Monday, February 24, 2020
Paradoxically I feel as though I have plenty of time. However, I may not always have nice weather. It keeps clouding up and the forecast is for rain. Nonetheless, things look hopeful. A few more dinks, solve the mane and she'll be done! YES, you can do it [other NMPM painters]: I've managed so much in less than a week.
Yesterday Layers 7, 8 and 9 came together. I am reasonably pleased. Although dry-brushing the Pearl-Ex gave a lovely lighter overcoat, it did not solve the deeper streaks, merely disguising them. They may always be with her! But she's finally starting to seriously grow on me. That happened this morning, with the hooves and eyes.
An amazing part of Layer 10 was how much nail polish I used. All the pink on her is nail polish. It is the most unforgiving of mediums. I had to be right the first time. Not much shading was possible, yet I blobbed onwards, swabbing with a microbrush, and somehow it came out all right. Ears, muzzle, udder, eyes, hooves, the skin at the elbows, under the tail -- everywhere I thought she should be pink, she got nail polish. Even the socks were given a light coat of it (though not that pink, which was a custom mix). I learned this from Brasenose and Ambolena, my previous NMPM horses: Gesso for a sock base, then warming and protecting the coat with polish. Alas, the chance to shoot her mid-swab and really show the difference (between polish-coated and not) went by like a freight train and I didn't take it.
The hooves caused me trouble. There is a yellowish base under there (thank you Christina Riley!) sealed with clear nail polish. The hind feet behaved relatively well, but the front ones, perhaps because there was no white primer layer, fought like tigers. I had to brush and brush, reapply and struggle to get them to match the hinds. The alcohol I was using kept melting off what I'd applied. Then I went and put too much color on all four. Painting these hooves was largely a matter of removing color. At the end I was layering on my Almay Creme light pink nail polish, the same as for the socks.
Marimba is hard to photograph. I'm sure you're tired of hearing that! Here at last I feel I'm closing in on a good angle of view. Not too much exaggeration of the head, and it shows the eye and hooves, just not much of the tail.
Saturday, February 22, 2020
I started prepping on the 17th. This is my only prep picture.
She is quite difficult to photograph. Not only is the mold challenging, though that's bad enough: The long curved neck, with its long splayed ears, combined with my camera's somewhat fisheye approach makes her head often look much too large. The long lanky body and slender legs, while appropriate for an Akhal Teke, make most shots downward ones, resulting in a warped viewing angle. But combined these with the Perlino!! The pearl layer causes serious washouts, reflections and white glares that obscure her color and just don't show what she actually looks like. This post has a variety of shots -- and not one of them is really her.
I have learned so much painting her these past two days.
Prepping, while not as difficult as Ambolena's, revealed a few divots. The worst was this near fore cannon. I eventually filled the hole with multiple layers of Elmer's.
This is the last shot before the pearl. The wash of yellow is from another light source and not paint. Note the blue tape stockings. What was a good idea with Brasenose and Ambolena turned out much less useful with this horse. Her hind legs are delicate and bendy and her body long and weighty, so I can't just 'hold her up.' But I can suspend her upsidedown by her ankles.
Very undignified. But it allows sealant to reach the belly. :)
|Photo by Arthur Baboev|
I also did the mane and tail with alcohol, resulting in a water-color-like texture.
Again, it is really hard to photograph this phenomenon.
|Photo from Google images|
Thank you, NaMoPaiMo. Come join us.
Friday, February 14, 2020
So I did.
The next step in engraving, as we've seen before (Goehring Breastcollar Engraved), is the making of holding blocks for the individual pieces. This is necessary because they're so small. I can't just clamp them in the vise by themselves; they need a matrix, an embedding material of some kind, for the actual engraving. Enter Thermaloc. This is the brand name of a heat-softened plastic. The smallest amount the company sells is two pounds. So,... I bought 2 pounds (and now I have enough for me and every other model tackmaker I know for years... !). Each piece of silver is stuck into a lump of Thermaloc's grey plastic while it's still soft. As I mentioned, it's hard to work with, being impossibly sticky when too hot and useless when it's too cold. The working time feels like half a minute.
After engraving, the next step, -- after prying the piece out of the Thermaloc -- they usually pop out easily -- is to set the concho in the breastcollar. This is not just gluing. This is a whole 'nother step of fitting, filing, cutting and adjusting so that the silver sinks down into the leather. That tiny line of shadow around the concho is the difference between 'just another toy' and professional model tack that breathes life,... that looks so like the real thing,... that wows.
That shadow-line is why I tool down the backgrounds for my conchos. That line is movable,... you wouldn't believe it, but it is, as is the edge of the concho. But, naturally, at this stage the moving is expensive and difficult. One aims for as little as possible.
As usual this time of year, I have a few soft deadlines and a hard one for tack. The hard one is early May when I leave for Colorado. To make that journey one more time! -- it's a miracle every year. Surely this saddle will be finished before then. But I do not feel I can promise anything. This kind of work is dictated by diverse pressures I feel only partly in control of.
