Thursday, April 21, 2011

The beginning of the end

The sculpture is coming along well, with the muscles defined and the body probably finished except for a bit of smoothing here and there.  I still have a little detailing to do on the legs, but with Friesians, their skin and coats are thicker than that of the average horse (I may have said that here already - sorry if I'm repeating myself!) plus they have all those feathers, which actually start all the way up at the chestnuts (which are above the knees, just under the hocks in case you don't know). For those reasons, the detail isn't as crisp in a Friesian's legs as it would be in an Arabian's, for instance, so I add detail and rub it out a bit to soften it so it's appropriate for a Friesian. 

The "beginning of the end" for a Friesian piece is where I start doing all that hair.  You'll see in these photos that the feathers have been added and are pretty much finished on three legs.  The weird stuff sticking up on the left hind leg shows me exploring various ways to depict feathers that are literally vertical at this moment in the stride.  It would be so easy to do in paint, but in sculpture, there are mechanical issues to consider, such as  how a mold will pull off the piece without destroying the detail.  I've applied and ripped off the feathers from this foot probably five times now.  It isn't a problem - it's an educational journey as I try to find the very best way to portray them that's also going to work for the mold.

Anyway - here are today's photos:

I've also done a good bit of work on the head, ears, shoulders and on smoothing out the bumps in the body.  The shoulder on the right side still needs a bit of work, but I'm lucky enough to have a good side-lit picture of him with his weight on his front leg so I'm seeing all kinds of detail I want to build in to the piece.  When you see me working on the mane and forelock, you'll know the head is finished.  I'll probably do the tail last.  It will be fluffed out and moving, not hanging in a lump the way it is right now.  Trust me, I'll get it there!  LOL.