Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Return of the Polar Vortex

When I rolled out of bed this morning at the crack of 10:30 AM (I stayed up until the wee hours), the temperature outside was -18 with a wind chill of -45. It's been ugly cold for several days with a fair amount of snow and temps around zero, but today, the weather is so extreme that most of Chicago---schools, businesses, cultural institutions, even the post office---closed up shop and told us all to stay home. 

Because it's been so cold, I haven't been able to do any prepping or painting for about a week. It's just way too cold to be spraying primer or fixative, so commissions have been in a holding pattern temporarily. That said, I have made some progress working in my studio. Or rather, on my studio. Admittedly, "studio" is a rather grandiose word to describe a cheap plywood desk with lots of stuff piled haphazardly on it and near it. And while it worked well enough for years, many of the shelves were just dead space because they weren't sized with model horses or customizing supplies in mind.

 So I cleaned everything out of my tiny work space and demolished the desk...

And installed a much more sturdy and efficient structure!

I even ended up with more storage space on top for my body boxes which I desperately needed. This new set up will make it so much easier for me to work on models in color batches because everything is so much more accessible. I also went through my art supplies and tossed a bunch of worn out brushes and empty paint tubes. Hooray for reducing useless clutter!

The weather shamans are predicting a 60 degree warm up into the 40s this weekend (and 51 on Monday!), so I'm planning to make up for lost time. Prepping-palooza! In addition to commissions, one of the models I'll be working on is my 2019 NaMoPaiMo victim.

Obligatory NaMoPaiMo selfie
The unicorn version of the new-ish Breyer Yasmin mold was cheaper than than the hornless variety, so I'll cut the horn off and save it for use on another model. I'm not sure which one yet, but a fantasy model will be a fun change of pace!

In a continuing effort to paint a color I find challenging for NaMoPaiMo, I wanted to try a brindle this year. I couldn't decide on a model to use though, and I suspect that a brindle would prove difficult to finish in just 28 days. I also didn't want to take time away from working on my commissions, so I settled on a portrait of the part-Arabian mare DA Remote Control (aka Clicker).

I have long been intrigued by her "reverse brindle" coat, and a bay with white markings is a color I can easily rotate into the queue as I work on other bays. (Clicker's coat, while it resembles the stripes found on brindle horses, is the result of a random genetic mutation that essentially turned off the color coding for her hair in certain places.)

I know I've been quite remiss in blogging (on all of my blogs), but I have been steadily working on models. I'm finding that Instagram is a fun place to share my day to day progress that isn't otherwise necessarily blog-worthy. I'll probably post a fair amount of NaMoPaiMo stuff there before writing a wrap-up post here. And that said, I will try to put together a pretty pony pix post here as well in the near future, especially if we get another crazy cold snap like the current one. T.S. Eliot wrote that April is the cruelest month, but he clearly never experienced a Chicago February.