Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year in review!!!

Well this first chapter of our adventurous new life is coming to a close with the close of the year. It started out with us selling as much as we could of our possessions and moving 800 miles south, to a very foreign land to me! Quite exciting for a gal who never stayed more than a month away from central CT my whole life.

So I still love it here. I’ve gotten homesick for a few things but not much... which is surprising all things considered! I wondered about the holidays and I guess the ability to chat folks up on the phone and the relief at not having to zip around for a few hours here, then an hour drive and a few hours there… in between stopping at a barn to feed some horses (my own or the therapeutic riding program’s horses). I honestly can’t remember a holiday last when I stayed “home”. So that was nice! I hope we can start up some traditions of our own off of this. :)

Overall the year saw many transitions for me. I’ve become painfully aware that my forte is not painting horses for money – I’m very slow at the painting and always have been. Just as I’m exceptionally slow at prepping too. I know that sculpting has seemed slow for me but to be honest, it’s mostly been because I’ve been tinkering at it.

This year I decided to get more serious too about the sculpting and move back to ordinary modeling clay. In 2011 I’ll probably play with firm and soft or wax versions but overall, soft clays (pottery clay typically) has been my normal (before 2001 that is!) sculpting media. This year I decided to tackle the issue of casting the work with these clays that never harden.

In general in sculpting this year I’ve gotten several sculptures done while down here already. Here’s a new one for the people who’ve made this possible for us by letting us live in their in-law space while we get established here. This is their dog Pepper. I had my fiancĂ© take a few pictures the week before, got a wild hare to try and sculpt him and wound up literally putting the final details on him on Christmas day.

When sculpting I’m completely in my zen state of mind and I literally fail to notice things going on around me. In college on time I looked up to find the entire class standing in a group nearby staring at me. I guess the professor had called a halt to things to do a demo or something… but there I go merrily plugged along completely oblivious to everyone stopping and his calls out to wrap it up… I was a little relieved that he told the class it wasn’t entirely a bad thing to get so “lost” (except when perhaps alarms are going off or things around you that maybe you SHOULD notice are happening and well, then there’s me – merrily oblivious still!). One time my fiancĂ© came home, walked up to me and stood for a minute or so in the studio before I noticed him next to me, hovering over me actually, and yelped/screamed in surprise. Anyhow, time flies when you’re in this mindset though – that is for certain.

I hope this coming year and decade will bring a lot more new sculpture faces out for me. I’ve been transitioning my site over to be more sculpture-focused. I have several works going on but producing sculptures isn’t just a matter of conceiving and creating them. It involves daunting ways of getting them made into a permanent media somehow. In the past my love of Apoxie Sculpt was in great part due to this. However getting proportions in hardened clay isn’t a minor trick. I like to think of these last 7 years of sculpting horses for artist grade resin releases as proportion training so that I might really express myself now!

We also hope to be moving sometime in 2011 – hopefully this time to our first home. Homes and mortgages down here are very much a fraction of what I paid in cheap rents back in CT. Again too, my fella here is a engineer turned timberframer/welder and now is going back to the workforce in the office.. soooo I’m pretty sure he’ll be hard to hold back building things. We have a joke about this “shed city” that his father has in CT (some 10 sheds I think but he sold antiques and really puts them all to good use still, as well as the neat old barn). Anyhow, the joke now is that I may be facing my very own shed city. As long as some house horses however I’ll be fine… ;)

Reflecting more globally on how my life has already changed so much, while I’ve never been a fan of putting all my eggs in one basket, this past year has been a departure from my former tactic of eggs all around! I’d already started it out with my hours of my part time job cut more than in half… from 18-20 to 8 (2 days a week @4hrs ea). We turned around and did a major clean out – and we still have a lot of “stuff” by most people’s standards. The tough thing is that both of us have actually made income off of our “stuff”.

When I sold my boarding business in Feb of 2009 I had kept most of the tack and tools in storage in another building on the same property where I leased the 6 stall barn.. there were several truck loads full of equipment. I had a photo of it but we think it was deleted – it was a crazy tag sale with people pouring in for hours. We had it piled up pretty densely, with one car/truck worth of space and a car trailer filled to the max with horse & tack stuff… and then another truck parking space and a garage space inside filled with his tools & equipment. And with my horsie stuff, some of it was sold before the actual tack sale spread out– friends came by to buy stuff for their horses, a couple of local biz owners made appts to come over the day before (biz or private I was surprised at how much was left even after that!!). And still we had tons to spare. Consequences of a few decades of hoarding averted eh? So much of that tack & equipment had been acquired, not purchased. So a lot of it was priced at just a few bucks. It was really something to spread out my possessions for a tack/tag sale – mentally a major clean up of a former era. I wasn’t even sure of a lot of it’s value; like sweetmouth western bits (I don’t even know what they look like new, I’m sure I’ll learn down ehre though, western tack stores were rare up north and it seems like English ones are rare down here?). It was REALLY hard to let even the stuff just given to me go; it just always is great to have this or that around to grab when needed... For example boarders and friends borrowed stuff all the time there and I was so happy to have it to lend. It always had a way of multiplying/spreading like good karma too when you lent/gave it away....!! I might give away some keepers and then the boarder gave me a saddle rack later… Too funny - you can't make a pile like that go away, it just NEEDS to grow! ;) Good times of course but literally, I sold as much as possible (pricing crazy low) because I’m sure someday when I start over again here I won’t have half the storage inside you get in new England type barns. In the meantime a lot of stuff gets ruined in storage no matter what you do. And what’s that saying? You can’t take it all with you!!! :D I still have a lot that didn’t sell – so it’s not as if I totally gave away all my possessions. I could get a horse tomorrow and not have to buy anything tool or tack wise .. I’m pretty sure. ;)

