Thursday, November 11, 2010

Revamped website and general update

Work has been beyond insane for the last 6 weeks or so, giving me much less internet time than usual. But I have managed to give my website a much needed overhaul at last, and while I don't code anything fancier than basic HTML, I think it's an improvement. The Gallery is now organized by color rather than breed (which in retrospect makes so much more sense):

I also have updated my Progress page of current commissions. I had hoped to have everything done by the end of October, but I was under the weather for a bit as well as overwhelmed by the real job, so I'm going to have to push my goal out to the end of the year.

My books are open for new commissions if anyone is interested.

I am also willing to offer very generous trade credit for anything on my want list (especially any Sarah M-B resins or a glossy Rachel Alexandra).

I hope those of you who watched the Breeders Cup enjoyed it! I was thrilled to see Goldikova make history by becoming the first horse to win three Breeders Cup races. She has cemented her place in history beside Brigadier Gerard as one of the best, if not the best, milers of all time. Her groom's reaction as she roared down the stretch to victory is one of the neatest BC moments I've ever seen. Serious warm fuzzies, let me tell ya. :)

I know many people were sad to see Zenyatta's unbeaten streak broken in the Classic, but she put in such a game effort that I was more impressed by her loss than any of her wins. It's kind of mind-blowing to think that these last 2 years have brought us 3 of the most talented mares I've ever seen---Rachel Alexandra, the fastest filly since Ruffian; Zenyatta, the most consistent since Personal Ensign; and Goldikova, who utterly defies description. I feel so incredibly lucky to be alive to see these goddesses of the turf.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Zenyatta portrait to ebay

I've been so busy working on commissions that I haven't had anytime to blog. But I have had a few spare moments to complete a sales piece in between orders, too. :)

She's on ebay now:

Thanks for looking! :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Flying Heart Fundraiser donation!

I'm sure you've all heard by now about the Flying Heart Fundraiser to benefit Melissa and Herman Gaulding who are struggling with mounting medical bills, so much so that Melissa announced she was going to be selling her beloved clinkie collection. Since then, hobbyists have more than risen to the occassion to help Melly and her busband, raising nearly $11,000 to date. I think Karen Gerhardt expressed it best when she said, "if a large number of people sold one precious item from their collection, then maybe Melly wouldn't have to sell ALL of hers. We are all bearing her pain just a little by spreading it out and maybe making it not hurt so much."

I have just finished a fun little donation horse, and he's up on Auction Barn now. 100% of the proceeds go to Melly. :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cutthroat customizing

Yes, I pulled a Sweeney Todd on a Peter Stone Arab, and I am not sorry. It's gruesome. You may want to avert your eyes.

Don't say I didn't warn you. Ha ha.

I haven't done alot of customizing, and what I have done has been super simple. My friend Tiffany Purdy has been blogging alot about it lately though, and she's had some really excellent tips, so feeling inspired, I thought I'd have a go at the above PS Arab. Once I' his throat and turned his head, I thought I might as well do something to fix his muzzle since it has always bothered me as being too wide and too big in general. I cut his head almost completely in half with a dremel cutting disk...

...trimmed a tiny bit of plastic off each side of the cut, and then bound the head back together with pink embroidery floss (it's a color I'm never otherwise going to use). Once the head halves were secured tightly, I filled in the gaps with two-part epoxy glue and Gapoxio and let it sit for a couple of days to dry. (Sorry the picture below is so awful. It was the only one I got, and I didn't realize I had accidentally goofed up the camera settings. Doh!)

I also cut the tail loose from the hock, heated it up (in boiling water because I am still that primitive) to move it out a bit, and then cut off and resculpted the end of the tail. I still need to finish filling in the neck and throatlatch and finesse the tail a bit more, but this guy is getting pretty close to being ready to paint. I haven't decided whether he'll be a purebred or a partbred color yet. I'm open to suggestions!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Personal Ensign 1984 - 2010

The great mare Personal Ensign has died. Twenty-six is a ripe old age, and she had a pampered life, but it is still so sad to know that she's gone. We have truly lost a legend.

