Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Buyer Beware!!

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to let you all know about a change in labeling that could lead to disaster!

Michael's Craft stores are no longer selling Plastikote brand primer, but instead are selling Valspar. I asked the guy working in the paint section if it was the same, and he said yes, that it was exactly the same stuff, just with a new label. So I bought 2 cans and didn't give it a second thought.

I want to let you know that it is NOT the same. Plastikote IS a Valspar company, but the Valspar primer is chemically DIFFERENT than the Plastikote we know and love. When I used the Valspar primer, it was gummy, shiny, and remained tacky even after several days of drying. It was impossible to sand and miserable to try and work with. And, when I spritzed a bit of it over another resin that had Plastikote on it, there was a MAJOR chemical reaction and it all peeled and bubbled. It was awful. And to make matters worse... I learned when I tried to strip the horse that the Valspar primer does not always come off well with EZ Off because it is so gummy.

I will be calling Plastikote when they reopen next week to complain about this inferior product, how it is behaving, and if I can get the old Plastikote directly from them. I'll let you guys know what I find out!

This is a photo of the can you SHOULD be looking for if you like Plastikote. I swear by it... its my most favorite primer. The best is the GRAY (I've had mixed results with white, but that is typical of all primers).

Monday, December 29, 2008

weener dogs!

This past weekend Greg and I went to go and visit some friends in upstate NY and chill out after the holiday chaos. We went up Friday evening and stayed until late Sunday afternoon, and just had a blast. They have 3 little dachshunds that are the cutest darn things I've ever seen... and the littlest, "Bitsy", has a fairy tale (tail?) story that I'd love to share.

I believe it was in October when Danielle (my friend in NY) got a call from one of her neighbors asking if they were missing a dachshund (since she has two, Frank and Beans). Danielle said no, that both of hers were snoozing on the couch... but thought that she better go check it out to see exactly what her neighbors had found. You can imagine her surprise when she first saw the little quivering dog on the neighbor's porch... days from starvation and in really, really rough shape. After coordinating with another neighbor to keep her for that night so she could run home and prepare for her arrival, Danielle scooped up the shaking little pup and brought her home. After some talking with the vet, they surmised that little "Bitsy" that this poor little girl was a puppy mill dog who, no longer able to have pups naturally, was dumped by her 'owners' in the neighborhood. She not only was not spayed, but had intensely bad teeth AND had a hernia from a poorly done c-section. All that has been taken care of now, and she is really something to behold.

After several months of excellent care, little Bitsy has flourished from a nervous, fearful little dog to the grand diva of the household. She is just a little princess... she loves to be cuddled and held, and has the most beautiful face... it just melts your heart! I snapped these photos over the weekend... enjoy!

In the first photo, Bitsy is on the left, and Beans is on the right. The other two of are Bitsy. :-)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All finished!

So, we opted to wait on adding Susie (the dog) until after Christmas since the paint is still very wet... and the dog is white... and so I can't put her in until after the area she is supposed to be is dry. The frame really completes it!

And, here is what it will look like when the dog is in there too:

Monday, December 22, 2008

now, with dog

And now, through the magic of photoshop, here you can see how I'll do the reins and where I'll put the dog... :-)

besides model horses...

This season I took on one portraiture commission; mainly because it was a friend who wanted a special gift for her husband. Of course it was a rush order, and of course it needs to be done by Christmas... but I've been having fun working on it. It is of their stallion, Charlie, and her husband's dog, Susie (who passed away over the fall). These two creatures mean the world to him, and she wanted to incorporate both into a painting, along with the chair he always sits. She even did all the leg-work and did a full photo-shoot of the horse, in front of their barn, in the exact pose she wanted... the only problem being is that she didn't have any good photos of the Susie... so that I would have to improvise.

8 hours into the painting and this is where I am... I've spent nearly ALL of that time on doing the architecture of the barn and getting the angles right. I don't do a lot of buildings, and man... if something is off... you know it right away! The biggest problem with oils is that I can't just go in with a ruler and use it to make the lines. So, every line you see has been done free-hand.

