Sunday, January 31, 2021

January horses

If you live in Denver, you expect snow in January. None of it lasted long, however, and none of it kept us out of the saddle.
I've already shared most of the month's most memorable rides, but the others were good, too.
I think I could ride this stretch of trail for another twenty years and not get bored.
It's coyote breeding season now, and we're seeing a coyote or two on every ride. Here's one from today.
In addition to Stealth, Lucy and Thunder, I also rode Guaranteed a few times while his owner was out of town. He's a good boy, and I feel honored to be trusted with him.
In less happy news, this was also the month when I said goodbye to my big, sweet friend, Flynn. No drama. His owner moved him to a new barn that better suits her needs. I was invited to go with them, but given the location, I don't see that working out.
I know Flynn is happy in his new home, but I already miss looking through his big, floppy ears.
Between the weather and NaMoPaiMo, February isn't usually a great riding month. Still, I feel optimistic that this year will be better, and I'm looking forward to going down that trail again and again and again in the days and weeks to come.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Side projects: Trifle

My NaMoPaiMo horse is prepped, primed and ready to paint. I am eager to get started, but rules are rules. It's not February, so she has to wait.

Instead, I decided to dust off one of my longest running project ponies: Trifle.
Trifle is a rare Sommer Prosser Wild Heather resin. Cast in 2002, less than fifteen of these ponies were ever produced. I bought mine in February 2012.
The original resin has a wild, windswept mane and tail. Mine came to me like this, painted and partially stripped with a sculpted braided mane and a docked tail.
I redid the mane and added a Stone pony tail. Then I attempted to paint her buckskin using pastels. It didn't go well, so she was returned to the body box, where she lingered until last year's NaMoPaiMo.
At that point, I decided the bad pastel paintjob was actually a perfect basecoat, and proceeded to over it in oils. I spent most of my time experimenting with dapples. I do like how these turned out.
The rest of her, however, was kind of monochromatic. This was her face this morning.
Using pastels and acrylics, I added some highlights and shading.
Then I went back in with the oils and neatened everything up.
I also did some work on her legs before putting her back on the shelf to dry. It might be another year before I touch her again, but I'm pleased with today's painting session. This was the first time I've used oils since last February, and it went well. I am ready for February!

Friday, January 29, 2021

1:9 scale art supplies

I posted this picture to the Braymere Custom Saddlery Facebook page yesterday, and almost immediately someone asked: Where did you find all the art supplies? The answer, as always, is everywhere.

The Bob Ross doll is made by NECA. He and his art supplies are currently available on Amazon for about sixty dollars. My particular Bob was a gift from Lindsay Diamond. Thank you, Lindsay!
This sketch book and box of pastels are also commercially produced items. I can't remember where I got the book, but the pastels were purchased from Sinny's Mini Art.
The rest of my art supplies comes from model horse artists, including myself. I made everything in this photo. The pictures are shrunk down painting guides from Isaac Brushett, Sarah Gifford and Carol Williams. The jug of turpentine is a repurposed Tic Tac container, and the craft paints were made from a printable I found on line.
This group of items was made by Christine Lewis (pastels, sketchbook, Krylon, short paintbrushes and paints), Jackie Rossi (long paintbrushes and paints) and Lesli Kathman. I especially cherish Lesli's tiny Equine Tapestry book. It's even autographed!
The next grouping was made entirely by Emma Ransom-Jones. She gifted me these pieces during last year's NaMoPaiMo, and it's a measure of how burned out I was that I never posted about them then. They are truly wonderful. Thank you again, Emma!
Although none of these tiny medallions were included in the photo of Jose and Alexa, they are part of my 1:9 scale art room collection. I don't remember who sculpted the overexposed white medallion, but the rest are the work of Levi Kroll. The tiny versions of Van Gogh, Frida and Michelangelo were some of the prizes from last year's Minis Painting Minis. The others I bought from Levi just because.
I do have some more small scale art supplies coming, but I'm not sure they'll make in time for this year's NaMoPaiMo. Nevertheless, I fully expect Alexa to have a fun and successful February.
That's my goal for the month, too. I truly hope this will be the most fun and successful NaMoPaiMo ever. Last year we painted six hundred ten models. Can we beat that? I certainly hope so!