Personal Ensign was one of those very rare mares who excelled not only on the track but also as a broodmare. She put together a string of 13 victories from 13 starts, including a G1 win over males, and she closed out her racing career with one of the most thrilling performances in Breeders Cup history. The 1988 BC Distaff was her final race, and she had to overcome not only the 1988 Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors but also a wet, muddy track that she did not like. For much of the race, it looked like Personal Ensign was going to be beaten for the first time, and it wasn't until the very last stride that she managed to get her nose in front right at the wire. Watching that performance never fails to give me chills.

As a broodmare, Personal Ensign's sons included G1 winners Miner's Mark and Traditionally and G1 placed Our Emblem (sire of KY Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem). Her best daughter My Flag won the 1995 BC Juvenile Fillies and won three G1s as a three year-old, including the prestigious Coaching Club American Oaks. Her daughter Storm Flag Flying became a third generation BC winner when she gamely won the 2002 BC Juvenile Fillies after being passed in the stretch and then coming on again late to take the lead. She had a very successful career as an older mare, winning 3 more G1s, including (fittingly) the Personal Ensign Handicap, and she ran 2nd in the 2004 BC Distaff as well. She showed the same grit and determination in all of her starts that her grand-dam did. Hopefully her sons and daughters will help carry on the line.

It seems only fitting that the undefeated Zenyatta is running today and taking over the torch that Personal Ensign has handed off.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Holy Grail achieved

I can hardly believe it, but I am now the proud owner of a Woodgrain Proud Arabian Mare! The PAM is the only mold I obsessively actively conga, and having been on the lookout for a woodgrain for a number of years, I didn't really expect to find one I could afford any time soon. As is often the case with rare Breyers, the market is either feast or famine. No woody PAMs show up for years on ebay, and then in the span of two weeks, two come up for sale.

I got lucky in that my PAM had been "improved" by a previous owner who gave her socks and a blaze to make her more realistic (one assumes anyway). Not that woodgrains are a plausible horse color in the first place... But anyway, I got her for a song, and she arrived in my hands ready for some much-needed TLC.

Up until I received this PAM, I had done some minor restoration work for myself and for friends, both on CMs and OFs. Most of it was touching up small rubs and dings, sometimes on rarer models like a friend's 4-Eyed Misty or my own test run 5-Gaiter. I had never tackled anything as major or as rare as this PAM, and I was definitely apprehensive about taking sandpaper, airbrush, and fixative to her. But once I got started, even with a few false starts mixing color, it all came together quite nicely, and I am thrilled with the results.

And now that her legs and face are properly restored, it really makes her sensational woodgrain coloring pop. High quality turquoise is said to have "zat" or great eye appeal, and I like to describe woodgrains with really attractive contrasting color as having "zat" as well. This mare's zat goes right off the scale.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Medaglia D'oro

Anyone who's met me or read my ramblings online knows I'm a devoted fan of horse racing. I love the excitement of a good race, of course, but I love the history and the pedigrees and the personalities as well. That's what drew me to Medaglia D'oro in 2002. He is a son of El Prado who himself is by Sadler's Wells, one of the greatest sires of the last century (and one of my favorites). Most horses of the Sadler's Wells line race on turf in Europe, and to see one running on the dirt in the USA was a bit of a novelty. MDO was not a great racehorse. He ran second almost as much as he won, but he was a really good race horse who proved his class against a number of tough and talented rivals. He faced some of the best older runners I've seen and acquited himself well.

MDO was a bit of a late bloomer, starting only once as a 2 year-old. Though he was somewhat inexperienced, he earned a spot in the 2002 Kentucky Derby and closed gamely despite traffic to run fourth. He finished off the board in the Preakness, and then came roaring back to challenge Sarava all the way down the long stretch at Belmont. He finished second, but sometimes that really endears a horse to a girl, especially when you can tell he's running his heart out.

MDO went on to win the Jim Dandy and Travers at Saratoga, winning the Travers gamely over a dogged Repent in the mud and rain. His seconditis caught up with him in the Woodward and again in the Breeders Cup at Arlington where he (and the rest of the field) were stunned by upset winner Volponi.

