Barry drives, I take photos. What can I say, it works for us.
“The gloom of the world is but a shadow;
behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.
— Fra Giovanni Giocondo
On January 1, 2013, I had the pleasure of of visiting my childhood home in Illinois. The new owner welcomed Barry and I warmly, sharing how she has updated the property to fit her needs; a great new kitchen, revived hardwood floors, lovely new colors for the walls, and lots of work in the yard. But out back my family’s favorite tree, a stalwart old ash, still stands. My parents would be happy, pleased by the great love and care that has been lavished on the house they built in 1958. My father loved landscaping the large yard, my mother loved the privacy the trees and sloped setting cocooned her with.
I speak of them both in the past tense now: my mother passed away four years ago; my father, just two weeks ago on the first day of winter.
His passing prompted a 3,681 mile winter road trip to to central Illinois and back again during the holidays. Trust me, we hadn’t planned to spend a snowy New Year’s Eve in Peoria. But 2013 dawned shiny and bright. The visit to the old house and meeting its vivacious new owner reassured me that all is well and as it should be.
Offering a belated toast to friends and family
and warm wishes for your health and happiness
~ Lynn and Barry
He’s finally done — Peppy Poco ChaCha.
As you might have noticed, it took much longer than I thought it would. When I started on this little diversion of a project, back in January, I thought this would be easily completed within a couple of months. Right. Sigh.
Then I got all excited in August when I finished the main sculpture and Barry made a waste mold so that I could have a hard resin master to work on. Just add a mane and tail. No big deal. Right… Sigh…
Except it turned out that the tail had to be carefully designed as a support and balance structure. Just a wee bit of engineering. That was the last blog entry. In September. Sigh…
Since then tale of the mane and tail has become my main obsession.
Quite often, I have been disdainful of manes and tails as a sculptor. Especially manes. They only cover up all that gorgeous neck structure that I love so well. And, let’s face it, other artisans like to customize manes and tails to create a unique piece, so why not make it easy for them by not having a cascade of mane that will just be dremelled off anyway. (Is “dremel” officially a verb yet? If so I suppose I can properly use a past-tense version…) So for the past few years I’ve kept manes pretty sparse.
But now I was faced with a dynamic sculpture demanding that a complete story about movement be told. Where did that movement begin? Where is it going? How fast?
Beyond depicting the structure of bone and exertion of muscle and what visual element do you have to work with? Hair. Long silky hair.
I think there’s a nice flow when all’s said and done.
But how did we get here? Lot’s of layers:
A note here about the tail. I started out being very swirly and curly, a highly dynamic sculpture in it’s own right. But that didn’t work with the overall design of the piece. Too busy, too eye-pokey for an area of the sculpture that is intended to depict a pivot point. It was more show than flow. In the end the idea of “Flow” won out.
Peppy Poco ChaCha will be available for order starting tomorrow, December 12, 2012. Newsletter subscribers will receive an alert later tonight with more details.
Happy Holidays ~ Lynn
Ahhh, the equine tail. A thing of beauty, key to balance and essential to a design, without ever having to be “My Little Pony” about it.
You may recall that the new cutting horse I’ve been working on was first molded with a mere stub of a tail bone. And no mane. The reason was that I wanted to see how the resin would balance without it, and then design a tail (and mane) to further stabilize the base-less piece.
To start with I had a scrap of metal craft mesh left over from another project and the “obvious” place to start was to simply attach it to the resin stub with super glue, catalyzed by baking soda. This is a magic combination to create instant structure.
Just a quick follow-up to the previous post; the new Cutting Horse sculpture has been cut out of his waste mold! You can see that the soft clay original sculpture of ChaCha did not come out unscathed, he lost his ears and the front leg sure got pulled apart.
But that’s not important at this point.
What’s important is that Barry got a really clean looking imprint coat, i.e. the first coat of rubber that captures all the detail of the sculpture.
