The photo to the left shows me carrying the Concours d'Elegance trophy (which features my bronze "Friesian Elegance") away after the awards ceremony in which it was presented for the first time. It will reside at the FHANA headquarters at the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington KY, with this year's winner's name inscribed on the first of the fifty name plates around the trophy base (the small plates you can see in this picture). I wound up carrying it all the way around the arena to get to the vendor area, where I had to wrap it up for its trip to its new home in Kentucky. On the way around the ring, I stopped and let people look at it as much as they wanted. That was great fun for me!
I had such a good time at the show, and my customer who commissioned the bronze was kind enough to let me ride one of his horses! I'd told him I wanted to ride in a carriage behind Nanning (his stallion) or just sit on a Friesian, or be led around like a pony ride, I didn't care. This was my best-ever chance to get on a Friesian and I wanted the chance, if at all possible. Imagine my absolute JOY when his wife and trainer came to my booth and his wife said, "I understand you want to ride a Friesian? We'll be ready for you in 15 minutes." YAY! Long story short, I not only got to sit on a gorgeous Friesian mare, but I also got to do whatever I wanted with her! So I walked, trotted and cantered her and had a BLAST! The pics aren't very good because of us being in an indoor arena, but here's a pic of me having an absolutely wonderful time on this lovely mare, who had just won the Friesian World Championship in Intro Dressage! (Good thing it wasn't a higher level of dressage since I don't ride dressage - I ride hunt seat and western!)
A bunch of folks who'd watched me sculpting or talked to me in my booth, as well as some vendors I'd gotten friendly with, came out to watch me ride. They asked if I was going to buy a Friesian after riding this one, and I said no. I have a wonderful Quarter Horse (Jack) who rides just beautifully and still has things to teach me, and he's PAID for, and he doesn't have all the "high maintenance" of a Friesian's long mane and feathers. He's my "forever" horse - I expect us to grow old together. But I sure did enjoy riding this Friesian! What a blast!
On the writing front, I'm still working with the book designer to get the layout done and proofread. It's a meticulous, painstaking process I had no idea would take so long. I have people champing at the bit to get my book now, and I still can't tell them when it will be published for certain! But it will be as perfect as possible when it is published!
While at the Friesian show, I started a sculpture of a small horse to be about the size of "Maestoso" (Shown in a marbled patina - also available in black). I thought the new piece would make a nice "pair" with Maestoso. I had it posed with its head turned the opposite way, reaching as if it needed to scratch its shoulder. Well, the sculpture started to bore me, because I'd started with no real plan, just grabbed some pics in a hurry, whipped together an armature, just to have something to work on at the show. That's not a good way to start a sculpture! Then suddenly I thought, "He's not scratching his shoulder - he's got an itchy wingpit!" So the piece developed wings! Well, wires where wings will go, anyway! As soon as I started putting the wires in place (after cutting out a big chunk of a well-developed body so I could get to the main armature wires), I found myself dancing and singing "You can do magic, bump-ba-dum" while putting the wires in place! And that isn't even a favorite song! And then I laughed out loud, amused that I was singing a song about magic while creating a Pegasus!
I planned a Pegasus years ago and got permission to take photos and measurements of a magnificent Andalusian stallion, Alborozo, who lives on the http://www.kilimanjaroranch.com/ in Malibu (I sure hope they came through the fires okay!). When I went out to measure him, they were having fires in the Simi Valley, just across the mountain from the farm. The pictures were made with the stallion's smoke-gray mane billowing in the gray, smoky air, with white ash falling on his white coat and all over us, too. I had a different Pegasus pose planned but this one appeals to me, and why not make more than one? :D So the new piece will be called "Feathers Itch" or "Itchy Feathers" - I'm not sure which.
A fun tie-in to my writing is the fact that in the second book of the series, my young mages are given winged horses, and the older brother's horse is named "Feather." I wasn't even thinking about "Star Sons" when I came up with this Pegasus idea, but it all ties in nicely!
The really cool thing was that when I stood back and looked at what I'd created after attaching the wires for the wings, I saw that there are heart-shaped formed by the turn of the horse's head and one wing top; by the two wing-tops considered together from the front, and again from the back; and by the swishing tail and the left wing-top! It's a very very cool thing to discover something nifty like that in a piece that just "happens"!
Anyway, as usual, my art and writing are closely tied together! I'll post some pics of Feather as he progresses. I'll be working on him at Equine Affaire next week.