A serrated knife rests on the model after I’ve laid it on its side to work on the side and underbelly. Notice the green chunks and creamy white foam peanuts all over the piece. These are the result of poking a straw like thing into a hole and squirting the foam insulation into the crevice. It overfills of course and then pops to the surface and becomes a topography of sorts. It’s actually fun removing them, easy and rather mindless work. Next, I use a rasp probably made for wood, I use it for the foam. I run the rasp over the surface to smooth it to the shape I’m looking to create.
I use a sandpaper to make the surface as smooth before the next step which is glue sizing then the clay application. It keeps the foam from coming to the surface and having to fish it out with tools or fingers.
It’s critical to make sure I have the “manikin” anatomically correct. How would you know you would ask? Well if you notice on the head of the horse I’ve used black marker and I’ve marked out the skeleton and muscle groups. I also use bamboo sticks to mark angles on a horses anatomy. They stay put, are easy to remove, can be used again and again and are cheap.
These lines and landmarks give me a road map of sorts to follow and my anatomy book is always nearby. I believe a sculpture of a horse should be plausible. It should tempt you into the world of the horse. I think this can be accomplished by being true to the horse. One of my pet peeves is a slavish copy of a horse to the point it’s frozen in place. And that doesn’t mean it’s like a Popsicle. That would be interesting if the artist intention was a “frozen” horse but this usually isn’t what is intended by a surface overworked and tired. I put as much of the horse in the model as possible.