Sunday, March 18, 2018

Thoughts on NaMoPaiMo 2018

"-and look at how great he is!!"
These words still ring in my ears and in my heart.  It is amazing how powerful they were.  Other people have praised my Brasenose, heaven knows.  But these words, bestowed upon me by Jennifer at my successful finish, possess a elemental strength.  In a world saturated with words, and in a hobby unusually filled with praise, they still manage to stand out for me.

The above portrait shows my new Jacquee Gillespie bridle, which was under construction during NaMoPaiMo.  I designed and commissioned this bridle and she made it come true.  Definitely a dream made real!   (I'm too lazy to use sticky wax or to Photoshop the thread out.)

I wrote a lot about the first NaMoPaiMo:  thoughts on NMPM.  At that time I could barely guess how the second version would turn out.  I can honestly say I was surprised, which is a wonderful thing.   Some of my fears have come reasonably close to fulfillment (the greatest being the burning out of the central star).  Yet, a good many more of my amazed and pleased wishes came true than fears.  Looking back in comparison, I am struck by the number of participants.  Where did I get that first 600 from?  If this is legit, then my hobby has a pretty consistent base population of active, online, creative model horsers who like to paint -- or at least think they like to.  I know I was one of those original 600, but I joined then because I wanted to watch and cheer, and be involved, not because I wanted to paint.
 So there was my first surprise:  changing my mind about 'not needing to paint a horse.'  If this is what defines me, distinguishes me from the crowd, so be it.  She mentioned this in her prize-note to me.  I was honored with the Van Gogh medallion -- during NaMoPaiMo, shortly after I'd finished Brasenose.  As preventative maintenance this was flawless.  Now I have another test medallion, to replace my Rose Jypsi.  A minor surprise was that I was about the only blogger, outside of Jennifer herself, to depict NaMoPaiMo while it was happening.
I was inspired to create a notebook especially for my NaMoPaiMo projects, based on my Tack Notes notebooks.  It is now 22 pages long.  On p. 21 I gave up on transcribing what I'd written in my main Notebooks -- there was too much -- and just entered synopses.   Here's a quote:
[1801.31] [January 31]
"You have to be deeply devoted, professionally disciplined, physically skilled, blessedly creatively supported and have, very nearly, all the time in the world.  It's a narrow path to follow.  Only discipline and isolation, and HARD WORK, will bring that dream into reality, the 3D of life, in the hand.  Don't I say something like this in the Guide?!!!"

The selfies request was genius.  It was yet another example of how I could only do this on my own terms.  I had my husband shoot me.

My largest surprise, which grew and grew, was just how diverse people's ideas were of what constituted an equine form.  One pony was lying down.  Unicorns!  Pegasi!  Carousel horses!  oh, and Carousel Mules...?  Hippocampi?  not one but at least two!  Wait, a lion?  An Art-Deco horse -- what I personally called 'the Akhal-Deco'!?  Wow!  And to beat all, the Lord of the Mountain!!  Diversity indeed...

This last piece, a metallic-blue horse with a pure-anime-fantasy head, provided me with my most notable turnaround in feelings.  At first I was put off by his utter strangeness; I could not grasp what she was aiming for.  Also, I had a few qualms about artists who seemed to appeal to the world at large for every tiny problem or question.  Have they no sense of privacy?  I found myself wondering;  can they not solve small challenges on their own?  Is this what the modern online world has evolved to?
But then at the end, in that torrential rush of finishes, I saw the completed Lord of the Mountain.  Oh my my, AHAH!  So THAT was what she had been aiming for!!  So that was the vision that had sustained her,  -- what was trying to get out.  I know as an artist that the vision must be strong enough to withstand the long processes of birth.  I could only acknowledge that she had, indeed, done it.  What winners all.
Saddle & blanket by SBY, bridle by Gillespie
(How quickly he is broken to ride... : )  That's my Chris-Armstrong-designed Navajo blanket "Klagetoh" coupled with my famous Elk Saddle, TSII #432, built 2003.  This is his first time under saddle...)

I am not a last-minuter myself.  I despise deadlines.  This was one of the reasons I resisted joining for so long.  I had bitten off a mighty hunk to chew.  I had to learn how to color a Trad scale horse and how to paint him with what I had -- under an imaginary but still real pressure.  I learned that smoothness is, in and of itself, an artistic achievement.  Like all such skills, it can only truly be got by practice (kind of like tooling leather).  I value smoothness and hardness of surface:  witness my collecting OF glossies.  (I know my heart shall break when Brasenose gets his first good rub or scratch!)  I've purchased a special travel case for him -- so great has his value become.  (It's actually a plastic briefcase.)  This value is even more set off by the speed with which he was finished - another surprise.  I am reminded of how Ivan Collins, the scale-model horse-drawn-vehicle maker, created his most beautiful sleigh model in what was to him record time:  less than 2 weeks.

You would think this speed would translate itself into a myriad of follow-up dreams.  After all I have 12 unfinisheds.  But here's my paragraph comment on Sommer Prosser's grulla pinto Lucien:
"Seeing this horse answers (for me) the question of whether pro painters have reason to fear NaMoPaiMo -- to fear its building up their competition.   Hah!  If nothing else, NMPM serves as a splendid sampler.  More than ever, (now that I've tried it!) I do not grudge the painting pros their prices.  Congratulations, Sommer, you nailed him!"
(Her response was all I could have hoped.)
photo & sculptures by Margarita Malova
Would I do this again?  My first answer is it's too soon to ask.  Dreams need time.  Conceptions, naturally, should be private.  Brasenose took several weeks to reach the stage where I was ready to share this dream with the world.  You can only break your virginity once.  When I am strong enough: that is the time to ask about next time.
Nonetheless, glimmers are coalescing.  He needs a wife.  My first encounter with him revealed a foal, Malova's sculpture Magnolia the tremendously cute stretching filly.  He is a stallion.  Not for him my childhood collection rules of how gender is defined by personality and how breed doesn't matter in a family.  Too much adult detail and realism is embodied in him, and thus his future family will surely be resincasts like him.  Perusing Malova's sculptures, I saw the grazing version of Gazyr.  I am drawn to unusual, pioneering models.  The first faint wishes are swimming in my seas:  palominos, perlinos...

As for the future of NaMoPaiMo, it seems assured.  I rest my case as before:  if she never blogs again I will still be amazed and grateful for all she has given us.
"--and just look at how great she has been!!"


  1. As you say, the creative process is definitely a private process. I think that's part of the magic of NoMoPaiMo where that process (for many) is laid bare for others to see the difficult and less than pretty parts of the process.