Sunday, June 6, 2021

Akhal Teke No. 4 Finished


Finishing my fourth Akhal Teke set taught me something I've known all along.  But that seems to be the way of the world these days.  No matter how much experience I gained as an artist -- I've been making tack since the middle 70s -- fate still stepped in and saw fit to reinforce the lesson.  Take all the time necessary, it said:  Without that you will have no piece.  It might just as well have said no peace.  My customer (and others) is owed a huge slug of thankfulness for her tremendous patience while I learned that lesson all over again.  Eventually is the name of the game!

Another lesson, much more joyous, was also reinforced.  There's always a surprise in a big photo shoot and this time it happened towards the end.  I swear it was the most idle of spontaneous thoughts to try the bridle and new breastcollar on my NaMoPaiMo horse.  Why pick him? -- he's not a Teke!  He couldn't even wear the neckpieces...  But when I got the bc on him everything changed.  It is downright eerie how incredibly good he looked then.  Words like "Enchanted" and "Moorish" floated in my mind.  There was something there...

I also experimented with photographing tack on black velvet, a FB comment suggestion for me.  But let's begin at the beginning.

This commission was accepted because the customer had entered my Anniversary Tack Giveaway contest, held in July of 2020 during BreyerFest.  A Tack Giveaway   She entered in such a fashion as to move me to extend the giveaway to include her.  Yes, that's what happened:  Apparently I can be persuaded, talked around!!  So now I had to create 2 Akhal Teke sets instead of one.  Both would cost their owners a pretty penny; they were accepted orders and not mere wish orders.  With the TSII, that's a real difference.

The only trouble was that, as you can see, it took nearly a year to fill the second order.

Is this ever on purpose?  Has there ever been a time like 2020??  In 15 months of quarantine I have finished TSII #457 (a year-long saddle at 200 hours), painted a Trad scale horse in a month,  thoroughly restored (and documented the restoration of) another old TSII saddle and created now two Akhal Teke sets for the winners of the contest... and that's just the model stuff.  Somehow there were a thousand other things to do, and my feelings and behaviour have gone from slightly off kilter to strange to just plain weird.  By the end of May I reached a stage where it took til Friday to photograph a piece of tack finished the previous Sunday,... this after making the customer wait a solid 8 months.  AT4 was technically started in October (Oct 28, 2020).  

There was the small comfort that my 1st and 3rd Teke sets took me nearly 70 hours each, while this one had taken a more experienced 49.  [No records kept on the 2nd, my own {Brasenose's}.]  It's hard to make generalizations though.  AT4 had its first parts made back in October, had more work during February (NaMoPaiMo month) and then really took off in April.   Such clocked hours are very condensed and contain only tackmaking time at the bench.  It's fair to say I can only make tack for 2 hours a day these days; and even at that rate more than 3 consecutive days would be a delightful exception.

This is a good place to look at the black velvet shots.

I was actually well pleased with how this technique came out.  The ever-elusive colors were truthfully depicted.

I also tried a green background, which worked reasonably well.

When I finally girded myself to shoot, Friday the 4th, Shazada the perlino was first.  By coincidence this is our anniversary (33rd).  The stroll we took along Spring Creek miraculously gave me back large measures of my serenity and creative mojo.  I photographed Shazada, took him inside to switch AT4 to another horse --- and the cape jewel plate fell off.

Which made me feel probably like Morgen did when Wycked's head came off:*  So exasperated-exhausted that the mood was hilarity rather than rage or sorrow.  Thank god it happened now and not in Danielle's hands -- that's all I thought.  I had needed to make its sleeve larger;  this was my chance.  I forgot that that would make the cape ride higher by adding bulk, but I did it anyway.  I glued the plate back on with a minimum of fuss and on Saturday I tried shooting again.  Talisman/Altynai was indicated since that's the mold the customer asked for.  But I didn't want to use more than one horse beyond him.

I had great fun setting out Talisman in the front yard.  There is something goofy about the dry-desert Akhal Teke running around in deep lush grass...!

I was using the front steps because the sunset at the time made the back deck light very direct and unsuitable.  Here was where I'd shot Orlik when he was 1st finished.  Perhaps that was part of what urged me to choose him.  I idly picked him up -- he still is resonating with me, still on fire from the great triumph of NMPM.  His mane made wearing neckpieces problematic, but why not try the breastcollar?  That's what's new anyway...

To my amazement, the colors came through.

It always has been very hard to catch the colors of this set with the camera.  The aquamarines of AT4 are so milky light that any strong sun defeats me.  But it was the white bricks that set off the statuesque horse and his noble demeanor.  My god, what a storyline here,... exotic Arab markets, courtyards, dusky evenings in hot countries...

The iris blades could easily be something tropical.

His pose is so indicative of the spade bit horse:  highly trained, the property of a gentleman, of a noble.
This one is my favorite.

I am so grateful for so much understanding by friends of what has been a long, tough time; we are still healing.  This is one artist who will blunder through the pandemic on the patience of so many.  It's true there is always enough time to do the job right.  I feel I can start afresh.

 I am thinking of holding a raffle for the single neckpiece I have to offer during BreyerFest.  The stones can be any color the winner wants.  More details later, of course!

*During the Wycked Wynd coloring contest prize drawing, broadcast on FB, she picked up the first resincast of the stallion by his head and it snapped off in her hand.

Note from the future [June 7]:  The customer has requested a small change in the breastcollar, and since we always try to please the customer!!  the change has been made.  This is what the breastcollar looks like now:  all silver drops.

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