Tuesday, July 5, 2022

From Workshop to Breyerfest Best Customs Contest!

 Good Luck 


Heather Jackson-Lain 

and her stellar piece

Ghetto Superstar

in the 2022 BreyerFest Best Customs Contest! 

Ghetto Superstar was Heather's workshop piece for the Spring '22 term of Appy 201 - Painting Semi-Leopard Appalaoosas Workshop! 

Just look at this guy's beautiful roaning and face! Evident are the care and love dedicated to this piece's creation. See more of Heather's work including her Breyerfest sales pieces on her Facebook page at SoulPony Studios!

"Ghetto Superstar" painted and photographed by Heather Jackson-Lain.

"Ghetto Superstar" painted and photographed by Heather Jackson-Lain. 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

 Hello Friends! 

It has been a while, over five years since my last blog post, to be exact! Life happens, but I'm now back to painting and I'm hoping to get back to regular blogging about my work too! 

Recent years have brought many changes for me. Both of my boys are grown up and in college. I'm so proud of them! I'm offering individual and couples counseling at my day job as a licensed social worker while also helping others to follow their artistic dreams through my model horse painting workshops. 

Today I'm bringing you a favorite of mine. It would have been perfect if I could have called this a "Friday favorite" but it is now Saturday, ha ha! It is a favorite nonetheless! 

Have you heard of the podcast by the Mares in Black? The Mares themselves describe it as "a model horse podcast, for hobbyists, by hobbyists." To me it is pure FUN! Good friends Heather Malone and Jacki Rossi bring us fascinating commentary about current events within the hobby, history, and everything else going on pertaining to model horses. I love the Mares so much that I just joined their patreon, which helps keep them going. I started listening to the podcast a few months ago but have more recently gone back all the way to episode #1! I LOVE listening to the Mares while I'm painting! I'm currently working my way through the episodes, catching up on all that I have missed during my hobby absence of recent years. 

Check them out! Visit maresinblack.com. I'm quite sure that you will love them as much as I do! 

Monday, February 20, 2017

NaMoPaiMo - Day 20

Hello again!

It has been 18 days since I last blogged about my NaMoPaiMo (National Model Painting Month) piece, and for good reason. I have spent the last two weeks trying to get over a nasty upper respiratory infection. Sadly, it persists, but I am much better today, and ready to blog again.

I have accomplished very little during the past sixteen days, but I did complete two tasks of note. First, using prismacolor pencils, I applied a somewhat even layer of dark grey fleabites to my piece. Those familiar with the horse color termed "flea-bitten grey" will know that the color that I'm painting is usually referred to as "black" flea-bitten, which is opposed to the color that is commonly called  "red"(chestnut or bay) flea-bitten grey.  My piece has a slightly greater concentration of fleabites over the shoulders, neck and head, which is a common variant of the pattern.  It is absolutely not necessary for fleabites to be distributed evenly; you will sometimes see a real horse with entire "sections" (such as the barrel, etc.) that are nearly devoid of fleabites while they are plentiful in another place. With a model horse, however, it is wise to stick with the more common variations unless you are doing a portrait, or plan to show the piece with a real horse reference photo on the side. The fleabites that I applied are tiny, mere taps of the pencil. I can always go back and increase the size and concentration later, if I would like.

The second important task that I completed during the past two weeks was painting the lower legs and tail to the same warm white that I had painted the rest of the horse. Being day 19 of NaMoPaiMo, it is now the time to get the whole horse painted. There is not sufficient time to leave the legs, tail, or hooves, blank; I need to get them in pigments.

Up until today, I had left the lower legs, feet, and lower tail in white primer. Even though I usually wear white cotton gloves while painting, skin oils, and friction will leave the areas that you hold a bit slippery, and pigments/paint will not adhere to those areas as well. If you use acrylics to paint those areas prior to using them as hand-holds, you are likely to wear off the paint, necessitating further sanding and reapplication later. I prefer to just leave them blank and do the painting later in the process.

A fully white (or flea-bitten) grey horse will have a nearly white "background," with only a few, slightly darker areas remaining on the hocks and legs, and perhaps some portions of the mane, tail and face. Pale dappling will be visible in some areas, namely the neck, mid-barrel, lower haunch, and lower shoulder.

