Monday, November 30, 2020

Decisions, Decisions

Five equines, four sculptors, three real contenders;  toying with two colors, choosing one winner.  Is it ever too early to be trying to decide which victim I'll attempt to paint for NMPM?!  In theory any time is right!  But there are much deeper questions.  It isn't exactly easy turning the age I did, this year of all years.   IF I choose to paint (and it is not a given!), this post shows part of my decision process.

Decisions, decisions.  Why are most of the colors in my imagination roan?  Is that the next level of difficulty for this artist?  Am I ready for an action model, now that I've had 3 years of standing (well, almost standing!) ones?  You waited a year for Orion!  Didn't you want something different, something unusual, which is why you got him in the first place?  But others are even more unusual...

Orion, Arab stallion by M. Malova

This shot shows Orlik as very similar to Brasenose.  Orlik's legs are thicker and his butt is a little longer behind.  That mane!  Margarita painted him in dapple grey, I saw it and, god help me, I was smitten.

I still can't figure out whether it was the perfection of that color on that model or whether it was my long-held detestation of grey finally revolting on me.  Unplowed fields! 
Grey is a perfectly good color for a driving horse (for an Orlov Trotter, classic!) and it is also a perfect next-step-up in terms of my painting skill.  (Following the She Moved To Texas blog, with its grey horse, didn't hurt... :)  But even if I don't choose grey, he'd look fantastic as a chestnut,...  or a bay,...  or a roan...
{Editor's Note.  I'm putting this picture here again in an attempt to find out whether Blogger really does pick the Fourth picture for its thumbnail.  Ever since Halloween, Blogger has been unpredictably and freakishly Not picking the first picture, despite years of doing so.  No amount of web research has given me answers.} {P.S. It worked!!  :)}

For years I've been slowly narrowing down on a color for this girl, Sarah Rose's Moxie.

I finally found it.  Does that mean she's next?
Photo by Sarah Sanderson

Not 5 minutes after I took Moxie's above picture, she effectively removed herself from the running by breaking the near hind.  :(  I can mend it,... I think,... but oh so much more work.  (I'd put her back in her dust bag, but I was moving too fast and carelessly with a slippery, fragile package.  I lost grip and she fell to the carpet.  Unlike Breyers, resins don't bounce.)

I named my Hillingar after a word found in Mary O'Hara's biography (yes, that's THE Mary O'Hara, of My Friend Flicka).  The name Shinar referred, in Mary's mind, to the country you went to when you were swept away by imagination and books and where all things were new and shining; the magical place children can get to if they concentrate hard enough.  (Compare Ken looking at the ducks in My Friend Flicka.)  I found it perfect for a unicorn. 

Hillingar by Sarah Minkiewicz
 Unlike all the others in my 5, I have long known what color Shinar wanted to be.  This is both strange and not strange.  (Think emerald dragon.)  Also unlike the others, I have a clear idea about his fate.  Though he's tempting, I must honestly confess:  I am not good enough yet.  He demands more than I have right now.  I'm OK with that.  It's a relief.

Down to three.  But there are yet more standing in line, a second tier of victims.  Three (possibly 4) horses are eager to rise up behind the 5 (I am reminded of standbys on airlines).  Left to right:  Little Lone Star by Rose, Denderah by Gerhardt, and Rocket/Alzucar.

 The 'possibly 4th' is Brasenose, who has been hiding a painful secret.  Remember that I often stand horses near me on the computer,... and how tippy he can be, only I know...

 If I am stuck and can't move, this is a good place to start budging.  NOW is the time to repair Brasenose and (almost in the same breath) to repaint Alzucar/Rocket.  Give that dishwater-doeskin some real black points and a golden metallic body overlay:  here, at least, is a color not roan!  Here is a 6th horse, a Teke still, and connected to your standing-Russian-horse habit,... but easier.  In theory.

All of your victims have been standing.  This is beside the point.  All of your victims have been by Malova.  This is also beside the point.  This habit has been good to me, but it is not set in stone.  I am increasingly ready for diversity.

What bothers me is the amount of unpreparedness,... and my inability to stick to a large project.  Not just prepping - though that is huge.  Not just choosing a color -- though that is huge too.  The question goes even deeper:  Is this the model horse project I wish to devote my precious time to?  What about the book?  and its attendant braidwork pieces?  Apprentice potential...  What about B's harness, committed to now, and every other harness, about to rise up from their fallow-&-now-fertile field??  I can make a connection between the need to get the ink pens working for the book -- and the black points on Alzucar/Rocket,... and another blackpoint who needs repair, my CopperFox Marble's tail, which flaked.  Psychically, practically, Brasenose needs doing, clearly first.

After that, it's a contest between Orlik and Ziggy.

Ziggy Stardust by Laura Rock Smith

Why doesn't Ziggy have a name?  (What's wrong with Stardust?!)  Orlik is sweet faced, familiar; he would present a safe place for a different, possibly difficult color.  I love a driving horse.  Yet Ziggy is a throwback to an earlier, older and oh-so-happy addiction, the Ragtime Carousel glory of a historical world, one I've long observed and researched, and read about.  There are so many connections to ragtime and so much of my own history here,... 1987 to the middle 90s, to start with.  Scrapbooks, photos, models, pictures books trips art calendars childhood memories!  The list is endless.  Oh he is completely undecided as far as color!  But does it matter!!  He leads to Shinar if he succeeds.  Maybe even to Rogallo, my full scale carousel horse, (who does have his color chosen, ever since I got him in 1991)... That is a dream beyond all possibilities,... but no crazier than Denderah,... or any other unfinished.

I see these two as essentially two halves of my own personality.  One is gentle and kind and the other is barbarically wild.  Both are necessary.  Ideally, then, I should do both.