Bubbles in subsequent layers are not a problem in a waste mold. If this had been a mold designed to cast a smaller resin under pressure Barry would have placed the rubber in a vacuum chamber to extract air prior to pouring a sturdy block mold. Another approach to mold making altogether actually. And, good subject for a future post. In the meantime I’m eagerly awaiting the first resin to be cast from this mold so that I can get to work finalizing a master copy of ChaCha.
So what are we really doing? We’re making a “waste mold” of a nearly completed sculpture. This one in fact — Peppy Poco ChaCha (say that three times fast; go on, it’s fun!)
Ok wait, first let me show you a diagram of the two different methods, then we’ll get back to pictures.
top: a multi-layered “brush-up” mold
bottom: a “dump” mold in which the sculpture is suspended in a container then mold material is poured (dumped) in around it.
This top view gives you an idea of the all the layers that were added while ChaCha was upside down.
A friend recently asked what sort of “homework” I would suggest to help her better understand the internal structure of horses’ legs and my immediate response was “Have you read Animal Painting and Anatomy by Calderon yet?” This has been one of my favorite go-to references for structure since I first read it. The book was a required reference for a workshop taught by sculptor Veryl Goodnight that I attended 19 years ago.
Since I was sending my buddy out to find a copy I decided to search ABE just to see how exorbitant an older copy would be instead of a new Dover reprint (which generally runs less than $20). Turns out older copies are reasonably priced as well! A dealer in Stillwater NY listed a copy that was originally from the Rhode Island School of Design’s library. That sealed the deal for me. I had to have this book, and the price was less than a new copy even with postage. Happy sigh….
And look at all the grime, the charcoal, the clay, the wax that has been layered onto the book’s pages by several generations of fellow artists. Love it!!
I wish I could be in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on June 16, 2012. The landscape is lush this time of year, an undulating quilt of crops stitched through by highways and county roads. The scraps of prairie that remain are redolent with wildflowers. It’s lovely, full of renewed life and promise.
I wish I could be in Cedar Rapids, most specifically on June 16, to tell each person attending the Laughing Bear Live Benefit model horse show “Thank You” and give you each a big hug.
When I was a little kid my mom sent me off to etiquette classes at Peoria’s Bergner’s department store in Sheridan Village. “White Gloves and Party Manners” they called it. I learned many things.
But I was not taught how to be the beneficiary of such a wonderful event as Laughing Bear Live, other than to say “Thank You” and to stay demurely in the background while show hostess Lisa Bickford worked her magic.
And there’s been a lot of magic indeed. Lisa approached me with the idea nearly 18 months ago, shortly after I shared the news that I needed to start treatment for rectal cancer. As I type the words I can hardly believe it’s been 18 months since that tumultuous news. All this time Lisa has been steadfastly planning the show; and recruiting the support of so many wonderful artists and friends. Thank you Lisa!
I’m especially touched by the special award medallion that Kelly Savage sculpted for the show; a beautiful, strong, champion horse coming through the protective arch of a cancer awareness ribbon. Thank you Kelly!
It’s been said that you learn about gratitude by giving. And that you learn about humility by receiving.
I am humbled to the core by the outpouring of support that Barry and I have been enfolded with. It’s like being wrapped up in a fluffy handmade quilt, warm out of the dryer, on a cold damp day.
I am overwhelmed by the generosity of people like Lisa, Kelly, Karen Gerhardt, Carla Bushman, Jeanne Grunert, Des Corbett, Melissa Hart, Danielle Feldman, Sharon Lazeo, Carrie Sloan, Linda York, Melodie Snow, Candace Liddy, Laurel Orrin-Dedes, Carolyn Boydston, Jennifer Scott, Sheri Rhodes, Sarah Rose, Kylee Demers, Marilou Mol, Robyn Jalbert who all have donated items to support the show.
Thank you all.
|A study of basic human form by Lynn during the mid-February Simon Kogan workshop in Scottsdale|
|A study of a jumper I played with during studio night at Marianne’s last week.|