Tuesday, February 27, 2018

They did it, part two

As a group, the NaMoPaiMo painters have now finished more than two hundred and fifty horses.
I had so much fun compiling yesterday's "They did it" post, I decided to do it again. Here's twelve more members of the class of 2018, as described by their creators.

Ola Noga: I DID IT !!!

Meet Alvorado Valiente, a custom Breyer Valegro.

My biggest problem is the lack of motivation to finish the started projects. NaMoPaiMo was a great motivation to finally finish the horse I have been working on for a year.
Alvorado is my first resculpted horse, and he is my first bay. I am really proud that I managed to finish him on time!
Julie Matz: I did it!!! 

This is my model, a spunky little paint filly.

I had a blast painting this model. Since I have Multiple Sclerosis, I use painting as a form of therapy for my hands shaking. I highly enjoyed this project. Thank you for letting me be a part of it.

Olivia Tierce: Well..I guess I did it!  

I actually can't believe I managed to paint this girl. She looks so awesome compared to any other model I have ever painted. Participating in NaMoPaiMo made me feel a lot more confident in my abilities and helped me learn a lot of things along the way. I am beyond glad that I participated. Anyway, meet "Remme."
Nan Wagner: I did it, hooray!

My goal was to improve my sculpting methods and customization techniques. Turning the ears was a challenge as there was a lot of rebuilding to do to his poll to get a natural ear set. I used new techniques and new tools for the mane, feathers and tail. I'm VERY pleased with what I learned from others on this group, and I will never go back to the old way of doing things. THANK YOU NaMoPaiMo! You're never too old to learn and improve!
Kirsten Eidsmoe: I did it! This has been a fantastic experience, and I can't thank all of you enough. I am not a joiner by nature, and I really surprised myself by signing up at all. I had some painting goals, but mostly, my challenge to myself was to not be a total lurker. This group is full of so many kind, generous, and encouraging artists, you really made that part easy. I not only finished my project pony, I'm on track to complete a second, using new techniques and tools thanks this group. And I'm not only growing as an artist, I'm realizing how much value there is in being part of a thing like this - for the camaraderie of like-minded people accomplishing something together, for the support and education that's being shared so freely, and also simply for the exposure to so many different styles and artistic voices. You all keep me in awe and inspired. 

A little about my model: this is the Faust resin by Noémi D. Soós. I was drawn to this little guy because he reminds me of the primitive side of the fjord breed - a little less polished than a lot of the athletic 'sport' type fjords that are becoming increasinly popular (not knocking them - mine is one!). Fun fjord fact: even though 80-90% of fjords are now brown dun, there was a time when the most common color was white dun. So in honor of the old days, I painted my old-style fjord in white dun. Conveniently, as I was casting about for name ideas this past week, my Norwegian history-obsessed dad sent me an article about King Sverre Sigurdsson, who ruled Norway toward the end of the Viking age. So, meet Sverre, my new white dun fjord stallion.
Suzanne Combs: I did it!

This is model, Redd Honey Mead. She is a red dun, a first for me, done in acrylics and pastels. She fought me for a bit, turning decidedly orange within the first several coats. But I persevered and am very happy with the results. 

I am so happy to have entered NaMoPaiMo. Normally when something goes off, I will set it aside and debate about it for awhile (sometimes months). Take Navarre, her little stablemate companion in the picture. I've been working on him off and on for nearly a year. NaMiPaiMo pushed me to set my anxiety aside when things went wrong and work through it. I had to get her done. I also accomplished my goals. She is the best shaded horse I have ever painted. I have struggled with this in the past as I work mostly in acrylics. 

I bought this resin at BreyerFest last year with the sole purpose of using her in some performance classes. I don't own many resins, due to the cost, and cherish the ones I have. 
This weekend at the CCR show in Randolph, WI I will for the first time be showing extensively in Performance with her. I am excited and terrified. 
Jyl Hunt: I did it! My very first custom and my first time ever using an airbrush.
Marina Amanova: I did it!! 

Painting models in general is out of my comfort zone, but my two friends who participated last year convinced me to try it! He is a galloping gypsy vanner gelding (Maggie Bennett's micro mini artist resin) with nose pinking and glossy eyes! I am very happy with how he turned out. This is the first time I have painted a pinto pattern and the first time doing pinking and a blaze. Thanks for hosting NaMoPaiMo. It was fun! 
Krista Wasco: My 4 year old's entry. His name is Reid. He has special needs and doesn't say many words but HORSIE is definitely one of them.
LeeAnn Bachman: I DID IT!!! YAY!! 