I still probably have another day and half left in it (approx. 15 hours) before it is finished. I usually work back-to-front... that is, background to foreground. Its pretty obvious where I stopped... I haven't done anything on the horse... the chair is really unfinished, and the whole front needs to be tightened up. Looking at it now... I also need to amp-up the shadows.

I'll post more pics tomorrow when it is more finished!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

is winter over yet?

Ah yes... the Northeast... where snow and ice prevail! We've gotten hammered with snow the past few days, and the driving has been terrible. Today it was snowing so badly I couldn't get to the studio, so stayed indoors and did a bit of sculpting. It was actually a nice change of pace, but I really needed to be at the studio painting. That made it a bitter-sweet type of afternoon... the projects that I can't get to just sitting...

This evening when I took the dogs out I noticed a very long icicle that had formed over the past few hours. It runs from the roof to the light, and then extends down 2 ft or so. Its pretty impressive... I can't help but wonder if its going to keep growing over the course of the evening and reach the front step. Now that would be something!

Greg has been working tonight on digging out our cars and driveway so we can go to our respective studios tomorrow. It wouldn't be such a big deal, except our driveway is at a 35-40 degree angle.. and lined with oak trees.... and one of our cars (a mazda 3) pretty much has no traction in the snow. We pretty much got duped by the dealership when we bought it; we specifically asked how it was in the snow, and the guy straight-up lied to us and told us how great it was. Well.... we bought it in April 06, and for two winters now its given us nothing but frustration, even after getting special low-profile snow tires for it. Thankfully, our other car is a Suburu, which I can't say enough good things about. Nothing shakes that thing... it just carves through snow and ice like it wasn't even there. I will say that the Mazda is a really fun car to drive... just not in the snow!

Monday, December 15, 2008

let the xmas rush begin!

Just a quick note here to let anyone out there that I'm not dead, LOL. Things are just busy here as I try to get things out before xmas. I've been going back and forth over when to ship horses, since I am terrified of them getting chucked around in the holiday volume of mail. I'm sure I'll figure something out.

In the meantime, if you haven't heard, check this guy out:

He is the bitty Bosco by Morgen Kilbourn, and he is the most adorable thing ever. He reminds me of milk chocolate in this color! I can't wait to get one in my little mits... hehe!

Friday, December 12, 2008

just can't help myself...

Another gratuitous photo of Hayden... I was playing with my friend's new camera, which I LOVE... and managed to snap two really excellent photos of my little guy. This one I replaced the background with since it was studio chaos. :-) I would love to do more pet photography... although, Hayden makes it easy since he's such a ham.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A few fun photos

Of an in-progress piece!

This tired little lady is actually nearly finished now, but I came across these pics while cleaning out the pic folders, and I thought I'd share since she's such a fun piece. :-) She belongs to Betsy Valley, who got her during the pre-Bfest sales. I can't wait to share pics of her all done!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

a slow week here at the studio

Thats an understatement! Its been crawling. I've gotten only a few things done that I wanted to, thanks to either a cold or the flu finding me and knocking me right on my rear. Yesterday I spent a lot of time outside and when I came in to warm up... it whacked me a good one.

I've started working a bit on Miss America, who is coming along really nicely. She is going to be customized a bit with a new mane/tail, and a few other minor modifications. I think she will really be something special when all finished. I have a few colors that I'm trying to decide between right now, including palomino, a mostly white buckskin tobiano, and dark seal bay.

Because I am behind this week, I probably will have to wait another week to list Stormy. I want to get a few more commissions finished up before I list another sale piece... I dunno, I just feel strange listing sale horses when there are still pieces here that people have been waiting on.

Also... just a quick side note... Daisy is feeling MUCH better and has been all fired up the past few days. Her face is healing up really well and her hair is starating to grow back a bit. She's on antibiotics, and probably will be for the next 2 weeks to make sure whatever caused the absess is gone for good, but she's feeling great, and thats most important. :-)