Friday, April 3, 2015

Studio Day - Learn ALL The Things!

About a month ago, (really??  Yes, time does fly...) I had my day in the studio with Candace Liddy.  It.  Was.  Amazing.  There was SO much that I have been wanting to learn for YEARS and...  we covered just about all of it.  Unfortunately I didn't end up taking much in the way of pictures, I was too busy trying to soak it all in, but here are a few that I took during my visit.

The first thing I noticed when I got to her house was...  Gasp!  A stagecoach!

Since stagecoaches are a bit of an obsession for me (thanks to my very own ongoing epic stagecoach project), I had to get a closer look at this one.  It is being pulled by her "Wells Fargo" Thoroughbreds: Cash, Chex, Credit, Debit, Loan, and Savings.  It is an amazing setup.

Another really cool hitch she has is this micro mini circus wagon!

Of course since she created the first micro minis, I saw a lot of neat stuff about them during my visit.  She has a lot of the originals, test models, promotional material, and so on.  It was really neat to see all of that too.

One of the first things I noticed as soon as we went out to the studio was THIS.  A gorgeous sculpt she did of a racehorse and jockey, that was hanging from the ceiling.  I just kept staring at this each time we took a break.  It was so cool.

Okay, enough oogling at the cool stuff, ha!  It was time to get to work...

As far as the actual studio time, we did a LOT.  We started out by going outside and measuring her three (real) horses, to discuss conformation analysis.  Then we put what we talked about to work in looking at reference pictures of horses and building an armature.  Building an armature for an original sculpture is something I've always wanted to do, but was sort of intimidated by.  She showed me an easy way to do it and also how to bulk up the armature, without using clay.  I've wanted to try an original sculpture for a long time, but really didn't even know where to start.  Now I do!

She had told me I could bring anything I was working on, for a critique or for help if I was stuck.  Boy was I stuck on one in particular.  This is one that I started YEARS ago and then just stopped.  I mostly customize minis and I wasn't sure where to go next with this big thing.  She helped me a lot here.  I just had to grab a quick picture of one of my crazy creations hanging out in the middle of her work desk! 

She told me some things to work on and she even did a bit of sculpting on my little monster!

We also took a look at another of my drastic customs, a classic scale, and she did a bit of work on that one too, plus giving me tips on where to go next.  Although, I did tell her that after finally seeing how easy it can be to do an original sculpture, I may have to rethink all of this drastic custom nonsense - ha!  No, I do still enjoy the challenge of doing a drastic custom pieces and I'm sure I'll keep hacking away at them.  (emphasis on hacking)

One of the last (and MOST) exciting things we covered was...  resin casting!  I can't say how long I've wanted to try this, but it's been a long, long time.  I've always been so intimidated by even getting started.  Once again, after seeing her process, I felt like saying, "That's it?  This is what I've been so scared to try all of these years??"  She did three resins while I was there and also let me see how fast the resin sets up, and what it looks like as it does, by pouring some into the open medallion mold.  That was really neat to see.

After we were all done, I did a bit of shopping...  She had a bunch of resins still packed up from the previous show and I looked through a lot of them.  I ended up buying several new little faces, most of which were discount priced for being raw castings or having missing feet.  I don't mind prepping and can certainly make new pony feets, so it was a good way to get some resins inexpensively.

I am still so excited by all that I learned with Candace.  I took a bunch of notes and she sent me home with some wonderful reference materials for sculpting.  A lot of the fear of the unknown that I had about trying these things is gone now.  I know a big part of my trepidation has always been that I am a very visual learner.  Even tutorials with pictures just didn't feel like enough for me to grasp how to do these things.  But after seeing it done, the mystery is gone, as far as how certain things actually work.  I'm sure there will still be quite a learning curve to get past and lots of mistakes to make, but it really was invaluable for me to SEE all of this being done.

A HUGE thank you goes out to Candace Liddy for her generosity and hospitality.  It was such a wonderful time and I am so grateful. 


  1. I really want an experience like this. I want to start some more drastic customs and original sculpts but I don't think I could do it with out some learning first.

    1. It really was an amazing experience and I am SO thankful I had the opportunity to do it. I highly recommend that anyone interested in this kind of stuff work with her if they get the chance. It sounds like she has doe a lot of teaching, she had some teaching materials that she gave me, about conformation and sculpting. I'm pretty sure she offers these days in the studio to anyone, but I'm not sure how much they normally cost. I just happened to win it at a live show. I've heard there are other artists that offer similar things too, as far as opportunities to work with and learn from them.

      Aside from all of that, I would say just jump in and start trying to make some stuff! :) That's what I did as far as drastic customs anyway. I never got into original sculpts in the past, but I certainly want to now!

    2. Ok thank you. I'm saving money for my big overtaking of customs I plan to work on.