Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cooper IS done!

Woo hoo! At last Cooper is finished! You should be able to click on the picture above to see him much larger. Unfortunately my computer is completely dead right now (I'm on a borrowed one), so until my new one makes it here I am not able to properly edit photos, update my website, etc.

Cooper will be headed off to MVS to be cast very soon. I'm not sure exactly when the first resins will come but hopefully within the next month or two! Please email me at if you would like to purchase one; the price is $195 including postage anywhere in the world. He's a limited edition of approximately 130 pieces; I am selling 100 of them now and reserving the last 30 for later sale/me to paint/etc.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cooper is almost done!

Cooper is incredibly close to being done. I think I just have to finish one side of one leg (I've been battling this leg for a while!) and give him some sort of base(s).I'm really very pleased by how he has come together--I think he's by far my best sculpture yet, and I hope others will agree!

I have discovered (OK, I really already knew this, but it has been reaffirmed) that I very much enjoy doing portraits. There's something about making the model look not just like a horse, but like a particular horse that appeals to me. And there's nothing like having a great big pile (file!) of photos of said horse to make things go well--Carra (Cooper's owner) had sent me over 800 photos, and I used so many of them! It was and is wonderful to need a photo of, say, the wrinkles on that leg in this position and just flip through the photos until I come to the photo,. While this can be done to a certain degree with generic photos, different horses do have different ways of moving, skin elasticity, fitness, etc., so having all the references be of the same horse is a big help.

I've been working on Cooper in between working on painting commissions. I find that if I do either thing for too long I have a hard time concentrating, so switching back and forth works well. Speaking of which...back to work for me!

Also, GAH! I don't know why Blogger has taken to just cutting off half the image instead of resizing it. The image here should include Cooper's head and part of his shoulders--not just his neck like it did last night!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My [relative] internet silence

I know I've been kind of MIA from this blog, updating my website, etc. Everything is fine here, no worries there! I got a full-time job, which is both less stressful and pays rather better than being a full-time artist. I'm still sculpting and painting! It's just a lot harder to make time to update the blog, re-write stuff for the website, etc. than it used to be. Not to mention that everything seems to happen in the fall! Renaissance festivals, horseback riding for the first time in well over a year, and I finally got my dream car (thanks to working two jobs--the model horses and the day job)--all these things eat up time, and I find that if I pass on these enjoyable things I end up incredibly stressed and no work gets done anyhow. Happy Maggie is much more likely to get stuff done than grumpy Maggie. Don't get me wrong--I love sculpting. I wouldn't do it if I didn't. But it's hard to sit inside sculpting on a cool sunny day when the road and the forest are calling.

Evenings are much easier to work in, and yet they seem so short. I've always worked better at night; too bad I now need to get to bed by about 11:30 if I want to have any hope of being coherent in the morning! Speaking of which...

Will update with photos of recently completed finish work when said photos have been a) taken and b) edited. May be a while.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cooper update

I have been putting in a lot of time on Cooper recently. I just compared him as he is now to the very first pictures--it's amazing how much has changed!

This week I worked intensively on his legs. I can still see a few things that need tweaking (his left hind is still a bit off in positioning--I think it's just a heat-and-bend fix), and there's still smoothing and filling to be done in a few places. Then it will be time for fine detailing, like veining.

This stage always seems to take me the longest. It might be because it never seems to result in immediate progress--filling one area only seems to show up three more that need work! I tend to get a bit discouraged around this stage, because it just feels like it takes forever. I always wish I had done more smoothing earlier on, when he was in soft clay, but of course when I'm working in clay I forget how difficult this part is and am in a hurry to see the horse in resin.

I was surprised by how much work needed to be done to his legs. I essentially resculpted each of them from scratch, maintaining the same lengths and such but re-detailing them.

I'm afraid these pictures are rather terrible, being taken in harsh sunlight since they're just quick in-progress shots. I've also noticed that his right hind leg (the supporting one) wants to flex ever so slightly with the full weight of the resin on it. The resin is sold cast and quite heavy, and that leg doesn't have wire running it's full length (I tried to put wire in, but as I think I've mentioned before my resin casting skills are not yet top-notch, seeing as I cast perhaps two castings a year! This won't be a problem in the finished resins, as they will be professionally hollow-cast with properly reinforced legs.

