Friday, April 26, 2013

No Frills Live April 20 - The Custom Foals

I had the honor, and pleasure, of judging both the custom and resin divisions at the No Frills Live All Minis show in Huntey, IL on April 20. Then show started with the foals, and the custom foals division was extremely competitive. The showers brought out their best, and I'm pleased to share some of those beautiful pieces with you here.

It is hard to believe that the piece shown here, Skittles, owned by Chris Wallbruch, is roughly fifteen years old. She looks pretty amazing in this photo, but the tiniest details are only visible to the eye. There are no "painted on" white markings here. Well, technically, there are, but there are absolutely no visual clues about the seamless application of the perfectly smooth color (and white) on this piece. This is one of the later "cold painted" (as opposed to the contemporary kiln fired) pieces by artistic master Lesli Kathman.

This frisky baby is Freckles Gone Wild owned by Chris Wallbruch.  Like Skittles above, this piece dates back at least fifteen years. I believe she is the work of Lee Francis.

Exquisite little "Oui," is owned by Elizabeth LaRose and painted by Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig. Some of the most wonderful qualities of this piece are the variety in color and shading within spots.  The luster of the clean, young coat, appears to be gleaming in the sun. 

Sweet Pea is one of many Diane Capwell pieces owned by the lucky Karen Meekma.  It is too bad that Diane is no longer involved with the hobby. Her extensive talents extended to both the use of varied, rich colors, and the application of detailed patterning. This combination of talents is not often paired, and is much sought after when an artist can bring both talents to our hobby. 

Little "Bindi Sue" is a beautifully done, pastelled mealy/pangare bay. One of my favorite features of this piece is the delicate,  transparent use of the pastels.  Anyone can use pastels to build and build color to develop opaque coverage, but it requires much more care, skill, and planning to perfect this type of finish, especially without flaws or excessive grain in the color.  This baby is owned by Linda Jensen.  I would love to know the name of the finishing artist. 

DeeAnn Kjelshus is known for thinking outside of the box, and also for creating the highest level of finishwork. Little "Smudge" here is the perfect example. He appears to be resting after having some fun playing in the mud!  I love the rich coat colors and pattern on him too.

I don't know who painted this next little cutie, but I do know that she is owned by Jennifer Lambert. 

Here is a nice little flippy-tailed foal, sporting a wonderful use of rich color in her coat, as well as a beautifully detailed pattern. Artist and owner are unknown. 

Through the years, Denise Gimarro has created an entire herd of beautiful babies customized in a variety of creative poses. This foal is gorgeous from this angle, but move down to the next photo... see an even cuter picture of her!  Look at that expression!

Here we have another exceptionally detailed Diane Capwell foal. Diane uses dozens of colors to draw the eye around the piece. She also uses both paint work and etching to develop her patterns.

Next us we find yet another Diane Capwell foal. I especially like the way that the pattern on the barrel appears to stretch and wrinkle with the position of the hind leg.

The fjord colt below is a very tiny sculpture from the Hagen-Renaker mini pony family. Having recently painted a Hagen-Renaker mini foal (see THIS post below), I know very well that the artist must paint in the facial details, which are gentle contours at best, and often non-existant on these pieces.  This beautiful piece was created by Tiffany Purdy.

Yes another Diane Capwell foal was in the rings. I'm disappointed that my camera, and later editing, could not pick up on the extensive detail in the darkest areas of the coat. I assure you, the finishwork was phenomenal. "Cinders" is owned by the lucky Karen Meekma.

One more Hagen-Renaker foal by Tiffany Purdy was in the rings too. This one was being shown by a breed that was brand new to me, the North American Spotted Halflinger.  Is this breed new to you too? You can visit the registry's page at . Little "Kalvin" is also owned by Karen Meekma.

Another beautiful DeeAnn Kjelshus work showed up in the rings, this time a baby mule!  "Bubbles" is owned by Linda Jensen.

What tough competition!  I was having a great time, but with all of the deliberation over such excellent models, I felt as if I had been judging all day already after these classes. In the end, I chose the magnificent "Cinders" (again wishing I'd been able to capture all of the subtle details of this dark beauty) and "Skittles" as my champ and reserve.

There are many more photos to come from my judging experience at No Frills on Saturday, so please visit the blog in upcoming days for more eye candy!


  1. Wow, thanks for sharing these wonderful photos, Karen! I loved seeing them all :)

  2. Inspiration to etch. Also, admiration for the scale. I think you made good choices, though it must've been tough! Thanks for such good photos!

  3. <3 the babeh poneh pics!!
    Karen D

  4. Very fun post, I really enjoyed it! Thanks for taking the time to get the photos and do the write up. I love seeing the foals!