This week's blog is written by Carl Sandeen of Kristi Usher Fine Art. Carl's wife Kristi is a bronze sculptor of western themes as well as a two-dimensional artist with oil, pencil and ink. Kristi's work is known for realism and projects her intimate knowledge of horses, dogs and the cowboy way of life.
Kristi's style, whether sculpting, painting or drawing, is to produce a piece that is accurate in its details. Kristi raised boys, horses and dogs. Because she had young cowboys, quarter horses, heelers, and border collies around the ranch, those are her favorite subjects. But when it comes to realism, she can't stop there. Kristi will acquire pictures, use reference books such as The Anatomy Of The Horse or Animals In Motion, or actually hire professionals to show her exactly how something should be done.
An example is Kristi's bronze sculpture A Trail Less Traveled where she has a pack mule loaded with an elk carcass. What sort of pack saddle frame and lashing technique would a hunter most commonly use? An experienced packer was enlisted to show her the diamond hitch, how to cover and distribute the load, and how to properly anchor it to the mule.
The highest compliments come when a seasoned rancher or someone with full knowledge of the elements in Kristi's western art, spend time studying a piece, then step back and say, "You got it right." Kristi might say to a horse person looking at her work, "Feel under the hoof, the frog and shoe are just as they should be."
Kristi rarely rushes a new sculpture to the foundry. It's much easier to correct the clay original than trying to fix a piece cast in bronze. Usually, that's just about impossible. The same goes for paintings and drawings. When realism and the tiniest of details are important, the artwork needs to sit a while, studied for correctness time and time again, before it's ready to be released.
KRISTI USHER FINE ART