Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Pegasus Project Part IV

The ol' peggy guy is moving along..... slowly but surely. =:)

It takes awhile to do a drastic custom model, especially when the clay takes awhile to set up and harden. I'll definitely be switching to Aves apoxie for the wings rather than my old standby favorite gapoxio. Apoxie sculpt is more of a non-toxic clay, and the feathers will be a "sizeable" feat to accomplish in themselves....
Here is the start of the neck. The factory NSH neck was too big and bulky for what was needed, so it went into the trash can. To build a new one, a wire armature is needed. I generally use twisted picture hanging wire that is easily moveable, and I attach it with glue and clay on the inside of the head and shoulders. The down side to picture wire being light and moveable - is that it does not want to stay in place very well. So after I fiddle around with setting it up where the skeletal strucuture would be, I'll then have to fill it with material to make it more stable.

Nothing is worse than spending a half an hour getting the wire just right where you want it, and then sneezing and knocking the whole thing onto floor...ugh!

To stabilize the wire neck, I carefully place wadded up pieces of tinfoil into the nooks and crannies as "filler" material. I'll then use some tape to keep the tinfoil from sticking out and moving. The reason to place fillers in stuff is so that you won't exhaust all of your clay supply trying to bulk up body parts from the inside out. You can fill up areas and then put your nice hardening clay on the top. It will eliminate spending excess amounts of money at the art store buying pounds of clay just to bury it in a sculpture.
Also, filling areas with a light weight material like tinfoil and tape cuts down on weight. This guy will be heavy enough as it is, even with him being filled with light stuff. I remember when I first started out doing models I would cram everything with clay and have a 20 pound model by the time it was done. I still use some of them as bar bells for work outs......

After the neck is attached firmly and resculpted, I'll move on to the main trunk. It always looks really bad to begin with. I've hacked the belly apart and lengthened the back out. Most of the underside is gone too, just a big gaping hole from the bottom of the heartgirth back to the inside hamstrings.
There is a whole lot of resculpting to do to the barrel and where it ties into the hindquarters. If anyone has ever watched a Teke gallop, or jump, (or any movement really...) everything shows up. They are a really animated breed. The rib cage, wither ties, lower stomach muscles, top backstraps, backbone ridge, and sarcal points are evident and can be seen through the skin. Even on a fat Akhal Teke - you can see the parts working when they are moving and being active. Fascinating stuff. It's probably the number one reason why they are so challenging yet so fun to sculpt. The moving parts are clearly visible.

Starting the rump. After sawing it in half and narrowing it up a bit, I'll have to go through and rework the entire hind end. You can see that the back lower half where the hamstrings are located are bigger than where the top hip bones are located. It looks "funk-a-delic" and incorrect from the dremel chopping work.
Almost all horses - no matter what breed or type, have a triangle appearance from the hip bones back to the hamstring points. This guy will have that too....in time.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's Springtime!

We are officially ready to welcome in the spring season with a lovely set of triplets! Wahoo!

"Fatty" the ewe always amazes me. She has never failed to deliver less than three lambs - (even with her very first lamb crop!) and always lambs before the rest of the flock. She's a great asset for anybody's program, and I consider myself very lucky she's in ours.

Last year Fatty had two dark ram lambs and a red and white ewe lamb. This year it is in reverse - a red and white ram lamb and two dark ewe lambs. Ironically, they are the same colors as last year too: a red and white, brown and white, and a solid black. There's some interesting color genetics at work.
Lots of sunny spring weather ahead! Wahoo!!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hi-Point Yellow Broomtail

I just got my fall 2010 issue of the "Aside World" publication in the mail - and low and behold! Nettie's "representin'" her breed quite well! She's the high point mustang in the International Sidesaddle Organization, and we're in the mid-pack range for overall high point equine. I'm fairly proud of my scrubby little high desert whirly-gig.
She's still a long way to go before being able to do any formal appointments classes, but we're making some good strides in getting there. One of my future goals is to compete in the sidesaddle class at the Eddie McMurdo show - someday........ Not sure if we'll ever get there, but it's a good goal to have.


Friday, February 4, 2011

The Pegasus Project Part III

Heads ahoy!

Generally the most important part of a model, (or any animal scupture), is the head and eyes. It sets the mood for everything else to come. If a horse is spooking with nostrils aflarin' and wild eyes bugging out of their head, it's body will generally follow suit with a rigid "ready to leave" position. If he's being a laid back ol' plug in a field with some lazy flopped over ears and a dozing sleepy eye, you can bet the hind leg will be cocked and the body will be in an uber-relaxed position. It all begins with the head and eye to set a mood for what you want to do with something.

I'll be the first one to admit that I absolutely adore a good wild and wooly "out-of-control" horse sculpture. One that is freaking out and bolting off into orbit. But, the pegasus is at home in the clouds and he knows he is an immortal being protected by the gods. So he really has no reason to freak out about anything. He's proven himself to be a brave soul flying into battle against the kracken, so if that didn't rile him up - not much else would.
As you can see above, I've split the head into different parts. Tekes have a narrow overall body profile, and most american breeds have a rounder and more thicker appearance throughout. The NSH mold is a fairly beefy mold, and almost every inch of it will have to be slimmed down.

I started by taking out two swaths of the head to shrink the skull up a bit. You can see that the original mold had two different sizes of eyes. Most folks really don't pay much attention to models when they buy them in the store, but 90% of the time the eyes won't match up. One is generally bigger than the other due to the casting process. When you disect models down into smaller parts, these things become clearly apparent.
Frankensteed. After taking out a chunk along the skull line and underneath the jaw, the head is ready to be put back together. As you can see, the smaller eye and the veins are not level - one side is slightly lower than the other. When a model that exhibits a turned head is cast, sometimes one side deflates and the other side remains normal and puffed out. It happens, and there is generally nothing that a caster can do about it. (After all, Breyer models are a mass produced product.) But you can see that the cheek bone and jaw bones on the right side are puffed out, and the left side is flat. This will get fixed.
"The horror......the horror....." Marlon Brando's infamous whispered words leave a lasting impression when you're working with mangled chopped-up plastics. In order to do new eyes, the old ones have to go. The nose and ears have been chucked into the garbage can as well.
Bird brain anyone? Things get funky when you're playing around with anatomy. He looks more like a crow at this point. There might be more to the Turkmen belief that their horses were as swift as eagles after all.....
The shoulders are next. The same principle as the head will follow. He'll be going on an ultra-slimfast diet.