When we got down here I’d already set up and booked to attend Breyerfest in the Artisan’s Gallery, so I leapt into painting up a bunch of horses I’d had here that were prepped. I thought 6 was impossible but then a 7th was added with Breyer asking me to paint sometime for their benefit too. In the end though I had a couple that weren’t quite done in time. When I got home I’d planned to leap into wrapping up my one sculpture. What I wound up doing was a lot of soul searching in general about focus.

And that’s where I’ll wrap this lengthy novel/essay/ramble up with I think… In general I’ve been pulling back and saying to myself “well what is working and what isn’t here”.

In the meantime though? I’ve at least been able to get a studio dog!!! :D Dogs are great for one’s overall mindset (well for me anyhow!) and I am just certain I’d have gone a little stir crazy without this awesome goofy gal to randomly leap up and play with here!

The rest of the time obviously I have to keep her penned up... ;) (I'm kidding of course!)

Transitions take time but the journey so far hasn’t been really nearly as tricky or horrible as it could be. We’ve found all kinds of really neat free and fun things to do around here too. Just yesterday we picked up 5 pounds of pecans (weight in shell) in the park. Last night a few cups were peeled and I suspect that today I’ll take a break and try my hand at a pecan pie. We still have some ingredients left over from Christmas (sugar isn’t normally something I have on hand). It’s been fun doing things as a couple. Going forward too, there are whole new avenues to explore around here, I got him a trail trekking GPS for Christmas so hopefully we don’t have any more explorations that veer too far off course. Literally and figuratively!

All the best guys and here’s to a really exciting 2011 eh!!!!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wrapping up another horse, and an era for me! :)


So this gal was created by starting with an airbrushed base coat in acrylic. Then I painted several layers of oils over that to deepen and get the right contrast to the dapples. Still, that was pretty new for me – I never painted so few layers of oils before but the “shimmer” and blended look was just right to me so hooray that I could leave it there. I only just got an airbrush I could use for base coat well the year before, and I’ll never master it enough to paint by airbrush. Plus I really consider myself an oil painter despite the mixed media – I can’t get my look without oil paint really…

Let me pause here and just be clear, I’m reflecting on my own work and my own creative process specifically. I’m a harsh critic of my own work, but I also really get manic about what I do so being exceptionally objective about my work seems necessary. Anyhow, so back to this gal….! ;)

Then the last step – the one I get hung up on and could do infinitely; using black, grey and white pencils with crazy sharp points & smudgies (tortillons)… to get those super fine points & then to get them blending out here and there.

(Click above to enlarge a lot!) If you enlarge this you can see the black, grey and white hairs a bit more easily than on some areas of her body where they're blended in more. I spent these last few months trying to make some areas more obvious.

So here on this dappled gray mare I’ve worked since July and just wrapped it up here in Dec on this last step alone. Not straight through mind you obviously, but picking at it, here and there, adding to the haircoat pattern. And that’s what isn’t worth it to me in the end. No one can see it – even *I* can’t see it so well in normal room lighting. Let alone judges or owners half the time. Although I know owners do like it of course! It’s just come to this point where I say to myself “this is really silly of me to be doing – it’s has no (really unique over the top type of) ‘zow’ factor”. (And let me be clear - I personally would love painting ordinary normal roans for example... without lots of genetic haircoat pattern add ons.. but I've got REALLY BORING TASTES personally!) ;)

And it’s absolutely exhausting. I love doing it but the “better” ones are harder to see. As it should be and yet too subtle all the same.

Of all the commissions I have left, only one (well 2 sort of) are non-hair pattern colors. I have 2 more fleabites (one very dappled, one mostly fleabites), one appy and a roany gal who’s almost done. The roany gal is more dramatic – and the appy will probably be popular too. Still? The color I’m most looking forward to doing is this liver chestnut. And possibly a bay sometime down the road.

The hair patterns show up on a computer screen at enlargements 20x real life, but in real life people just glance and miss them. Walking by your shelves, your table at a show, what have you. Hair patterns need to be accompanied by overall color patterns that are more dramatic. The macroscopic/microscopic factor – eye catching both when you stand back, the whole pictured is “dramatic” and when you lean in too inspect closely. In fleabitten colors that’s pretty hard to do well – something you can see from 40ft away across the room that makes you want to walk over… and then keeps you studying closer and closer once you get there. From across the room they just look grey. Closer up they just look speckled.. But while I’ve seen (and should strive for more often) lots of varied examples the painting style that mimics inked illustration techniques, that is to say the character of the shading is to outline essentially – creating a vastly more dramatic look that pops. It’s surprisingly easy but underused. In terms of realistic, it’s hard to fault too because it simply mimics a horse in studio lighting, verses outdoor lighting. I need to do this more often but still, where I tend to fail is using too much light in the studio and then getting into real world lighting and not being able to really see what I’ve done so much.

