March 25, 2012

Leopardo: Creation of NAN Donation 2006

This custom portrait is taken from a large painting entitled, "The Imperial Riding School in Vienna", by Johann Georg von Hamilton (1672-1737). This is the third and final Spanish Colonial horse creation based on the artwork of Hamilton for the NAN Auctions. This particular model started out as the traditional-scale Brigitte Eberl Esperanza resin and has been customized by Danielle Feldman.

I have chosen to call him, Leopardo, Italian for "leopard", in honor of his striking coat. The appaloosa color is no longer found in the bloodlines of the horses developed from the historic Spanish Colonial Horse. "Leo" underwent a transformation from the original resin to portray the Baroque leopard appaloosa in the above mentioned painting. This included resetting his forelegs, changing his broodmare belly to a gelding hay belly, completely reworking his back leg to be resting, including a complete restructuring of the pelvis to be tipped towards that leg, as nature intended in that position. He also had his neck realigned and ears twitched to represent the mood of the horse in the painting. The final sculptural touch is his plaited mane with bow, just like the painting. After hours of sculpting and prepping, I meticulously hand painted him using gesso, acrylics, charcoal, and pastels. He is a warm white with shading showing dark skin on his face and underside, including mottled skin and other appaloosa characteristics. I tried some new techniques to add more depth to a leopard appaloosa coat and I am very pleased with the results.I then added Rio Rondo shoes and painted nail heads. I also made a small base for him with fall-colored landscape material for display or show, close in color to the ground color of the painting.

Detail from the painting, "The Imperial Riding School in Vienna", by Johann Georg von Hamilton (1672-1737)
Esperanza Resin by Brigitte Eberl

 After the initial cutting apart of the resin, poor Leo now lies in pieces. I also whittled down his offside hindquarter to reshape it and allow for tilting the hips due to his resting leg. I also whittled down the belly so he looked less like an aged broodmare. The pile of fluff is only a portion of the resin removed. Yikes, what a mess! I also detached the front legs to set them closer together.

 The pin and glue step follows. Now that I have the parts I need, I can reassemble him to reflect the stance of the portrait. Drilling holes and securing thick wire with soda glue to piece him back together. A lot has to be taken off in order to change the angles of joints, etc.

The "joints" are held in place until now by soda glue. Here I have blocked in epoxy to fill gaps and large areas, some of which will later be sculpted over. 

 This photo show a little more sculpting done with fine tuning, especially of the offside hip and the hind legs.

 Detailed sculpting follows. These show his mane all plaited up with ribbon.

Prepping follows.

The completed Leopardo. I really enjoyed the creation of this model and feel that I captured his personality.

The following year I started on a new theme with an Arabian, but was unable to finish it in time for 2007. He ended up being offered in 2008. It took more than two years for his creation, my most drastic custom effort yet, be sure to join me next week for his creation.