Thursday, January 31, 2019

Wayback Machine...

Sometimes the nostalgic moments and enjoyment of good memories can be a hobby in and of itself!  I know some folks do “throwback Thursday” and other themes, but I just tend to go with what I’m thinking about!  Found some old pics of riding days and my (mostly) OF Breyer collection of the times...I retained some of the original “carpet herd” and sentimental pieces.  Ah, the 80’s.

I sure had a groovy outfit for horse camp!  “Henry” was a slow and steady Chestnut QH who was reliable with all riders no matter the level, “Bo” the bay had a cool half
blue eye and a super smooth canter.  Found some other school horse pics and remember the many lessons they taught me and countless others.

In Junior High school days, I even joined the “model club” which was mostly boys building model planes, cars, ships, and trains.  I naturally painted horse models and also recreated the Budweiser Clydesdale eight horse hitch and wagon!  Had hoped to find pictures of those humble beginnings. On to NaNoPaiMo - last day to sign up!  Join Here:

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Collecting Collections

My collections are vast and varied.  While most of us start out with OF Breyers, many of us branch out into other hobbies as well!  I collected miniature dog figurines first, and nature goodies.  Later years brought about collections in arts, music, movies, and other geekery.

Even my dogs have their collections.  This is my bright and beautiful Cola girl, who has a small
collection of Coca Cola goodies...


Recently acquired this Zing Cola can, and Sara got us this teensy Coke Machine and 6 pack (next to micro mini for scale - it is HO I believe.  Love these tiny miniature things...
My sister Heather got me the cool vintage wood Coke box that I display in.  The challenge is finding small Cola items.  Need to park my (Coca Cola) matchbox cars in there!


Phaser says don’t worry, he too has a small namesake collection...
As a kid I had a Phaser squirt gun.  (I played with the Force and my light saber too as I am more of a Star Wars gal - his breeder is into the Trek themes).  Still a fun challenge to find little Phaser stun guns.  The thrill of the hunt is what is enjoyable when it comes to collecting!

I have found I even have unintentional groupings sometimes.  What other collections do you have?

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Fruits of Our Labor...

As artists, we often get wrapped up in the prep and process of a piece that we forget to reflect on the beauty of our creations!  Have you ever taken a look back at how far you have come?

NaMoPaiMo discussion online has addressed the topic of juxtaposing beginning work to current work, which can be a valuable tool.  Everybody was a beginner once, and hopefully we can see and appreciate differences as we improve.  While I don’t have handy pics of early model painting attempts, (and there are some gloppy ponies, let me tell ya!) I do have a couple images of flatwork (pastel, acrylic, colored pencil) and big fruit to share!
Turns out it is generally True that putting in hard work and detail pays off in sweet amazIng results, whether it’s a model, art, produce, writing, music, cooking...even cheese!

How about you?  Are you able to relish past works and your journey as an artist?
Will we grow beautiful ponehs during NaMoPaiMo?

Monday, January 28, 2019

Barebones Basics

In animal art, the study of anatomy is essential, beginning with skeletal angles and proportions and on to musculature.  Photos and video are great tools to us, but the real animals themselves are the best way to get hands-on training for the artist’s eye.  I am no stranger to skeleton study and life drawing, so thought I’d share a few pics...

Bones McCoy was shown at GLC - I think we all enjoyed him!

My University vet school had various species skeletal studies in their anatomy lab

Even for painting purposes, it’s important to have references of what’s underneath the coat & skin.
Only a week left before NaMoPaiMo begins!  I’m SO excited!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Studio Mascots/the Breeds We Love

Many of us share our art time with animal companions, and aside from the challenges of errant hairs or slight distractions, their company is welcome and enjoyed.  I share my life, heart, and home with my dogs Phaser and Cola.  They are quiet, agreeable, and even help from time to time (really! Retrieving is a most useful command).  Both have trained and shown in multiple venues but take their home roles just as seriously in their veteran years.

