First I would like to dedicate this days blog to a dear friend and neighbor, Jack McGowan. He and his wife Barbra have lived across the street from me since I moved here in 1987. Years before, he was the coach at the Ennis High school here. What a gentleman he was all his life. He purchased a few of my bronzes in the 90's, and he was always proud of them. Jack passed away this afternoon while I was working in my studio. I'll miss him.
Today, I started to work on the Mountain Man. Starting with the legs. Please excuse the poor photo's. Working in dark wax is very hard to photograph. If you put a white background behind it, the light meter reads the wall and the wax comes out so dark you can't see it. You use the black background, well it's just hard to photograph wax.
I start to block in the ribcage area. I also try and work out the movement of his torso as the horse moves under him. So I have him leaning into the rocking motion of the horse. This, hopefully, puts across movement. I also take a wooden dowel and cut it to the length of the rifle he'll be carrying and start to experiment with placement.
I take a piece of baling wire for one of the arms, and bend the end that will go into the wax ribcage area. I then heat that end and push it into the wax. The bend and the melted wax that surrounds it, locks in the armature for the arm.
I decide for now, to have him holding the rifle with the butt of the weapon resting on the saddle inside his open legs. This will probably change. It's at this point that I decided to change the name of the clay to "A Good Trade - A New Wife". This refers to the fact that he's traded for a Indian woman to help pass the coming winter with companionship. Trapping by ones self could be very lonesome in the long winters of the high country.
Now I start to block in the arms. I roll clay into a long roll and cut it down the middle with a knife and spread it open. Then I wrap the roll around the arm armature. This gives me a base to add muscle later.
I start to block in the woman, working from the head measurement that I worked out for her. She's shorter than the man. You can see the markings for head measurements on the wood of the base. W for woman, and M for... well you get the picture.
Well I may not be back in my studio till Monday, because of the events of today. Next I'll start to create the faces.