Monday, January 24, 2022

NaMoPaiMo is coming

Hard to believe, but NaMoPaiMo is just one week away. If you're still on the fence about participating, take a moment and read this great guest post by Elaine Lindelef. NaMoPaiMo is truly an event for everyone, and we'd love to have your join our painting party.

NaMoPaiMo and the Joy of Painting

By Elaine Lindelef

I painted my first Breyer when I was around 10 years old. I had found Just About Horses, and the advice offered was to use Floquil or Testor’s paints. So I did! 

Secretary’s Image, painted in glossy testor’s, finally got her due at A Fine Vintage at The Jennifer Show. It only took forty years for her genius to be properly recognized. Or maybe it was just that I wrote a good story about her. Either way, ten year old me felt totally vindicated.
Over the years, I struggled to make my horses more realistic and lifelike. I scoured Just About Horses for advice out of every word and every black-and-white pixel. I went to live shows and examined every horse I could, without touching. I saved my money carefully and bought a few horses from artists who were winning, so I could have their creations in my own hands and learn whatever I could. I experimented with oils, acrylics, fingerpainting, toothbrush flicking, airbrushing, everything I saw suggested. Then Carol Williams sold her first book, and my own painting style finally came together, with oil paint, following her techniques but with my own style and direction.
Alert The Media, painted in 1992, in oils
Carol’s directions really helped me to see the variation in the coat that I’d never noticed before, and gave me, someone with no training in color theory or mixing, color formulas that would produce good results. It was like magic. The difference in what I could do was amazing, and I painted many horses every year for a decade.

Eventually my model horse activity went quieter as we bought a horse property in rural northern California, far from shows, and as my daughter became active with 4-H livestock. I never left the hobby, but my supplies went into storage while we remodeled the house and didn’t come back out for a while.

I didn’t hear about NaMoPaiMo until its third year.

In 2019, someone (maybe Sue Rowe?) sent me an invitation, and I was hooked. I had my first Maggie Bennett micro-mini, purchased while judging at BreyerWest in Oregon. I figured I could paint a micro mini in acrylics in a month. It was tiny and I suck at acrylic, but I figured it would be okay if it wasn’t brilliant. I could always consider it a base coat for oil.
I admit that first year, I started the last week, and I finished it late at night, on the last day, sitting on the floor of my closet, where the light was brightest. It was so thrilling to finish a horse again.
I was gifted an earth pigments set for classic champagne. I’d never worked in pigments and I’d never painted champagne. The perfect gift for me, and what fun it was to try this new thing for NaMoPaiMo 2020!
NaMoPaiMo is the best adventure. When I started, painting was a solitary act and advice and community was impossible to come by. NaMoPaiMo creates a community - an instant community of a thousand other painters, all working, all sharing. I’ve learned so much both from experienced artists and from people relatively new to the hobby. The creativity and ideas that come from a group of one thousand people all painting a horse - it’s astonishing, humbling, and delightful. So many times, I see someone new do something so out of the box my jaw just drops and my heart is filled with glee.

I haven’t decided what my project will be this year. Not just which body, but which medium? Will I pick something experimental, something that I might not finish? Will I use it to learn a new technique? Will I use it as an excuse to get my airbrush set up and running again? Will I pick a horse that I really want to get completed? Or will I simply pick something that is not emotionally important to me, and something I know I can finish? Because actually, of all the skills I need to practice the most, it’s finishing the project.

So look for my registration on the very last day, mindful of Jennifer’s no-backsies rule. If I’m smart I’ll at least have something prepped… something I’ve never quite managed before the first day. Oh, and I had the good sense to ask for the last day of February as a vacation day from work. I know myself.

Last year I picked up my oils again, which was wonderful. It felt like home. Even if the horse wasn’t quite dry by the end of the month. I was picked as a NaMoPaiMo Champion of the day, which I consider among my favorite hobby honors.
Last year’s project. He, um, is supposed to be black, and he still isn’t. But I love this color a lot too!
What I do know is that because of NaMoPaiMo, I WILL paint in February. I might not finish and I might not be fully satisfied. But painting at all is something that is important to me and something that often gets set aside due to other life obligations. So thank you, Jennifer, and everyone who participates, who creates the energy and the obligation to ensure I do this thing, I love, for me.

1 comment:

  1. Yes.
    The first year I did not join, but followed intensely, making a saddle blanket alongside.
    NaMo's energy became self-sustaining.