As a four year-old, he won the G1 Whitney as well as the storied G2 Strub. In the G1 Pacific Classic, he met up with the Argentine champion Candy Ride who put on the performance of his life, winning in a new track record of 1:59.11. MDO was a game second 3.25 lengths behind, meaning he too ran a sub-2:00 mile and a quarter, the sign of a really stellar horse in my book. The 2003 Breeders Cup Classic looked like it would be MDO's, but after dueling the talented Congaree much of the way, he was caught in the final sixteenth by Pleasantly Perfect.

At five, he returned to the track in prime form, romping in a hand ride in the G1 Donn by open lengths in a quick 1:47.68, and beating 2003 KY Derby winner Funny Cide in the process. He then was flown to Dubai for the $5 million Dubai World Cup where he faced Pleasantly Perfect once again. It was probably his best performance ever even though he was beaten. It took everything Pleasantly Perfect had to get by MDO, and the smaller horse kept coming at him all down the stretch, finally finishing half a length behind.

That race ended up being his last (he wasn't injured, but the trip to and from Dubai takes alot out of a horse). He was retired to stud at Stonewall Farm, and I was thrilled to visit him in July 2006. He was just being brought in from the pasture for the hot afternoon when I arrived, and I will never forget the presence this horse has. He was snorty, full of himself, dancing on his toes, but a gentleman, too. He knew he was being admired, and he surely is one of the handsomest stallions I've seen. After my visit, I wrote in my journal that he was "a fabulous piece of horseflesh, and oh so beautiful. I want to buy a mare to send to him---if his foals look as good and run even half as well as he does/did, he'll be a top sire." Nobody knew then that a filly of his born a few months earlier was going to set the racing world on fire in a few years, making him the hottest sire in the country.

Because of Rachel Alexandra's success on the track, as well as that of MDO's other talented daughters (he has quite a number of them), he was sold to Darley this past summer, the American branch of the Godolphin racing empire. My most favorite mare, Ipi Tombe, happens to be carrying a foal by MDO and is due very soon.

So how does this long-winded post relate to model horses? Being the fan girl that I am, I painted a portrait of MDO in March 2005 and showed him at GLC here in Chicago. He won Reserve Champ CM Light/Sport Breed and though I had to sell him, he has continued his winning ways in the show ring, including a Top Ten in CM TBs at NAN in 2008. I spied him for sale on MH$P (link) this morning and thought I would pass along the link. I'm half-tempted to buy him back myself. I still think he's one of the nicest bays I've ever painted.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sneak peek!

The new Breyer Esprit model is a wonderful, dynamically posed horse that looks like it will lend itself well to any number of colors. I had not intended to paint my first one bay tobiano, but I just couldn't resist.

I am hoping to have this guy finished up by tomorrow evening to list in ebay. I need to sell him to buy more Esprits! :D

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

I don't generally make New Year's resolutions. I'm not very good at keeping them. But this year, I think some hobby related resolutions are in order. The first and most important is to finish the last few custom orders I have. I'm down to about 5 traditional models and a handful of minis with 4 more models completed or nearly so that I hope to mail out this week. Here's a mini Eberl Warmblood I painted for a customer in the UK:

I apologize for the photo being so dark. I love my photo cube, but I have got to upgrade my lighting system and get some new fabric to use for backgrounds. The backdops that came with the cube are impossible to unwrinkle, and ironing only melts them (not that I know that firsthand...) Ahem. I'm planning to hit JoAnn Fabrics tomorrow after a trip to the movie theatre to see Avatar. I'm thinking blue. :D

Besides boxing up finished horses and daring holiday weekend traffic, I'm going to be working on a new venture to get the Model Horse History website up and running for real. This is a project that has been in limbo for several years, but with the help and enthusiasm of other hobbyists, I am really excited to work on it again. At the moment, I've set up a Facebook page for the website where hobbyists can share memories, photos, etc, while I work on building the site itself. I've found what I think will be a good hosting plan, and I intend to transfer all the websites I currently run to it in the near future. More on that once I figure it all out.

And last but not least, I am resolving to update this blog more frequently this year. I hope to have some new sales items to offer in the near future as well as some fun contests and raffles. Stay tuned!