Today's guest post is a tribute to one of the hobby's longest-term and best-know friend couples, Liz Bouras and Paula O'Keefe. Thank you, Christie, for sharing their story, and thanks, also, to all the hobbyists supporting today's Tally-Ho Model Horse Show in Leesburg, Virginia.
Liz and Paula
by Christie Richardson, with help from Katie Hail-Jares
Paying it forward and taking care of one another is one of the cornerstones of this hobby—an attribute that Elizabeth “Liz” Bouras and Paula O’Keefe have exemplified over their forty year involvement with model horses.
|Paula and Liz|
Earlier this spring, however, Liz and Paula found themselves in need. The two roommates were diagnosed with cancer in the same month. Friends, hobbyists, and fellow artists rallied to support the duo organizing a benefit show, Tally Ho. The show will take place this weekend in Leesburg, Virginia and will include a silent auction and raffle, with all proceeds benefiting Liz and Paula.
Liz Bouras has been painting horses for over forty years under the name Amarna Productions and has recently been a featured artist in Copperfox’s magazine.
She specializes in beautiful, intricate star dapples, but does deep, luscious shading in any color or scale (as long as they don’t have spots!). She holds a BA in Fine Art and has won numerous awards, including being a finishwork finalist in Breyer’s inaugural Best Customs Contest.
|Liz and Secretariat|
|Paula at the museum|
|Afzal, NAN 2016|
Liz and Paula’s apartment is a mini museum of model history, with jaw dropping chinas, gorgeous works by Judy Renee Pope, and “what’s left” of Liz’s tack collection—a feat I might be able to equal if I keep collecting tack for the rest of my life. The combined collection is so noteworthy that esteemed tack-maker Donna Allen once jokingly referred to it as the Bouras Gallery. And it is true—beyond the models, there are rarities displayed on surface; rare records, movie errata, Gothic and punk artwork, and Paula’s intricate ball jointed dolls. Their apartment is a treasure trove of goodies and both Paula and Liz have so many stories to share from lives well-lived.
|Paula and Judy|
|Judy and Paula, MAR|
“When I rejoined the hobby as adult, I was drawn to collecting customs and resins, models I had been unable to afford as a teenager. Among my first purchases was a running shire SM customized to a rolling horse. I snatched him up, and immediately started looking for an artist.
I don't remember how I found Liz but I did. I inquired about her prices and sent her a color suggestion. She included me as an (overeager) creative partner in this process, bringing nothing but enthusiasm. I was so excited to own my first professionally commissioned model. When the piece arrived. Liz reached out to let me know the sculpting was brittle and kept breaking. She repaired, as she was able, and kept me updated. She insisted given the problems in sculpting quality that I not pay.
Anyone at that point could have forgiven Liz then for doing a rush job. Get this pity-job monstrosity off her desk. But she didn't. She did a gorgeous and detailed job. "Might as well lipstick that pig," she wrote me.
I ended up picking up "Piggy" from Liz in person. And again, her integrity, love for the hobby, and joy shown through. She welcomed me into her apartment, where I met Paula. Together they showed me incredible pieces if model horse history.
Over the next two years, Liz and Paula opened their home repeatedly to announced and unannounced visits, always welcoming me and providing me so much information and knowledge. When I think of the quintessential hobbyists, I think of Liz and Paula-- sure of their craft and so eager to share it. I can only hope someday I have the chance to pay forward that same gift that Liz and Paula gave me years ago--a sense of community within a hobby I had given up.”
Beth Hoffert has known Liz, Paula, and Judy for years. The four became fast friends, and Liz and Judy were even involved in Beth’s learning how to paint. Beth has many memories of the four of them together, but shared a few of them with me.
|Paula and Liz|
Once, I bought one of Liz's Arabs and she painted it special for me. Instead of shipping it, they all came to my house. That just blew my mind. Greatest gals ever!”
|Liz's kitten, Jonesy, with Paula, 2014|
|Liz and Jonesy, 2017|