Great for photos, fun to look at up close in good light.

(Click above to enlarge a lot!) This is the now finished (in Dec) flank of an example where I made her roany coat nearly agouti and thus a lot more noticable from a distance. It's fun to not blend them in so much but I prefer the blended ones too... even though they are pretty hard to see, even for me. The funny thing about these is that I keep going back to them over and over again - the anxiety for me is in saying "done" every bit as much as it is in waiting to hear if a customer is happy.

In the end, the real sticking point for me is the agonizing. This roany mare for instance. I did this whole neck and then erased it all and redid it. And THEN after the hairs were down I decided they were a little too stark in spots and painted them over. In this case the owner who’s getting her doesn’t show so I don’t have to worry about judges from across the table spotting her. ;) But no seriously, it’s one of my favorite patterns ever but it’s also been one I’ve been working on finding a “flow” for since this past summer. And at Breyefest, a lot of people peeked at her but I know not so many spied the little hairs. And I did myself no favors by not having her whites and hooves done completely by then. For me the showmanship of finishwork is hard too. Similarly, I consider myself a functional illustrator but it’s just very challenging for me and I’m never really satisfied with my work there either.

Soooo I’ll share these last few that will actually leave my studio for a while here. And breath a HUGE sigh of relief when owners happily get them in hand. I was telling someone recently that there’s just this crazy anxiety I get over finish work that I don’t have when selling unpainted resins. Sure it’s the extra costs of course too – but even when sending a $300 paint job to someone, I get pretty panicky! I don’t rest until I know the person has the horse safely and loves it. I worry STILL that oil paints will do some weird thing down the road, or that areas painted in acrylics will crack/peel god only knows… it’s just NOT for me. I’ve played more than once with the idea of looking into lacquered paints that Breyer and Stone uses for ARs somehow. That honestly would alleviate some of my worries… just adding a MAJOR one of health in there instead while the paint bonds/dries.

So that’s the long and the short of it. Sharing a few last horses here. This will hopefully be going to her new owner soon, I left the poor owner hanging as I agonized these last two months over the last of the details... She’s definitely one of my favorites in that I’ve only completely a couple of dapple greys – the rest were redone/or sit undone because I’m not happy with them. Somehow the planets aligned for her and I’m just tickled as I really like the look of this dapple grey style on this sculpture. :)

Ok, but you KNOW that I hope to paint up a Johann in a simple color very soon though… ;) Just because when you sculpt some horses (this happened for me with the bay Hazel too), you just see them in this “look”. To me he has a “look” and I do hope I can do that reasonably quick as well with airbrushing/oils. :) Well, well see… it probably won’t be major time investment of a wildly haired pattern however. Just something to keep on my shelf as a demo horse.

Well back to it now.. I've got a desk of medallions to address here. And I've neglected to point out to folks that 1 of my medallion editions was 2010 only & that's wrapping up in 2 weeks... I meant to do that last week - oops! (Well I've been having a week of "getting to know you" moments working out registry error issues with my computer - gifts compliments of Microsoft!). Aaaaaand I'd rather be doing AAAAAANYthing than that!!! ;)

Friday, December 3, 2010

New faces? New website!

It was loooong overdue! I was really tired of the black look. It was too contrasty to me, and I never managed to get the simple look I was trying for anyhow. It's more work to clear away around sculptures to get a "clean" look, but it's not like I'm sharing new faces every week. Hopefully I'll be sharing new ones much much more often (smaller editions, many many more faces - goals for 2011!)... still I'll just clean up the images.

The hardest one was this Fenwick from last year.
He's under a section I've hopefully more clearly labeled now "Past Editions". Almost all of the others were done. And sadly, I still haven't recreated galleries for those lost of my earlier works. At least they're almost all there... except for "Colt Mango" which is one little resin candidate I've really wondered if I should restart in clay to make my life simpler (wee brittle legs won't hold detail - they chip/flake off!).

I've got Johann a placeholder page there. My Serendipity medallion is only going to be around for a month... And my finished resins section is all over the place sort of still... PLUS some weird glitch seems to have come into effect on the interior pages in Internet Explorer... dangit. I'm not going to sweat over it today I think...

Just check links... ack that's the toughie (because juuuust once in a while I do really really bad web designer practices like keep my online folder arrangement different from my beta area's!)... Anyhow, it makes me sort of want to see if there's a quick way to convert my blog. Fresh start all around? :)

I honestly can not WAIT to share more new faces... and back to that... these last few painted horses here - they make my heart soar - it's been hard to call them "done" (one of the BIG reasons I am laying off painting for a while..!).... but yay they're nearly ready to share too! :D

Oh duh - my website is here;

Friday, November 26, 2010

The saga of Johann!

The skinny on this beefcake! :D

Scale comparison of my newest (the standing fellow) sculpture "Johann" next to classic 1:12 scale "Iaret" (on his left), traditional 1:9 scale "El Embosco" behind him, and galloping away in black on his left behind "Iaret" is 1:9 scale Hazel. I'm calling him small traditional but you'll see below that he scaled up to 1:9 of the life sized horse I modeled him after (who was pony sized).

You can see above how he compares in 1:9 scale to "normal" sized horses as he did in real life to my 16.2hh horse here;

Johann's inspiration, the real personality :D "Rocky" being introduced (hence the halters) to my own horse.