They are Field Spaniels, a large sporting spaniel breed developed for upland game bird hunting.  Our breed is larger than the Cockers, but shorter than the Springers, and are generally seen in black, liver, the same with tan points, and sometimes roan.  Had some puppy cuddles over this past year as well
as celebration at our National.  They are an amazing breed and I’m lucky to share life with them!

I have always fancied particular breeds for reasons of utility and beauty no matter the species, and seem particularly drawn to certain colors and patterns as well...

Comment and tell me what animals make up your studio crew!

Saturday, January 26, 2019


Insects and other animalia can be inspiring.  I used to draw many biological pieces.  Recently I noticed some of the photos and samples.  Delicate details aside, study of their anatomy is fascinating.

Nature gives us the chance to study color, anatomy, biomechanics, balance and symmetry, texture, genetics, and more!  I have always geeked on art AND science.  Lots of relative theory.

Here are a few photos of specimens that I’ve collected or studied...

And an ink Zentangle bee and colored pencil beetles

I can appreciate that which creeps, crawls, slithers, or otherwise.

Local turtle.  I miss my tortoises.

What other beasties have inspired you?

Friday, January 25, 2019

Hobby Mess!

Oh, the madness of collecting.  Not just Breyers, mind you.  All things Model Horse and then tack and props and dolls and papers, photos, the list goes on...

But I love it all!  Scale Modeling is a chance to have some fun in a little world of our own creation and imagination.  Anything goes, and anything is possible.

In going through some things lately, it began as a harmless hunt for a halter...
I found props I had made and projects I had painted or was in process of painting.

There were piles and boxes and odd arrangements.  Does this look familiar to your world?

Alas, no halter, but did unearth this cool old blingy circus tack in disrepair.  Anyone know who created it?  I still have to go through vintage tack...

I may not always find what I am looking for, but being surrounded by hobby mess is always fun!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

More Planning/Step-by-step

Any project requires forethought, planning, gathering of materials, and revision during execution...

Carving stamps is a subtractive sculpting process.  In clay and epoxy, it is often an additive process.  Sometimes sculpture is both subtractive (like carving and sanding) and additive (like adding more material).  Both processes require thinking ahead to different degrees.

Painting can also be additive and subtractive, whether we are carefully layering paint or pastel pigment or using a method to remove paint, like etching, scratch roaning, or pulling pigment away from dapples.

For last year’s NaMoPaiMo, my zebra was a challenge in position and detail.  I started with a thrift shop find and prepped with bond filler to create a smooth surface and erase sculpted hair texture.

My painting details were slowly built up in shaded layers...with sealing in between layers.
Photo references and various breeds of Zebra were considered and studied beforehand.
I mentioned before sometimes I start with detail work, like markings, an eye, or a face... and by blocking in color (here it is “ghost striping” and the general striping pattern...

Of course, there were also mistakes which I learned from, fixed, and re-did.  All part of the process!

To all you Prepping out there - keep going!  (I am just about ready and all signed up.  Didn’t think you all wanna see 80+ color reference photos!).  Let us know what model and color you are committing to!  It’s not too late to sign up before February 1!

Go to The NaMoPaiMo Page...

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Canine Art Museum

I was lucky to get to view the AKC Museum of the Dog prior to its recent move to NY.
As one of my bucket list items, it was a high point of an educational trip, and did not disappoint.

The Museum is home to all kinds of canine art - portraits, sculpture, photography...a true celebration of the purebred dog.  As luck would have it, I was also fortunate to have a private viewing of the library.  Another treat was the feature display of china Dogs!  Royal Doultons and Beswicks and more!  I seriously enjoyed my time there and hope its new home serves it well.

Delicate beauties - clinky puppies galore! How cool was this?!?  A feature exhibit surprise!  LOVE.

There were SO many lovely paintings and prints and bronzes in all breeds, both old and new.  It was truly a lovely collection.  Where there are dogs in art, often there are horses too...