The art of never starting over

NaMoPaiMo begins on Monday, and model horse hobbyists across the globe are preparing to paint their horses. A few people will have an easy, trouble free month, but most of us are going to encounter problems. Some of us are going to encounter a lot of problems. This is frustrating, but also really normal. In fact, the ability to troubleshoot and correct problems as they arise is perhaps one of the most important traits an artist can possess. In today's guest post, Stephanie Blaylock shares a few of the things that can go wrong and she fixed them. Thank you, Stephanie!

The Art of Never Starting Over

by Stephanie Blaylock

Painting is a messy business. It’s not a perfect art. There’s no set way to do anything and even seasoned painters struggle. Case in point... I’m going to paint these easy medallions. Two weeks later...

The reason for this post is things will go wrong. Maybe multiple things. Most of it can be fixed and most of it will never be noticed by anyone but you. I used to get really upset by things like this, but now I know better. It’s just paint. Sometimes the greatest techniques are found through trial and error.

Base coats... That was easy. Ha. This is where I should have stopped.

Several layers of detail and sealer. I’m going all Treehouse Matte because I have run out of my gloss, and the store was out too.
Layering on acrylic paint. The paint is wet at this point.
I seal again and there IT is. 
The sealer crackle. Do you see it? I never start over. So I paint over it and seal with a different type gloss (Anita’s craft gloss) because it’s all I can find and hope for the best. Normally I would use Krylon gloss.
Look how smooth we are... wait for it
Wait for it....
What the !@!@!@😲😬🙈 THERE are random hairs now. And now that I super magnify it I still see the crackle.
I gently file off the hairs with a tiny metal file once the horse is dry.
It’s a little darker now but smooth with no hair.
I needed a pinpoint of paint. That worked 
Now sealed with Dullcote over the Anita’s just because what else could possibly go wrong.
Fortunately nothing!
How hard can it be to paint a medallion? 
Thank you so much for sharing this part of the process, Stephanie. Those medallions were definitely worth fighting for. I'm glad you didn't start over!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

NaMoPaiMo bonus events

If painting a model horse in twenty eight days isn't enough challenge for you, here are a couple NaMoPaiMo bonus events.
Now in its second year, Minis Painting Minis is NaMoPaiMo for dolls. Sign up is done via the NaMoPaiMo Facebook page.
Last year, Jose painted an Albus resin. 
He did a great job, but this year he is passing the torch paintbrush to Alexa.
She has signed up to paint a Maggie Bennett Offerman resin.
Bob Ross will be on hand to offer advice and support if she needs it.
Lol. She's definitely going to need it. Good luck, Alexa, and all the other doll painters!
The second event is a Bridle Tree Barn Raising Challenge's February Photo Contest. Kenzie Williamson is inviting all NaMoPaiMo winners to submit one to three photos incorporating finished their 2021 NaMoPaiMo models in a barn scene. Entries are due March 1, 2021 and will be judged on realism, creativity and storytelling. Prizes will include Quintus medallions and miniature rosettes. More information can be found on the Bridle Tree Barn Raising Challenge Facebook page.
NaMoPaiMo is only a few days away.  Please join us in the world's biggest model horse painting party!

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Don't forget the chestnuts!

Tutorial Tuesday is a long-standing NaMoPaiMo tradition. As much as possible, I will try to publish finishwork tutorials on my blog every Tuesday during the NaMoPaiMo period. Today's tutorial is a leftover from last year, but the information is every bit as useful now as it was in 2020. Thank you, Kristen Cermele, for sharing this quick tip!

Don't Forget the Chestnuts

by Kristen Cermele

Did you paint your chestnuts? Better question- did you make sure your horse has chestnuts? I didn't with Georg, and fun fact, he doesn't Now as I joked to some friends already, I actually do know a draft cross that is missing a set of chestnuts and has dime sized back chestnuts, but for model horse showing purposes I'm not about to document that to plead my case.
Luckily it's almost never too late to add chestnuts (or drill an air hole which I also always forget and today is no different) and my go to is Liquitex modeling paste. A note is that this stuff dries out very quickly,  so don't leave the top off like I have here for any length of time. I almost always end up trashing the jar before I finish it because it dries out, but luckily it isn't expensive. 
I used the end of a junky brush, dabbed on some paste, and I'll let it dry. Then I'll lightly sand the points down until they are, you know, blob shaped. 
The end.
Thank you again, Kristen. I loved your 2020 horse and can't wait to see what you'll be painting this year!