Yesterday I shared the sales plan & full album with my yahoogroup – that’s not here, this is just info on his name history and the horse(s) I modeled him after. There was too much to say about him, links & pictures and all, to put on a sales page. I figure it’ll be more fun for a blog post – where photos can be clicked on & seen at supersize!

Johann is pronounced YO-hahn.. and he's named after Johann Pachelbel (pah-KELL-b'l -- hey I wasn’t sure either and kept worrying I was making a feminine, Joanne, name here!). Johann Pachelbel’s “Cannon in D Major” was the one classical piece as wee tyke, that I really adored... Everything else was background noise to me really but I loved this and would curl up next to the stereo whenever my mom put it on (which was probably around bedtime or when company came over I guess??! I’m sure that was the case; I was a pretty hyper / talkative child…). ;) So we’ll just say “it’s special to me” and leave it at that.

I started him somewhere around mid June 3 years ago; Friday June 15th (bone/armature stage) and settling on his pose Sunday, June 17, 2007 (links off to the first blog posts there - SCARY PICTURES WARNING!!!) :) and a year and a half later... just about a year ago you can see how much he built up off of that "skeleton" there...

When he wasn't being sawed in half..this poor boy has spent more of his time in a box, waiting for me to be overtaken by "inspiration" - which I definitely got this year, despite moving and a large # of paint jobs wrapped up and numerous other distractions... anyhow, but he's really evolved from that little dog-like skeleton (that was a fairly small horse skeleton before the weight/angles of the hind end sagged entertainingly like that!). This very well may also be my last Apoxie Sculpt sculpture. I wouldn't mind, it takes a LOT longer to work in this media. :)

Back to the beginning though; I promised Rocky’s owner that I’d name this sculpture after something musical. He’s not a direct representation of Rocky, and Susie (his owner) and I discussed this. He was my boarder and immediately I knew I wanted to somehow capture this vibe he oozed! Kinetic energy – he was NEVER still but even when he paused, he was just letting the motion move through his body to strike off in a new direction promptly. And he always adopted such classical poses, despite that he wasn’t nearly as beefy as the breed’s ideal. In fact his breeders had left him a stallion until 6 I believe in the hopes that he’d bulk up in areas like his neck. As you can see from my photos below.

Rocky is unable to stand still, a firey ball of energy that you can sort of pick up on, even here. And when he moved, he was all kinds of action too (knee, hock - really marchy marchy little steps!).. I used to call him "Wiggle Worm" when I wasn't thinking of him as "lil Bub". :)

That said, his bones were all pretty much in the right spot for what I was striving for. So when I asked Susie about using him for measurements we discussed the beefing & his blood lines. And that was where the musical name theme came from – Rocky was short for Rakhmaninov (a German composer) and his sire was Beethoven. The theme of his offspring were to have musical names. So while my sculpture wasn’t intended to represent this bloodline specifically, I felt it important to honor that horse who’s dynamic presence was the inspiration for this work.

As you can see above and if you were to look up Beethoven’s line on google that his is *not* the body type I’m representing here in my Johann sculpture at all. I wanted to represent my vision of an idealized all around build, not a show ring one.. but that of the cool gelding that maaaaybe he gaits a little, maaaaybe he’s done some show ring work or some really impressive trails… maaaaybe he’s even got a career in show biz (civil war reenactments, movie doubles, you name it). Just an attractively built horse who’s likely to be a gelding.

Initially I was intending to represent a Lippitt or Bunk bloodlines…but I kept shying away from doing such a heavy front end/neck… Striving for the more generic/less extreme, yet still Morgan horse look. You know, the General Gates looking horse ( ). It’s easy enough to go back and make him more extreme – but I wanted to show that “everyday” sort of guy with loads of charisma rather than a show horse.

So? How to define “Charismatic Everyday Guy!” as a breed to call my new sculpture??? Well I was stumped… ;) Over the years friends and I have given me all sorts of great suggestions… I shall now share some with you… SPOTS and all! :D

Connemara Pony anyone? (look at that gorgeous color too!) :)

Florida Cracker Horse? (I almost feel insulted for it?! The name origin is in there too btw)


KNGHA??? (the spots that I’d promised!) and this guy (!!!) “Post Rock Thunder Mountain” here is pretty much the vision of what I picture when I picture “a nice all around mount” (swoon!!!) .
All the the actual Morgan horses (and other breeds) I used photographs of as reference for this sculpture tended towards this last fellow’s look. Less cresty, very "robust".

More examples of wonderfully robust little KNGHA registered horses;
You can call it an amalgam rather than a typical definition of a breed, to me they are just a collection of wonderfully "can do" looking horses!

