Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Eighteen Plus


Felt like a crumbled cookie.

Eighteen plus days...that's how long this sickness has held onto me. Where it came from I have no idea, but it sure is a stickler. I've never had an illness last so long, nor have I been away from my studio desk for such an extended period of time. It wasn't fun. I couldn't do much of anything, but lay in bed.

Now, of course, there is the catching up on commissions and repair orders and the overwhelming feeling that I'll never catch up. Where to start? Just start somewhere and keep moving. Onward and cheers to better health!


Broken Chaney resin visiting my studio.
Photo © Chris Wallbruch



He repaired nicely!
Repair books are open.
Contact: jenndanza@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

More "Old" Talk


My latest painting that
did very well in the show ring for it's owner.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love good competition! Just recently, a Bacchus resin sculpted by Emilia Kurila that I had the glorious opportunity to paint, did extremely well in the show ring. That was exciting to see in person! The new resins and customs that have hit the show rings, as of late, have been amazing! They have propelled our industry into new and exciting heights. Artists are being pushed to do more and be their very best. To see the human spirit excel with their talents amaze and inspire me.

Now, I hear an artist had a real horse scanned and those scans have become three dimensional. As exciting as that is (and yes, I won't lie, I will want to paint one) I don't know what that will do for all the current pieces. How can a judge NOT pin the scanned horse as the winner of all? After all, sculpt tops workmanship in halter in our world right now. That resin will be as close to Godly perfect as possible.

And I guess this is all well and good cause it causes a happily little frenzy among collectors, onlookers and artists. And that is always sorta fun for a while. All of us vying to get their hands on the latest piece. But, in all this frenzy there are holes being created. Gigantic holes. Where do we go and what do we do with these enormous holes all this frenzy has and is continuing to create?

Now, I won't lie. I've been constantly thinking of how much fun it would be to hold a vintage type show. Something old but new and something just....fun. After much discussion on my Facebook page (The Healing Heart Art ) after the last blog post, I'm coming to learn that many out there are not only yearning for such old fashioned shows, these shows are slowly becoming reality and are being exceedingly well received. VERY well received.

And now, my mind turns even faster on this idea!

More of my personal show string
that are out of show circulation.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

It's Just Too Old

Most, if not all, too old for showing.


I was thrilled in February of this year, thanks to the inspiration of the NaMoPaiMo Event, to have finally finished my "Utopia" resin. Putting on the English tack, that was made specifically for him over a decade ago, felt great and I was excited for his official studio photo shoot.

He came out wonderful! I was so happy with his color and the saddle truly did look marvelous! Being absolutely thrilled, and dare I say, even feeling as giddy as I remember when I was a kid, I popped the photos up on Facebook to share with the event group. Many lovely comments came in, but one stood out and still resonates with me as I pen these thoughts today. "Oh, that's an old one!"

Yes, I suppose the "Utopia" resin is an old one. I'm embarrassed that it has taken me well over a decade to even GET to painting him for my own personal collection. I have many "old" ones in the stock room that have yet to even be thought of for painting. Just not enough time to paint them all. But where did the time go? How did so many of these pieces, that were so sought after and "hot", become so "out of fashion" so quickly? Where have we been? Where are we going? What has time done to our hobby?

Between the realization my "Utopia" was indeed too old, to a recent blog post by Sarah Minkiewicz-Bruenig, to a shared experience with my own younger cousin at a live show, I too, have begun to stop and question what is happening in our hobby and where this is all leading us.

Now please understand, I have no solid answers to any of this. I'm an old boat trying to stay afloat in new waters that seem to change as quickly as the wind. This old boat knows what the green ribbon epoxy feels like in the hands and how utterly impossible it is to sculpt with. I know of the promise Milliput brought to young customizers back in the day, but it too failed us and our needs. Firing up a stablemate's appendages with a candle flame in order to move it is now a tale of folklore.

"Did you REALLY do that to customize?" Yes. And, collecting ten dollars for a model was just as hard as trying to collect $375 for a blank stock horse resin today. That part seems to have stayed the same. I doubt one will feel as if they have enough for their acquisitions. Too many horses, not enough money. That will never change, no matter how much the horses are, but it's the "where we are heading with our attitudes" that make me take pause.

Where ARE we headed? I questioned this fully after I took my younger cousin to her first model horse show. She never came back.

First enormous customizing attempt.
Circa 1986 Stock Horse Stallion.


The Green Ribbon Epoxy
was all I had back in 86.


My young cousin fell in love with my models and a few of the newer Breyers I had in storage became hers. That spring we got her new stable residents named, gendered, and assigned breeds all for the start of a show career. She dove into all of this happily and couldn't wait to attend her first novice show. I was thrilled.

