This is my new sculpture, Ives' Neptune.
And, below, is the inspiration for Ives' Neptune --
Isn't he a handsome fellow? This image is of the Suffolk Punch stallion, Saturn, circa 1903, from one of the real treasures in my book collection, Horses of the British Empire; Volume II, edited by Sir Humphrey F De Trafford, Bart. For those of you who love mythology, you know that Neptune, a god with a keen interest in horses, is the son of Saturn. Yes, geeking out again...
Ives is a name that pops up in my mother's family history. In 1607, William Ives was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. He immigrated to Massachusetts where he married Hannah Dickerman in Wallingford (now Connecticut) in 1639. My father's family also has a link back to Suffolk -- all to say that this sculpture prompted me to dive down the twisty rabbit hole of ancestry.com where I spent many happy hours over the recent holiday weekends.
Curiosity sated for now, it's time to get back to sculpting!
Ives Neptune began as a demonstration in a sculpting workshop I taught in 2018. One of the really useful things we do "Wire to Whinny" is build muscle groups in colored clay. As artists we *love* color, right?
But as fun as colored clay is, it's not all that great for sculpting detail, so off it came in early December, 2019. I replaced the colored clay with "Monster Clay" brand clay in firm. This was the first time I've worked with this product and I was mightily impressed with how quickly I could mass up the torso of the draft horse. (Thank you for the suggestion Rayvin!) The lighter tan clay in both cases is J-Mac Classic clay. I liked the profile of the head that I had going in the demo piece, so that remained.
The Monster Clay in firm is tough stuff -- my chunk of a drafter solidly stands up on his own!
Then it was back to the J-Mac Classic clay for the top layer of the horse's torso. The softer working quality of the J-Mac feels more "organic" to me for muscles masses. I've seen amazing things done with the Monster Clay; I'm sure with practice I will be able to get a softer look on the surface with it as well. Baby steps.