In truth someone pointed out to me a little while ago that I’ve been aiming for a Cavalry style look. I looked into this too and lo! There are just some wonderful photos out there in the public domain. Horses of unknown/mixed lineage. I also learned that the practice of gelding horses for the cavalry (here in the US) started around the time of the Civil War (it goes back to Greek/Roman times and probably earlier of course but I’m speaking of in the US). And a great deal more on how the bloodlines intermingled throughout the states as armies marched and horses were commandeered. Fascinating, and pretty ugly all around. That said, here are some amazing photographs from the Library of Congress;



source: (title [O.H. Hart, full-length portrait, standing, left profile, in uniform, alongside horse] ) (title Captain Beckwith's horse) (title Officer with horse) (title Cold Harbor, Virginia. U.S. Grant's horses: on left, EGYPT, center, CINCINNATI, right, JEFF DAVIS)
City Point, Virginia. Gen. U.S. Grant's horse, CINCINNATI) (title City Point, Virginia. Gen. U.S. Grant's horse. JEFF DAVIS )

Well if anyone needed any breed ideas for fun colors aside from standard "Morgan Bay, Chestnut & Black"!... there ya go!

Anyhow, I wonder sometimes if my creative process will ever be a nice simple story again. All the same, it's worth letting collectors know where these things come from. These days I've lost touch with Susie, she moved Rocky closer to her home where she could ride him more often. I then heard she moved out of state. Hope all is well with them and Susie, if you read this - I'd love to know how he's doing these days and if he ever did beef up! :)

Thanks for looking guys and thanks so much for all the enthusiasm about him. I'm just so eager to see him in coats of many colors soon. ;)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Waiting for paint to dry...

Is just torture... I realized in almost all of my blogging of him over the past 2 years I NEVER shared his off side so here ya go! I'm going to get smacked for not showing really decently taken pictures again (glare and out of focus and all).. My friends are so great to try & steer me in the right direction... but I'm just off in left field. :)

This fellow is waiting for his primer here to dry so he can get his veins painted on now.

This really is blurry.. hrmph. Oh well... know better than to do this... I just couldn't resist sharing that face & those chunky rump bumps! :D

Editing to add on one more... made while waiting for dinner here.. I'm STARVING (we're making pizza here it takes SO LONG tho!) :D

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wild Pony Photoshoot Adventure! :)


Since moving down here to North Carolina I've been wanting to go out to Shackleford Island (isolated island of the Grand Banks) and see these "wild horses". They're ponies by everyone's standards but they are the descendants of shipwrecked Spanish (primarily they believe) horses from hundreds of years ago. "Banker Ponies" is another moniker they have if you're curious to look em up. :)

Now as my friend here (Maggie Bennett - she's the one in the leather jacket in the first pic) who went out there with me can tell you - no full size horse would survive on this island! It's got this low scrub brush interior that's ideal for tucking into during hurricanes.... and we very nearly had to get on our knees to navigate around ourselves on the horse paths in our exploration!

It was just the most fun ever! From our ferry trip out where wild dolphins leapt around our little 15ft ferry... to being dropped off on our own to explore like naturalists. Mosquitoes and swamp lands and all. Finding ponies (as you can see hopefully in many of those pics), in all kinds of surprising nooks and crannies all along the way during our adventure. :)

There are a little over a 100 ponies on this nine mile island. In four and a half hours we only made it half way down the island - no small feat with the hilly dunes and grasses that were really strong & tripped you all the time! At first it seemed like we kept seeing only the same 5 or 6 horses but in reviewing these pictures - and even then, you realize the hip numbers are different. It's almost surreal.

I don't get too excited about horses in real life anymore to be honest. I've spent half my life working with horses on a daily basis and I adore them but I don't get all"eeee" excited like a little kid usually anymore... I love to work with them and enjoy seeing them do well at what they do, or in interacting with them... but on the whole, I'm not one to go to uncomfortable lengths like this to see them usually. Not to horse shows per say, unless there is something exceptionally different going on. But there is something really magical about sneaking around to see horses in bands behaving like horses really do. It really rejuvenated the childlike wonder somehow for me - I joke that it was a "magical island" but it sincerely was pretty mystical.

So thank you so much to Maggie for going with me! She and I drove 4hrs from different directions to converge on this place. I'm really glad to have had company - and she also convinced me to use my nicer Nikon camera I bought this spring (I'm so afraid to take this thing out of the studio! It's a D3000 and I'm still really barely able to use it).. And she also convinced me to skip the tripod biz and use the auto settings (she has nearly the same model - I'm so used to "auto" being awful!). My Samsung point and shoot 1st choice camera's batteries didn't hold a charge in the cold I guess...

I would absolutely recommend to anyone wanting to go see wild ponies to consider this particular island. I just can't wait to go back this coming spring. I did want to go first in the fall here when the ponies were at their heaviest & had sprouted woolen coats... I'm so glad we did. From spring through Oct there are other ferry services that converge on it with groups - typically guided type ones as near as I can tell... but this was just a ferry service. When we landed there we looked at each other and had no clue what direction to start off in! Anyhow, so hopefully my little photo essay gives you a real feel for it. The weather was wonderful! Light warm breeze on and off. Around 70 degrees F and believe me, any warmer with that dune and sand walking and I dunno... we both hike with our dogs regularly but neither of us was in shape so it was a good workout! Next time though, I hope we can get dropped off at the other end of the island to see what's down there... ;)

Edited to add in the dolphin picture!
Maggie just sent me these. I looked for dolphins when we went to Madeira Beach last winter the WHOLE time we were down there. Everywhere we drove, I was staring off at the water afraid to blink... since I was told they were out there "ALL the time"... well I did finally see a few... far far away and I was pretty goofy excited. I've seen lots of dolphins in aquariums too and they don't get me too hyped up either... but wild? Hanging around checking out the people??? Nothing is more cool than that! So when these guys sprouted up as we were crossing the water, I was blown away. Our ferry fellow stopped for us. Maggie at least was ready to snap pics within 30 seconds.. me? I'm swearing and cursing and happy at least I brought two camera... ;) But no really, I was mostly just fumbling because I was afraid to look away from the water. Dolphins just rock. Magical wild pony island protected by wild dolphins. What a blast! :D

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Actual product pictures - ornaments :)

Web pages are now updated with actual pictures and massive enlargements of them so you can really see the details well. I’m so tickled how these came out!

