Steel Manzanita Tree

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Last December I decided to jump on an opportunity to support the making of a film about the founder of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Dayton Hyde.  There were looking for artists to submit photos of work that would possibly be included in the film credits or other promotions of the film.  Unfortunately the film has not come into fruition as there were not able to raise the funds necessary.  However, it did give me an opportunity to raise the bar for myself by starting of the largest sculptures I have made to date.  I decided I would do a full scale horse sculpture that would be the size of the average Mustang which is typically around 14'2 hands high or about 56 inches at the wither.

I spent some months studying horse anatomy and movement as well as various images online of the mustangs and their make up and expressions.  So far, its been an interesting lesson in horse anatomy and movement, proportions, large scale steel construction as well as a math lesson.

My other muse in all of this is my old Quarter Horse, Jes.  I had saved a set of his horse shoes to mount on the hooves of the sculpture so a piece of him would always be part of this project.  I was looking forward to getting a photo of Jesse with the completed sculpture but unfortunately, my Jesse passed away in February of last year just as I was getting started in the sculpture.  I am forever grateful to have gotten a pair of his shoes just before I started the hooves and I saved a piece of his mane to be included in this somehow.  Because of that, I will say I lost a bit of my momentum on this piece and actually haven't gone back to working on it until this month.  He was part of my life for 27 years.  Its been sad without my big red horse but with this sculpture, I will always have a piece of him to see every day and that makes it all the more special to me.

Jester Beau aka Jesse 04/01/1986-02/25/2014

I am ready to get back to work on this.  Now, with no specific deadlines, I can take my time and really think this through.  I started this by building the hooves first and working my way up.  I actually have a good part of the skeletal structure started but I think I need to take this time to regroup and maybe do some more sketches and really think about how I am going to complete it.  It will be a welded sculpture, so it will be a combination of fully welded sections as well as some sections of sheet metal for filler over the larger more open sections.  The head will be the last piece constructed. I have always taken pride in the realistic work I have done in the past and hold myself in the highest of standards on this one.

I have been making some changes in my professional life of late and my excitement in this and my art work in general is renewed.  I am really glad I started it - now I am looking forward to taking it to completion. I know Jesse's soul will always be part of it - it will be a much more meaningful piece to me because of that.

I will still continue to take progress photos and will post a link to the photo album below.  Feel free to follow along - with Jesse's help, I look forward to the possibility of this completed piece opening some doors for me with respect to my art and the direction of my career going forward.


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