Saturday, November 14, 2009

Weird gray goop

As another way to break up the painting, I have been working on a few "extreme" restorations. One of these pieces is, of all things, a Hutton custom. He was sent to me because he had some VERY serious epoxy lifting issues. Its taken me a while to muster the courage to start on him. My very first rule of restoration is similar to a doctor's: First, do no harm. I didn't want to start on him until I was absolutely positive I possessed the knowledge to repair him completely.

The first thing I did was drill a breathing hole behind his boy-parts. The popping sound that resulted was incredible-- like opening a soda can. And the smell was that of plasticky vinager... not good. Toxic smelling.

From there I got out my carbide scraper to start on the lifting on his flanks. The moment I put my tool to it, I knew I had to get out my camera. It just didn't seem like other repairs I've done like this; and boy, was I right. I left the images big so you can click on them to get the full experience. :-)

When I repair a lift of this nature, I first "trace" the outline of the lift with my scraper. This cuts through the paint and gets at the source of the problem: the epoxy is no longer attached to the plastic. To repair it, I pull off the detached piece and re-attach with Zap-A-Gap (or, more recently, an *incredible* glue called Last Glue. I need to write about it... I will do that soon).

Normally, there is nothing unusual about this process. Pull off detached piece, sand both surfaces, put piece back on. But on this horse, when I cut through the paint and pulled up the edge of the piece, I got that same toxic smell. I put on a mask just in case. It was then that I noticed that the veins on him were also soft. And gooey. When I lifted the rest of the piece off, there was a mystery gray goop. It was gooey and pastey, and I have never seen anything like it. E=Mc2 was known for using 'non conventional' media on their horses, so I can only assume that this goop was originally some sort of adhesive? I have no idea. If anyone has any idea, I would definitely LOVE to hear!!

In any case, I removed all the gray goop with my scraper and Bestine.

Once both pieces where clean, I sanded them lightly and then re-attached it as I would have any other repair.

The catch: I have no idea how to deal with the veins. My thought is that some of them are not veins at all, but drips of goop that has leaked, and traveled beneath the paint. They are soft, and in my handing I opened one them-- to find a clear sticky goop. All this makes me very nervous, as my WORST fear is that there is some sort of chemical decomposition happening on the inside of the horse that I cannot fix.

I started on his other side, and found the same gray goop. Time to remove it, and piece by piece, get this guy put back together. I will continue to document this repair for all of you to see!

I am leaving each piece off for a day or so to let the plastic breathe and be exposed to the air. I am going to start at his rear and move onto his belly and then his chest. All the lifts look very similar, so I expect to find the same in each lift. I just wish I knew what it was! I also will show how I match the paint and media used. This I am still mulling over. I love these types of repairs-- they really make me THINK!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Indian Summer

The past few days have been just so gorgeous out.. its hard to believe that its the middle of November. Yesterday was about 65 degrees... the day before that was around 70! I'm not so foolish to think that it will last... winter is bearing down on us New Englanders and its only a matter of time before we are buried in snow. It is forecasted to get colder every day this week till its in the 40's.

While the warm reprieve lasts though, we all have been enjoying the nice weather thoroughly. I caught Legs snoozing in the warm sun today and it was so darn cute. I called to her, she opened her eyes and took a step ... and then started dozing again.
Although the show horses are all blanketed now, the rest of the horses are getting quite fuzzy. Especially the babies!! One baby I am particularly fond of... probably because she is Legs' full sister, named Macy. There are 5 babies currently on the farm, all (soon to be) geldings except her... and she is the boss-hoss without a question when it comes to the boys. The girl holding Macy in the first pic is Nora, and Nora is 5'5". Macy is 6 months old... she is one big baby! And the thing is, she is not even the biggest. Her half-brothers are all about 2-3" taller than she is. She will probably mature the same size as Legs. The family resemblance, especially in their faces, is just uncanny. Its like the same horse but in different colors.

According to Mrs. Shepard (the farm owner), Legs apparently was a bossy little brat too at that age. I don't believe it. Not MY sweet and wonderful Leggsie! It just goes to show how much babies can change from when they are weaners to when they are 2 yr olds.

This is the farm Legs came from:
You can see Leggsie's sisters, brothers, and all the rest of farm there. :-)