Friday, 28 February 2014

UHH 2014 - Workshop Ideas?

I am absolutely thrilled to be helping out once more for the UHH! It will be great to see everyone again and celebrate at the three day festival. I will also be doing two workshops!

But... One problem...

I have NO idea what to do my second workshop on!

Last year, I did a workshop on a simple introduction to customising, with the different techniques of painting a model horse and my main focus was to encourage anyone of any age to have a go at picking up a paint brush onto a 3D canvas.

This year, I have two designated slots which I am very excited about! One has already been confirmed to be a hairing session (I shall have bodies ready for it!) but the other? Not a clue!

I wanted to do something else to do with customising, but does anyone have any suggestions? Maybe it could be how to airbrush a model horse, or mixing colours? I have located my video camera so I can definitely get some filming done when I am free over the summer. But what do you want to see? Let me know!


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Thursday's Inspiration - One Image

It is funny how one simple photo of a horse

can be your inspiration for a whole new idea.

Although not the best sketch in the world (the back is too long, the hind legs do need sorting out, I could go on!) the photo that I found while browsing my Pinterest a few days ago really inspired me to go and create the quite drawing into a medallion/bust. It will be exciting putting it into relief!

Of course, I can't do it now. I can't do it for a good few months. But I wanted to share with you all my idea. It is Thursday's Inspiration, after all!


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Two years ago...

While updating this website with more of the pages and general bits and bobs (for example there is a new icon at the top of the tabbed page which I am stupidly happy about - you may also realise some links are still broken but I am working on it!) I was creating my medallion page and I realised that it was exactly two years ago this month that I finished my very first medallion and opened him for sale to everyone!

The first Todd medallion, painted by Deb Brown of the UK

He didn't fully go on sale until March, where I had the first painted copy in my hands, but February was still very exciting nonetheless as people waited for me to make him available. Some were sold unpainted whereas others had a deposit paid so I could paint them as commission orders. It was great fun bringing my sculpture to life!

The nice thing was that some people asked for him to be painted as a portrait of their own horse, which would make him extra special to them. I was very happy to carry this out and give them something to remember their family member by.

This medallion, for example, was painted to a horse known as 'Toledo' for my friend. He was quite a 'difficult' colour in the sense I had to get my head around what colours to use in order to paint him, but the results were worth it!

Todd as a portrait of a horse named Toledo
I also had the wonderful privilege of meeting and riding Toledo, and I knew him very well as my friend and I grew up in the same village together. He was a Highland pony gelding and was very sweet!  I found this photo of me and him from when I was probably about 14 years old! So being able to paint this medallion in particular was touching.

My 14 year-old self on board the gorgeous Toledo!
That was the great thing about Todd... He fits pretty much any ponyish breed you can throw at him! I originally sculpted him as a shetland but he easily passes as Toledo the Highland and I also customised one to look like a Fjord pony, that has placed at live shows so he obviously isn't too far from what the breed really looks like.

Todd as a Fjord that I customised in 2012, now residing in the UK
Todd (as well as all of my other medallions, in fact!) have always done well in live shows in the UK. It is really stimulating as an artist to see them do so well and realise people like my sculptures! The original medallion painted by Deb Brown I have shown a few times and he has won a good few classes with me showing him.

Todd with a rosette he won - I also won an Inferno medallion by Kelly!

This Todd below was painted by KNC Studios in the US. Having other artists paint your own sculpture is also a nice feeling. I wonder what this one is up to now!?

I remember casting the medallions one by one, with the anticipation of waiting for the mould to set, to pouring the first casting with the resin I had mixed. With it being a completely new concept to me (and with me being terrified of breaking the clay original and worried that the mould wouldn't set, etc. etc. ) when the first few came out of he mould unharmed, it was a big sigh of relief.

Before I knew it, I had a whole army of them!

The whole process of creating my first medallion bust was inspirational, educational and it provided me with determination and eagerness to sculpt and create more. The amount I learnt through one small pony shaped clay head is incomprehensible. It is just so hard to believe that he went from looking like this...

To this.

If you own a Todd medallion, if it has been painted, do get in touch and share photos with me. I love to look and see what people have done with them.

