Friday, December 30, 2011

Thoroughbred body types

I'm learning a lot while working on my thoroughbred filly. One of those things is how varied the body types are even within horses of the same grading, age, and sex. I made this little animation of 4 year old G1 fillies to hopefully show what I mean (click to start):

Photos courtesy of Jessica Morgan

I picked these 5 fillies as they are very different from each other but are all 4 year olds and rated G1, the best of the best. If you look at one body part at a time the differences start to jump out at you. Necks...shoulders...legs...overall balance, etc. Of course the one vital part you can't see in the photos is the heart, the mystical properties of which can be poured into a less than perfect body resulting in a consistent winner. Interesting, isn't it?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Progress on the fily

Here is the newest pic of the thoroughbred filly:

She is finally starting to look like a racehorse and not just a thoroughbred. It has to be one of the most difficult subjects in equine art-dom. Not only should the sculpture be immediately recognizable as a specific breed, but a very specialized type within that breed.

I haven't done much with the off side yet, both off legs need to be reworked. At some point I focus on just one side, and when I am satisfied with it I take photos and flip them on my computer and use that as reference for the opposite side. The head is hard to judge from this angle, at some point I will get photos of just her head from the side. You can see all my scratch marks on her neck that are my way of taking notes as I work.

I feel her neck is a tad too long. Everyone keeps telling me 'longer neck, longer neck'. Is this what everyone was wanting? What I did was move the near shoulder back, which made the back look shorter and the neck longer. What I am learning with this girl is that what looks right to me might not be how a racehorse really looks. They don't look like 'normal' horses at all!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


It's easy to think of sculpture as something that spontaneously appears, without the long hours put in by an artist to create it. I find myself feeling that way about the work of others, it is hard to keep in mind that someone actually created it out of raw materials that didn't look anything like the finished product. Even with my own work I often forget how many months of effort (oftentimes tedious, sometimes fun and playful) has gone into each individual sculpture. Every new sculpture brings to my mind the question of "why is this taking so long?"and "shouldn't I be faster at this by now?". From asking around it seems like sculptors fall into the categories of  fast sculptors and terribly slow sculptors. I am, unfortunately, the terribly slow variety.

 I have been taking lots of photos as work progresses on the Thoroughbred. It is helpful to be able to look back and see that things are moving in the right direction, sort of like documenting a remodeling project so that you can see how far you have come on the days when you feel little is being accomplished, despite all your hard work.

Here is the filly as of today:


I'm happy with the direction she is heading in, but there are still little things that bug me and have yet to put my finger on them. The neck still needs a few tweaks, something in both shoulders still feels a bit off to me, some more refining needs to happen on her behind, and I haven't really started on the face yet. She needs some facial 'zazz-ification' to make her truely look like the kick butt filly I imagine her to be.

Here she was as of 4 days ago. You can see that at that time I was happy with the shoulder and had it muscled out, then changed my mind and reworked it again for the most recent photos:

Here she was at the end of November. Her head was higher with a beefier hind end and shoulder, too beefy for a racing filly. The high head made her windpipe seem pinched to me, and visually made her neck appear too short:


This is from mid-November. She has a super beefy shoulder, and the arch in her neck makes her feel a tad less feminine. Her off front leg appears to be hanging more than reaching. I like this version of her hind end, though, and should have kept it how it was:


As always, your comments are appreciated and make this blog more meaningful. It always helps to have 'fresh eyes' look over a work in progress, and can make a positive impact while a sculpture is still in progress. She's coming along pretty well, but without your insights she can't be all that she can be, right now she is pure potential.