A different color, what I will term a slightly dappled grey, like my fellow, will have much more detailed pattern of color to paint on the legs. I found a few excellent leg reference photos for this phase of dappling, and started in with my pastels (senellier brand) and kneeded eraser. At this point, in the progression of the dappled grey pattern, the legs have some of the darkest remaining pigments on the horse. After very roughly sketching in (with pigment), and erasing (with the kneaded eraser) the lightest areas, this is what I have:

As you will see, the left rump (and right rump, when I get to it) and leg are going to be very detailed. I like where this is going, but I see that I will now need to darken, intensify, and detail some other areas, namely the barrel, shoulder, and neck dappling on the piece, to keep them at the same point in the dappling process as the leg/rump/

I hope to be back in another day or two with updates of my progress and an explanation of my process.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

NaMoPaiMo - Day 2

Hello Again!

I'm very pleased to have painted today, day 2 of NaMoPaiMo! I usually paint at a snail's pace, and certainly not every day, so this may actually be some kind of record for me. I definitely need to thank Jennifer Buxton for the challenge and inspiration!

First, to answer a question from yesterday's blog, I found the address to purchase the dental micro brushes right on the container.

Another product that I can't live without are cheap, disposable, white cotton gloves. You don't want to wear these while pastelling, because they could pick up and smear pastels where you don't want them. You definitely do want to wear them on the hand that holds your piece while painting, however, as they prevent skin oils from adhering to your model. Search for "white cotton gloves" in your size on amazon. I bought mine in a group of twelve pairs at once. They wash well. 

I usually work SL-OW-LY, making careful decisions each step of the way. I'm trying to ramp it up this month during NaMoPaiMo. Perhaps I actually did not "do" all that much today, but I did make a lot of decisions. 

I added a large snip and blaze to my piece. White markings on a grey horse are always a different color from the body color. This is because a white horse that started out dark as a foal and progressively greyed will have black (dark grey) skin under almost all of the white hair. Any white face and leg markings present at birth on this horse will have pink skin underneath. 

I also decided to create a mixed grey mane and tail, with a darker area toward the withers and a lighter portion on the forelock. Today's work included some further pastel work on the face, and mane, plus further definition of some of the facial features and neck wrinkles with varying shades of grey paint. Finally, I started adding some very tiny fleabites with a dark grey prismacolor pencil. 

The last decision that I made today was to give my piece a name! I have named this horse Umberto, for the Italian author of the book, The Name of the Rose. 

From his shoulders forward, my piece, Umberto, is really starting to take shape. 

Join me next time to see his progress! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

NaMoPaiMo - Day 1


Yes, it has been nearly two years since I have posted here. That certainly was not my intention, but life got in the way.

This month I'm participating in a 28 day challenge called NaMoPaiMo. What is that? National Model Painting Month was conceived by Jennifer Bray Buxton of the Braymere Blogspot fame. Today, Febrauary 1, 2017, marks day one of NaMoPaiMo. While I have been whittling down my outstanding  commissions, I have realized that what I really need is a boost. A shot in the arm. A way to get myself back in the habit of truly thinking about painting and just getting it done. As a result, I signed up for NaMoPaiMo and successfully completed day 1 of the challenge.

I started with a "Maxixe de Barios" Criollo resin body, sculpted by the talented Morgen Kilbourn. I have long dreamed of transforming this sculpture into a piece for my own collection and show string.  My plan is to paint this piece to a lightly dappled, and lightly flea-bitten grey.

I started out with this fellow primed in Rustoleum Painter's Touch Primer, flat white colored. My first step was to paint him a slightly creamier (not so stark) white in acrylics. I used several layers of thinned (watered down) acrylics to achieve the desired results. 

My next step was to add some shading on his face. Why do I start with the face? Humans are innately programmed to look at the faces of all other humans, as well as all other beings, miniature reproductions included. While the work on the body will be extremely important, creating a realistic and expressive face that the viewer can relate to is a primary concern of the painter. 

I admit that pastels are not my favorite medium. They are potentially messy, and require a fixative spray, however I have never found another medium that is so successful at recreating the delicate color transitions on the face of a light grey. 

I'm painting in February, near Chicago, so pastelling outdoors or in the garage is not an option. Instead, paper towels, taped down to the table, are an excellent surface for catching stray pastel dust. I start out with a small amount of wax paper on the surface as well, which I use as a palette for a bit of black paint for the eye balls. 

Some artists keep the eyeballs white throughout the painting process but I prefer to darken them from the start, adding additional colors and details closer to the completion of the piece. Why do I do this? Maintaining that the face and expression are of utmost importance, I like to have an idea of what the large, dark eye will look like on the piece from the start. 

I have mostly Sennelier brand soft pastels, but as you see, I crumble and crush them into small containers, labeled with the stock number for each color. This is another tactic for managing the dust. 