He currently has those two tiny bases--I plan to have similar bases cast in clear resin--very unobtrusive. I am also hoping to manage a "normal" base with a peg that goes into that right hind leg, so that he can be on either the small clear bases or the larger base.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I am currently experiencing severe computer problems, so this update is not going to be an exciting one with lots of pictures and such! I am working on Cooper, and he was laying down on my desk. Also on my desk was a cup full of paint-water that I had been washing brushes in. Well, I turned my chair, which caught on Cooper's leg, causing him to spin around and knock the cup off the desk...right into my laptop. Which promptly went off. I'm going to let it dry out for a while but I don't have much home of it being redeemable, unfortunately. I can only hope that I can get most of my data off of it. Thankfully I had done a major backup shortly before BreyerFest, so I won't lose too much stuff--but I would be very sad to lose all my photos from BreyerFest! I also have my sales information on there, but it is backed up elsewhere and if I have to get a new computer I will be able to recover it.

Cooper had more to be done on him than I thought! I am currently resculpting all his legs to make them really clean and detailed. That's the most major thing I'm working on--that and filling the thousands of pinholes that my rather poor resin casting produced!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A very quick update!

Cooper is getting close to being done! I cast the resin copy yesterday; now I'll have to detail this copy off before sending it off for the production molds to be made.

This step is necessary when working in non-hardening oil clays. It adds some expense, since the silicone rubber, PlastiPaste (hard-curing material used to make a supportive outer mold) and resin are a bit pricey, but it makes the process much easier.

Sculpting in soft clay (or even relatively hard clay!) is quite different than working in hardening material like Apoxie Sculpt. Errors can be fixed by pushing the clay around instead of having to cut or grind off sections and resculpt them.

I find that working in non-permanent materials also tends to change my sculpting style. Different techniques work better in oil clays, and different media must be used; for example, I use oderless mineral spirits to thin clay and to smooth, while I use water or saliva to smooth Apoxie Sculpt.

The next step is finishing this resin. There will be lots of prep-type work to do, filling the many tiny bubbles, smoothing imperfections, and rebuilding a few slipped seams and the one missing hoof. I also will detail him out, adding veins, rebuilding the wrinkles that may have been lost in the molding process, and otherwise adjusting details. I also must figure out the stand situation, as he has only his right hind touching the ground.

Once all this is sorted, it will be off to the casters! I need to get a quote on him, but if everything works as I hope I would like to offer him at about $195 unpainted.

Monday, May 26, 2008


This is Cooper. He's a real Arabian, as well as my latest Traditional scale sculpture!

Cooper's owner, Carra McClelland, has sent me about 800 photos of him. No problem with references! I'm really enjoying working on him.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A sneak peak

These two quite different horses are some of what I'm working on. The CM Abel in back is my NAN auction donation piece. Still got a good ways to go on him--I haven't even gotten any primer on him yet. And I suppose I need to work out his forelock as well. What you can't see is that his mane and tail are removable. I plan to give him a hair mane and tail as well--so if you like hair, or for performance classes, you can have mohair, if you prefer sculpted--no problem there! I've done some parts a bit differently than I've seen them done before. There shouldn't be any visible join once he's finished.

The little guy (Little Bits scale) is my latest sculpture. He's (obviously) an Andalusian/PRE stallion, in a forward Spanish trot. I still have a ways to go on him what with smoothing and correcting musculature and overall detailing, but he's getting there. I just shot him with his first coat of primer, so now I can see all sorts of things to fix! I plan to have him ready for sale by Breyerfest. He does need a name...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Some works in progress

So: some things I've been working on! All these pictures are rather poor, I'm afraid--not great lighting today. Ah well, you can get the idea. Just note that my camera has introduced some graininess that is not in the finish work!

First up is a red bay Willoughby, a commission. I'm waiting to hear back from his owner before finishing him up. He still needs a star at least, and some more hoof and facial detailing, and I haven't even started on his base.

Next is a bay Zim, also a commission. He's going to be a pinto of some sort--just waiting until I hear back from his owner before adding any more markings, since I'm not sure if he needs to be a sabino or a tobiano! He also needs his hooves and other details finished.

