Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ancient Horse and Rider Motifs

Horse and Rider
earth paints on terracotta
by Eric Whollem


The motif of rider on horseback is a very ancient traditional image in diverse cultures spread across thousands of years. The horse is a symbol of Poseidon, the god of the sea, and represents the power of the ocean tides. Another of Poseidon's animal manifestations was the dolphin.

The sculpture you see here was painted with my own homemade earth paints made from
 pigments gathered in rural areas of Northern California.


My brushes used for painting these sculptures are in fact sticks. The paint is thick and opaque,  and it's coarse gritty quality would quickly wear down a fine artist's brush. The technique is related to that used by peoples such as the Australian Aborigines, who used stick brushes to do their earth art on the plains of the ancient continent of the South.


Although my paintings made of natural earths often used milk glue to bind the earth, I discerned that a more robust binder was needed for sculpture, so I used polymer emulsion on my ceramics. It is very tough and water resistant.


Readers interested in my approaches to Earth Paints should view this link:

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