June 10, 2022

BreyerFest Best Customs Contest 2022


Giuseppe, the donkey nanny
BF Best Customs Contest Entry 2022

The making of Giuseppe (and a dozen friends)...

Started out by chopping apart a Breyer QH Yearling. 

Whittled it down to almost sticks. I had to remove so much plastic to get the chunky QH into a donkey's thinner frame. By chopping down the middle, I was able to make him narrower. By chopping in half the other way, I was able to lengthen the back and change the angle that the hindquarters attach to the body. 

Sculpted the head separate from the body and found I really liked that approach.

Bulking up and setting the head in place. 

Used painters tape and soda glue to make the armature for the mane and tail tuft. 
Very little of the original plastic shows through and none of the original sculpture is left.
It's all been carved or sanded down.

Took pictures at this stage, so I could see if there were areas needing taking. 

Droopy lip and floppy ears.

Pile of sheep. Lots of back and forth on sculpting these.
These are all original sculptures built from wire armatures. 

Countless hours later, the sheep have made it into primer. 
(insert counting sheep joke here, I have no energy left)

The lambs are also all original sculptures. Here they are trying out the fit of their blanket.

And trying it on G.

Broke out the power tools (love me my power tools) and cut a piece of wood down to size. 
Primed it, painted it with latex paint, then painted it with acrylic craft paints (seen here).
The landscaping came later, sorry no pictures. I worked long and late down to the wire!

G with Sheep
the official ruler picture

Offside showing off the other little lambies.

 I made everything except the string cinch.
The halter was my International Tack Month project,
which I both started and completed about a month or two after IMTM. 
The group was super helpful to point me in the right direction so that I could learn
to skive leather, stitch mark it, and make a rolled throatlatch. 

None of the sheep or lambs have names yet. I am open to suggestions!

May 8, 2022

NEMHC 2022

Top Ten Custom Breed

Nancy Timm put on a great show yesterday, New England Model Horse Club (NEMHC), in Winchendon, Mass. It was wonderful to see friends again, see all their new lovelies, judge a little performance, and bring some new faces to show. 

Bert & Ernie
Custom Workmanship Callbacks

Bert & Ernie were my first ever Breyerfest Customs Contest entries. This was my first chance to take them to a live show. So pleased with how they did!


Argh, so blurry! I finally finished one of the micros I started painting for NaMoPaiMo last year
This little guy is one of my favorite micro sculptures. He's a Maggie Bennett Dosh.


Shane Langbauer of Wiggle Workz Studios hosted a medallion division at NEMHC. This is Pansy, he was a NaMoPaiMo prize a few years ago. I LOVED painting the flowers on this one. Denise Gimarro sculpted this adorable medallion, but I don't know what he's called. 


This lovely medallion, Kram by Anastasia Khlebnikova, was also a NaMoPaiMo prize. I painted him this past month during Shane's amazing roaning and details workshop. If she offers the workshop again, I highly recommend it. She does a great job of explaining how to use different media and the techniques to achieve her gorgeous finish work. 

Rebel Just For Kicks

Tickled pink that Rebel Just For Kicks did well in the Custom Paint class. I finally finished his magnetic hunter tail so that he looked presentable. Still working on all his other "wigs"...


Last, but not least, Zollie won Champion Medallion. Thank you Shane for the amazing prizes! She customized the travel pouch with her Cricut and awarded this lovely Nova medallion she painted. I am blown away! 

You may remember Zollie. He was offered at auction a couple times but didn't meet his reserve. I guess he was too sleepy to fly away from home. While he's been napping, the storm has cleared, and a rainbow appeared. Feels just a little bit symbolic...

If you'd like to see many more photos of the show, I posted an album on Facebook

March 5, 2022

It Takes a Village

Rebel Just for Kicks

As I've been posting the creation of Rebel Just for Kicks, I noticed that I was often crediting someone for a tip or bit of inspiration. While it's important to give credit where credit is due, it wasn't lost on me that my artistic journey has been supported and influenced by many, many people along the way. I would not be the artist I am today, or the artist I hope to become tomorrow, without so many people sharing, inspiring, and lifting me (and so many others). There are many, many people on my journey that I am grateful for, but at the risk of leaving people out, I'd like to highlight those that came to mind as I worked on this piece.