The Muse wishes we could work on Marimba too. I'm not saying we can't! She might yet greet the light of day. But we'll just have to see.
Saturday, January 25, 2020
Above we see one of my favorite little tricks in making such an elaborate breastcollar: the use of packing tape for controlling the pieces.
The packing tape is laid down sticky-side-up, itself controlled with Scotch tape (the sides). As each of the 26 concho pieces is cut out and filed, it is stuck in place as a temporary holding measure. This is the third time I've drawn up this particular breastcollar pattern! --- originally developed in 2013, based on the real thing (the Clyde Goehring is a portrait saddle). If the conchos don't look like they quite match their drawing, it is because I'm actually matching them to the leather breastcollar, already tooled, but not shown.
The large curved piece to the right is the back of the cantle. This is the largest single piece of Argentium on the whole saddle, and a real bear to work with. Already it is seriously bigger than the first time. It will take more work,... and generate more tears!,... than any other part of the saddle. (Except maybe the Alta Cincha; but more on that later.) TSII #457 is a bespoke order and not for sale.
Here's my Argentium before I started cutting it up. Two inches by six inches, 22 gauge, costs approximately forty dollars (wholesale).
|AgGe sold by Rio Grande|
Earlier progress. The work is slow and hard. Each piece is made by hand, cut out with wire cutters and small punches and then filed a lot... which means holding it with fingernails. Often I am hammering the conchos flatter and larger, resulting in a thinner gauge. I try to catch the clippings, never mind contamination by masonite dust. I am spurred on by some mad idea that Rio Grande might melt down my waste chips, roll it out and return it to me as usable metal. Minor contamination would not bother me at all!!
Here is a link to one of the previous (2013) posts on the making of the breastcollar to the first Clyde Goehring, TSII #451: Goehring Breastcollar Rough Cut
As bonus, here is a shot of the skirts of the current, second, incarnation. Put this down as a true Sneak Peek. Differences between my first and second Mexican Parade saddle are accumulating, and this is one of the more obvious: the tiny patches of leather and buckstitching that cover the join between the two halves of each skirt. I call them Hatch Patches -- totally my own term (!), based on my calling the lacing between the skirts, incorrectly, "hatching." This word, which refers to shading in drafting, is a holdover from my drafting career in college.
The saddle tree has tiny rear corners, and those will fit between the upper and lower skirts.
My first Clyde Goehring has only one hatch patch, with six buckstitches on it. This second saddle has two, each with four stitches.
In other news:
I have joined NaMoPaiMo... with the personal resolve to do tons more work on this saddle first. We shall see whether my resolve can equal the peer excitement and glorious rush of communal artistry.
Other blog posts brewing include a requiem for a car, a barn, stable blankets, a look at a 35 year old model saddle in perfect shape, Kathy Moody's workshop of old, and any number of canoe trips and Florida vacation spots. Not to mention grist for the NaMoPaiMo mill! Of course, what's slated next? A weeklong trip to Tucson, returning Feb 7.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
So here is Palatlakaha, wearing his beautiful Nichelle Jones blanket at first. This is what we saw when we drove down the road to Fort Gadsden. The place was closed. We had to content ourselves with the forest on either side of the road.
|Gate to Fort Gadsden|
Next day, we took a hike at High Bluff East. There is also a West, which we've done in the past. This time I had more horses, more time and yes, more tack. To start with, just out of the parking lot there was a fine sign which I could not resist getting into the shot.
|High Bluff East, Tates Hell|
The foal is Pyr, son of Palatlakaha. His full name is Pyr Panjshir [peer pan-juh-sheer]. I'm sure Pim was originally named after British cookies, but I wanted something similar yet different, and he passed through Pym rather quickly. He landed on Pyr, probably because I was reading about Afghanistan and other central eastern countries at the time ("The Heart of War" by Kathleen McInnis) and that sounded Middle Eastern to me. I was enchanted to discover that Afghan's Panjshir Valley was famous for its emeralds. Great Scott!! I was making an emerald set for one of my other Akhal Tekes. Well that settled it. Pyr has since had more than his share of Florida adventures, mainly because he is so small and light and easy to carry. He is also down here on the Christmas trip. It is unusual for a horse to qualify for back to back trips like that.
Pyr's mother is Palustris, my name for Celeste the pearl gray Lippizaner mare, aka Carina.The foal is accompanying the ride as a dog would: trusted to run loose, but not away.
The next view was down the trail.
This English saddle was built in the 1990s from a kit released by Kim and Lenore Jacobs, alas long discontinued. (I still have the patterns and instruction booklet though.) I'm always amazed at how easily these horses break to ride. One tacking-up and they're ready to go.
|High Bluff East trail, Tates Hell|
Palat was really hesitating. He was giving that trail a good long hard look.
Was that crazy foal going to behave himself, or would he have to be chased?
Time to switch gears a little.