My first ever airbrush roan! I'm thrilled with the way he came out, I keep looking at him in disbelief. I can't believe *I* was the one who painted him!! I've envisioned this mold in this color since he came out, but I was too afraid to even attempt it - thanks to NaMoPaiMo my dream has come to life! So happy to have this guy done and had so much fun participating in this event for the second time. Looking forward to next year!
Abby Wunderlich: I did it! And I’ve learned a few things:

1. Tails are harder to resculpt when they keep snapping off. Use stronger wire. 
2. Prepping takes 5x longer than I think it will 
3. Tippy models are annoying. Hot glueing a hoof to a Lazy Susan works surprisingly well. 
4. Swearing at the oil paint doesn’t make it dry any faster. If that worked he’d have been done three weeks ago. 

But, I did it! Not in time for the show last weekend, because the darn thing was still sticky, but he is done!
Kate Springer: Well, I did it. 

There are a lot of emotions going into that sentence and into that horse. To say that the last month has been difficult is an understatement. Life and the horse fought me every step of the way. I did learn a lot, more than I would have expected. He is my second completed bay and only my 3rd horse with oils. I airbrushed the body using acrylic, and had to learn how to repair paintwork after a section was accidentally wiped off. I also learned that oils are much more temperamental than they were before. I think the biggest thing I learned is that I can keep going and have something turn out for the positive when the rest of the world is screaming to give up and fall apart. Thank you Jennifer Buxton for creating this event and letting us all be a part of the adventure.
Congratulations, Ola, Julie, Olivia, Nan, Kirsten, Suzanne, Jyl, Marina, Krista and Reid, LeeAnn, Abby and Kate. You are all winners!

He (mostly) did it

When I took over the NaMoPaiMo database, I was surprised to find Ryan's name among the entrants. He printed a horse for himself, and I had grand visions of the two of us sitting side by side at the kitchen table working on our models. 

That didn't happen.

Instead, my model got painted twice, while his languished in primer...
until today!
Denver International Airport's infamous Blue Mustang is the inspiration for his piece. 
That color's pretty close! 
It still needs the red eyes, but I think we can almost count this one done. 
Congratulations, Ryan. You are a winner!

Shades of shading

NaMoPaiMo is almost over, and all the last minute painters are frantically scrambling to finish their models. Here's one more Tutorial Tuesday post for Team Procrastination. Thank you Meghan Namast and keep on painting, everyone. You can do it!

Shades of Shading 

by Meghan Namaste

Shading is something that many people struggle with, the very essence of “simple, not easy”. Shading is key to the “wow factor” of the finished piece and should be considered at every stage of the customizing journey. I like the address it in two ways: shadows, and highlights. If you’ve ever played around with editing photos or adding filters, you know that adding the right balance of shadows and highlights can really enhance your picture. But if you go overboard and try to add too much, things start to look really weird. Models are the same.

I mainly work in pastels, which require a slow build-up of color, so I like to get started on shading in the first layer. I block in the dark points and any areas that will be darkly shaded, as well as any dapples. I used to add dapples at the end, when the color was already built up, but I found they tended to sort of sit on top of the surface and not blend as well as I liked. Adding the dapples in the first layer lets me build the rest of the color around them, so they really appear like part of the coat, and not an afterthought. 

Dapples and dark shading blocked in, color started. This is often referred to as the “ugly stage” 

Dark points will go on grainy and won’t look like much in the first few layers. Ignore that, and keep building up your color, they will soon be looking much better.
Several color layers have been added. Using the initial layer as a “guide”, I continue building the shadows as I build the bay color.

Another method is to use highlighting. I will take a very light pigment, either white, yellow, or light grey, and apply it to areas I want highlighted. You can also highlight with blues and purples, which create nice shading and depth on blacks and bays. These colors will look funny when you put them on, but once you seal them, they will blend and create subtle highlights. 
 This was one of the final layers I did. You can see the black pastels on the “shadow” areas, and the light yellow pastels on the highlighted areas. I also went back over a few of the dapples on this layer as they had blended in a bit more than I wanted.
The end result.
I know I’ve mentioned pigments a lot, and I primarily work in pastels, but acrylics do come into play too for shading certain horses. I used a dry brushing technique to bring out the mealy shading on this Shetland pony custom, and I also used a light wash of acrylics on certain parts of her reddish bay coat to really pop the color. I also use acrylics on faces, since shading and highlighting the eyes and facial features is an important step in the detail work. My best advice for shading with acrylics is to use a light hand and a little bit of paint on the brush, and make sure you have a close color match for the pastels underneath. 

