Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sneak Peak of "Leggs"

Here are the very first photos of "Leggs"-- The portrait of my mare. This is the piece that I have been quietly working on this past year, and will be releasing in a very limited edition if the interest is there. She is regular trad. size.

A bit about her...

This piece has actually ben a bit of a learning curve since I did it very differently than most people would. I created her armature, and then actually cut it apart-- sculpting her in pieces. She is comprised of 8 pieces, and then put back together. I just this past week assembled everything and smoothed the seams... and the last piece remaining is her face/head. I found it much easier to do it this way since I could really focus on detailing each piece, and also it was easier not having to hold and manipulate a solid heavy piece around when I needed to get to a certain part of it.

Overall, I think that the results (for me) have been great with this process. While she is far from perfect just yet, she is coming along really nicely and I am happy with how she is coming together. One thing I noticed when looking at these photos is that I need to bring up her topline a bit and smooth out where I attached her hips since its quite severe. I also think I'm going to blend out the rib lines I have on the left side... they aren't really working, and I don't think Leggs has ever had ribs showing in her life.

The reason I have left her face for last is that I am languishing a bit over it... I feel like on a model of a mare, the face is quite important-- you want her to look feminine and delicate, so she reads as a mare right away. A beautiful face can sell it-- a perfect example that sticks out in my mind is Stacey Tumlinson's "Scarlett". That horse has a beautiful face, and it really made her endearing.

My mare has one of those faces. Call me biased, but I think she has one of the most beautiful faces I've seen... not just on a stock horse, but on any horse. She has this large, dark eye,
delicate ears and muzzle. This photo isn't a great one of her profile, but it is a great one of that little nose. It is important to me that on her portrait, the face be perfect.

Here is the start I have on it so far. I think the eye needs to be a bit more open/rounder, so that will be something I need to get dremmeled and reworked. The other side right now is just fleshed out, without any detail besides eye socket, cheek, and nostril.

I wanted to get one side done first so I could match it to the other and hammer out how I wanted to handle sculpting certain aspects of her face. I wanted to capture that bright expression she has in the above photo, so both ears will be upright like she is walking right toward you with interest. I wanted her head up and relaxed, while still low enough so that she can be used for performance without having to be customized.

So, I have my work cut out for me... lots of tweaking to go from this stage forward. I will have larger, detailed photos by the end of next week when I get her head finished and in place.

My goal is to have finished photos of her by the middle of April. Feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back in the saddle!

If you also are on my yahoogroup, you know that things are kicking into gear here at the studio. I have it (more or less) put back together, I have a new piece that is almost ready to share with the world, and I just got a new job where I will be working normal hours again. All of these things have me filled with a new sense of hope and optimism. The piece I am working on, a trad. sized stock mare, is definitely the best thing to come from my hands yet-- and later today I will be posting some in-progress photos of her.

Releasing a new piece, regardless of whether an artist has been active or inactive, is always a bit stressful. Feedback only tells you so much, and its hard to tell how it will be received when it actually goes up for sale.

Its been a year since I have been out of the hobby. Comparatively, its not that long, (but long enough) and so I've been doing some 'due diligence' lately to see what's selling, and what's not. It surprised me to see that things are pretty much as they were last year... in the finished resins, there are LOTS for sale, for much lower prices-- some pieces I saw for sale at half their price from the original artist. This kind of trend is a little depressing... but what I also saw is a still strong support of the original artists, and that people are still looking for horses and tack as they always have been. The hobby is still alive and evolving.

I was talking with a friend of mine who is a miniature painter (as in, she does very small watercolor paintings). We were going back and forth over how things were and she said that the art world has been feeling the economy too-- she is not having the same sales that she used to, and has had to really shop herself out to new galleries to carry her work. In 2007, she was like 6-8 paintings a month... now, she is lucky to sell 1-2. Its amazing what a few years can do.

The difference between the hobby and the art world, however, is the type of collector. We are even different than the model railroaders (to whom we've been compared often)... because we use the pieces we buy to compete. This puts things into a very different perspective for the collector; creating two different types. The type that collects pieces to have forever, and the type that collects pieces in order to compete well at shows.

While there is no right or wrong approach to collecting, it does effect the artist community and what it is that we create and offer for sale. Scale is a huge one. For example, there are a lot of mini and trad. sized horses, but few classic/LB sized horses. Its funny how the hobby market dictates the preferred size of what models should be. Color is another huge one. Some colors just sell better than others.

So I am throwing this out to the community at large... what do YOU collect? And why? What makes your heart pump when you see it flash across your screen on the MHSP? What aspects are most important for you in a model?