Any dog lover or connoisseur of canine art would appreciate the variety & quality of this curated collection.  I thoroughly enjoyed all the history and beauty celebrating Dogs...and look!  Breyers!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Art of Hygge

Cola content by the fire

You may or may not be familiar with Hygge. (Pronounced Hoo-ga/hoog-ah or hyoog-eh). It is a Danish/Norwegian concept that embodies the mood or state of coziness, comfort, wellness, and contentment.  Think that which gives courage, comfort, joy, a hug.  That is the feeling of hygge, and it is embodied by culture through action, decor, activities, even clothing.  Togetherness, well-being, and an atmosphere that promotes relaxation.  Hygge is an experience as opposed to a particular object or behavior.  The fact that it is not really defineable, but more of an idea, leads us to cultivate it in lifestyle, or even use it as an adjective.  It can exist anywhere, and in many ways.

Value of simple pleasures can be exactly this.  Remember how it felt when you last relaxed, perhaps curled up with a good book or movie and some snacks or drinks?  That security, that cozy comfort, perhaps shared with others...that is hygge.  Think soft lighting and quiet nooks.

It is popularly represented with candles and cozy socks and comfort...warm drinks and good food

 The critters know how to Hygge.  Dogs embrace it.

 Kitties do too!

I also find that joy in little things!  Miniatures and tiny surprises - joy!  Our little scale model world is so perfect to celebrate simple pleasures.  Nature does that well, too.
Did I mention food???   Comfort food abounds in hygge.

It can be out and about, store-bought treats, or fresh homemade.  Savory and sweet.
Hygge atmosphere and ambiance ranges from rustic cozy decor to anything simple bringing cozy comfort.  Snuggly blankies and downtime or good conversation with friends and food

Nature provides plenty of inspiration as well - love my little plants and terrariums/fairy gardens.  Flowers, plants, wood, fur, rocks...natural fibers, all very rustic and textural.

I do recommend The Little  Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.
Stay Cozy and Be Well!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Equine Inspiration

I used to ride.  I’ve enjoyed horses in various forms since childhood and love to learn about them even when they aren’t part of my everyday life.

aboard Oscar in Ireland

Horses are fairly ubiquitous, whether on farms throughout the country, in sculpture and painted form, or traveling through...I am lucky when I come upon them or am able to get them at a show, fair, or tour.  Once in awhile I get to visit them because of friends’ involvement.  Of course there is always the opportunity of things like Breyerfest and all the references in books, magazines, and the internet!
Sometimes it’s live Horses, sometimes art, even in surprising places...

And sometimes it isn’t even equine at all!  Check out this coloration (bovine)....

Still, the horses and ponies past, present, and future will always capture our hearts and inspire art...
(Did you spot the heart?)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Evolution of a 2D piece

Artists all use process, whether it is formulaic, taught, “happy accidents”, usually involves a combination of methods and tools.

When writing, some brainstorm and outline, others just go and edit like crazy, and sometimes the whole project evolves in unexpected ways.  Visual arts aren’t much different.

Many of us are too busy ARTING to document step-by-step, and yet photos and notes can be an invaluable tool for checking in on our progress.

Awhile back I did a painting and managed to have enough pics to show basic process.

This is Lucky dawg, an adorable Pittie owned by hobby friend Sara.

I start with thought process and research as needed.  In general this can range from composition and materials to gathering reference photos and “knowing your subject”.

Sketched onto canvas (sometimes I use transfer methods, grids, enlarging images, or, like here, “eyeballed it” and planned composition based on photo, space, and focal point of happy dog grin)
PLEASE NOTE - my intention was painting inspired by photo for this project, NOT exact likeness
There is a time and place for that - but that was not the scope of this piece.

Blocking in basics or “local color” - sometimes details are concentrated on first as opposed to last.
Because of medium I was mainly concerned with blocking in shapes and colors - markings - sometimes, like with pastels or more translucent layers of paint or pigment, I have to plan on working  “light to dark” or “dark to light”.  Opaque acrylics are not nearly as concerning.

Checking back in with details for shading and detail - this is why photos or models are invaluable!

Finished piece after working in details, texture, finishing.  All projects involve various final touches.

I hope to be able to work on my NaMoPaiMo model in much the same way and will share regular updates of the process!