And then we having the Rearing Abel. He's the first of ten similar piece I have planned, each customized from an Abel resin to a rearing pose. Each will be slightly different. This one is a liver chestnut, and he's nearing completion--needs hooves and some other details done! He is/will be for sale--$800.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

And another custom Silver!

This one is a bit more drastic, although I would still consider her a "moderate" custom--I feel the word drastic is overused for CMs, and since there's still plenty of ol' Silver left in her she's just moderate! New head, neck, and barrel, and her hind end was resculpted too. I tried to keep the muscling and sculpting style similar to the original, and I think her new hindquarters still flow nicely with the sculpting style of her shoulders.

She is finished in acrylics and pure pigments; her mane and tail are mohair (multiple colors in both white and chestnut to give depth and variation).

She, too, will be for sale.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A completed custom

One down, who knows how many to go!

I may have said this before, but I'm finding I really enjoy customs. I love learning the process of adding mohair, which is something new to me, and I love the realism it can give. It's hard to be fooled by a model with a sculpted mane and tail into thinking you're looking at a photo of a real horse, but it's just about possible with the haired models. This guy, "Ekhlypse", is a customized Breyer Silver with an Abel head (Silver's original head is quite crooked!). Ekhlypse is so named because most of the work on him was completed during the week of the lunar eclipse, and his color reminds me of the darkened moon. Ekhlypse is/will be for sale, although I'm still not 100% sure on sales method yet.

Here are some of the other horses I'm working on now: another CM Silver to chestnut paint (just about done, I'm styling her hair now and she needs some details finished), a Depeche resin to dapple grey, a resculpted Salinero to fleabitten grey (just needs a few more tiny details), an Abel with his head raised and a tummy tuck (still needs work on his neck, will be a dapple grey), and a CM PS draft (will be a napping mare).

Friday, February 22, 2008

What's going on

I've been quite busy lately--thus the lack of posting. I'm doing some CMs--several Breyer Silvers for starters! I'm also taking on some commissions, which will be fun. I've opened up the Shah Azim edition ($350 each unpainted), and I'm selling Abel resins as well.

I've been having too much fun customizing both plastics and resins to work much on any new sculptures, although I did rough out a little Caspian stallion (traditional scale but classic size). I have tons of references from my October trip to the National Drive of a team of Caspians, and I'm excited about doing a sculpture of one eventually.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Painting painting painting

I've been enjoying painting lately. I've painted a couple of Bartimaeus resins (one dapple grey, one chestnut with hair--which still needs a bit of work, turns out the reason there aren't many haired minis is because they're hard to do), and the first painted Abel resin.

The Bartimaeus resin came out really well, I think--the dapple grey one at left. I'm very pleased with him. He will be for sale; I'm not sure if I should do eBay or private offers or what. With eBay's changes to pricing and feedback structures I'm not sure I'm interested in selling as much there as before.

I also am working on an Abel to buckskin. I'm delighted with how this guy is coming out as well. He's done in a combination of media--acrylics as a base, then powder pigments followed by colored pencils and more powder pigments. I was excited to try this color, because I saw a gorgeous (real) horse in this color that I had taken several photographs of. I think that my rendition of it came out pretty close to how the real horse looked.

The powder pigments are interesting. I had to add a lot of black and white (grey) to my mixes to keep the color from being far too intense for the softness of a buckskin. This is opposite to my experience with normal pastels, which tend to have very soft colors, not intense at all. I like it--better too intense and needing to be toned down than not intense enough!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Working hard!

I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, I've just been working hard! Lately I've been doing much more painting and less sculpting, mostly because I have two horses that I am waiting to receive back from the caster's. I'm expecting to get the first batch of Abels in today--I'm really looking forward to that!

In the meantime, I've painted a Bartimaeus to dapple grey--I'm very happy with him-- finished repairing/improving the yawning PS Draft CM, and I'm working on a haired chestnut Bartimaeus. This is only my second (third if you count how I had to hair the Drafter twice due to the repairs) time hairing, and I'm not sure how well it's going to work in SM scale, but I want to give it a try! I have some nice fine hair, so hopefully it'll work!

I'm also finishing up a CM Salinero to a super-complex fleabitten grey--he's resculpted as well, to an Andalusian stallion, in a bullfighting pose that I based on a photo I took of a polo pony. I was going to make him into a polo pony, but Salinero's body type is just too far away from that.