Arabian Mare

having seen recently some impressive horse carvings, in stone as well as in wood, i want try my hand at one too. since arabian horses are my favorites, i choose to carve an arabian mare, and want portrait the elegance, the grace, the power and strength and the free spirit i see in them. and, as i consider the work preparing the actual carving same important as the carving, i want this time document it more closely as it is often not shown and so way too often one jumps head over heels into a project without really knowing how it looks what is to be carved ….

the first step is gathering reference material, finding an actual model if possible… since i have no arabian mare to use as a model, and in my neighborhood also no one lives, the horse living here are huge, hannoveranian horses, very nice too, but they not have the spirit of freeness, wildness i want capture. so, my first step is to google images of arabian mares. i found one which is very close to what i was looking for, as well as others which i can use later for details,,, also, i have quite a number of books on horses in general, as well as images of statues with horses for inspiration, so i am now set with a solid foundation for informations on what i want carve….

the next step is to become acquainted with the topic. a drawing alone will give me not enough information i think … so, i decided to built a clay model, since this will be my first horse carving, and i am not much of a horse person, so i think it is better to work out all the problems first in clay. so, as those horses have rather thin legs, i needed think about how to support the clay, and that started the actual work…

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. markyundt
    Jun 23, 2009 @ 16:22:27

    The clay model looks great! It sends a feeling of power, motion and grace. Lightness and agility for what you know to be a large, heavy animal. The way you handled the position of the legs,,mane,, tail. Just these subtle placements,, a twist here,, a turn there,, the pose of one leg,,all adds up to create this feeling. Wow!
    My only wish is that you were in my studio with access to some power tools to cut out the profile. But this shows that with determination one can do anything. Besides,, how many power tools did any of the Masters have at their disposal? Doris,, you are in good company! This is terrific!


    • dorisfiebig
      Jun 23, 2009 @ 20:46:24

      hi mark, oh yes, meanwhile i wished too i had some powertool to saw out the profile. i have the upper half free, but the legs are mostly inside wood still,,,, oh arabians are fairly lightweight actually, they are small for horses, so to say, but mine looks more like a percheron stallion than a gracile arabian mare ,,, in moment no grace, and nothing,,, but i hope i can bring it out, still, all seems be inside the wood,,,if i can tell that is … i soon post an update, but she is indeed very ugly right now…


      • markyundt
        Jun 26, 2009 @ 05:18:08

        I like the terminology I’m hearing even though you are doing some “measuring” so to speak. I like,, proportions,,relationships. You seem to be feeling your way into the carving based on these proportions. In the roughing in stage this is what gets you there. As long as the proportions are correct,, you can’t go wrong because then everything is relative. Once you have found these essential points you can then ( as you are) start to refine the relative forms. You are correct i believe,, if all else is in proportions relative to each other,, the horse and all it’s details are still inside the wood. The horse will appear naturally as an extension of this process as you’ve given it no other options. You’ll watch it happen before your eyes.
        And no,, she’s not ugly now. You can’t start with a finished carving! Besides ,, even with the excess wood,, I can still see the direction,, movement, and the action of the horse in this form. It looks just fine.


  2. dorisfiebig
    Jun 26, 2009 @ 08:59:20

    yes mark, the proportions are all important…why i have decided this time to do only a little measuring is that in the carving of love i measured extensively, and i believe that made that i am not happy with her . sure, the many measurings make all things come to the place where they belong to, the carving will be “correct”, but i strive for something else, and that i lost in her (her back is better than her front, and i believe that is because i measured less in carving her back) … i don´t want loose it in the mare, so i rather go the risk on carving a horse which is not perfectly correct, when i get for that the spirit i want catch… measuring makes me think too much while carving… its good to think in the beginning, when planning, and researching the carving, but once the carving started, it is best, as you said, to not think, just carve… of course, i do try to get the proportions correct, i look often to the model and the reference fotos i have, but measuring i do very few now…


  3. markyundt
    Jul 16, 2009 @ 21:34:12

    Love the mane and tail. Somehow reminds me of Berinin’s Pluto and Prosperina , her hair and the way the cloth flies free, as well as his Apollo and Daphne. Beautiful work. That hair will really add to the movement of this piece showing action and lightness. Great work and foresight.


  4. Paul Guraedy
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 14:30:58

    Doris, that is a beautiful carving. I love the Arabian head, the tilt of the ears, she is interested in something and headed toward it in a hurry. The mane and tail of a horse are, to me, the defining part of a carving. You can do all you want with the rest; but, if the flow of these areas doesn’t “look right” it will attract the attention of the viewer and they will not see the rest of the piece as you intended. Your’s is great. Certainly proportions have to be within reason; but, the look of a carving is far more important than whether or not the head is too long, the feet too big or way too much hair in the mane and tail. I love this piece.


    • dorisfiebig
      Aug 02, 2009 @ 19:28:43

      thank you paul for letting me know what you see in this carving… this is really a good point, the proportions have to be ok, somewhat, to not distract ,,,on the otherhand, the carving wants tell something, and that is the main point. marrying these two ideas, is some of the problems, none of the two should be neglected for the benefit of the other, both need work together… and, as you say, the look of the carving, the feeling it gives, is far more important than tiny details like dimensions of feet (hers are still too big for an arabian, i left them this size for stabilty reasons, and since in my eye they are not distracting from what i wanted to show)… your comment is very appreciated, paul, thank you for sharing your views.


  5. Russ Lavigne
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 20:26:28

    It’s beautiful, Doris, just beautiful.



    • dorisfiebig
      Aug 12, 2009 @ 21:45:36

      hi russ, yes i am pretty happy with her too ,,,she was quite demanding work, but the whole process of carving was altogether very satisfying… glad you like her too, thank you for telling me, it means a lot to me.


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