On the morning of the show I presented her with a new model. He was a surprise and I couldn't wait to gift her the most beautiful Man O War #47 mold I had ever seen. He was attained in a body box from a friend and he was certainly prettier than the one I attained in 1987 as a child. His chestnut color had so much shading and the light spots were just perfect! Some worker at the factory the day he was made was in the zone having one hell of a good day.

It was love at first sight!

Man O War #47 from the 1970s-80s


As the day progressed I sensed her disappointment. Shows can be disappointing when the steeds aren't in the top three, but she wasn't even close to 10th place. She had new stuff and the breed assignments seemed spot on. I quickly realized that there was no way in hell she could even place with her stable of new horses. How could a novice show against a OOAK Peter Stone OF? A Breyerfest model has no chance against a Breyer special run of 20.

Even though the novice tables at this particular event were always smack dab in front of my repair table I never paid attention to what was ON those tables. Amazing OOAK pieces, specials and highly collectable factory pieces all being shown by children. Their tables were filled with amazing collections and it was obvious that a young shower, just like a seasoned shower, had to pay to play.

What was worse was that there were no new connections made. All these young model horse lovers and she made not one connection. I had hoped she would, but competition in the novice ring is as fierce as in the Open ring and everyone was far too busy with show strings to make new connections. I understand that, but it still saddened me. Looking back I have to wonder what we were thinking bringing a Man O' War to a show. But he was beautiful and back in the day we all couldn't WAIT to connect with someone, ANYONE who loved model horses just like us.

Man O' War didn't even make it into the ring that day. I suggested she just enjoy him at home. He stood zero chance against the selection of OFs in the Thoroughbred class at this event. In reality though, he stands zero chance anywhere in today's hobby. A beautiful piece that has no chance because, let's face it, even with his beautiful coat he has zero fashion sense in today's world.

Where do these horses go to show? How many beautiful but "unfashionable" pieces stand in collections? How many other young potential collectors and showers have decided to just give up because they just couldn't afford to keep up and they haven't made real solid connections in the hobby? What brought us to this "keeping up" stage of our hobby? Where are we going and who is driving?

I'm afraid I have no answers. I only have this feeling that somehow something is missing. It has all changed right before our eyes. The excitement of seeing a blank Moody "Utopia" resin for sale has been pushed aside for the excitement of newer resins that will one day, perhaps even by next month, be pushed aside for the newest of the new resins. The days of just loving a model cause it resonated with you in your heart, as my Utopia had for decades, seems to be somehow...do I dare say....vanishing. I realize its changing drastically every February when our community comes together during NaMoPaiMo and we collectively celebrate our love of model horses.

What one needs to know is that your February in NaMoPaiMo was how us veterans enjoyed our hobby. That was our normal. That feeling of togetherness and artistic exploration, no matter what the skill level, was always vibrant and healthy. And in today's world that ends on March 1st.

Perhaps these old eyes just can't see that all this change is all just a natural progress. It happens all around us daily. Maybe our hobby lost it's innocence and grew up and now all we can do is visit our childhood rooms every February. I honestly don't know, but I can tell you for certain that we are all missing out on something great.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Old Fashioned Porcelain


China painted porcelain box

For an artist in love with china there is nothing like an old fashioned piece of porcelain. Better yet, nothing like getting to paint up that old piece of blank porcelain.

This particular "first tooth" box required about six firings to get the finished look. That's quite a bit of electricity to be honest and one of the many reasons why hand painted china's can get pricy. It's a layering process that requires special pigments and oils. I prefer to use lavender oil when painting. It's smooth and holds the color well. This time around I chose to color the entire piece, including the inside, so the white of the baby tooth stands out once it's placed inside.

I hope the recipients find it to be a timeless keepsake all around.

Deciding to put the
baby's name on lid or side.



Painting the gold on
is the best part!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Firing Up The Kiln

Limerick Custom Glazed
Currently up for Offers
See LINK

During the month of February and the NaMo activities in the equine model industry I felt very compelled to paint up my bisque earthenware Limerick. Up until that point I wasn't ready. So much uncertainty in laying down the special paints for glazing. So much worry while firing the kiln. So many hours getting the piece just right. Many hours means many firings when using overgrazing techniques.

I'm happy to say though that the uncertainty, the worry and the hours all came together nicely. I'm thrilled to share the finished glazed Limerick with you!

Offers being taken until this Friday, March 30, 2018 9:00 PM (Est).








Wednesday, February 28, 2018

NaMoPaiMo 2018

Utopia resin finished with mixed media.


NaMoPaiMo

Which stands for "National Model Painting Month" and is held in the Equine Miniature Industry every February. This year was the second year and I believe well over 400 people signed up to participate.

During this event model horse enthusiasts paint one horse. During this month though, we also share the ups and the downs of painting, the painting techniques, the new and old products and we enjoy just talking "model horse" with one another without any news, politics or outside frustrations getting in the way. It's our month to be crazy model horse artists with like minded individuals.

