Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wasn't this supposed to be a sculpting blog?

I know that has to be what the 2 or 3 people who are actually trying to follow this blog must be thinking. So, in the spirit of not letting my procrastination completely take over, I shall put something on the sculpting stand so you (and I) can feel like things are actually being accomplished!

Some folks have asked about the mysterious and blurry sculpture on the far right hand side of my title banner for this page. Well, here she is. . . the world's oldest yearling filly. She has been haunting my studio for almost 7 years! Technically she's a fully matured mare by now, but since I never worked on her, much less finished her, she's stuck in a state of perpetual, roughed in, youth.

I started her sometime in 2001 using the clay remains and armature from my Strawberry Jam (saddlebred weanling) sculpture. I repositioned the wires, shortened the legs a bit by adding a base, lengthened the body a smidgen for slightly "older" proportions, gave her just a little touch of personality and then promptly began to ignore her. She's been glaring at me from the corner of the room ever since. Up on her shelf, looking down on me with her nose high in the air.

She's all dusty because I never bothered to cover her up. . . silly me, always thought I would get around to finishing her in less than a year. Now that I'm looking at her again. . .I like her. I don't *want* to like her because she's been taunting me all this time.

Her presence has actually interfered with my ability to focus on every piece I've started and finished as she sat and waited. Now, her time has come. I can't leave her sitting around any longer. Besides, I REALLY need to finish something for my own mental well-being and she's far enough along that it isn't as daunting as starting from scratch. So, I am sharing these photos of her in the hopes that I can finally get started making this blog into what I intended it to be.

I can't promise that I won't tell more stories about my dogs. . .or post photos of my newly redecorated bedroom. . .because it's all a part of me and it's what makes me who I am and effects, in every way, what I do and don't accomplish on a day to day basis! Goodness, the bedroom project has been interferring with my sculpting AND blogging in a really big way since mid December when we had to move our bed into my small studio/office while the floors were being refinished! Do you know how hard it is to be the Midnight Sculptor when a "normal" person who has to go to bed at 10 pm and wake up at 6 am is camped out in your SPACE? Hahahahahaha!

Anyhow, enjoy the photos of the little no-name girl. This is probably a BIG reason why I haven't felt like finishing her. I ALWAYS name my sculptures before I start them. . .but this one? Nothing. Ideas anyone? It might help inspire me!

P.S. There was an exciting bit of news at the end of the year that I never got around to writing about. My sculpture Equus Maximus was awarded 1st pace for Sculpture and Best in Show in the Ex Arte Equinus International Art Competition! Exciting stuff! The show was sponsored by Art Horse Magazine. Many thanks to them for giving "Max" his day in the spotlight!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The things that silence the muse. . .

That dirty little face belongs to our baby Murphy. We got him right after we were married. No, we didn't need another dog, we already had three. Jim got it in his head that we needed a Frenchie though and before long we were ensconced in a cozy little interspecies six-pack. Right from the start Murphy was a troublemaker. He dedicated himself to antagonizing the other dogs into defending themselves with bared teeth and bristling hair. Always the clown, there wasn't anything that happened in the house without Murphy being smack dab in the middle of it. He also urinated EVERYWHERE! I don't think there is a single corner, piece of furniture, cabinet, rug, or square foot of flooring here that wasn't christened by his generous little bladder. He even peed on me a few times. Fortunately for him, he was also adorable and snuggly and funny and completely without shame. He was the baby of our little family and he died in my arms on Christmas Eve as we were driving him from the emergency clinic to a surgical specialist for spinal surgery. It turned out that there wouldn't have been any way to save him, even if he'd had the surgery months before when his seemingly minor disc problem was first diagnosed. We had all continued on, playing and snuggling and running as both ascending and descending myelomalacia crept in and slowly began to steal him away from us. It's a rare and unstoppable condition that I know more about now than I wish I had to. But the details don't really matter anymore. Murphy is gone and while I should be making good use of all the extra time I have now that I'm not cleaning up rivers of dog pee every day. . .I just feel cold and sad and helpless. I've lost other beloved dogs before. . . it isn't a new experience, but it always manages to *feel* new. I guess it makes sense, since each one is different, that we should mourn them in their own way. God help me though, how each one drags up memories of the ones that have gone before. The cumulative effect must be staggering when one is old and has known many wonderful animals. I hope I will always be able to have them though, one after the other, until I have reached an age when finally one of them will outlive me. Without my animals I am incomplete.
I know everyone loves that Rainbow Bridge poem for these occasions, but I prefer to look to Rudyard Kipling for the right words. . .

The Power of the Dog

There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
But when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters,
I bid you beware
Of giving your hearts to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie -
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk you heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years that nature permits,
Are closing in asthma, or tumor, or fits,
And the Vet's unspoken prescription runs
to lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find - it's your own affair
But - you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent
At compound interest of cent per cent,
For when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short time loan is as bad as a long -
So why in Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

When the body that lived at your single will,
When the whimper of welcome is stilled
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone - wherever it goes - for good,
You soon discover how much you care,
And give your heart to a NEW dog to tear.

Fare thee well Murphy, have fun playing with Chester, Laddie, Caesar, Prima, Abbie, Ricky, Buddy, Sherman, Tucker, and all the others until we finally come home.