Friday, January 22, 2021

Friday favorites

So there was an inauguration this week.
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
In accordance with the times, the ceremony was socially distanced. Seats were spread out, and a photographer captured this soon-to-be-viral image of Senator Bernie Sanders, sitting alone, arms and legs crossed and  dressed in a Burton coat and oversized wool mittens.
(Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
The memes started immediately.
Then came the photo shopping.
Within twenty fours hours, Facebook was one giant episode of Where's Bernie?
And Bernie was everywhere.
No really.
He was everywhere.
This morning he was a jump judge at Rolex.
By the afternoon, he'd been promoted to riding at Rolex.
I didn't think it was going to get any better than that. Then Jocelyn Page brought him to BreyerFest.
Doesn't he look excited?
Here he is in the covered arena.
And here he is proudly showing off his purchases!
Of course, we all know BreyerFest is virtual this year, so Jocelyn took care of that as well.
Thank you, Jocelyn! This is your legacy, and it is amazing!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

A beginner's guide to painting model horses

NaMoPaiMo is an event for painters of all skill levels, including those who have never held a paintbrush. Today's post is written for people who will be painting a model horse for the first time. 
Model horses come in a variety of scales and materials, all of which are acceptable choices for NaMoPaiMo. Breyers are probably the most popular, and for good reason. They are detailed, sturdy, affordable and easily obtainable  online and at toys stores, big box stores and tack stores. This nice pair of classic (1:12) scale Breyers retails for about twenty dollars a piece.
Before the model is painted, it should be prepped and primed. Prepping refers to removing the model's molding seams, usually with fine grit sandpaper. While not strictly required, this will result in a more polished final project. 
The seams can be found along the model's midline, in the chest area and down the front and back of each leg. Older models - like this foal - often have very prominent seams.
New Breyers are a different story. If you look carefully, you might see the seams on this mustang's chest, but they are not obvious.
Once the seams have been removed, the model is ready to be primed. Unlike prepping, this is an essential step. The primer bonds tightly to the plastic and provides a good painting surface. Without it, your paint is likely to peel or flake off. Personally, I prefer Tamiya Fine Primer, which can be found at hobby shops and is designed to preserve detail on miniatures, but other artists have good results with various other brands. No matter what you use, be sure to shake the can thoroughly and spray the model outside from at least six inches away. Several light coats are preferable to one heavy, drippy coat!
In addition to providing a good painting surface, primer is also really good at revealing areas that need further prepping. In this case, I definitely missed that big seam on the underside of this horse's head! Once the primer has fully cured, you can go back and finish the prepping. It generally takes several rounds of prepping and priming to achieve a perfectly prepared canvas.
Most Breyers will have a hole in the corner of their mouth. This prevents bloating due to the build up of hot air inside the hollow model. Because it is somewhat unsightly, many artists will fill this hole with epoxy. If you choose to go that route, be sure to drill a new hole in a less conspicuous place (usually the groin area).
Once the model is prepped and primed, it's time to start painting. The four most common mediums for painting model horses are hand painted acrylics, pastels/pigments, airbrushed acrylics and oils. For the purposes of this article, we're going to concentrate on the first two, since they are the most beginner friendly. 

Acrylic paints can be found at big box stores like Target or Walmart, craft stores like Michaels or Joann Fabrics or art supply stores. Prices range from just seventy nine cents a bottle...
to significantly more than that.
Both kinds of paint can work, but the more expensive paint has a much higher pigment to filler ratio.
Here's what the means in regards to painting a model. There are two layers of Craft Smart on the model's neck and shoulders and two layer of Golden on the barrel and flank. The craft paint is streakier and less opaque and requires more layers to achieve good coverage. 
No matter what paint you use, it's important to apply it sparingly. If you load up your paintbrush like this...
you will create a big, streaky mess with brush strokes you can feel.
You will achieve much better results using small amounts of paint. Even this is almost too much!
Pastels and pigments are another popular medium for beginning model horse artists. These can be found at craft and art stores. I prefer high quality, pre-powdered brands such as Earth Pigments and Pan Pastels. Stick pastels can also be used, but must first be shaved into powder with an X-acto knife.
The powders are applied to the model with a paintbrush or q-tip and sealed into place with a clear, aerosol sealer. 
Pastel models typically require many layers to build up color and shading. This graph shows two and then four layers of pastels applied over a gold acrylic basecoat. 
Although pastels are great for producing shaded body colors, they're nearly impossible for details such as eyes. Most artists will switch to acrylics for the finishing touches.
After the model is painted, it should be signed and sealed. Testor's Dullcote - which can be found at hobby and craft stores or online though Amazon - is the most popular sealer in the hobby. However, other clear sealers - such as Krylon or Mister Super Clear - are also commonly used. The application process is much like that of the primer. Shake the can thoroughly, go outside and spray multiple light coats from at least six inches away.
Allow the sealer to cure thoroughly, gloss the eyes and hooves (I use Liquitex gloss medium) and that's it! I hope everyone has a happy and successful NaMoPaiMo.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Little pick me ups

It's not quite this bad, but I do enjoy the anticipation that comes from ordering things online. Here are a few small things that have brightened the first part of this year.

In the case of this lamp by Canadian artist, Terri Wright, the brightening is literal.
Slowly but surely, I am furnishing an imaginary 1:9 scale barn apartment. This will pair well with the upholstered chair I bought from Terri last fall.
Next up is a stable blanket - or rug - by British artist, Harriotte Preston. Harriotte had a big sale at the end of the year, and even though I own so many blankets, I could not resist adding one more to my collection. This one is so warm and snuggly and really well made. I am pleased with my lack of self control.
And good news for everyone who wanted a blanket but missed the sale. Harriotte sent an extra for the NaMoPaiMo prize pool. Thank you, Harriotte. I know someone is going to love this!
Last but not least, is this old but still awesome Carol Herden hound. I've wanted one of these guys for years, but I seem to miss them every time they come up for sale.
This one was a birthday surprise. Teresa delivered him to my door yesterday, while I was at the barn. What a wonderful thing to come home to. Thank you, Teresa!
I still have a couple other purchases that I am waiting on, but those are bigger - and pony shaped! - and will undoubtedly get posts of their own whenever they arrive.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Happy birthday to me

Today is my birthday, and even though it was cold and grey, I wanted to go riding. 

So that's what I did.
When I was putting Stealth away, I couldn't help but notice that Thunder's stall looked a little different than normal.
Look at what my friends did!
There was champagne and charcuterie,
and since it was so cold, they'd set up a heater in the corner...
and we each had a blanket to snuggle under.
Last year, I spent my birthday in Paris. That's a hard act to follow, and I was expecting much from today, but this was really wonderful. Thank you, Mary Jo, Karen and Therese. Thunder's stall is almost as good as the Eiffel Tower!
And now it's time to announce the winners of my Birthday Breyers giveaways. The winner of the Thirtieth Anniversary stablemates is Erika Baird.
There were six entrants in the International giveaway: one from Denmark, one from Canada and two each from New Zealand and Finland. I wish I had Brass Hats and Nazruddins for everyone, but since I don't the lucky winners are Viktor and Eerika. 
Congratulations to all the winners! Thank you for helping me celebrate my birthday!

P.S. If all the international people would send me their addresses, I bet I can find some other neat things to send.