Monday, December 31, 2007

a saddlebred is born

After much thought and fabulous feedback from other hobbyists, it was finally decided that the new saddlebred would be in an at liberty canter. Here's his/her progression since Christmas:

I sculpted the bones on the leg wires first, and then inserted them into the body. Pins were placed at key points so they wouldn't get 'lost' as the sculpting proceeded:

Currently he/her looks like this:

I must say I am quite pleased with how this sculpture is coming along. Saddlebreds are such amazingly gorgeous horses it's a wonder I haven't sculpted one before! This horse is going to be a fun project.

Monday, December 24, 2007

what does the hobby *really* want?

Awhile back I set up some polls to get an idea of what pose people would want a saddlebred horse resin in. Suprisingly (to me) at liberty in action won (and is winning) by a landslide. I've been mulling over what to do with that information. I've been wanting to sculpt a saddlebred for years, but had always envisioned it in a showy park trot.

I guess what I am getting at is the hobby starting to be more accepting of non-performance friendly models? Is performance less popular than it once was? Or is that area of the hobby saturated and now people are looking for unusual poses and breeds?I've got a start on my saddlebred. I went with a more scientific approach to make sure I don't lose track of the underlying structure:

I'm stuck wondering what direction to take him/her in. Cantering? Goofing off? Trotting with high action? Trotting with low action (like this?):

I love this phase of the trot, but will people really buy a saddlebred in it?????? Really?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Eyeballs needed

Ok peoples, I need your eyeballs! I have gotten Andre to the 'finishing' three weeks! That doesn't mean Andre will be cast soon, sometimes the finishing/detailing goes extremely slow and I get bored and start something else.

I'm still not 100% sold on the off side, something about his right hind leg bothers me. I really like the overall feel of the piece, and like the near side a lot. The tail balances the upraised foreleg, I think, and makes it make more sense.
I haven't settled on a breed just yet. I am thinking of doing medium feather on him so that he could pass for a Breton, Comtois, Belgian, etc.
Critiques welcome at this time! You can post them here or email me at with your suggestions.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I think I am making some progress with Andre. I'm pleased with his front half, mostly. I am very pleased with the left side of his head:

I am not thrilled with his rear just yet, though. My brain is rebelling and refusing to 'see' what needs to happen with those big 'ole butt muscles:


I think I'll spend some time on Photoshop changing things around. as you can see, I couldn't resist adding some details like wrinkles. Sometimes I need that to encourage me onward, to be able to visualize what direction I am trying to take this sculpture in.

We've been getting snow non-stop for days, which really helps me settle in and get into sculpting mode. I love days like these where staying indoors with a warm cozy fire going and sculpting feels like the exact right thing to do :)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Pushing through....

I've been keeping my focus on Andre and working through my frustrations with him. I've printed out a bunch of photos, gathered up my anatomy charts, and spent a lot of time looking at him from across the room and various heights. Speaking of my room, here is a rare and candid glimpse (What's that? My laptop is holding up a bulletin board? Shhhh..):

It's in a spare bedroom, with two windows overlooking the pasture. When we first looked at our house I told the realtor that that was going to be my studio. And so it is.

Back to Andre, here are his last few days of, ummm, 'progress':

Hmmm....I think I was getting too carried away with details. Eyes? You like those eyes? How bout eyes!!!!!

Here's how he looked from his off side this morning:

Yeah, he does have one eye still. But, I have worked on his right haunch and am starting to like it better. Lots and lots of photos are helping with that.

I almost forgot to mention, we had no power all day today! Except for a little bit from our generator which kept the lights on in my room. So, for what would be a snow day for many sculptures in progress, Andre got to be tortured all day :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

of art and anguish

It seems like 90% of my work takes me to this same place.....the wall. The wall that I hit my head on, hoping it will bring back my vision and enthusiasm for a project. Many times I can push through it and find myself happily back on track. Sometimes not. I don't know which on this particular piece. Push through or shelve him for a bit?

After the first 3-4 days I began to slowly pull out various reference photos. I begain to measure my proportions and to spend more and more time online adding to my draft horse photo file. I have thousands of horse magazines in the studio in big drifts, waiting for the day I finally get frustrated enough to flip through them and harvest the photos I want. I envision a day when everything is all sparkley happy organized and I can reach for a binder full of photos organized by pose, breed, head studies, etc. For some reason I avoid starting the process. Maybe this is what my draft horse is telling me to do?

Anyhow, back to the big guy. I find a tendancy in myself to want to detail things before it's time. Sometimes I give in to it and muscle out a shoulder, only to have to destroy all that work when I find that the should was too big/too small several days later when I measure it out again. It's hard to keep your eye on the big picture and do things in the proper order. Measuring and taking the thing in from across the room are boring. Sculpting eyes and hair=fun!!!!!!

I now have tons of photos on my laptop of various European draft breeds. A fellow hobbyist took the time to send me a bunch of pics I didn't have. I am finding myself drawn to the French drafters, the Bretons and Comtois. I am also very partial to the old style Belgians, and have several photos of horses from the early 1900's. In fact, my original inspiration came from a painting that appeared on a magazine cover in 1907 of a Belgain horse being shown in hand. It doesn't say who the painter was, but the style is similar to George Ford Morris.

So, today I will either do battle with my creative demons and win, or I will cut photos out of my giant piles of magazines (shudder). Or I will avoid it all together and clean house (the worst thing to do!). Hmmmf!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Andre the Giant

The day after Thanksgiving I begain this big draft guy:

Here is how is has progressed (or regressed!) since then:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

In the Studio

After a conversation with some friends regarding the viewing of model horses as art or a hobby, I decided to embark on an experiment. What would be created if I sculpted with no reference, and no set idea about breeds? If I could just have fun and not think too far ahead. Here's the stablemate scale horse that came from that:

He still has a long way to go before he's finished. For now, he's been set aside as I go on to the second horse in my experiment, a traditional scale heavy draft.


I decided to jump on the blog bandwagon and see what it's all about. The RoseStudiosNews list will still be used for official announcements and general updates. I thought a blog would be nice for those people who want to know what goes on behind the scenes, quick photos of work in progress, and my struggles and accomplishments with equine sculpture in general. I'm sure there will be posts about our real horses and my other hobby, trail riding, too!