 Well guys,

we're down to two.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Orlik Unboxed

It isn't every day you unbox a horse and discover three more you weren't expecting!  But that is what happened to me today.  Thank you Margarita!!  I was so surprised I laughed out loud, and I said, "This is a lot better than candy!"  All the previous times I've opened a resincast from Margarita Malova, she has so sweetly and kindly included an extra little giftie along with some candy:  Christmas-tree-ornament rocking horses and a pony.  Every time I'm impressed and humbled and don't know what to say.  Most of my hobby experience (more than 40 years now) does not include this level of gifting.

But Orlik knocked it out of the park.

The story starts with the box.  Technically it starts 3 years ago with Brasenose, my first Russian resincast, whom I saw in October 2017, purchased in November and opened in January 2018.  He was my first experience with Russia Post and the packing tape with Cyrillic letters on it.  The next 4 horses (Ambolena, Marimba, Orion & Orlik) have arrived in similar boxes.

This is Orlik's box.  He is my fifth Malova resincast, purchased in October 2020 and opened a month later.  This time the box was a little squished, but as it turned out, no harm was done.

Habitual letter-filer that I am, I keep the paperwork.

I even keep the wrappings.  The habits of recycling everything, well-started by being raised on the Colorado Front Range during the 60s and 70s, are truly set in.

There was a mysterious flat package alongside the cocoon of the horse.  Margarita sure knows how to pack:  Orlik was swathed in multiple layers of paper towels, shrinkwrap and bubble wrap.  Still completely unaware, I opened it. 
I could not believe my eyes.  Already painted!  I'd seen this medallion once before, and fallen in love with it then.  (I ask you, as a harnessmaker and lover of Tekes, how not!?!)  My gawrsh, this was going on a wall where I'd see it every day -- it's much too nice to tuck away!   Believe it or not, this is only my second finished flat pony.  It is unsigned, but I'm going to sign it for her.
On second thought, the fact that Orlik is an Orlov Trotter explains this medallion rather thoroughly.

Getting closer.  I was a little surprised by how big Orlik was appearing.  I am well on the way to keeping his mold name for him, a rarity for me; but it just sounds right.

I thought I'd pull back and put this operation into perspective.  This is the floor of the TSII tack shop.  The upper left corner is where I stand for my NaMoPaiMo selfies.  The tack benches are to the left (note the chair mats and the chair).  The air conditioner on the right (purple bandanna) is the one that died over the summer and is still waiting to be repaired (am I not multi-functional?!).  The stack behind it and right, under the hat, outside the shelves, is my pile of Breyers New-In-Box.  The deep-yellow box is TSC's Eclipse.


This is a good time to trot out the line about how I couldn't tell a buffalo from a horse.  Hah!!

Success.  Thank you so much, Margarita, across the miles and the years.

Calm and sweet, he's exactly what you'd want in a driving horse.  If you're thinking, "It's just Brasenose with mane and tail," it's true, they are very similar, although the shoulder and haunch musculatures are somewhat different.  But what does that matter if I want him?!

His face is so noble.

Close up, there are a number of pinholes -- almost unavoidable with this technology.  Her other horses had them too.  Pardon me while I run down a rabbit hole, but I couldn't resist digitally smoothing him out, as well as lengthening the mouth and enlarging the nostril a little.
If only prepping would be that easy!

Next up:  I'm in for some HARD decision-making before NaMoPaiMo - !!

 Please stay safe, and

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Starting AT 3 & 4


This is the beginning of my next two Akhal Teke presentation sets.  I'm cutting 3mm silver squares into thirds and then 'curling' each tiny 1mm x 3mm bar longways, into more of a tube shape.  This is accomplished by hitting it, silver side down, with the dull chisel, in the wood groove.  The bar's edges are gently mashed, 'broken in' and pushed into a more tube-like shape.  At this scale most of what I'm hoping for is a change of texture.  The tap of the mallet changes the bar from a flat tile to a more rounded, realistic metal-spot.

Why so much work?  In scale-model miniatures, little effects matter a lot.

My two recent post-qualifying subjects chose FB rather than blogging.  It's always hard to choose when the content is small.   But now I'm going to try a short blog post.  I need to explore the sweet spot between the immense blog post (such as one on puzzles [38 so far!!], or remembering my car [12 years!!], or a canoe trip [movies!!]) and the necessarily short FB post.  Already this one has grown beyond FB even though there are only 3 pictures.

The two bowls on the left are genuine Oriental pieces I inherited from my Grandmother.  She traveled to Hong Kong twice in her life, a remarkable record for a woman born in 1900.  She collected Oriental porcelains and jade trees;  I remember vases, bowls and mantelpieces from childhood.  These tiny dishes are perfect for model tack use;  I couldn't care less about the edge chips.  :)

The one on the right, however, was picked up in a Cedar Key Florida gift shop just last Christmas!  I'm pretty sure it's an ashtray!  It's in for a delightful change of purpose, for my whole family is vehemently anti-smoking;  you have only to know I was a brass player to deduce this.  I looked through every dish in the store before choosing this unique one.  The photo doesn't show it well, but the colored crystals in the center are beneath a thick clear smooth glaze.  It is the most lovely little thing; I was entranced.  My dear husband got it for me as a gift.  It stands now as a reminder of a wonderful trip taken in the freedom of the Before Times.

Each Akhal Teke set will use around 327 of these tiny bars.  I've found it takes me about an hour to make 30 of them.  Can you say boring.  This is a good time for Mares In Black.

There is an earlier blog post about this process:  Akhal Teke Jewelry Decisions.

And here's a reminder of what this is all about:

Thanks for your patience.