!).

Anyhow, off to put up my pre-order page for this bronze of the Odd Couple!  My web site needs several updates tonight!

(& A quickie ps to those that remember, there is a standing foal too - he isn't written off.. but I wouldn't say I've given him any consideration in the last few years either... maybe this is a good time.. hmm!!)

Friday, October 19, 2012

More from me getting out and about!

Like most artists, part of the job is getting out there locally in various situations.  Last weekend there was an event at the Carolina Horse Park that was pretty neat;  a "Flurry (skeet I think?) shoot".  Dog training and birds of prey were also featured.  There were carriage rides too.  It was a very small event really but a lot of fun! 

So this sculpture was one I started to have something canine to show for myself... all of my pet sculptures so far have been one of a kind works that were generally gifted to the owners.   I'm not sure where this guy is going but I'd love to do bronze or cold castings of him & sell a few.  We'll see!  Meanwhile, I took this photo just now for The Pilot which runs a photo to go with Hollyhock's Gallery's "Artist at Work" afternoons.  Yup! Another local venue that I do once a month or so;  the artists in the gallery take turns for the afternoons.  There's a local cooking class in the same building that makes it torture! (& brings in a lot of customers to the gallery between that and the wine tasting in the next room).  Anyhow, so anyone in the Pinehurst NC area, please feel free to drop by!

Anyhow, a few scenes from last weekend here too (maybe there will be some birds of prey in my future portfolio!). ;)
Welsh ponies if I remember correctly - I had a most wonderful chat with a local fellow who's an active member in the very active local driving club.

A Russian owl.  Really exceptionally interesting to watch.  She was hanging out just a few feet behind me with several falcons all day long too.

 My booth, and there I am off to the side... and below I snuck off to try this shotgun thing.  It's nothing I'm too wild about - apparently I find objects coming at me easier to shoot than things passing by.  I hit 2 out of 10 which is fine for my first time. My grandmother had many shooting awards, it was kind of neat.  Me?  Meh.. I've always been an archer. Anyhow though, for what it's worth. :)
And there you have it!  Scenes from an artist out and about in the fall.  Just sharing something a little different here. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dapples in the white part of the coat!

How could I leave this off of the last post - it's AMAZING! (to me anyhow)... Just like I'd only see faint reverse dapples on one of my chestnut horses for a few months of the year when the winter coat was coming in & he stood "just so"... I'll bet Kylee's horse "Gunny" here doesn't have this visible all that easily all the time.  It's not dirt (but he was dirty and cranky & we were running out of sunset light -> that seems to be key).

Check him out;
 Look to the barrel around where the saddle skirt would be/just below the colored marking on his back.  Also across the top of his rump these are faintly visible.  It's subtle but it's undeniable.  Mind you he wasn't the stillest horse I photographed so I consider it lucky we got these! :D  He was ready to "go!" please. ;)

Fall friends, farms & action!

It's not in chronological sequence here but I'm sharing some wonderful horses I was lucky enough to get the chance to photograph recently.   Sculptors need references.. all kinds.. and hundreds of them!  So to get the opportunity this past Sept and Oct to photograph such a wide diversity of ponies was amazing.

Blogger is giving me troubles here but I'll try to caption these as best as possible!

Some of the awesome ponies out at Brookridge Morgans http://www.brookridgemorgans.com/
Below Kennebec Topaz soaks up some love from folks at the South Con show! 


I knew more about the big guy but am blanking on who did the work, it's a customized Ann Harris horse (Wellington).  I'm also not 100% on who owns which of these adorable Kiplings but it's cracking me up! :D  

Then on to the next farm... to see Kylee's (Pitch Black Stables) Friesian stallion Axel and some mares and their first foal!     They really did a wonderful job of setting everyone up to give me fabulous photos.  I have some 400 photos in all of everything but here's a few I am rather fond of! :)

I'd just like to add that looking at this makes me realize my plan of a 6mo life sized Friesian colt might still be a tad on the enormous side.. I may have to scale that down some.  Kylee isn't short! ;)  This colt cleaned up earlier that week at a Morristown keuring earning "Champion of the day" and "Champion colt".  Go them huh! :D  Anyhow, hugely helpful with my goal of doing a life sized work!!! 