My tools today include a pastel smoothie and two small dental tools. Pastel smoothies are large, fluffy brushes, which can distribute a delicate layer of pastels where you want them. They are also superb blending tools. These are available from various art supply shops. I believe that these come in three sizes, and I find the smallest smoothie to be the most useful. The dental tools come in various shapes and sizes and are available online. I have had them so long that I no longer recall the source. You can see two in the photo: a green handled tool with a round end, and a white handled tool with a pointy end. These tools are best for applying a small area of pastel to your sculpture. They are intended to be disposable, and come in packages of 100 or more. 

Following a few hours of applying pastels, spraying, and drying, I have blocked in much of the facial detail on Maxixe. 

Watch here for further progress!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

No Frills Live 3/14/15 - Chinas and Customs

Hello! It has been a long time, but I hope that I will be getting back to regular blogging. Today I'm sharing some gorgeous models that I spotted at the wonderful "No Frills Live" show yesterday. Thank you very much to the Great Lakes Congress for hosting the show, and to Lisa Esping for judging the China, CM, and AR Divisions!  Please comment if you would like to provide any names of the artists and owners that I could not credit.

Exquisite Hagen-Renaker Fez owned by Elizabeth LaRose.  

Outstanding China Scarlett (Stacey Tumlinson Sculpture) produced by Tom Bainbridge and owned by Marilou Mol. As you can see, she was a big winner! 

Could this be any cuter? Donna Chaney sculpture owned by Linda Jensen.

Kitty details.

How is it possible that this is a RUBBER model??? It is a Collecta. Painted by Tiffany Purdy and owned by Linda Jensen.

A perennial favorite, H-R customized and painted by Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig. Owned by Elizabeth LaRose. 

Such a gorgeous face! 

This fantasy piece is best appreciated with the eye, rather than the camera. I so wish I could share the shimmering jewel tones of amethyst and jade. CM by ? and owned by Leslie and Dan Hahn. 

Photo 1 of the  ultra high quality "Other" breeds callback class. Credit given from top row to bottom and from left to right. Customized by Minkiewicz-Breunig and owned by LaRose. Customized by Stephanie Michaud and owned by Marilou Mol. Customized by Karen Dietrich and owned by Chris Wallbruch. Customized by Lynn Fraley and owned by Wallbruch. Customized by Minkiewicz-Breunig and owned by LaRose. 

Photo 2 of the CM "Other" breeds callback with credits given from top row to bottom and from left to right. CM by ? and owned by ?.  CM by Minkiewicz-Breunig and owned by LaRose. CM by Tiffany Purdy, Painted by Carol Huddleston and owned by Karen Beeson.  CM by Tom Bainbridge and owned by Mary Jo Nerly.  CM by Purdy and owned by Mary Jo Nerly. 

Photo 3 of the CM "Other" breeds callback with credits given from top row to bottom and from left to right. CM by Purdy, Painted by Huddleston, and owned by Beeson. CM by Minkiewicz-Breunig and owned by LaRose. CM by D'Arry Frank and owned by Marilou Mol. 

View from the other side of the CM "Other" breeds callback class. 

A lovely, soft pastelled piece, customized by Stephanie Blaylock and owned by Linda Jensen.

A pintaloosa Seabiscuit customized by Kim Naumann, who sadly no longer paints for the hobby. Owned by the lucky Chris Wallbruch. 

Weather Girl can really pull of a splash white pattern! CM by Tom Bainbridge  and owned by LaRose. 

"Quiver" customized by Minkiewicz-Breunig and owned by LaRose. 

"Ina" customized and owned by Karen Beeson. 

Darling little appy customized by DeeAnn Kjelshus and owned by Nerly. 

Breyer SM Foal "Amezquita" Customized and owned by Karen Beeson. 

A piece I was fortunate to snap up for my personal collection, "Per Se," customized by Stephanie Blaylock and owned by Beeson. 
Please watch for my next blog post showing pieces from the Artist Resin division! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fraley "Chickory" Pony to Buckskin Pinto by Beeson at auction to benefit Meows and Minis Live!

This little chubby-wubby pony, sculpted by Lynn Fraley and painted by me, is currently up for online auction to benefit Meows and Minis Live, a cat shelter benefit show! Please check him out and place your bids!

He is a 100% donation to the show (100% goes right to the shelter!), VERY generously donated by Marilou Mol!

Online Auction Link:

Please note that these photos show this fellow MUCH larger than real life. 

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