They’re here; And
I’m just going to stick with the two colors there. There may be slight variations of course in the bronze color especially, it’s all hand finished.

Please note also that Serendipity is going to be an “Open for 2010” only edition. And that Bravo is going to be limited to a one mold run – which is actually getting nearer than not to being sold out now.

Next post will hopefully be really exciting/new! ;)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Boogity boo! :D

I dunno, this morning while my fellow was doing something online I felt inspired to goof around & strive for a bit more scary after all. :) BOO!

In part this post is about me being a twerp for a good & dear friend who (rightfully so) insisted that it's not a great idea to post a picture every time I flick an ear. Hahaha... sooooooo this morning I decided to flick an ear & open a mouth. Next I'm going to turn this overworked lump into a turkey for thanksgiving... at least that'll give this page a break from these absolutely non-new-item postings!! ;) (Ah but no seriously, a little levity is all I've got at the moment so hopefully my silly won't be misunderstood- it's all in good fun man!). :D


Saturday, October 30, 2010

For Halloween a (sorta) new face?

I dunno.. it's a little scary still yes? Well ok, no.. but he looks a little scared to me.. ha!.. Anyhow, I have no plans for this fellow.. just like my guys from the 14th aren't going anywhere, this guy isn't either (don't panic, I haven't lost my mind).

This guy was fun though to transform from my originally pony to warmblood type, back and forth, back and forth - smoosh and flatten..he's a perfect size for exercising my mind to think about what planes belong where, on who (WB vs pony) and why (who's jowl/eye/nostril/whatever is higher/lower/smaller etc etc). It's obviously still veeeeery exciting for me to have the ability to moosh around my initial form & gesture work like this, for days rather than a few hours. Much more liberating to not have to commit to a pose nor a build. :D Don't worry, I've got real things to focus on so he's not getting a lot of attention - since I made & shared him here before (the 21st I guess), I've only played with him while I caught up on the phone yesterday - and tonight while watching Sleepy Hollow. His other side is a all hacked up/hardly looks like anything but geometric shapes. He's too big to serve as a tack holder. Busts, ones like this too, are a dime a dozen too and he's big enough to be too costly to produce right now for a lark. SO, he's just an exercise mat for my sculpting brain for the time being .....AND of course all I've got for Halloweenee here. Have a spooky one though guys!:)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What IS this odd tangent w/these pretend bronzes all about?

Well the last weren't precisely "pretend" - this one is "faux" though. :) I'm just sharing them because, well, otherwise most of these pics may never see the light of public day for any other reason.

I've been preparing photos for a # of non-hobby uses (well ok, and a couple of hobby ones). Horse magazine ads & competitions, and page on my website, so this is why I finally decided to photograph my little herd of cold cast and faux bronzes. (Faux bronze literally translates to mean "fake bronze" - in other words painted. Cold cast isn't "fake" per say because it's real bronze metal). For those who wondered about that on my medallion ordering link there of the swatches (I did!) the casting company had? That's the terminology. I have to admit that their faux bronze is a LOT more realistic looking than mine is.. I'll have to ask Sheri how she painted that. In the meantime, here's this gal. :)

adding this in;
The picture there is the one on my brochure I had made this spring. MAN do I wish I had the photos I do now of dinky instead of that one there. Black is not the way to photograph brown horses (this is a duh to everyone but me, I know). I don't think I really had a point otherwise. I would like a re-do on that please. :)

You can also read too more on my obsession with doing life sized horses at some point... if I can't afford it, I may return to trying to do so with other media. I did this in college - a 1 room studio apt, 2 dogs and a cat. And a reasonably large horse sculpture made from some wood putty powder stuff. It started to fall to bits before I was done so that was given up. But my fiance has wood carving tools galore... the lure is strong... must make big. Must! ;)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cold cast metals & me! :) (Holiday ornaments)

Click to enlarge immensely!
New holiday ornament bas relief horsies up on website ( . For something entirely else here I've been photographing my cold cast pieces yesterday so I realized I could share them here - well at least a few pics - and give folks an idea of what this mysterious matter "cold cast" is (although folks at Breyerfest got to see these and there's a blog post below with them all together on a shelf). Compare these to the gal on my front page of my site there for example... in real life the difference between painted and the dark finished/polished metal is immediately obviously. My hand painted little arabian there probably should get sealed though too.. that might make the difference less obvious, I'm just not entirely sure which to try. I've done others and haven't liked the results. I'm not ready to tackle wax polishes as you would a real bronze or cold casting.