This pony’s color was built up using pastels, but a light layer of acrylics in key areas really made her color pop.
Probably the biggest question about shading is simply “how do I shade?” How do you create the look you want without going overboard, like I mentioned earlier? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. However, the best advice I can give is to study your reference. Really look at where all the shadows and highlights are, and try to see how that translates to your model. Certain colors have very little shading in real life, and are typically enhanced just a bit when translated to model form. Others are extremely complex and can leave your head spinning trying to figure out how to pack all that detail in there. With every color, with every model, the challenge is the same: make it look alive. 
If there’s one piece of advice I could offer to beginning painters that I wish someone had given me, it’s to keep it simple. I was a chronic over thinker in my early years as a painter, and had perfectionist tendencies that destroyed any joy I had in painting for a long time. I don’t wish that on anyone, as painting is now my happy place, and I rarely get stressed over it. It all comes down to simple concepts, after all. Always study your reference (you live and die by your reference, I cannot stress this enough), remember that shading is just shadows and highlights, and you’ll be saying “I did it!” again and again! 

Monday, February 26, 2018

They did it

I'm not the only person who did it. As of a couple hours ago, the NaMoPaiMo painters had completed some two hundred and twenty horses.
If my time and energy were limitless, I would showcase each and every one of those beauties here on my blog. That's not the case, however, so I've chosen twelve model at random to post along with their creation stories as told by their painters.
Tina Melin: I really can't believe I am saying this, but: I DID IT! I am so happy to call my boy done! He is the first horse I've painted that is bigger than little bit scale and I used a new brand of pastels on him. I did have a few bumps in the road, mostly with grain and him not wanting to get out of the ugly stage but I am really happy with how he turned out.
Nicole Bullock: I DID IT! 😁 Introducing Calgary, Cal for short. I like to use a theme when I name my horses. This guy fell into the city theme to play homage to his sculptor.

I have always been super critical of myself and my work and there were no exceptions here. About mid way through there was doubt, dislike and thoughts of stripping him but I am so happy where this guy ended up! There are issues, going back to the prepping stage and there is some graininess and he’s way darker than intended. BUT he’s looking real good from where I’m sitting! 😊

Thank you to Jennifer and everyone who has made this another great NaMoPaiMo!!
Christoffer Bäckfalk‎: I did it!!! This is the second horse I have ever painted, and the first with an airbrush. I am quite happy with her :)
Magdalena Wróblewska: I did it!

Let me introduce Genç/Gençie/Gienio. He is my all time top favourite AR model. I always wanted to paint him bay... This month I was encouraged enough to do so! His collars are made by my friend Urszula Rudzińska :>

Hope you like my teke!
Lisa Smalley: I did It! The Horse Who Does Not Want To Be Painted has been PAINTED!!!!!! :D 

This horse has been a huge challenge with many problems along the way, but he has successfully been completed! This is the first artist resin horse I have painted and I made mistakes and learned a lot. We had issues such as: falling over during primer and putting hand prints in the primer to stand him back up, primer texture issues twice, installing magnets in his feet and having to grind out stainless steel wires in the process, throwing himself onto his side and damaging his white base coats, bubble baths to strip acrylic paint, and so much more....  

Thank you to Jennifer Bray Buxton (and NaMoPaiMo assistants!) for having NaMoPaiMo. This horse would probably have stayed unpainted for quite a while/years otherwise, but this event gives me the motivation to actually work towards getting something painted!! I greatly enjoy this event, as it gets a huge number of people of all skill levels together and working towards a positive goal, sharing information and encouragement with each other. I can't wait until next year!!
Jaime Bridge: I did it! Meet Northerly, also known as the Fighting Tiger. He's not perfect - not by a long shot. But I'm so happy. It was my first using pastels. First time painting something this small. First time painting a resin. Couldn't get much better than that.
Sarah Brabbin: I did it!!!!!

