The Last Third

The big shock of my husband Paul getting lymphoma cancer in February was an immense life wake-up call. He’s so fit and healthy and there is no cancer in his family. He was the last person I’d expect to get cancer at age 59. It fundamentally rocked our whole idea of how our lives were going to go. (He’s done with chemo and thankfully found to be cancer-free for now, and he is getting back to his normal life.)

Having to helplessly watch him go through that—and then the covid19 crisis hitting at the same time—left me with large amounts of time for introspection and soul-searching. I’m now a 60-something and I have known in the back of my mind for awhile that I’m probably going do something different with this last third of my life. (I hope I will get another third!) I crave something new to focus my creative energy on. 

I will always be making things. It’s part of my DNA; the art has to come out. But the big surprise is that I do not care about horses any more. Not like I did in my childhood; that horse-mad girl is gone. Collecting Breyers and china figurines, painting horses, sculpting horses, sustained my love for them… but in an entirely visual way. (I’ve never owned a horse and still don’t know how to ride.) 

Now I’m done with sculpting horses. I will never say never-again, but I have nothing left to say on the sculpture side. I’m so happy that I got the Denderah sculpture finished. The resin edition met all my goals, and I’ll be able to order bone china pieces as needed, as long as Donna Chaney is willing and able to make them for me. (I don’t think I’ll need that many, Donna!)

My current painting (in progress), inspired by a cycling trip we did across Umbria, Italy.

I love love love landscape oil painting, which I started doing about 8 years ago as a way to get entirely away from computer/phone/screens—and horses—in art. I’m gaining confidence with each new canvas and I think THIS might be that last-third life-track for my creative soul. I guess the walls of my house will be covered with paintings because I can’t bear to give them up!

I’m still very interested in ceramics and glazing. There are so few people able to paint chinas right now that it would be very sad to just sell off all the white ware. My studio is beautifully set up for this work and I love working here, so I will continue to finish china pieces. I have viable molds for a few of my older sculptures (can you believe Boreas and Optime are nearly 20 years old???) and making pieces from them is fun work when I feel like doing it. I want to experiment with new art glaze finishes.

I have achieved everything I could want in the hobby, received so much more than I ever dreamed possible. I know what it’s like to be at the top of the game and I am so very grateful for having had the opportunity. I will be a collector of horse models until I die. I love Breyers and the company’s ongoing story. I will be found lurking around BreyerFest every couple years.

But I just can’t think of any more ways to help, contribute to, or give back to the hobby, other than throwing more money or donations at it. I don’t feel needed. I know I’m not a great teacher of equine art. I don’t like judging or holding model horse shows anymore, I don’t care about many of the popular trends, and have zero tolerance for the stupid recurrent drama. 

I’m deleting the Westerly Design Facebook page. I do plan to keep my Instagram presence. It is: @traveldogartpony. I love IG; the non-confrontational/non-controversial stream of pure imagery is perfect for me right now. I randomly post my travel, dog, art, and pony photos there. With emphasis on Dog… always way too much Wally pix! I hope you will look in. 

Any studio news or sale items I come up with will be posted to this blog/email list and to IG. You can still use FB messenger to talk to me.

That’s all for now. This seems right. I feel positive. Thank you for being with me all this time.