Category Archives: Horses

Greek Gift Horse

gift horse 1
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gift horse 1

gift horse 2
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gift horse 2

gift horse 3
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gift horse 3

gift horse 4
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gift horse 4
These terracotta gift horses were small offerings by mourners  and were put into graves or shrines etc .  They were small items but mine is a more manaeable size, about 8cm tall.  Like the others on this page, it is made of greyboard supported by wire and papier-mache, which is sanded down several times to iron out bumps and give a smooth finish.  The wires extend downwards beyond the feet and into prepared holes in the wooden base.  The paintwork is applied in layers of watercolour washes, gouache overpainting and flicked speckles of darker colour.

original, drawing & cut-out parts
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original, drawing & cut-out parts

glued legs & torso
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glued legs & torso

skeletal form on base
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skeletal form on base

papier-mache covering
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papier-mache covering

Bronze Walking Horse

finished horse
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finished horse
This is my copy of a beautiful little bronze horse is Roman and dates from 200AD.  The following few pictures show its rebirth in card and wet paper.

drawing cut out
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drawing cut out
3 drawing with ribs 2
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drawing showing ribs
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drawing showing ribs

assembled & wired
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assembled & wired

first covering
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first covering

marked for sanding
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marked for sanding

mane & harnesses
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mane & harnesses

first paint coat
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first paint coat

 

800BC Bronze Greek Horse

finished bronze horse
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finished bronze horse
A beautifully simple and elegant ancient horse.

I use a grid to transfer the profile of the horse.  That way I ensure the shape will be as authentic as I can get it.  The legs are stuck onto clumps of cardboard (greyboard) which give the right distance from the centre line.  The neck is built up in the same way with scraps of card.  The papier-mache is applied and dried layer by layer and sanded where bumps protrude.  For the painting, gouache silver is applied to a bluey grey to give a bronze effect and varnish is brushed on top of that.

scale drawing
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scale drawing

cut out shapes
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cut out shapes

wire glued on
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wire glued on

assembled frame
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assembled frame

head detail
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head detail

first layer of papier-mache
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first layer of papier-mache

layered and sanded
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layered and sanded

final sanding
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final sanding

Chinese Jade Horse

painted, salted & glazed
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painted, salted (for texture) & glazed

This is an 8th Century horse of the Tang Dynasty, I believe!  This model was one of my early ones so I was a bit OTT with the ribs – too many of them –  although they fitted quite well onto the central frame.  The legs had to be extended at the top so that they could attach to the ribs.

Wire is shaped to each leg, bent with pliers, then firmly stuck down with 5 minute epoxy resin.   It extends about 2cm below the foot so that it can be inserted into the holes in the base.

cardboard ribs and extended legs
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cardboard ribs and extended legs

all parts assembled
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all parts assembled

papier-mache covered frame
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papie-mache covered frame

The first layer of papier-mache (wet paper dipped in wallpaper paste) shows exactly where the faults lie, in this case, ribs bulging in the wrong places.  Some drastic power cutting and sanding were needed at this point, then more covering, drying & sanding until a more natural shape emerges.  The saddle is made of pieces of cardboard, close-covered with papier-mache so that the detail remains visible.  Finally, salt is stuck on all over the body to give it texture.

power sanded to remove unwanted lumps
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power sanded to remove unwanted lumps

more papier-mache, more sanding
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more papier-mache, more sanding

surface details added
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surface details added

 

Prehistoric Cave Painting

OK, so they’re not all horses!  I’ve widened my scope to include any animal painted in the caves.

I got an urge to see the animals which cavemen painted on their cave walls, thousands of years ago, in 3D form.  They are exquisite paintings as they stand and I appreciate them for that, but I wanted to see them in the round, as solid figures.  These are my first two efforts.

finished bull
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finished bull

the painting on the cave wall
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the painting on the cave wall

right facing
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right facing

cave painting
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cave painting

moments in their creation

drawing and cut-out
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drawing and cut-out

ribbed and wired
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ribbed and wired

papier-mache covering
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papier-mache covering

ribbed and legged
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ribbed and legged

balsa covering
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balsa covering

left facing
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left facing

I made the horse a little more dumpy than intended!

Technically, the problem for me was to include the outline drawing, as seen on the cave wall, onto the 3D figure.  With the bull, in particular, that wasn’t entirely possible.  On the horse I used balsa wood for the ribs and very thin balsa for the skin.  It looks a bit rough in the making stage!

Anyway, here they are.  There will be more to come.

Chinese Tang Dynasty Horse

Chinese Tang Dynasty Horse
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Chinese Tang Dynasty horse

sketch  & cut-out
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sketch & cut-out
I came across an actual sculpture of a Chinese Tang Dynasty Horse in the Durham University Library (Palace Green).  I then went online and sketched other variations of similar horses.

legs re-drawn & extended
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legs re-drawn & extended

cardboard ribs give body to the horse
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cardboard ribs give body to the horse
The legs have to be re-drawn and arbitrarily extended so that they can be re-attached to the torso.  Greyboard ribs give body to the horse.

wire gives strength
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wire gives strnegth

papier-mache covers the skeleton
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papier-mache covers the skeleton
Wire gives the horse its strength.  I used pliers to shape the  wire and glued it on with epoxy resin. Layers of papier-mache covering the frame form a skin but also show up the faults which then need to be sanded down. Pischaccio shells were used as moulds for the hanging tassels.  Finally, salt was stuck on the whole thing to give a stony texture, then painted.

 

 

the stages of making a horse

My horses are not bronze or marble or even stone.  They’re made of card (greyboard), wire and papier-mache.  I draw out the horse first, then transfer it to greyboard, removing the legs so I can attach them later to the frame. Papie-mache is added in layers then it’s a case of cut and sand, cut and sand until I’ve got the shape I want.

A basic drawn outline on greyboard with supports
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A basic drawn outline with supports

Legs are added and wire for strength
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Legs are added and wire for strength

masking tape is wrapped around the frame
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masking tape is wrapped around the frame

the faults show up when papier-mache is applied.
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the faults show up when papier-mache is applied.

drastic cutting action is needed
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drastic cutting action is needed

marks are made to show where sanding must be done
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marks are made to show where sanding must be done