Monday, April 30, 2012

Broken (Part I)

Broken model with lost leg.

Once and a while a piece comes in that requires a lot of energy, thought and cunning to fix. A "Lil' Pumpkin" resin came in recently that lost it's leg...literally. Yes, she lost her leg and LOST her leg somewhere in her owner's house. She apparently took a tumble and broke her leg and the leg was never found. I felt it might be fun to document how such a break can be handled.

Keep in mind that if you don't have the exact same mold or model you can search other models for legs or body parts that are similar. It's probably best to stick with looking for a plastic body part as casting resin from another artist's resin without permission would be breaking copy right law. Because Lil Pumpkin is my own original sculpture no laws are being broken.

Will recast an entirely new leg using "Alley Goop" which is a 2 part silicone molding clay. It dries in 6-10 minutes.

Alley Goop can be found at

Mix equal parts molding clay together
till they form a light blue color.

Apply to the area you wish to cast.

In approx 10 minutes cut open the casting using an exact knife.

Push air drying epoxy into each half and let dry over night.

More fun with fortune cookie fortunes!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bistro (Take 2)

Making progress on the bistro area.

I'm happy to say that my trip home from the Breyer event was uneventful. A smooth, uninterrupted ride home was actually very inspiring. In my head I began to organize and catalog all that needed to be accomplished this coming week in the studio. There is much to do but upon arriving home I realized my yard needed tending to. The grass was beyond overgrown and the bistro project I was so diligently working on (and left) greeted me with a groan.

Before any lawn work I'd have to move the boards, bricks, slate, pulled up grass and wheel barrel out of the way. At that moment I felt it best to just get the bistro project as close to completion as possible. I wasn't thrilled about it, but in the end I wound up further expanding artistic ideas in my head as I worked slate and brick into place. I have some brand new ideas I'm dying to try this week. You never know where inspiration will come from.

Oh no! The famous shovel head just chucked in the barrel?

No's back in it's spot. (My neighbor got worried when she didn't see it in it's proper place. LOL

....and I've added a little something to the sculpture.
LOL I couldn't resist.

Graphite and watercolor on watercolor paper

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Amazing Day

Welcome to Breyer Headquarters!

What an amazing day!

Ive been collecting and repainting Breyer model horses since I was about 9 years old. I became an editorial contributor for their publication "Just About Horses" in 2001 and wrote consistently for years for them but today was the very first time I ever got to visit the offices and warehouse at Breyer during their "Kids Only" event.

There is only one word: Amazing.

I had an amazing time. From being given a private tour of the famous archive room (no pictures ALL...sorry...there WERE INCREDIBLE samples in that room...Im still drooling over the black copenhagen dappled...pieces) to the private factory tour where they paint the small collector runs to meeting the very dedicated and horse loving staff, I was intrigued. I felt right at home and enjoyed every minute teaching the children (and, believe it or not, their parents) how to use the "Painting" set. It's hours later and I'm still on cloud nine.

It was an incredibly memorable day for me. An extremely happy day.

No pictures allowed! Was told after I took this shot. Beautiful reception area and office space. Its a converted warehouse VERY well designed to suit their needs!

HUGE box of unpainteds which were distributed to visitors during my painting tutorial.

A heart shows up during the tutorial....of course.

Graphite and watercolor on watercolor paper

Friday, April 27, 2012

Six Hours

View from the Delaware Water Gap bridge
Watercolor on Strathmore Watercolor paper

Six Hours...

...that is about how long it took me to get from PA to NJ today. It was a long wait. It was grueling. It was tiring. It was torturous. It was never ending. I sat in traffic for over an hour and a half without moving on the bridge of the Delaware Water Gap. An apparent accident, complete with helicopters overhead, was the cause of the jam up. No matter how bad my day seemed to be going at that moment in time I realized it really wasn't as bad as the person or people who were obviously involved in the accident. I had paper. I had watercolors with me and I decided to flesh out the beautiful mountains before me. After all, painting was the reason I was making this journey. I'd be teaching young artists how to paint the next day at the Breyer factory in Wayne NJ. How could I let this beautiful vista go without somehow capturing it with paint?

Impromptu set up in the car during the traffic jam.

After an hour and a half there was no more to capture and my mind was intent on leaving....going...getting the hell out of that situation and I just followed cars off a ramp. I didn't care where it lead I just had to get out of sitting. I can't sit still, and did my best. It was time to jet...even to a motel somewhere in the Poconos. I just needed to get away from sitting and not doing anything.

After hours of even more sitting in more traffic on another route (we were all routed in the same direction) I finally made it to my destination.

After hour 5 I called in the reserves....I was beyond cranky!

Some days the universe just makes you come to a complete halt and sit. I've not discovered why this is so and it goes against my grain...against my very soul. I can tell you it felt great to be finally in my room at the hotel and I believe the little mice enjoyed finally getting out too. Yes, I brought them. I don't know why. Perhaps because I knew I'd be stuck in traffic and would need a funny diversion for a spell.

Playing with the little mice.

More play....

...and yes, more play. Cause in case I forget...
they know where to go!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Between The Ages 7-14

Preparing models for the painting presentation.

Between the ages 7-14 I was deep in play, thought and repainting model horses. Nothing else mattered. Nothing else captivated my interest like my Breyers. Strange that years and years later I've been asked to speak at a "Kids Only" event at the very factory that helped fuel my equine passions.

I am very excited to have been invited as a guest to speak at Breyer's event and as I prepare to demonstrate various painting techniques to children between the ages of 7 and 14 I'm reminiscing about my own childhood.

The painting set the company sent me is actually pretty cool. I would have died for a painting set that came complete with two unpainted horses, a brush, a "how-to" booklet and (the biggest score of all) little containers of factory...yes, Breyer factory, paint!