Thanks for letting me be nostalgic and share my Todd memories!


Monday, 17 February 2014

Model Horse Love Southern Region Live 2014

Well, first of all... What a day!

I was on my feet running the show from the moment I got there (around 8:45am) until I got back in my car to go home (about 6:45pm) and the only time I sat down in between these times was for five minutes while I hopped into the car to get to the nearest shop to buy MORE raffle tickets!!!

The raffle alone raised £182 for the day. I am absolutely astounded and happy about this, thank you SO much everyone! It means a lot and the support was simply amazing, it can't be described.

Everyone donated prizes everywhere, there were some beautiful pieces of tack made including headcollars and bridles, some gorgeous rugs and padded bags for model transportation, lots of books and games... Unpainted resins... Other model horses... Customs... So many things! I am just so grateful and there was so much generosity.

Kelly Savage of Kelly's Studio even donated an Albert and Victoria and some Union Jack busts. One went into the raffle, and three went t the Supreme Champions of the day. I bought some mini Celebration chocolates for the winners with their certificates and rosettes too!

Becky of Utterly Horses was also incredibly generous as she donated a Breyer resin to the raffle and also gave me goodie bags to give out to all of the show entrants that attended.

The OF, CTF and Commercial Resin/China classes were first up in the three rings of the day. A lot of judging was done and prizes awarded. This new Breyer Arabian took first place in its class and went on to receive the light breed champion!

Celebration, Model Horse Love's special Peter Stone model that was created last year for their 5th anniversary, came 1st in his class too and took reserve.

There were some stunning horses through out the day, including these lovely ones in the CTF section. I just wanted to take them all home! It was great fun judging them all.

I took Pandora, my Equorum Arabian mare I got for my 21st Birthday last month, along with me and entered her into the CTF Arabian class. She came away with 6th place which was nice.

Lunchtime came where the raffle was done and we all stopped for a chance to breathe (I was somehow still running around like a mad thing!!! I am good at that though!) where a medallion fun class was held. I was SO happy to see that Gabriel, the Christmas medallion I sculpted and sold to Rebecca Bentley who painted this one, came 1st in the class!!!

I need to hurry and paint a copy for myself! If anyone has any copies that are painted contact me, it would make me happy to see.

My own Gallega medallion resin came 4th in the same class.

My friend Cat Harris donated a GORGEOUS MHL Jump set to the raffle and I was set on winning it... And I did! I was so happy! I decided to put it with my little Flitwick resin when he entered the Other British Native Class.

Just before we did the raffle, I was presented by the other hobbyists the trophy and very large rosette I won back in October at BMECS 2013 for being the UK Artist Champion. It was such a nice presentation to do and I was very humbled. I was warned in advance so I didn't cry or anything!!!

We carried on through the day where more champions were awarded. My best models of the day were these two:

Before I knew it, it was 6pm and the Supreme Champions were awarded. These were all very well deserved, but I can tell you now that there were many champions in the hall yesterday.There were so many beautiful, stunning and flawless models that I would have awarded prizes to!

This was the Supreme Champion of the day, a beautiful Breyer Commercial Resin.

This Dancing Daisy took the Reserve!

And this small but incredibly detailed stablemate came third.

It was a fantastic day and I really hope everyone enjoyed themselves! Now to find a charity to donate some of the money to. I wasn't going to do it until the summer months but it is a LOT of money to hold onto!

Roll on the Midlands Show!


Saturday, 8 February 2014

Casting the Gabriel Medallions

Closing the Gabriel medallion edition last week (January 31st 2014), I would first of all like to thank everyone who made an order. I sold a good fair few in such a short space of time! Today, I have been casting the very remaining few medallions; some as little gifts to thank people with and a couple to also donate to the MHL Southern Region Live Show, which is being held next Sunday in Angmering, West Sussex (this show is going to be a BLAST, I can't WAIT to blog about it next week!)

Talk about useful resources... I am using a disposable shot glass for mixing the resin with!

I need approximately 6 grams of both parts of the resin, and the shot glass is the perfect size for me to use and mix. It is minimal mess too.

All of the castings have been coming out really well as well, which is always a big plus. I have only seen one painted piece, and would love to see more!