This was taken on the picnic table near the parking lot. This saddle was made by Lianne Bondurant in the 90s. I customized it with braid-covered Rio Rondo stirrups and by doming all the conchos. There is just something about this saddle I love -- it is one of my favorites of all my collection. I think this is because it's so smooth. It's truly an old working saddle in perfect scale; it just looks like it could be really good to ride. Plus it's easy to fasten, which never hurts.
Well look who's tagging along. Pleased to see ya, son. Now let's get some hiking in.
Back to the trail.Fancy's Hackamore. All we need say now is that it's gaining back its Florida vibes and experience, replacing what was lost. It's also dandy for breaking in new horses.
Well look who's tagging along. Pleased to see ya, son. Now let's get some hiking in.
Sunday, December 15, 2019
The story begins with my reasons for not attending TJS. These were multiple. I could have gone, I confess. I was not physically restrained by injury; I could have afforded it, both in money and (in theory at least) in time. I could see it coming, and .... squirmed.
I had gone on a 2-month family trip (May, June), which included Canada(!), and later gone to BreyerFest for 10 days (July) which had packed quite an emotional wallop (the hotel refused my next year's reservations!). August had seen the Model Meet-Up day (which also walloped me: A Driving Adventure). In late September, five days (25th-29th) were the chosen time for our Three Rivers canoe trip to Virginia. To put it frankly, I was tripped out. Yes, I had parents in Boulder; Front Range room and board was mine free if I wanted it, plus a car. But in late August -- the last possible time to commit -- came word that my folks were shutting up the Boulder house in preparation for their fall migration to Tucson. Mom actually said, Don't come. I teetered. I sampled the psychic winds of my soul, and realized that while I'd love to go for social reasons, I just wasn't a competitive shower and hadn't been for years. I'd had 3 visits with Colorado model people during May and June (instead of the usual 1 or 2). A four-day car trip one-way, or a flight (expensive so late, never taken for only a show), was just too much to ask. The moment of decision passed me by.
|Neys Point Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada|
Nothing less than ElfQuest helped me then: that scene where Cutter breaks off contact with Skywise so he can help Dewshine fight in the great battle. The younger generation has a right to call on the elder. I knew a girl who would be attending TJS, at considerable cost, as a newbie. She had never shown performance at a big live show, yet had wanted to for a long time. She had visited me, we had corresponded, and we were good friends across time and countries. Why shouldn't I lend her some of my props and tack and horses?? Such a wealth I had accumulated over the years...! At the very least, my tack itself could attend the show...
(I knew of at least one piece of my tack which would be there, in the hands of an experienced old performance pro. So Bobbie's case was not my only; but it held the lion's share.)
The idea would not have worked had I been less communicative with or less interested in the individual... or had I thought she would not value it sufficiently.
But she said yes.
|Photo by Bobbie Allen, used by permission|
A long series of emails and pictures between us gradually narrowed down the choices. It is quite challenging to cobble together a show string using somebody else's unseen horses! That's where I started: I asked what she had. One Roxy in bay and one standing black Arab resin, plus a smaller size resin pony, became my starting point. Pile on them my own strengths: Parade, Western and Driving. I wasn't quite so fired up about the abnormal classes, sad but true. It was challenging enough researching the classlist almost as entries closed. I tried to keep things reasonable. How much experience, after all, did she have?
"Have you ever harnessed a horse?" I asked.
"Once," came back the answer.
|Photo by Bobbie Allen, used by permission|
A fourth horse was added to the list: Rocket the Emerson. I had one of those myself, which just strengthened our bond.
|My "purple" set: Saddle by Fara Shimbo|
I had chosen a big strong box we had hanging around. It was a Dell, with the Holstein black and white markings. Somehow Bobbie started calling it the Cow Box. I realized long afterwards that this same box had been to Denmark and back (for our sabbatical, 1994-1995). Given Bobbie's Japan connection, that just made things more magically appropriate...!
And my FOMO evaporated and was gone.
|TSII #406, well wrapped up|
On the day of The Jennifer Show I stayed close to my computer, dashing in often to update my FB feed. Pictures were slow in starting [ahem, time zone!]. I had a small tack project for the day, which went swimmingly.
|Bobbie Allen at TJS. Photo by Jennifer Buxton, used by permission|
But that evening, and for many evenings thereafter, I peered and voyeured and watched and stared. Elaine Lindelef took my breath away by sheer volume and quality of coverage (although there were MANY other photographers, Jennifer amoung them!). This was the NAN photographer job that I myself had held in the past. Elaine deserves a medal -- it seemed to me she went above and beyond.
I found out some of what Bobbie had done. Each shot was a fresh pleasure and surprise. Much later there would be a Braymere post on the newbies: Viva les Novices. The length of time spent absorbing all the fantastic details of TJS by blog was about five weeks by my count,... not counting present company! No show I've ever heard of, not even NAN, has lasted so long.
|Anne Sofia. Photo by Bobbie Allen, used by permission|
For all the lovely surprises that my approach yielded, this is the one that brought me to tears.
My FOMO was gone.
And I just may have helped create another performance junkie.