Every year I invite the NaMoPaiMo community to submit guest posts for this blog. And every year, just like clockwork, someone asks, "What could I write about? I'm not an artist. I don't know enough to help other people. I'm just trying to finish my horse." To which I answer, "Write about that. Please write about that." But no one ever does.
Until this year.
Today's post comes from my friend, Heather Malone, who participated in NaMoPaiMo for the first time. I've waited a long time to for her to join us and an equally long time for someone to write a post like this. Worth every minute. Thanks, Heather!
My First NaMoPaiMo
by Heather Malone
I don’t know why, but in the first four years of NaMoPaiMo I have not been moved to participate. Do NOT get me wrong, it is an amazing invention by my dear friend, Jennifer Buxton, and I think it’s a total miracle. It has moved hundreds and hundreds of people into painting their own model horses every year and is inspiring the next generation of hobby artists. It was the missing link in the hobby that encouraged people to take a chance and see if they actually had the will and or talent to paint. My podcast with Jackie Rossi, Mares in Black, promotes it heavily every year.
But….this year, the fifth year of the event was different. Really, really different.
Professionally, I travel a lot. Personally, I travel a lot, mostly for model horse events. Shortly after NaMoPaiMo and BreyerWest last year, all that came to a screeching halt. Travel for work stopped, live shows stopped, seeing my friends in person stopped, movies stopped, restaurants stopped. Hell, for a few months, driving stopped, and as the pandemic stretched from assurances of weeks of lockdown to the realization that we were in it for the long haul, I realized I was going to have a lot more free time on my hands.
Let me pause by saying here that I am an ARTIST, but I am a graphics artist. Except for the very beginning of my career, everything I do is digital. Nothing tactile or organic, while having the requisite background art training is always relevant, I have never considered myself an “artist” in the confines of the hobby and I don’t thing anyone else does either. So, yes, I am technically an artist but a civilian as far as the hobby goes.
This year, mostly locked down, lonely and bored and realizing if I wasn’t constantly on the go, I ate a lot and watched too much crap TV and drank too much wine. I am mostly an extrovert and I was self-medicating badly. I began to look for ways to “entertain” myself in a better way.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have participated in all sorts of art clinics over the years. I even went to Wire to Whinny, mostly to improve my judging. I have a box of uncompleted clinic horses in my guest/horse room closet. I learned a lot from each and every artist that taught me and this year it somehow all jelled. I decided pretty early in 2020 I was going to participate in NaMoPaiMo for the first time.
I WAS FINALLY READY.
Except, I wasn’t. While I had decided to paint for 2021 and I had a prepped horse - courtesy of a BreyerWest clinic with Lesli Kathman where we never got to painting the horses - but I had NO supplies. I put off buying them until the end of January and ended up getting all my stuff after the middle of February. I had decided on my tutorial and my references. I used Stephanie Blaylock’s pasteling a bay tobiano photo essay and I used a filly my OTTB mare Flee had named Maia! Maia’s papa was a homozygous Spotted Saddle horse and she came out an amazing bay Tobiano just like him.