I also recently realised that I have been so busy casting these for other people that I haven't cast any for myself! So need to get one or two for my own personal collection of medallions and for me to paint.

Now I have to brainstorm for my next medallion idea... Hmmm... Going to be a while before I can carry it out though.


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Tip Tuesday - Photography 101

I haven't posted a Tip Tuesday in a while, apologies! I have had this one in mind for a while though and I hope it comes in handy for those that have general difficulty in photographing their models for photo shows or even in general.

It may seem pointless having a Tip Tuesday based on producing a simple photo of a model horse, but there is more to it than grabbing a camera and snapping a shot; the photographer in question has to keep a few things in mind:

1. Is the horse 100% visible? i.e. can you see its hooves, is any part of the model cropped out from the photo?
2. Is the horse in focus and not blurry?
3. Is there a distracting background? This does also apply to photoshow pictures!

There are also other aspects to think about, for example the positioning of the camera...

For example, take a look at these two shots:

In the first photo, the camera is too high up and the top of the horse can be seen. While the horse is in focus and all of the horse is within the shot, this is not a professional image and also not realistic. The most ideal shot is to have it like the second image, where the camera is level with the model itself. This makes the model look a great deal more natural and it also lets those wanting to view the horse in the image see more of it and the model itself in proportion.

However, the second photo isn't entirely all that good either... If anyone noticed, in the background you can tell where the backdrop used ends. This is a very nit-picky thing to mention, but when using a clear backdrop this can cost you that 1st place in a photo show if a photo backdrop is not being used. This is a simple fix... Just crop it out!

In the images above, I used my photobox. This cost me about £70 from what I remember and is 1m suqare the whole way round. It came with two lamps and they are amazing!

Of course, I only splashed out on this equipment a year ago and I coped in the hobby much longer without it! The main reason I bought it was because I have less time at home due to being at university and when I did come home and it came to taking photos, it was too dark and I needed something to help. Other people take photos in a well lit room or even take their props outside, so there are many posibilities and you do not have to purchase a light tent. I am all for budget ideas so wouldn't recommend it but if you have one (or the facilities to make one) why not!

With the photo show images, going back to my points about what make a good photograph, you do not want much in the backdrop of your image. The main aim of the backdrop and grassy footing is for realism and the less busy the photo, the better. All of the focus wants to be on the model in question and lots of flowers/trees/animals in the background will not enhance the model; in this case less is more.

I have also learnt from experience that the more sky visible in the backdrop, the better. Ideally, a background with approximately 3/4 sky works the best.

My Union Jack resin represents this well, although there is less sky in this background yet the footing matches the backdrop perfectly and it actually makes a good photo.

This is my favourite shot, however when it comes to photo showing this would NOT be the best photo to enter. With photo shows, a clear side-on view of the model is best so the judge can see the horse's conformation. This photo is just for the artistic and realistic side of the hobby and I just want to share!

I hope this has been inciteful. I plan for my next Tip Tuesday to be based around resculpting do's and don'ts, I don't know when this will be up though but if you follow my blog and Facebook page (and website!) then you will not miss out.


Monday, 3 February 2014

Kitten Drawing

Sometimes it is nice to not paint for once and to get the pencils and sketch book out...

And maybe draw something that isn't a horse...

It is my first sketch of 2014 and only my second cat, I admit that I rushed him a tiny bit but it was nice to just let off some steam and listen to some soothing music while I could get some of my creative juices out in another way while I can't paint at the moment (too much work, stress and it is too cold out!)

I started off by mapping out the outline based on my reference first.

Just look how fluffy and cute the reference is!!!

I started the shading and filling in around the eyes and facial features first, as these are the most vital to get right.Cats I find are actually quite difficult to draw, because they are usually head on and everything needs to be kept symmetrical.I think I did an OK job! I kept checking in the mirror as well to make sure my eyes could spot anything straight away that was wrong and I could correct it. That is my favourite party trick to do.

However, unfortunately I find the face the most interesting part of the drawing to do, so once that was done I just wanted to get the rest over and done with!

I am pleased with the outcome though, although Pickle was not too impressed that I didn't draw her!