Wednesday, 7 December 2011

It's worth doing a test model...

I know many artists don't do this but when it comes to commissions it is something I always like to do. A test model is simply a model that you paint alongside the actual commission which allows you to test paint formulas and techniques as you go so that you can make sure that the commission piece is as perfect as possible. It is something I have always done but only today did I find out how much having one of these models is so useful!

I have been working on a commission piece for someone who wanted a portrait of a horse they have recently had to see go. It is a nasty difficult colour so having a test piece was rather useful. But it proved even more useful when it turned out that my second mix of paint for the second coat was a little bit too umm...'orange'. The poor custom in question looks like he's been tangoed! Luckily I was able to modify the mix before putting it onto the commission piece and hence ensuring a nicer finish.

For all of you who don't currently use them I highly recommend it! It helps you get precision with your colours and give your clients the best possible workmanship.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

New Model = Happy Cat

Several months ago I made the decision to acquire a special run of Peter Stone models exclusively for Chestnut Ridge. Around August I ordered a run of 15 Peter Stone ponies (plaited variation) to be painted in bay with a white star and snip and two white socks. I received my customs charge yesterday and immediately went to pick them up.

I opened the box the moment I got it (in the boot of my car) and took out the first one I saw...I was gobsmacked, they are so much more than I could ever have imagined. They are actually beautiful. I am so happy with them it is so nice to have a model that if I saw one for sale I would actually go out and buy. Most of the Stones available in the UK are severely lacking and I would never purchase one (the new UH ones aren't a particularly appealing colour) but if I had seen someone offering this guy I would have bought him immediately.

My guy is called CRS Arthurian Legend and the run has been named 'King Arthur'. I have attached some pictures at the bottom of the thread but there are loads more on his sales page which you can see here:

He is beyond gorgeous and I really look forward to seeing some in the show circuit next year as I'm pretty sure they will do quite well.

Anyway pictures:

Saturday, 29 October 2011

I hate my airbrush...

What is it about airbrushes that mean you can't live without them but that their sole mission in life seems to be to make you miserable and ruin everything???

Let's start from the beginning...a few months ago my old airbrush (a nice £14.99 Aztek) broke, it started sucking air back in. It had served me well (a good few years) and I was rather upset. So I decided to dig out the old £200 dual action and see if I could make that work. Well yes it works if you count being a piece of crap as working...

Today it just pushed me over the edge. This airbrush has three modes: 1. No paint. 2. Water and no paint 3. Splatter and everything everywhere. You don't get another mode, you don't get smooth coverage or a little bit of coverage and you just can't get a nice edge or a little bit of shading no matter what you try. I tried everything today. Result? I threw a Stablemate across the room and ran inside crying (that was of course the mature way to deal with the situation). After a trip to Henley and a lot of tears later I bought a new £14.99 airbrush (the best kind) and decided to go out and see the damage. After a bit of a clean up of paint I got to work on the Stablemate and I think I sorta saved him. He'll never be LSQ but he'll pass for PSQ and is quite sweet looking so I think I got away with it...

Rant over...very stressful day. I want to be able to go out and paint tomorrow but I think I'll be better off waiting till my new airbrush comes. I'm going to go and watch Casualty now...that should calm me down!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Want to make something British then why not ask the British?

When Breyer first announced that next years Breyerfest theme would be 'Best of British' I think those of us in the hobby who are actually British immediately felt a twinge of apprehension. We have long endured the harsh reality of watching things get branded as 'British' when if fact they are far from that. But there was a small twinge of hope that the celebration horse would actually be a true British breed and maybe one of our many endangered British horse breeds...

The reality?

Nothing more than yet another 'British breed' that most people haven't even heard of. They have decided upon a 'drum horse'

Now I didn't even realise there was such a thing as a 'drum horse' breed even under the wide scope of random breeds that the American horse world seems to create. But alas apparently this is a 'British breed' but yet again nobody from Britain has even heard of it! Go down a pony club and ask them to list the British breeds or even if 'drum horse' is even a breed and not a single child will think it is (and I should know I'm the one teaching them).

It is so sad that Breyer have missed this opportunity. In the UK we have some beautiful breeds of horses many of which such as the Suffolk Punch, Cleveland Bay and Exmoor Pony are dying out. Breyerfest is a major event so why not use it to support those breeds that actually need support? Breyer does a lot of charity related work and to their credit have done great things for some endangered breeds, it is just sad that they lost this chance to do something good.

So why didn't they choose a proper breed? Well I think it comes down to a few things. The first is of course money, American's like big, fluffy, pinto coloured horses, that much is clear. The Othello mold is also a really popular one. So it makes sense that they would create a big, fluffy, pinto coloured horse on the Othello mold. The second is probably the lack of British breed molds made by Breyer meaning they would have to create an entirely new sculpture. The final reason is probably the American's fascination with the British monarchy. The drum horse is of course one of our great traditions so they have latched onto it and decided that what could be more British than something to do with the Queen? I'm sure there will be a nice decorator model with a tea pot on as well....

It's not that I hate the model or the way Breyer are doing's more that I feel a great love for our native breeds and a great sadness that they are dying out. I am sad that a chance that could have been used to raise awareness was instead used to make things up.