My very first spotty! I really enjyed NaMoPaiMo again this year and feel I've come on so far since last year. Painting is great therapy, and I love the support everyone gives each other in this group. One lesson learned - make note of how I do one side so I know what to do on the other HAHA!!!!
Donna McKnight: I DID IT!!! OMG, I DID IT!! I couldn't get my camera to pick up all the subtle color variations on her but I am SO excited that I finished her! The last few months have been extremely rough, dealing with some health issues, and I had lost my motivation. I chose a color that I have always had trouble with in an effort to challenge myself to improve and I feel that it worked. I discovered some new techniques that really work for me and inspired me to do the best that I could do. I not only finished her, I am SO very pleased with how she came out. Thank you, Jennifer Buxton, for creating this event to inspire and challenge us! It definitely did both for me!
Lisa Shepard: I DID IT! Yay! This was so much fun! It took me back to my roots, back to the customizing and mohair that I used to love to do. When I saw a calendar picture at work, fell in love, and had to do the horse in it. Aastrid is the epitome of why I love this hobby. Thank you!
Patty Clark: OH MY GOSH I DID IT!! I'm so excited!! My beautiful boy is finally complete! This was my 1st horse I cut the neck off and put on a new one, sculpted neck, shoulders, jowls, then I gave him a new mane and tail. I am additionally overjoyed with keeping him so LIGHT, as my biggest problem is always going too dark. This is a portrait ofmy personal horse, 17 yr old cremello Morgan named SFG INFINITY AND BEYOND, aka, Buzz. It's the first time I've painted my OWN horse, and I am KEEPING the model. Thank you so much for this challenge!!!
Christina Riley: I cannot believe I'm saying this but....I DID IT!!!!! 


I actually finished a HUGE Traditional in a month!! WHhAAT!!?!! I feel incredibly accomplished! Of course if I had more time I feel like I could have done a better job….but…I still think he looks perdy darn fancy regardless! 

Side note….my hubby said he wants his name to be “Borse” as in “Big Horse”…so I’ll say his NaMoPaiMo name is "Borse" to make him happy lol! Otherwise, I'm calling him "Bada-Boom"
May Burnett: I did it!! And I didn’t go blind! This is Beginner’s Luck, a splash Morgan mare. This was my first time at painting and first time at customizing. She started life as an “Izzy” Morgan Mini Whinny. I resculpted her mane, tail and teeny tiny ears. I moved her right front leg and left back leg. It was a huge learning experience for me! Thank you to Christina Capozzi Riley whose videos I watched and whose tool suggestions were really great! Thank you to the person who suggested War Hammer stands. And a big thank you to Jennifer Bray Buxton for the opportunity to participate in this amazing event with these amazing and supportive people! Hmm, I wonder if I can make a teeny tiny tack?
Congratulations, Tina, Nicole, Christoffer, Magdalena, Lisa, Jaime, Sarah, Donna, Lisa, Patty, Christina and May. You are all winners!

I did it

The weekend kind of got away from me, but I have a really good excuse: Miss Maeve is done!
I have been in love with Jennifer Scott's Brigid resin ever since Jenn placed the first waste mold casting in my hands. Although she's not quite as accomplished as Jenn's current work (not much is!), she's still a lovely piece with so much character.
Here's how Jenn describes her on her websiteBrigid is an Irish Draught mare in a slightly stretching standing pose. She is a little older, had a few foals, been the high-level show star, and schooled the beginners. Though she isn't exactly the most beautiful of mares (though we won't tell her that), she's probably the barn favorite because she's done something for everyone at some point. We all know those horses.
My own Brigid is slightly customized. I did a little bit of refining here and there...
and topped it off with a pair of lop ears.
She is my old grey mare, and she turned out exactly the way I wanted her to. 
This has been such a good month. Thank you to everyone for their kind words of support and encouragement. You helped me, and Maeve, so much!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Avoiding the trap

I was feeling pretty good about my speckled horse when I went to bed last night. Then I woke up this morning, logged onto Facebook and saw Melanie Miller's glorious fleabitten Upton resin...
and Mindy Berg's amazing Eberl Arabian.
I looked at those pictures and looked at my horse, and suddenly she didn't look as good as I'd remembered.

This is the point when I usually give up.

But... comparing your work to that of the hobby's most accomplished painters is a trap. Nothing good can come of it, and it's not what NaMoPaiMo is about. So instead of quitting, I gave myself a pep talk, picked up a paint brush and soldiered on.

Here is Maeve after several hours of concentrated work. 
She doesn't look like she was painted by Mel or Mindy, but that's okay. She's a Buxton, and that's good enough.

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Today was SpeckleFest.
Using a toothbrush, I splattered thinned down acrylic paint on my NaMoPaiMo horse.
Then I used Stephanie's favorite tool to carefully refine the flea-bites. It worked great. 
I am really, really pleased with the day's progress, but I forgot to take a picture before I lost the light. Here's the daily collage instead.
I can't wait to see Miss Maeve among all the finished ponies. It's going to happen! I can feel it!