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!

March 4, 2022

NaMoPaiMo 2022


The gang's all here! I love putting together the family photo of my NaMoPonies. And, who knows, maybe this is the year I'll actually *finish* the jumping Appaloosa.

Seriously folks, if you want motivation to finish the thing, participate in NaMoPaiMo. I'm 99% certain that I would have put Rebel back in the body box if I hadn't had that NaMoPush!  

March 1, 2022

Rebel in the Making - Part 18 (details!)

My goal for NaMoPaiMo this year was to focus on better white markings. If you haven't heard already, I am loving the Faber Castell paint pen to outline and fill in the markings. In the last post, I shared my technique for smooth opaque markings, but the technique doesn't allow for refined edges and mapping. 

I first tried using a couple Jo Sonja colors, but I found they got too grainy too quickly. 
Even the glazing liquid didn't smooth the paint to my liking. 

Then I swung the other way by going to a blend of Golden fluid acrylics, which are very 'slippery' with not much tooth, but these were not opaque enough for my liking. 

The third try was just right (I'm starting to sound like Goldilocks!). I've used Lascaux titanium white before and it's been a staple in my white markings for awhile. I need to find a new source for it... I mixed in a touch of the Golden high flow acrylic titan buff, which is the same color mixed into the white marking base I talked about in the last post. That way the color should be seamless since I am hoping to focus only on the edges and not cover the entire pattern again. 

I thought natural light would be better for this picture, but not so much! Painting mapping is very tedious, so I mixed it up with doing some detail work along the way. 

I love trying out new paint colors and the Jo Sonja line has some interesting colors. On a whim, I picked up this Bisque color. When mixed with this pink craft paint, I found it made for a nice muzzle color. Now that I've found something I like,  I need to see if they still make this craft paint color, which is starting to get tacky since I've had it so long, and buy a fresh bottle.

With all the real estate that needed blending into white, it took me multiple tries. The Jo Sonja builds up texture quickly, so I wiped it off plenty of times and retried and retried. I ended up sealing it a couple of times to try to build up the color. While I loved the color, I struggled to really get a nice transition with the white paint. I added some strategic kissy spots. :)

Somewhere along the line I added some soft dapples and added some more washes, mostly titan buff to bring back that buttermilk color. The key for me is this glazing liquid. It prolongs dry time and helps to smooth the paint in place of water. I used it on the muzzle pinking, on large areas of color washes, on hooves, and in the white mixture. 

Trying another background so you can better see his color. Still too dark! But you can see the eyeball I mention a little later down.

For his shell hoof, I used the Jo Sonja bisque to build up a solid base. I didn't want to use the same beige colors I used on his body. Then I used titan buff and burnt sienna (maybe something else?) and did light washes following the growth rings. 

For his dark hooves, I used the dark pastel base and used Liquitex Neutral Gray 5 in a wash with the glazing liquid, with it more concentrated at the coronet band to create the periople. Easiest hooves I've ever painted and I personally really like them! 

For his shoes, I started by using black where the hoof meets the shoe to try to simulate shadow, as well as where the nail holes are on the hoof wall and the grooves inside the shoes. Then I used Golden Iridescent Silver (fine) to paint the shoes and the nail heads. One bottle will last you a lifetime. You can see him 'hanging out' for his hooves to dry over the edge of the table. I did the same thing when I sealed them, though I was super careful to cover up the side he lays on so that it didn't get any spray on it. 

For his eyes, I started with titan buff and burnt sienna for eye whites, followed by black for the rim of the iris. Then I filled in the eyeball with the Bisque color (you can see this a few pictures above). I probably sealed at this point. Then mixes of burnt umber, titan buff, maybe burnt sienna and probably something else? for the iris color. Sorry, I didn't take good notes! For the pupil, I laid down black in an elongated oval parallel to the ground, followed by a touch of Jo Sonja Blue Iridescent centered within the pupil. Again, a bottle of this should last a lifetime!

Rebel Just for Kicks

I am so happy to have completed him in time for NaMoPaiMo! This blog post actually covers the work I did over several days (including some really long painting sessions). 

I still have all his hairdos to finish, but Jennifer agreed that forelocks were optional for NaMoPaiMo - pshew! After I've caught up on adulting, I'll get back to work on all his interchangeable manes, tails and forelocks, so come back soon!