Next stop, the Lucas Francis studio (www.lucasfrancisstudio.com/ ) to learn a few things... Kristina was more than happy to let me airbrush the glaze basecoat for this etchy-appy finish I plan to do but I honestly can say she did wonders... I am not up to par with even the basic layered approaches just yet...(that's her in the spray booth - not me!) but watching her really gave me an idea of how it works.  Airbrushes & I are not always friends too, so to do it with something that is completely unforgiving of mistakes and is not "what you see is what you get" is not the place to start... I'm starting with etching off the hairs here to make a varnish roan appy.  I've blended out the masked white area (after the photo below was taken) there so it's not a big square anymore... but that's as far as I got --> he's a winter project.  At this rate I might turn out one every few years (and of dubious quality!)... but it's good to know and I'm giving it the good ole college try all the same! :D

The next day there was an invite from a friend of her's to visit some Spanish Norman horses so off we went!  As you can see, sculptors don't value normal "pretty" pictures -> we want things like photos of the undersides of jowls...


Then off to her friend's mother's home to photograph another bad boy -- a rather rare Spanish Norman from a bay Andalusian.  

Objects in mirror were actually closer than they appeared here.  He was not pleased that we held him back to photograph while his pals went inside... we're in the middle of the paddock here & that's him buzzing of the tower as I like to call it.  Below, yes (!!!) another shot from a great new angle of those tendons I so dig!
His absolutely loveable mom (Percheron).
Now while he's greatly peeved here, lol -> doesn't he look like he's singing soulfully?

Backing up in time, this is from 3 weeks ago in Sept when I went out to Kentucky to the AAEA Fall show.  Heather Moreton, an avid photographer, set me up with several saddlebred farms to shoot at and then out to the Kentucky Horse Park (where normally I don't have enough time to walk around & photograph anything when I'm out there).  Again, visiting ASBs you'd think I'd be after the stereotypical stuff but actually I'm eager to get things that no one EVER posts online or in magazines/books;

Being in the middle of this next group of adorable youngsters was quite a treat in and of itself.  I have a lot of photos of distorted noses sniffing my camera in that mob scene! But I say "treat" because they are the gentlest baby horses I've ever encountered.  Generally I'm on the lookout for the infamous baby "spin & kick" nonsense but these guys were definitely not rambunctious like that .. and it showed - they weren't all covered in nicks & scrapes babies usually give each other either! :)

I'm in your barn sneaking massages to your ponies...
Next, off to the horse park and what do I photograph?   :)  Inner thighs.. you can never have enough pictures of those.  What can I say.

You should totally click & enlarge this next one though;  it's the riding horses (some 30 or so) being turned loose in the streets to be herded down to their turnout at the end of the day.  They rope it off but it's something most people probably don't get a chance to see.  Pretty awesome to see all the different breeds, colors, shapes and sizes trotting & cantering "free" off through the park like this! :D
And at the end of a long day being on display the Akhal Teke takes a snooze on the back of the Marwari horse.

I really should/could share/say so much more but I'll never get around to it if I don't just post & share this.  Thank you enormously to Heather MoretonLaura Hornick Behning , Kylee Demers (and of course Wes) :) and then Kristina Lucas Francis (and of course Paul) ... and Elizabeth M., Premier farms, Willowbrook farms for their generosity in opening their homes & farms & hosting me!  What an amazing month it's been.  Looking forward to tucking in to some serious work this winter now. :D

Friday, September 28, 2012

Metallic madness...

We all know I like my metallics but I've been wanting to ramp it up & do some of those lighter, more form-flattering (imo) colors.  To do so I needed to get more oxides and straight up acids I didn't have.

Anyhow, so I bought the Sculpt Nouveau kit finally.  Now I can do both dark and light with the deeper staining/metal reactions... &  please (try not to laugh TOO HARD), keep in mind that I have a long ways to go before I'd ever sell any of these...  Maybe I might brave the market with aged widgets, but for now, this is more about showing off the shape of these two - so there in is my rationale for not going so dark. Plus I confess I rather like the corrosive speckles & rainbow effect (hard to see in photos).

First we have my Maxixe de Barrio sculpture who is looking around 100 years old now... but, I'm thrilled that he's not some wicked dark, hard to see sculpture.  I'll have to fiddle with the sealers.  I suspect satin's shine will be incongruous with this rusty old metal look but who knows.  Anyhow, he ranges in color from orange to blue and I really dig it.  More photos when done...

Kipling came out a bit more traditionally, the flash photo made the white pretty extreme;

 compared to this photo below (sorry for the blur but I didn't bust out with my tripod & it was the best I could do there).  Anyhow, you can see both in a more "normal" color below;

Sooooo so far I'm pleased!

I'm calling these guys together "The Odd Couple" and will offer them only via preorder in bronze.  I've played around with the placement I prefer and will share that when done here too - both will be mounted to a base "just so" in order to sort of show the little interaction they have as pasture pals (in my head these are the stories that come to me as I sculpt these things ... ). ;)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Go baby go! ...(Yes, the swimming mare again)

Really not much to say, just wanted to share her with a bit more definition here.  I'm truly thoroughly enjoying doing a horse of a totally different nature in every way from my more recent works! ;)