Random Thoughts

Wow, here I am in July already. July has usually meant for me, working like mad to get new horses done in time to take to the annual Ultimate Model Horse Event, BreyerFest in Lexington Kentucky. I have been to this event every year since 1993 except for one. And this year, I decided to skip it as well. I have reached “been-there, done-that” with BreyerFest. The hobby and the hobby community and my place in it has changed so much since the “glory days” of BreyerFest which I would say were the mid-to-late 1990’s. If you are into collecting model horses or horse figurines, it certainly is the place to be. I still am and will always be, a collector, so it will be hard to miss out on that collector-fun. And nothing beats the Kentucky Horse Park for a superb horse-filled setting.

Though it used to be THE place to “see and be seen” for artists serving that hobby, I don’t think that is true any more. Now with the web being such a great visual communication tool, many artists like myself have learned that we can sell anything we create, right to our customer base online. So there’s no need to go through the hassle and risk of getting your work to Kentucky, and paying for the hotel and the airfare, just to make sales.

I am just one of more than a few equine artists skipping BreyerFest these days, which is another reason I chose not to go: I miss those people! If the people you want to socialize with aren’t there, the experience is diminished. BreyerFest was so wonderful because of the socializing as well as the shopping! I admit it may be hard to be here that weekend in July, after so many years of being there… but I am immersing myself in an array of projects this month so I hope I won’t even notice!

I was glad instead to spend my “travel funds” in a wonderful road trip around New York and Massachusetts a couple weeks ago. A lovely week of family and friends. I spent 3 days in Brooklyn with my sister Kristin, her husband Craig and their 2 sons. Here are Ezra and Malachi doing what they are champs at, getting ice cream all over themselves:

Kristin and I spent a glorious day in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, ooooh! Among so many inspiring pieces of art, I got to see in person a wonderful example of equine art: The Horse Fair. An awesome 199 inches wide of ravishing equines!

I also got to meet a fellow equine artist in person for the first time (we have been web-friends until now!), Jennifer Danza at her home and studio, also in Brooklyn. She possesses prodigious artistic talents, apparent all through her house and studio. She’s a fellow ceramist, too, with much more going on in that department than I! We didn’t spend nearly enough time and we pledged to schedule more of it in future!!

I also attended a large 3-in-one model horse show weekend in Mass, which while fun and entertaining, had an unexpected outcome for me. I think I am done with model horse showing. I have been struggling against this for a couple of years now, even to the point of getting back into the miniature-saddles part of the hobby and showing my models in “performance” events, to stave it off. But after this show, for some reason, it finally put me over the edge. The competition aspect just doesn’t hold any fascination for me any more. Plus, recent discussions with like minded friends and peers have me agreeing that the flaws in that part of the model horse hobby are just too many and too off-putting to ignore any more. And there just isn’t anything I haven’t achieved in model horse showing, honestly. There are no more goals to strive for there.

Now, I never say never about ANYthing… but I’m pretty sure I’ll be looking to grow my art work now instead of spending any more time on model horse showing “skills”! In fact, one of the things I want to do this year, is take a basic oil painting class. I have seen far too many masterful works of art in museums the last few years, to ignore scratching that little itch much longer! I want to paint big landscapes!!

Time for another dog photo.

Kanab rolled in something stinky the other day, so he got a bath. He looks so hilarious wet, I had to snap this photo. It really shows off his oversized ears! But I loooove those ears, because they are one of the reasons why I got to have him. Those ears would bounce him right out of the show ring!

What have I got going this summer in the studio? More china horses being glazed of course. I am happy to report that chinas are on their way from England! Another Boreas, and happily, at least one more Caprice, which were not surviving casting this past year. Donna Chaney hasn’t been able to successfully cast an Optime yet however, but she is working on it and we just decided to try a few in earthenware instead of bone china. That will be interesting if they come out, because earthenware doesn’t shrink nearly as much as bone chinas when fired. So I’ll have a couple Optimes that might be almost as large as the original sculpture (same size as the resin).

I poured slip in my Keeshond dog tile for the first time last month, and successfully fired two of them! I was so pleased, my first time doing all that! I will be getting those into “mass production” in the coming weeks, and will sell them via my ETSY shop. I may have an opportunity for a new sculpture commission from the dog community, I’m keeping my fingers crossed on that one!

I am also taking on a couple graphic design projects, even though I’m supposed to be retired from all that! I still have my health care industry client that I produce a magazine every month for. And they produce two books that I designed, which are releasing new editions. So I’ll be plodding along on those this summer. It will probably be a good thing, because jobs like that make me pine away for the more creative and artistic work so I’ll be hot to sculpt and paint!

I also bid on what could be a really fun and interesting design project for Breyer. We’ll see if anything comes of that this summer.

People always want know where artistic inspiration comes from. Well for me, it can be as simple as a word. I am a bit of an ancient Rome-o-phile, and I have been reading Colleen McCullough’s great 7-book series about Rome, “The Masters of Rome”. I came across the word “imperium” that just resonated with me. Now, what kind of an equine sculpture would bear the name Imperium? That’s where I’m going next I think… chasing that one down!