Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Madness Behind the Method

I've gotten some bemused questions as to why I've been sculpting so many foals lately, when they were previously such a rare subject in my previous work. It's a very good question, really, and I hadn't thought about it much until it was brought to my attention. Looking back, I think the fixation began when Ms. Lily was born, the first child of my good friend, Tina. We've been pals for...gosh...over 20 years, and it was through her that I met my Hubby. Back in college, I used to work summers on an Arabian breeding farm, SouthWind Ranch, located about two hours east of Boise in Jerome, Idaho, which is where we met and became fast friends. We have a long crazy history together, with many (mis)adventures that are definitely stuff of bar talk legend. You mix two crazy girls, horses, and living on our own as roommates, and you know things go haywire fast!

Yet when Lily came around two years ago, certain light bulbs went off. Then when Noah, a mini-mule foal born to a mini mare Tina has, arrived not long after, that light bulb got brighter. Many of my other friends about my age have kidlets, too, so that light gets brighter with each one. I also suspect that as I age, my mind tends to wander back to childhood as it contemplates mortality, then add to that the fact that I don't feel anywhere near 40, and well...I guess I'm reclaiming my youth through my work. I also may be reinforcing the idea of wide-eyed innocence in this day and age of strife and jaded beliefs, or perhaps I'm celebrating a sense of hope as we question the wisdom and sustainability of our collective futures. On the other hand, it could be much closer to home, as an affirmation of carefree idealism during this time of radical transition in my personal life as Hubby goes back to school. Or maybe I'm just having loads of fun sculpting them! Speaking of fun, check out the first wave of fresh new Brownies, rendered in an arty, silly way for kicks:

Whatever it is, it's funny how a single inspiration spins off innumerable manifestations. The latest incarnation of this artistic foray is "Oliver," a Haflinger foal I recently completed:
His creation is documented in the RESS ezine, The Boat, as a demonstration of the sculpting process, and I just finished him this morning. Now I have to start on his dam, which I intend to sculpt as a classic broodmare, an archtype I find very appealing. A broodmare has such a "matronly" look about her, and I hope to capture some of that with "Ellsie."

Anyway, Lily celebrated her second birthday on Tuesday with all her cousins who are all under the age of 12, and it was, as you might guess, total mayhem. It was hysterical to watch the kids' reactions to everything involved with a birthday, as it was fun to think back to my own birthdays as a child, and then ponder what these kidlets will take with them from these special times that are fleeting and precious. To my mind, there's really nothing that says "childhood" more than kids with birthday cake and ice cream smeared on their faces as they've shoveled as much of these rare delicacies into their mouths as their little hands and undeveloped coordination can allow. I don't think anything tastes sweeter, literally or figuratively, than a child's happy Birthday cake, either! So not only was the day sweet, but I certainly got a lot more inspiration for sculpture!

Grown up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another." ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

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