The People of the Pines by Rodney Matthews

The People of the Pines

The People of the Pines

The People of the Pines by Rodney Matthews


Last week I blogged about our second Fantasy Art Retreat.  I mentioned that one of our attendees, Adrian Getley, who is an old friend, presented me with a splendid sculpture of a horse from 'The People of the Pines' (one of my 1977 illustrations for a "Corum" story by Michael Moorcock).

Some thirty or more years ago, Adrian and I would exchange phone calls and letters concerning art questions.  At that time he worked for Jim Henson's Creature Shop. 

I knew Jim Henson, he was a very a kind, genuine man, who would always send a letter of thanks for the calendar that I would give him each year.  He told me that he'd take them home and keep them for himself for Christmas.  We corresponded regularly and Jim invited my son and I to Elstree Studios, while he was shooting the film Labyrinth.  We arrived and were taken in to the studio, however he was busy directing a sequence of shots - the Shaft of Hands scene, where the girl is in the tunnel and grabbing hands appear out of the walls.  In the midst of it all, Jim caught sight of Yendor and I, and immediately asked an associate to finish the shot, so that he could personally show us around the entire film-set.  He took us into the many different rooms where filming was happening and explained to us what they were doing.  He also took us into a side room where he could browse my portfolio at his leisure.  I remember that he was particularly taken with 'On a Storyteller's Night'.  Jim wanted to work with me, and it would have been such an honour for me, but sadly he died too young and it never happened.

Sorry for the brief interlude there, I better get back to where I was.  Yes, Adrian and I had been in contact all those years ago, but it wasn't until our recent retreat that we met face-to-face.  It was a pleasure to finally meet him and to hear what he has been up to over the years.  He really is an incredibly talented man, having worked on: Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later ... and Sunshine on the Prosthetics Crew and as Senior Modeller; the Harry Potter movies as Senior Modeller (wand and broomstick maker by all accounts); Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: The Last Jedi as Supervising Modeller; and the list goes on.  He has also acted in the 1999 movie Alice in Wonderland and the science fiction TV series Farscape.

Being such a busy man, I am grateful that he would spend his time creating such a stunning sculpture for me.  Here it is, side-by-side with the image that inspired it:

People of the Pines by Rodney Matthews and Sculpture by Adrian Getley

Here in his own words (and pictures) is his account of how he sculpted the 'Pine Horse':

Day 1! Making the armature and trying to figure out the pose in 3D:

Day 1 - People of the Pines Sculpture by Adrian Getley

Day 12 about 60hrs in! The rough shape still in green Super Sculpey. The grey elements already separated from the main sculpt and baked hard in the oven and sprayed with primer. I hadn’t noticed at this stage that the horses front left leg is pulled up too tight to the body and there’s a flesh bulge missing between the leg and the body:

Day 12 - People of the Pines Sculpture by Adrian Getley

Day 20: 96hrs in. This is the reflection in the mirror that I always have behind the sculpt. It’s similar to you being able to flip the tracing paper. The bent front leg has now been moved further away from the body:Day 20 - People of the Pines Sculpture by Adrian Getley

Day 24: 112hrs in. Working on the tail:

Day 24 - People of the Pines Sculpture by Adrian Getley

Day 32: 138hrs in. The horse itself has now been fully baked and the lengthy sanding and filling process begun. The fabric elements are still detachable at this stage to make them easier to work on:Day 32 - People of the Pines Sculpture by Adrian Getley

Day 42: 182hrs in. Fabric elements permanently attached. Working on the hoofs:Day 42 - People of the Pines Sculpture by Adrian Getley

Day 46: 200hrs Finished!

Day 46 - People of the Pines Sculpture by Adrian Getley


Thank you for show the build process for this figure, as a long time modeller it is always inspiring to see how artist solve problems and then present the final piece.

Neil Houlton

Wow! What an honour! The bottom line is Rodney has been a hero of mine since discovering his posters as a child. He inspired me to be creative and was one of the main influences that set me on my path to where I am now! To finally meet him after all these years was like completing the circle! A true Legend and a top man to boot!!!!


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