Back in high school, my art teacher and fellow equine lover, Carolyn Freese, taught me to really see things. I will be forever grateful that she fostered my love of art. 

Sommer Prosser sculpted the Breyer model Harlee D Zip that is the foundation of this project. Such a lovely canvas requiring very little in the way of must-make corrections to get him show ready. Most of the customizing was done to make him more performance friendly, or to try to add a touch more realism where mass production made him less so. 

The person that introduced the use of soda glue was Sarah Rose. Many years ago she posted an article on fixing Khan's ear (one of her iconic resins), and it was a game-changer. I don't think I could customize without soda glue!

Kathleen Friedenberg

I have been blessed with the opportunity to attend a handful of sculpting workshops.  One was an AAEA sculpting clinic with Kathleen Friedenberg just before I moved away from PA (I delayed my move so I could attend!). I still use her approach to starting a sculpture, and I'm sure many other fine points I may not even realize. 

I also had a one-on-one sculpting session with Morgen Kilbourn to work on Panache (who will get done someday...) This session, along with helpful videos she posted, helped me to see better how the neck functions. I am not perfect at it, but I do feel I am getting better at sculpting necks, which came in handy since Rebel has an all-new neck for his performance-friendly headset. 

Tiffany Purdy

The idea for magnetized and interchangeable manes and tails was inspired by my friend Tiffany Purdy. She is also the one who introduced me to airbrushing (and threatened to take away my airbrush if I ever made round, unrealistic, airbrushed dapples, lol)! The work on her NaMoPaiMo horse and in-progress photos pushed me to try to do a little more shading and color layering than I normally attempt with the airbrush. I admit I am not comfortable using the airbrush for much more than putting on a basecoat. 

The idea to build up support under the interchangeable manes before sculpting them so that it is easier to take them on and off came from Kylee Park's Breyerfest class during the 2020 virtual BF. 

Jenn Danza is a pioneer in using pastels on models. I had only used them as sticks directly on paper, so the idea of grinding them down and sealing them on a model was revolutionary for me. The majority of my work has been made with pastels and acrylic paint over the years (but thanks to Heather Bullach's oil painting workshops, I am branching out!)

I would be remiss not to recognize Leslie Kathman for her sharing of color genetics, the application of it for artists, and a bazillion beautiful reference pictures. One of many tips I've taken from her came from one of her Breyerfest workshops. She demonstrated how the stifle is generally one of the darker areas and now I can't unsee it! Not to mention I am getting better at seeing and replicating realistic patterns.

The introduction of Liquitex High Flow Acrylics for white markings is all credit to Mel Miller. She is always experimenting with new products and techniques and sharing her wealth of knowledge with the model horse community. This year she and Kenzie Williamson introduced the use of a white paint pen. Genius! (You simply must try it!)

Sarah Minkiewicz needs no introduction, a longtime pioneer of model horse artistry and generous with her knowledge. Along with oodles of good things along the way, one tool I picked up from her recommendations is the Prospek caliper tools. I use these for measuring proportions during sculpting, and they handily made an impromptu stand for Rebel!

The impetus to record Rebel's progress here on the blog goes to the following bloggers, whose blog posts continue to be a wonderful connection to the hobby on any given day. And not only do they blog, but they take the time to post comments on my blog, which is always much appreciated. Thanks to (in alphabetical order) Sue Bensema, Jennifer Buxton, Anne Field, and Lynn Isenbarger! Seriously ladies, thank you for putting your blog posts out there day after day. Blogging is a lot of work!

Thanks to Mares in Black, Jackie Arns-Rossi and Heather Malone, for giving a shout-out to my Rebel in the Making blog posts. It is always a lovely surprise to get a mention. The MIB podcast has been a solid connection to the hobby, shares inspirational artwork of others, and is always a great listen when I'm working on horses "in the zone".

Last, but not least, I want to thank the NaMoPaiMo community (and especially the founder and champion of NaMoPaiMo, Jennifer Buxton) for the sharing of progress pictures, triumphs, fails, inspirations, tips, and general encouragement. Without this, I would have thrown in the towel at many points in the process.

Thank you!