Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
I moved back to New Mexico not long after my friend died of cancer. I had been allowed to stay in his house a few months after he died so I was not thrown out in the streets immediately. When the time came, I put my belongings in storage, and went to stay in the basement of a friend of the deceased. It was a shock to find that I was actually what the Government would consider “homeless.” It had not been planned that way. I had a job promised up in Omaha, but the job fell through suddenly. I went to “orientation,” and the personnel director called me in and said that I was not acceptable to the company, even though I had been invited to orientation. This was a shock, and I started scrambling to find work. It was near the holidays, and not a lot of companies hire at that time.
On November 6th, my birthday, and also election day, my brother called and invited me to move to his small town in New Mexico. I still did not have a job, but I jumped at the opportunity.
For nearly 15 years I have pined away for my beautiful New Mexico. I am sure that anyone who has lived there for a long enough time knows that there is something “different” about the state. Well, I do anyway.
Taking the rest of any money I had, I bought gas for the car, and literally coasted in to the Land of Enchantment totally broke, followed by a Texas cop, who gave me a warning ticket for a burned out light bulb. My brother (he is my younger brother) is a great guy. I ended up sleeping on the couch and looking for a job. Strangely, although employment eluded me for nearly 5 years up in Omaha, I found a decent paying job immediately in New Mexico, strange as it might seem.
With a little income, I began sculpting again. I bought some cheap “school clay” which I will never be lured into again. This stuff was soft, bready, and would not pick up any detail. It was like working with fondant (the stuff bakers use to decorate cakes with). Although I had received a paycheck, I waited for the day after Christmas to order my first half case of good old Roma plastaline #3 (medium-firm).
So far in all my sculpting life, I find that Roma #3 is the best for the smaller sculptures that I do. I heat it up a little by putting it in a box in a warm spot before applying it to the armature. Beware though, Roma plastaline contains sulfur so you need to be careful about which molding materials you buy, and make sure that the sulfur will not retard the set up time.
Something that has been on my mind since beginning to sculpt again after a long absence has been “what kind” of art should I make? What genre, so to speak. Since I actually want to sell it and at least make a partial living as an artist, this question is actually important. I do not think that simply deciding to do “whatever” will work with galleries. You need to have a bit of a direction.
I decided that if by the grace of age and nature I receive another ten years of artistic work (hopefully some more than that, but we can never be sure), I feel that I would be happiest sculpting animals in action, or something like that. Western and Southwestern art is a way to go because it suits my interests in both illustrative and (anatomically correct) figurative art. I am not saying that all of my work ought to be horses and cowboys, but a lot of it should be. I also think it should be more contemporary--
I suspect people who work on art have all kinds of inner discussions about what exactly they should be doing.
I began to work on two sculptures in late December, carrying over into January now. One was to be the horse rescue sculpture, which I feel is my most “realistic” horse to date. Another is a long horn steer which I have decided to continue as a cowboy/horse/steer tableau.
Unhappy horse-- The horse is a mare and is a separate sculpture. I may sculpt a little colt as well.
Longhorn steer bellowing--Another horse and a ranch hand will go with this steer.
Neither are totally finished. The steer is still a little "stiff." He needs a little more softness, but I am waiting to get the second horse roughed out so I will be finishing them both at the same time. I should get the horse finished shortly because I have already ordered the molding materials.
I have decided to try to make blogging a weekly things. I will try to upload a blog on Wednesday or Thursday each week.
C. R. Larkin