Soooooo for several years now I've made my own copy of each of my resins a "cold cast" bronze. I haven't collected them all yet (it does cost me a little more than double the cost of a normal resin). They have seams, so seamless things like medallion ornaments are one thing.. multi-part molded whole bodies of horses are another. The seams, even when cleaned up, do not clean up seamlessly like real bronze. You can see this on the pictures here if you enlarge them. I probably won't get one for either of my 2 largest horses - cold casting of metal into resin also increases the weight significantly - so you take a resin that's normally hollow, double that and then add another half for good measure! I fact for anyone considering it for their own horses I'd urge you to consider doubling up on the wires. 2 of mine have warped somewhat under their own weight.

The above is my Godiva resin and she's the lightest colored bronze I've gotten to date. I also REALLY stripped her darker polish color off by getting gunky on her and using (yes, prepare to want to smack me), using window cleaner pretty vigorously before I thought about what I was doing....I know, I know. So this isn't truly a fair example of how the darker points look because a little bit was cleaned off. Like bronze a like sealing wax /polish is the thing (not ammonia) ;) That gal has been through the ringer - she's been repaired too. Cold cast resins DO break. It's the poor artist's bronze, make no mistake!

This 3.5" tall "dinky duke" (who's creation is shown earlier in this blog from several years ago), is REALLY dark. Although in natural light he has pretty crisp highlights.

This close up is about the best I got of "realistic" color. Mind you they look terrific under display lighting, and pretty dark in dimmer lighting.. as with any bronze.

Mind you bronzes come in all sorts of shades too. AND the castings have variation, so some are darker/golder than others. I'm just dying to see what the silver and copper castings look like myself! :) Until next week...

And the new faces are quite old to here too now.. but here are those guys all wrapped up. By next week I hope to have actual cold cast metal ones to photograph so buyers can have a little more confidence in what they look like. I'm pretty tickled at how these came out. I do wish I could afford to donate cold cast metallic ones to shows like I do with unpainted resins, but it's just a bit too much for my budget this year. I've been trying to think of ways to help out shows still but I'm just at a loss! My last couple of show donations were OF horses. No seriously! (Well the more valuable ones were - at least I think they sell normally for more than these $35 retail value medallions I normally donate). Truth be told though I have had no luck ever selling OFs and figure if it's pristine I should get rid of it before I do any damage to it. Kinda not kidding sadly. Anyhow, so there's my little public service babble to remind people to donate to show holders whenever they think of it. In the meantime, back to the medallions & that saga's the end result (again I did NOT succeed with the Smooth On 305 and wound up having the casters make me these prototypes! :)

Obviously the above guy is named Bravo - in a little nod to his Spanish body type, and also for the fun of keeping the auditory & ICAO thing going too. I couldn't find a suitable auditory name for this gal, although I'd played with the idea of things like "Hear No Evil" and "Bell"... I wound up calling her "Serendipity" as a good luck charm. :)

Marketing fail over here. Editing to add in the link to the medallions and
If you've read this far, you rock. :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

All kinds of things here :)

Clearly from the picture there I’m still just incredibly inspired by the malabiltiy of modeling clay over [verses] apoxy sculpt still . No idea where the new bust is going (I started that tonight instead of a new medallion as I'm running out of relief ideas and am tossing a lot out so I wanted to switch it up by going fully 3d again). The black resin casting medallion is the prototype back from the casters, with all the little whisker bumps and such on her now... the other one just needs a touch up around the grass and he's ready to go out tomorrow/Sat too (well after a light mist of primer to make sure there's nothing missed there & take away the shiny some too).

I’m quite excited that the casters say they’ll be happy to make these medallions in their cold cast metallic finishes. These cold castings are just terrific. They look, feel and smell just like the real foundry created thing because they are metal (bronze, nickel-silver) powder added to the resin. Not to be confused with my metallic paint jobs- where I just use pearl and a few colors to mimic metals altogether… I would also like to try gold or copper leaf work someday. Perhaps someday soon! I’d like to make the mane/tails a different metal altogether. I have the most wonderful Fly Fishing resin by Kelly Savage of two horses grooming each other – she managed to pour two different metallic resins into the same mold to make a pewter colored and a bronzy colored horse. I adore this! They get “polished” so the relief areas are darker, it doesn’t look like NAN plaques for example. It’s very easy to confuse with the real thing until you pick up a bigger piece. I have my own personal copies of my resins in, which works for me b/c they can get shuffled around a lot, like right now everyone is jumbled into a box waiting for display shelves to go up. And I don’t have to worry about finishes getting damaged while they’re in storage.

One thing I’ve been neglecting badly is finishwork commissions. I’ve written to everyone who has a horse here now so if you haven’t heard from me well.. my emails haven’t gotten through? Anyhow, as they know, I have a small ton of things making it physically hard to paint over here, but after I wrap up these medallions tonight (tomorrow am?).. well it’ll be time to push away from the sculpting table for a bit until these last paint jobs are wrapped up.

