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Horse Bust

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  • Horse Bust

    I am attaching some photos of a work in progress as it now stands. The piece is about 8.5" tall, 3" side to side and 9" front to back. I knew that I was going to need a base on this one. The first thing I need to solve is what size base? The bottom of the carving is 2 1/2" side to side and 3 4/5" from front to rear. Rather small for such a large carving. The nose of the horse is 4' beyond the front of the carving bottom and the back of the mane is 1 1/2" beyond the rear of the bottom of the carving.

    Photos below show the carving on a regular sheet of paper to get some idea of the size of a base.
    The bottom of the carving is pretty simple so when I tired of working on the upper head, I worked on the convolutions I am carving there. Mostly they are a continuation/exaggeration of where the muscles would make depressions on a horse. I still have to take off wood in the back below the mane. I am using the smooth valleys and ridges as a transition from the horse's head to the base of the carving. This is the area that would be the shoulder of the horse.
    I am beginning to give some consideration to the base.........and am not sure where I want to go. I have had several people tell me that a carving is not finished until it has a base. I believe that the carving will tell me whether or not it needs a base. Perhaps of the way I carve, most tell me no base. This one says, "Give me a base!".
    When I use a base, I don't like to have a carving stand obviously separate from the base. I want some relationship or continuation from base to carving. I have four alternatives that I am considering:

    • I could use watercolor and paint the horse. To me, this would offer even more separation of the two pieces; unless, I painted the base in the same color. Never tried that but it does not sound like something I would like.

    • I have not stained a piece in years; but believe this to be a viable alternative. Stain the horse as a roan or dun. Nothing spectacular such as black or white. I could then stain the base in a matching color and make the whole thing more of a single piece.

    • I had given some thought to using wood (bass, butternut, cedar) for the base. I could then leave it natural and burn in brands to connect the two.

    • I could use some combination of the above three alternatives. Perhaps combining burning with either of the previous three.

    I would appreciate any thoughts or additional alternatives.

  • #2
    Re: Horse Bust

    Sorry, can't help with the base. That is a very nice rendition of a horse head and neck. Very spirited looking.

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    • #3
      Re: Horse Bust

      Paul
      with such a beautiful carving give thought to a black or grey marble rectangular base just slightly larger than the head but deep sided or even ebony if you wish to carve it ---just a thought for a beautiful animal

      Shakey

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      • #4
        Re: Horse Bust

        Beautifully done carving Paul, I would use a contrasting color for the base.

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        • #5
          Re: Horse Bust

          Paul, I like Shakey's suggestion of black marble, or something similar. It would elegantly show the horse, which I would stain, and the shiny black would be a nice contrast to the warm wood.

          This will be a beautiful carving. Well done!
          Arthur

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          • #6
            Re: Horse Bust

            I think it will look good with any of your ideas. That is a great carving thus far.

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            • #7
              Re: Horse Bust

              I'd suggest a piece of black walnut for the base, if you go with wood. Shaped in an oval, so it's maybe 1/2 inch past the head and mane, and 1/2 inch past the base of the neck on each side.

              Claude
              My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaudesWoodCarving/
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              • #8
                Re: Horse Bust

                I would go with staining the carving to give it a nice warm deeper tone and set it on a darker contrasting base to really set it off...drawing attention to the carving not the base.

                Stone/Rock could look real nice too.
                Greg

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                • #9
                  Re: Horse Bust

                  Nice work project going there Paul. I would stain the piece and add a base of walnut or similiar wood. I am working on a project now with two similiar carved horse heads I plan on making into lamps where the heads will be mounted on two old antique wagon wheel hubs. Possibly you could mount you're head on a old hub. I know there has to be a few of those in your neck of the woods? Enclosing a pic of the concept I did with a walnut wolf.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Horse Bust

                    Looking great! The movement in the mane really sets it off.
                    Terry

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                    • #11
                      Re: Horse Bust

                      Great carving, Nice flow of the mane.

                      You know what they say about opinions.... everyone has one. I however have many if you are ever short one.

                      Mine would be a dark rich base like Mahogany. Keep the Horse natural or burn some more detail in the mane and paint it.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Horse Bust

                        The horse is looking good Paul, nice flow to the mane and musculature to the head and neck. As for a base, something dark for sure, not too thick, and sized about what you have shown there. Perhaps some exotic hardwood, like: Ebony, Wenge, Cocoboa, Zabatero or Kingwood?

                        Bob
                        Before they slip me over the standing part of the fore sheet, let them pipe: "Up Spirits" one more time.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Horse Bust

                          Thank you all for your comments and concepts. Among other things, you resurrected the idea of a contrasting base; which I had rejected. Unstained exotic wood? Interesting! I will be cutting a piece of paper and using Claude's suggestion of dimensions. A problem with this piece is the distance from the bottom front and the horse's nose. That's a lot of wood in contrast to the other three sides.


                          A fifth possibility occurred to me last evening. I was watching a nature program about a polar bear in northern Sweden. These bears with their long neck, huge paws and thick fur are incredible to watch move. I reminded me of a polar bear carving done by Debbe Edwards in one of her classes. Some carvers have used wood bleach and it made an interesting carving. I told Debbe that I was not interested in carving this piece; although I would like to experiment with bleach.


                          She knew I liked carving bears and asked me, "Why not this one?"


                          "Debbe, I had rather lie about this one. But, the truth is ─ sitting on its rear with back legs splayed and front legs between them. Well, this reminds me too much of an old hound dog, in the same pose, rubbing his butt across the ground."


                          I still want to experiment with bleached wood. Maybe this is the piece? Burn the eyes and the mane, bleach the body, and take up some of your suggestions of a contrasting wood.


                          This is only the second time I have asked for input on a carving in progress. I like it! I will be thinking of all of the suggestions when I reach the point of deciding on the base. I still have plenty of time as I concentrate on the mane and its flow, while bringing out the horse's face. I figure at least 10 carving hours before reaching this point.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Horse Bust

                            A wonderful carving Paul, and I think a dark base will be just right to offset that beautiful head. fred k

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                            • #15
                              Re: Horse Bust

                              Looking good so far. As for the base, I think I'd go with a pedestal about the size of the neck, 4" or so tall with a larger base - perhaps marble (or faux marble?) for the pedestal and walnut for the base.

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