Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Extra bits

Fabian makes unicorn horns...
and feathers. 
 Look at how cool these feathers are! It never occurred to me to make them out of epoxy.
It's clear that I need to step up my leftover epoxy game. Next time I'm going to try some feathers!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

ICEE update

My ICEE horse is nearly finished, which is good because I haven't had as much time for her lately.
This week's project was adding facial veins and whisker bumps. These were drawn on with a charcoal pencil.
When I was satisfied with their placement, I mixed up a batch of runny messy, which is approximately 75% gesso, 25% modeling paste.
Using a small brush, I carefully painted over the charcoal guidelines. Depending on the consistency of the messo, this step may need to be repeated several times.
I allowed the messo to dry thoroughly and then refined the size and shape of the veins and bumps with a carbide scraper and fine grit sandpaper. After that, I used a wet paintbrush to soften them just a little bit more. 
It took a lot of fussing, but I am quite pleased with the end result. Here's a before and after.
Except for a little bit more prepping, this girl is ready for paint. If all goes well, she just might be in basecoat by this time next week!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Celtic fling

Fabian is kinda, sorta, casually horse shopping, and the two breeds he's most interested in are Andalusians and Irish Draughts. For the last couple weeks, he's been exchanging emails with the owner of an imported Irish Draught mare currently offered for sale in Fort Lupton, Colorado. Yesterday, Fabian and I drove up there to meet her.
It was love at first sight, at least for Fabian. 

"I love her already," he told me as Elisebeth led her in from the field. 

I laughed and reminded him that this is why he brought me. I'm not a professional, but I've ridden a lot of horses. Fancy papers and good looks are nice, but it takes more than that to really impress me.

We put Fabian's saddle on her, and Elisebeth climbed aboard. Escapade worked nicely for her. She looked willing, uncomplicated and solid.
Then it was Fabian's turn.
He looked good on her...
and she worked well for him.
I didn't really need to ride her, but the offer was extended, and of course I said yes.
After a few minutes in the saddle, I discovered that in addition to being willing, well trained and uncomplicated, this big mare was also comfortable and fun. I really enjoyed riding her.
Since Fabian would like to ride his next horse sidesaddle, we tried that next.
This was a new experience for Escapade, but she took it in stride.
Such a good girl!
Sidesaddle on an Irish Draught! That's one big check on Fabian's personal equestrian bucket list.
And a check on mine, as well. Woo hoo! 
In the end, we both fell in love with Escapade. Whether or not that love will turn into a lasting relationship is yet to be seen, but either way, I'm glad to have met her. Such a nice horse, such a fun day!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Super Sunday

For reasons that have nothing to do with model horses, last week was kind of rough. The upcoming week doesn't look any better, so today I took a mental health break and went riding with Fabian. This was a really good decision. I had so much fun!

First, we rode Escapade, the Irish Draught.
That went well...
so we swapped out the saddle and did it again.
It was so much fun.
After that, we picked up Angelo and drove out to Cisco's barn.
All three..
 of us...
 rode Cisco.
It was so much fun.
The day ended with some studio time at Fabian's house.
This was productive and also - you guessed it - so much fun.
Thank you, Fabian, Angelo, Escapade and Cisco. I really needed to have fun today!

Evolve or die

Last week, Jackie Rossi posted a pair of photos on Facebook that neatly illustrated the difference between performance showing in 2001 and performance showing in 2019. I asked if I could use her words and photos here, and she generously agreed. Thank you, Jackie!

Evolve or Die, Performance Showing in 2019

by Jackie Arns Rossi

So, I saved this the other day, for fun. This was the Reserve Champion jumper at the 2001 North American Nationals (NAN). It’s also an example of an entry that was innovative at the time, but probably would not place at a modern, competitive performance show. 
Here my jumper entry at this year's Jennifer Show.
So what’s different? Not the saddle. It's actually the same one in both pictures. I added a doll, but I could have done a better job with her positioning. I forgot that the stirrup irons on that saddle don't fit her feet. That's an easy fix, so it will be better next time. The boots and bridle fit better, and I’d never leave that much slack in the reins now. The elements in the front of the jump are much more refined and detailed. 
photo by Elaine Lindelef
When folks wonder why their winners from twenty years ago (or even five years ago) no longer place, it’s time to look very closely. I still have that water base, but I would not use it like this now.
P.S. the pinto jumper didn’t place in that class! But it was only placed to fourth and it was a thirty horse monster class full of excellent entries. I would have been embarrassed to put the bay horse as is up there.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Side projects

Between my ICEE horse and my prospective NaMoPaiMo horse, I've mixed up a lot of epoxy in the last six weeks.
Since it's better to have a little too much rather than not quite enough, most sculpting sessions end with a small blob of extra epoxy. I hate to letting that blob go to waste, so I've come up with some creative ways to put it to good use.
More often than not, the solution is to make ears. I have more of these than I will probably ever need, but they do come in handy sometimes. In fact, I'm pretty sure both of Zephyrus' ears came out of this pile.
I've also used extra epoxy to finish some long deferred repairs. Rev's tail broke on the way home from the Backwoods Two Day Show in 2017. I've been meaning to fix it for a long time, and this week, I finally did.
First I carefully dug out the crack with a carbide scraper. Then, I filled it with my tiny blob of leftover epoxy. I let that cure overnight, then sanded the surface flush the original resin.
I sprayed the area with Dull-Cote, let that dry and then started fixing the paint. Here's a shot from midway through the process.
And here's Rev looking brand new again
It's been a good month of playing with clay. I feel like I've made a lot of progress on both my main and side projects!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

ICEE update

I finally finished my ICEE horse's tail.
I like it. 
I like it a lot
In fact, I like it so much I took her with me to Heather's party. I showed her to Angelo first, since she's the one who helped me when I was stuck. 

Angelo admired my work, then turned her over and said, "She needs armpit wrinkles."

Okay, fine.
Now she has armpit wrinkles. 
You can't really see them in this photo, but I promise they're there. 
She also has chestnuts on all four legs.
All that's left is facial veins, 
a hoof peg and prepping.
That's all that's left, Angelo! No more helpful suggestions!