I have that maroon Morganesque (baroque!) ;) pony there (Johann) so that I’ll be pushing myself harder to address the long overdue painted horses to get back to that to wrapping him up before the end of this year. I may do like I did with bitty & release to my group only, just before Christmas until the end of the year rather than just a shorter time period. Just haven't decided yet, so hard to gauge the market to be totally honest. I hope I can trust myself to work on him only in short stints if I’m making good headway on the finished horses that have priority now…. Bottom line is the pace needs to pick up here for me in a bunch of ways basically. The humidity and temp fluxuations in here have gone way down so that’ll help a LOT in the painting area too (being more comfortable). I’ll still be working side by side with another human in here in a pretty small area but that’s just a “deal with it” deal I guess (we can spend camping trips in similarly small spaces together… I suppose this bodes well for when he retires and will be around all the time again). I do kind of miss listening to my blaring TV (tuning it out all day long). So ironically it’s MORE quiet with him around all the time (like a library). ;)

So.. once more I’m up late here. Hope it all made sense. My early morning and late even compositions rarely do. Just thought I should jot something down here about the medallions being done basically & especially about the metallic options. I’d designed them from the beginning to be geared towards this look for my family gifts but they do cost me almost 3x more so I dunno if I’ll try a mixture of painting and leaf or what I’ll do..

Ok, time for bed here - eep! Hopefully next week I'll be sharing the medallion page here. Before then news is limited to my group for a bit (yadda yadda always the same wording - sorry!). :)\

The wee mini in the left-most corner is not sculpted by me btw! That was a gift from Sonya Johnson - it's her mini Teke I thought was just terrific! The horse skeleton you see too was just recently (last week) assembled by my man as well (he assembled that whole horse skeleton so he could clean up more and get rid of the box... not kidding!). I have gotta laugh about this irony - I used to joke to my friends that I need to be rich enough to hire house boys to cook and clean for me... little did I know you don't need to be rich for this - ha! (:-P No but sincerely, how flipping sweet is he, eh? (I've assembled one long ago that broke to bits long ago so he knew I wasn't going to mess with one of those kits again! And he still did it. What a great guy.) :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Booger friends and obelisks :)

I'm thinking of them as obelisks for no really practical reason - it calls to mind 2001 & the scary challenging monolith to me. The low relief style of bas relief really IS challenging to me. But it's also a chance to elaborate on a story more than a typical model horse sculpture allows.

If it paid the bills more I might sculpt horses galloping with riders through the sage brush or hunters jostling each other over a small farm gate in a fox hunt (just off the top of my head - these aren't ideas that have moved me, I just like scenery as evidenced by Flitwick's wall!). Anyhow, so here I can impart some hint of a story...but since I'm trying to work out my 2D/3D perspective grasp, I decided to go very narrow and force myself to try and cope.

One of these was done using a few very accurate angled reference photos and one was not. I hope it's pretty obvious which one was done without looking at anything at all. Yeahhhhh....

So a booger friend (this is all related!) ;) is what waitresses I've worked with in the past called you if you were honest enough to point out a boogie. Because NO ONE really likes to look up while they're ordering a meal and see that up the nostril of a waitress. So you were pretty darn grateful to be told the truth rather than spend the night wondering why customers were so distant and tips down (yes, subconsciously it happens when your waitress grosses you out!).

Anyhow, so I've always really appreciated people who've been brutally honest with me. My fiance is a great booger friend to me. And he was very tactful but clear about saying "these aren't very good". I love that. Anyhow, no need to spare my feelings guys - I'm not liking em all that much just yet myself.

I may never work out the issues I have with them. The issue, I know this from illustration work, is that I don't mentally render 3d objects into 2d planes easily. I work just fine from photos I suppose but I stink at pushing my own depth perception down flat. When I was doing illustrations freelance and wanted to get into medical illustration more I submitted a portfolio to a top illustrator working for a national museum who for some reason did critiques (it was a while ago, I'm sorry I don't remember why but it's worth looking up people who will do this who can offer tips and suggestions). One thing that surprised me was that she mistook all of my real life study sketches for works from photos, and photo-studies for works done from real life specimens. I was really confused by this and it took me YEARS to figure out that it was due to my issues in depth and perspective. At least I've got a boogie friend around to help warn me about it though! ;)

Right now it tickles my fancy (or I would've smushed it up already!) as some silly kind of medieval art. I can almost see some friar or servant of some sort being appropriate (I've seen too many medieval horse related fresco paintings at this angle in other words).

And last but not least, a silly chorus line... they're filled with pin holes - possibly uncured resin. Not safe at all. But boy are they fun to line up like this (and yes to arrange in other ways). Some of the out-take gang. The casters are making me real prototype castings. This particular resin in this climate was bad news bears for me!

I just got a kick out of them. The color gradient is a single drop more of black dye for each (1 to 4 drops).

I just like colored resin in general for seeing shape and prepping prototypes for production. I've offered them in the past but they aren't so popular (and let me reiterate that the undyed resin I got is bad, it wasn't the dye.. we very well may have let the humid air at it too long and just not be dry enough here to cast with in general). Anyhow, but reflecting light away makes for seeing every little surface detail so much easier than the white which is absorbing some of it. I work in stark light but over the years I'm coming to loath trying to prep nearly invisible seams on white horses. Yet I hate to add even one more layer of primer than is necessary (so I try to do just one final last layer), when it comes to holding in detail on a sculpture that's going to be cast. I went with white primer for only one sculpture and I really regretted that to the bitter end. :D Photographing him was a trial for me too. Anyhow, wow - minor essay here entitled "why I love resins in any color but white". ;)

Great fall feeling evening here finally! :D Hope everyone has been enjoying it - off to help install heaters now here though... it won't be hitting 90 too many more times here I suppose. ;)