I've spent the last two days fiddling around with this set and I have to say I am most intrigued by the fact that it includes factory paint. Anyone who has tried to repair a scratch on an Original Factory finish Breyer knows that acrylic paints, no matter what the brand, just don't seem to work 100%. One can come close to matching the color when trying to hide a scratch or mar but it never ever comes close. Im happy to say that THIS paint in these painting sets DO match..

One of my favorite mares the Running Mare #124.

Since I was getting misty and all reminiscent I decided to bring along a few of my old pals to the workshop. The very first horse I ever painted and another handsome stud is coming along for the ride. My all time favorite mare (the Running Mare #124) however was saved for the "touch up test" with these paints supplied in the painting kit.

I am most thrilled to say that the scratches on her are hidden very well. So, OF collectors (and repair artists) you may want to invest in one of these painting sets as the colors are a spot on exact match for repairs.

Before: Scratches on the Running mare.

After: Scratches touched up with factory paint.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thoughts on Bear...


My son: "I don't think Bear likes sleeping with me anymore. Every morning I find him on the floor."

Me: "Perhaps you find him on the floor because he spends most of the night, after you fall asleep, on adventures!"

My son: "Ohh, I never thought of that."

So this morning I find the floor empty. Bear is not there, but rather in my son's arms. He says to me that he decided last night that Bear would not go on any adventures. He had a more important job keeping my son company. "I don't like being alone at night Mommy. I just need him here with me. I needed him."

Yeah, I understand, sometimes a stuffed animal comes into your life and is just...special. And they remain special and you always need them...forever.

"Fritz" still bedside even after all these years.

Quick shot of the work desk

Close up of PS Weanling getting a new mane and tail.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Illustration just seemed to be missing something.
It was missing some cake toppers.

What if you were granted one afternoon with someone who passed away? What if you were given just a few pecious hours to do whatever you'd like with that person you missed so dearly? Who would it be and what would you do?

Me? I'd have tea with my grandma in her kitchen....just one more time. No doubt. And on a cold, rainy, dreary day uncharacteristic of late April; that would be better than sunshine.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Digging out the bistro

On the menu today was a bit of physical labor. I find that it's not only good for the body and soul but for the creative mind. I had been waiting a few days for it to rain so the ground would soften. I promised myself I would uproot only half the ground in the bistro section in between projects. I wound up uprooting it all.

Emily keeping watch

The peeps keeping watch too

Hearts everywhere today

Grass heart


Sunday, April 22, 2012

More Decay III (LIttle Bird)

Bird found on the sidewalk

More dead finds brought about more intrigue and fascination this morning. My area is filled with birds, especially song birds, so it's no wonder I'm finding little ones that didn't quite make it here and there in my travels. Nature's way I suppose.

This bird, found on the sidewalk, proved to be an extreme challenge while painting. It had dimension, but it's roundness had been squashed which tricked the eyes. It was flat but parts still retained dimension. There was a ton of brown to paint and the closer I looked the more browns I seemed to have missed. I feel I overworked it completely but it was still fun even though it was an extreme challenge for me.

After spending so much time with him this morning I found him to be a funny little character. Since he's already pretty dried I may keep him in the studio.

Graphite and watercolor


Saturday, April 21, 2012


"Smokin' Dee Bar" and his wins Bloomsburg, PA show

It was a Saturday of wins. It felt so good to be back at a model horse show. Not only did I have fun seeing everyone and everyone's beautiful pieces, but I got to meet people I had only conversed with online. Putting a face to a chat or email is wonderful. I also had a great time selling pieces and wares and had one horse I wanted to pop in the ring for a client. I am so happy to say that the horse will be going back to his owner accompanied by a few ribbons! It was a good day all around!

Recent Bjalla commission showing well at Model Horses Anonymous 4 in Athens, TN this weekend. (Photo compliments of Heather Abounader.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

More Drawing

I've been enjoying this huge piece of slate in the studio. It's big enough to write down all that I need to do for the day/week and it's also offered me quite a lot of fun sketching. There is something so fun about drawing on a chalkboard. Thought I'd share...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Love Junk

Repainting a terra cotta planter.
Step one: black.

I love junk. I love discarded junk. I love other people's junk. I will slam on the brakes in the car if there is good junk on the side of the road. Junk is awesome.

There is a spot in the woods I check every time I go for a walk. It's filled with junk. Every time I check there is always some wonderful junk to take home with me. Yesterday, the choice junk was blue stone slate and discard brick, which I actually need for my backyard bistro project. Score!

My good friends know me well. They know I love junk. They laugh at that. My close friends however give me junk. They give me THEIR junk when they are done with it because they know I can use it and I suspect they get excited seeing how I re purpose their junk.

This week I met with my old college buddy Abbi who has an appetite for fabric and silk flowers. For her wedding she couldn't stop purchasing flowers. I suppose she didn't want to get caught without enough for her affair. She over purchased and the extra soon became junk taking up space in her home. She got into a cleaning jag recently and all of those unused flowers which once held promise were now a real annoyance. Before she tossed them though she asked if I could use them. Honestly I didn't have a use for them, but I knew once I had them in the studio I WOULD find a use and I did! I turned them into a pretty bouquets! In the process I also happened to rejuvenate my spirits for commission work and am on a wonderful creative high.


So, if you are attending Vicky Bartlow's Bloomsburg show these pieces (and more) will be available for purchase. Don't forget...Mother's Day is approaching!

Terra cotter planter step 2: light green

Terra cotta planter step 3: high whites
dry brushed onto planter

Arrangements made with silk flowers
and various planters

Butterfly wall plaques