Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Day of Miracles

I heard trumpets on high!

Miracle #1: I finally finished that sooty dapple dun paint job I've been jabbering about these last few posts. Voila! That's him (above), a lovely Brioso, on his nifty custom made marble base and the sculpted epoxy base I made for him. He's removable from it, but boy, removable bases are a royal pain to create. The sculpture has to lift from it with enough ease to not scare the schnookins out of the owner, but sturdy enough to actually work. The marble and epoxy base are one unit, and the sculpture lifts from the epoxy base. You can see more photos of him here. However, be warned, I was unable to accurately capture his coloring exactly to my liking, even with lots of tweaking in Photoshop. I think the different media reflect light differently, and my camera had a bear of a time interpreting it all, whether in a light cube or not. It wanted to give a chartreuse
cast to it, which it doesn't have at all. It's like my camera couldn't capture the golds, reds, taupes and blacks all at once. Oh well. At least you get an idea!

Here's the primary source of inspiration for this piece here and here (it's the same Connemara pony, Catusha's Cashel Rock). Here's the secondary source of inspiration (for Brioso's haunches) here. I don't care to duplicate colors exactly (either from references or my previous work) so I decided to "Frankenstein" the color together with these two references, and change the tone a bit for Sir Brio. I also added some reddish sun-burned tips on his mane and tail, which I pulled from another reference for this color (but which I can't find right now -- doh!).

The first reference was taken eons ago when I was a wee tot from my "Horse of Course" magazine (now kaput), a horse magazine targeted to teens. I saw that centerfold of Cashel Rock and went nuts, and I've kept it all these years. What particularly appealed to me were the reverse dapples on the barrel, which had an almost cheetah spot-like appearance -- very unusual. I also like the drastic interchanges of tones and lights and darks. Very "busy"! And very challenging to paint!
But I wanted to mimic the "idea" of the color and effect with the new methods and media I've learned over the years, and I think I came pretty close. Then again, we'll see how I feel about it 10 years from now. Art is so much a matter of what you can See and achieve at a specific moment in time.

But because this color appeals so much to me, I've actually attempted it twice before in my early career. Here's the first attempt on an HR Small Amir (I think done in the early 90s?):

And a more recent version, done in another tone (I think done in the mid-90s?):

I wanted to see how I've evolved in twenty years doing this model horse painting craziness, and well, I achieved my goals with this color on this new guy, so I'm happy. In particular, I approached the eyes and muzzle differently:

It's a subtle difference, but now that I know how the equine iris and orb is constructed better, I was able to add more detail to the eyes (above). I also refrained from using black-white-taupe for the face "charcoaling," especially on the muzzle (compare this Brioso with my two previous attempts). Instead, I infused all sorts of colors to achieve what I was seeing in various reference photos. I used greens, yellows, blues and even some violets this time, and I'm pleased with the results. His muzzle looks more fleshy and velvety, at least I think so.

In particular, I decided not to "shave and oil" him, or in other words, paint his muzzle with dark tones. Rather, I wanted to mimic the velvet "buff" an un-show groomed muzzle has, with the staining of the grass he eats (you can see the green tinges on his lips) and the random darkish wetness spots (From his tongue? Drinking? Damp patches in grass? Who knows!), which you can see on his upper lip. I even added greenish patches to his teeth. And though I didn't include the photos, I added green stains to the bottom of his uplifted feet. He has to have context to his base! Anyway, he'll be off to his saintly-patient owner next week. Phew!

Miracle #2: I was able to login to my naughty Facebook account with a new reset password! I'm live! What a brave new world. Hi gang!

Anyhoo, back to the studio. I'm hummin' along on the Blue Boy quite happily and I think he may be finished sooner than anticipated. Hooray! I'm doing some final tweaks to the Haffie mare, so I'm hoping to have her finished soon, too! YES. So many long lingering projects are coming to a good end. But I won't post anymore pix of her until she's done. I enjoy a big reveal. Living sequestered in my studio, it's one of my few indulgences. I just hope you like her in her finished form!

"The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play." ~ Arnold J. Toynbee

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