New Mexican Sculptor

My photo
New Mexico, United States
I'm living in New Mexico where I sculpt and paint. After a long absence from art, I am now creating smaller bronze figures. This blog is mainly devoted to that work.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Down From The Clouds Pt. 2

By C. R. Larkin

Of course the camera would break down at the "wire stage" so I can't show exactly how I got the armature wire welded. Here is the finished armature. I use a lot of Bondo (auto body putty) to make a stable armature.  So far the armature has taken the most time to do, at about one week of work. There was a lot of frustration with soldering. I did not realize that soldering was not an alternative to welding. One class I will need to take is a welding class. Even doing these small armatures, the skill would be helpful.

Nearly finished, and painted so that clay will adhere.

Here I play with clay a bit to see if the skull is working out. I need to figure out how to make the nose, which is what you see here.

This running horse's armature still has a way to go. I need to beef up the rib and belly. I kept it as it was to insert lag bolts to hold it up. Rather than working in green Roma plasticine clay, I might use hard red wax. Each shift to new materials is another learning curve and another challenge.

Finishing up with the armature: I fill the horse body out a bit using tin-foil and Fiberglas with bondo.
One of my fears here is that it is too skinny overall or that my measurements are off. I hope to find out if I am wrong before I am done (I hope not after).
The flanks were way too narrow front to back:

I make a stand that will hold the sculpture while I am working on it. Since I have used bondo, it is very rigid and strong, so I am not afraid of it falling over.

A last look at it before I start to sculpt:

After about an hour, I am not that afraid of the measurements any more.

By the next morning, I am pretty sure I will need to shorten the neck, and the back. (or move the hips forward.) When I added to the back of the flanks, the back became longer-- I had to do similar veterinary operations on my last horse, removing the head several times. It may also be that the shoulder girdle is too forward. This would be an even easier fix which would involve only minor structural work. It would shorten the back without cutting the "backbone," the major stable structure. It is nothing to worry about. This is just metal, clay and stuffing, and I want the measurements to be right. Taking things apart will just add a few days to the sculpting.

These fixes are much like final editing in a paper. They are necessary, and not unusual. Here, I ended up taking about 1/2 inch from the bottom of the neck. The removal looks like it fixed the neck.

I still do not like the back legs. Something is still wrong with them. I will fish around and try to figure this out. In the meantime, I made bondo nostrils for the horse. I figured that of all the parts that might be inadvertently "squashed" or destroyed, the delicate nostrils would. They are to be fully bellowing like wind-socks. (The face is very fragile and I will not even attempt it until the horse is in final sculpting.)

Started to rough in the muscles in plastaline. Did not use the red wax.
A friend drove 100 miles to get the clay. Had a problem this week. There was a death in the family and I did not feel like working. Am hard at it again. Here:

Okay better photos from the most done to least done side. I am making some repairs on leg placements.

Beginning to see a "horse" now. I've worked on the waist, and replaced the stand. The Rt. Leg is off again. Didn't like the last iteration.

I'm still here. Last week someone was fired at the job, and another death (no one related to me), so I had to cover & work a lot. Here is the most recent addition. I am nearly done with the horse. I decided not to make it a racing scene, because frankly, I want to get on with the other horse and I actually don't feel like sculpting humans, little tack and so on.

I did a lot of tweaking. I reduced the thighs again, took off and put on again several parts, and added hair. (No hind Rt leg yet.) Why? You might ask-- because that between the leg area is hard to get at with that leg. The leg is the last to go on. I took the Rt pastern and hoof off because I will duplicate the horse's left hoof so they will match perfectly. You will notice the horse went to the hair-dressers. The dark patch is window screen which will disappear in the wax. I also did a LOT of smoothing and buffing. I don't want the finished result to be polished. I want a kind of tool mark pattern over it all.

Swept back look:

In my next installment, I will be finishing up and then I will write a bit about molding and casting.

Down From The Clouds PT. 1

By C. R. Larkin

I decided to do another horse sculpture. This one will be in approximately phase 5 of the (12 phase) gallop by Muybridge. I will be somewhat ambitious with this next project. The horse is just one part of it.

So, first step. Armature and measurements. Sculpture is all about measurement. Getting a measurement off will ruin the work, and it is so easy to do. As you can see, at first glance, it looks more like "creature" creating than art. In fact, in the beginning, you use a lot of the same techniques as the latex mask fellows who make the movie monsters.

Since most horse measurements are in "heads" I have to create a head. This is the first step in the sculpture. The miniature skull. Since the skin is so close to the head of the horse, I have decided to do the forehead work separately so I can have extra foreheads when the need arises. This is 4.5 inches (11.5 cm).

Make a mold and cast for an extra.

The finished horse skull.