Sunday, October 25, 2009

This Old House

As anyone with an old house knows, maintenance of it can be a full-time job. Something ALWAYS needs to get repaired or repainted, restored or replaced.

Our house was built in 1925, and was built and owned by the same family for all its years. The problem was... as the man and his wife aged... regular maintenance things started to fall through the cracks... like house painting. So when we bought it, EVERYTHING, inside and out, needed to be stripped. Our BIGGEST project has been repainting the exterior; which involves stripping 5 layers of peeling, awful paint all the way down to the wood; then priming and painting it. Towards the peaks at on the dormers, the paint was clearly original to the house. It was pretty incredible.

Its taken us a long time, but this past weekend Greg finally stripped the remaining dormer. When this piece is finished, we will be *done* with the house's exterior paintwork. All we need to do after that is repair both chimneys, the hatchway doors, and replace the windows upstairs.... it never ends!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Every once in a while, I need to do a "test horse". More often than not, these horses serve as practice, so I can move onto customer horses with confidence on how I want to do their piece. Other times, its that I want to test either a color or a technique but don't want to chance messing up on or over-working something that belongs to someone else. This little girl is a bit of a combination of both; I wanted to try a new dapple technique that had feathered edges and had a more "star" shape. This is something I could then transfer over when I do star-dapple grays.

As I moved along her, I added washes over the top of the dapples to help blend them a bit. I need to do a few more in some areas to fade them away, and then I think I will be happy with the result. I still need to finish her face, add white markings and some 'palomino mottling'. I've seen this happen on the light palominos; it almost looks like the mottling that champagnes get. I'll have to snap some pictures of it specifically from my 'muse'... a QH mare who was my inspiration.

During this experiment I also discovered that I can do a dapple by pulling up the paint with a bit of water, similar to how someone in oil paints would pull up paint with turpenoid or mineral spirits. This technique will prove to be extremely useful for subtle dappling on bays and chestnuts. Its something that I have always known I could do (I've done this for pulling up colors and shading that I wasn't happy with)... but I think in the future I can make the conscience decision to layer my paints in such a way that I can pull them up to make perfect, subtle dapples.

Once I finish this beast I can move on to the dappley critters who she was a test piece for!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

more on my little girl

What can I say, I love her to pieces and so I love to share all about her! Here she is getting ready to be a naughty baby and pull her sheet off the fence.

I've gotten several emails about asking about her pedigree. She's got some pretty famous branches on her family tree, which you can see here:

On her mother's side... her grand-sire is BirdOnAWire, the same grand-sire of KY Derby winner Mine That Bird. Further back is Mr. Prospector... Native Dancer... and farther back, Man O War.

On her father's side, she has The Hunter, who is in the Appaloosa Hall of Fame. Further back is Impressive, Roman's Straw Man, and Prince Plaudit.

I hope to have a video soon to share of our adventures together. She is coming along just brilliantly under saddle... I really am so proud of her!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

mmm.... perlino goodness

There aren't many colors that I don't look forward to painting. I love all horse colors, and their subtle nuances... however, this guy turned out way better than I ever expected. Now, I am a traditionalist when it comes to morgans and the colors they come in. So, when I got a request for a perlino morgan... I was curious as to how it he would look all finished.

Well... to be honest... he was one I really enjoyed working on, start to finish. I'm not sure what it was... perhaps the ease of how the colors blended... or perhaps that I am such a sucker for a pink nose and blue eyes. Perhaps it was that I love Knightly Cadence in any color! He was just a joy, and I was so happy with the results.

In the side shots where I was able to catch a bit of the sun, you can see the shimmer to him, and more of his true color. Warm and buttery! If you click on the images, it will blow them up to full size. :-) The one of his eye is really nice!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Studio Cat

This week has been one of heartache... in that my childhood cat, Foxie (who lives at my parents) went missing. Foxie was a very distinctive looking cat. He looked like a Maine Coon; tiger-colored with white, with a huge fully tail and long, luxurious fur. He was just beautiful. When he went missing, I called every local vet, the humane society, animal control, and asked all the neighbors. We put up posters all over town. No one had seen him, no one had any information. We have a lot of coydogs and coyotes in our area, and so as the days go by the chance of finding him or having him come home become slimmer and slimmer.

Today I had a bright shot of hope when I got a phone call from a lady who got my number from a local vet. She had called them to say she had found a cat, and they told her that I was looking for one that matched that description... even down to the fleacollar that he was last seen with. She got my number and called... and when I heard... my heart jumped in my throat. I told her to please bring the cat over right away.

Sadly... it wasn't Foxie. This kitty did match my description, with the exception of that he is a pastel tiger (tiger with the dilute gene). He actually looks a lot like Foxie's sister, who was hit by a car last year while I was in KY at NAN.

I was really sad that it wasn't OUR kitty, but it was a kitty who needed a home... and from the looks of him, a good meal. He is mangey and skinny, and looks like he's been on the streets for a while. I gave him some food and a warm bed in the studio while I tried to figure out what to do with him.

So, now I have a studio cat. My mom is still very upset over Foxie, but warmed up to this little guy when she came to see him and he jumped in her lap and purred. I am hoping that even though he will never replace Foxie, that he will help make the loss less painful since this little guy will need love. First and foremost he needs a new fleacollar, to get his shots, and to get fixed. He is 'quarenteened' in the studio until that happens. I left him tonight... I hope he is on his best behavior. I asked my mom to check on him before she goes to bed to make sure he isn't doing evil cat things. But, he seems like a pretty mellow guy, so I have the feeling that he is just going to get some sleep in a nice, secure place.

My dad is going to be harder to convice that this new cat is a good idea. But, I think he will warm up to it. He's a really nice cat, and I think my dad will like him.

I still hope Foxie comes home though.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Birthday Present!

Ok, so she's not REALLY a birthday present... but since my birthday is in 19 days, I thought it fitting!

I am *thrilled* to introduce "Legs"... who is officially mine this week. She is a 2 yr old Appaloosa filly who will be my new project over the winter, and I plan to show her in the spring/summer in hunter under saddle/western pleasure... and when she gets older, over fences. She is so fancy I can hardly stand it. She is so mellow... and such a little sweetheart... you just wanna smoosh her nose. Today I hopped on her bareback and we rode around like she was doing it her whole life. Initially I had a bit of apprehension of getting a young horse with a lot of TB in her background (if that wasn't obvious!) and a mare at that... but she is such a doll, I would trust even my husband on her back. Her face is just so pretty... such a delicate little lady!

It was really just this past month that getting a 2 yr old became possible. Lilly, my draft cross mare, is going to live with Jenn Scott. Jenn has a young horse of her own, who is not ready to take on the rigors of the type of showing Jenn wants to do (eventing)... and so was in need of a mostly finished prospect that would be ready to start showing as soon as this summer. Lilly fit the bill PERFECTLY... and so when Jenn agreed to buy Lilly, I started entertaining the idea of getting a 2 yr who was started but that I could finish with the intent to show. And, my first love being stock horses...and when I met Legs, I was smitten.

I will of course take lots of pictures to share before she gets too hairy for winter. Legs currently is living a mile down the street from my studio at the barn she was born at, which is an Appaloosa farm. Booger will be heading down there soon as the weather starts to get cold so I can ride right through the winter. It will be SO nice to have an indoor to ride in when there is snow outside!

ps.... I'll be getting her a nice new halter this coming week. :-D I'm thinking PINK!