For one solid month our Facebook newsfeeds are filled with positive and happy news about model horses. Near the end of the month it's a deluge of pictures. So many amazing photos to view of the finished pieces everyone signed up to complete in one month's time!

For me this event is about all those nakid beady little eyes on my own shelves that stare me down continually. They all ask the same question, "When will you paint us?" Many of these pieces have remained unpainted for over a decade because I just can't get to painting my own stuff. February's event helps me truly focus, with other like minded artists, on one of my own pieces.

This year I chose a Utopia resin that I must have acquired back in 2002. I had a beautiful saddle created for him by Jessica Friedman of Tack Without A Doubt in 2003 and I've had that saddle around hoping to one day get my Utopia painted so I can show off the saddle....or at least play with it in the secret of my own studio.

I have always envisioned my Utopia painted in a chestnut. A plain ol' run of the mill warmblood-like chestnut. The kind of color that is in every stable, equine lesson and show event.

Chestnut.

I felt a chestnut with nice purples would compliment Jessica's work fully. I'm thrilled today, February 28th cause I finally finished my piece. Today, I present my boy "February Persuasion" all dolled up with his J. Friedman saddle.

Oranges and browns are
complimented by lots of thin purple layers.


Detail of a Jessica Friedman saddle.
Circa 2004

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Seeing Stripes

Custom Zebra.
Latest pieces out of the studio.

I'm seeing stripes this week!

Leah & Zee are up for offers until
Saturday, February 24, 2018 10:00 PM Please see the following link
for full info and current offer status: Leah & Zee Zebra


So many projects and commissions strewn about in the studio work space. Some days I can focus on exactly what's on the workbench. Other days, I look at something and automatically get sidetracked!

This time around my little Leela sculpture side tracked me hard! I couldn't get the vision of her as a zebra out of my head and decided to run with the vision. Well, once that ball started rolling down the hill it went crazy and blew into a vision of a mama zebra made out of the G1 Arabian mare and a full base and so forth and so on, until Leah & Zee were fully created.

They are my latest creation and I learned so much from this one project that I'm rejuvenated for older, lingering projects. See, sometimes we must get off the path in order to gain perspective and insight. Those experiences help with every day issues and work.

My older issues that awaited me in the studio were two commissions I had been putting off and I didnt know why. I just couldn't work on them. After Leah & Zee however, I am now almost finished with the one and have jumped in full force with the other! Going off the path is good and much needed.


More photos of Leah & Zee



















Current offer status: Leah & Zee Zebra



.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

How I Got To This

Strawberry Jam resin completed
with layering technique.

Color is amazing. Color can be used straight from the tube or color can be mixed together to get a desired result. Sometimes, the color can be mixed and layered right onto the model to get a certain look.

In the case of this "Strawberry Jam" resin, the client wanted a chestnut with some minimal white markings. How I got to this chestnut was with a "layering" technique which requires a pretty drastic start. The very first layers required, what I like to call, a firestorm orange layer.


Primed pieces waiting for their first layers.


Almost all the pieces start off primed white and then they make a drastic shift to a brash color. For a chestnut color that first layer would be a strange and vibrant orange. What makes this color pop so drastically is the use of a cadmium yellow.

I've found no better "pop" than cadmiums and the tube of yellow and red are my constant "go to" that I use in many pieces with this layering technique. This cadmium vibrancy will continue to show though every layer. If you look closely you can still see the orange showing. It's no longer brash in the final product, but rather, a soft glow from beneath.

In upcoming blog posts I plan on discussing this layering technique and color a little further as I've chosen a "Utopia" resin from my personal collection to paint for the NaMoPaiMo - National Model Painting Month that is held every February in the Equine Miniatures Industry. I'm very much looking forward to participating again this year.

Brash color compliments
of cadmium yellow medium.



Glow from beneath seen in face.


All around cadmium glow complimenting
the chestnut color.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Good Morning. Some Finishes

Sharing a few finishes that were completed recently. If you have been searching, to no avail, for a finish work artist please note that my books are open. Just email! jenndanza@gmail.com
Oh, and I prep! No need to send your piece to several artists. Just one stop and you're done. Thanks!






































Monday, January 1, 2018

Hello 2018

Inspiration from my woods.

We’ve all asked the question, “what is happiness?” Is it a feeling? Having stable circumstances in life? Or is it something that’s deeply personal and can’t be defined?

Well, according to Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh, it’s simply a way of being.

As the first morning of 2018 is in full swing here, I'm excited at the possibilities of this new year. Each year holds a balance of good and bad. Each year brings new people into our lives. Each day offers new lessons.

The past year, although not the greatest, held one undeniable fact. It prepared me for this year. Without the lessons of last, I could not move to the lessons presented in the next 365 days. So, with coffee in hand, I'm off to the studios to be in the presence of "lesson one" of the year 2018. I'm happy to report that so far the boiler is holding in this cold with a small, but dwindling water supply.

Here's to a great new year!
Happy New Year!