Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ready To Pounce

These arrived today...

Yay!  :D

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Studio Day

I spent at least a few hours in the studio yesterday, doing fun horsey stuff!

After reading a motivating article, I was inspired to finally get started on a big, scary- terrifying - project.  It will involve a LOT of epoxy.

I think this may be the first time I've mixed a ball this big (the next one I did was even bigger).  I've almost always worked on minis...

Here is the project.  He was constructed from scratch to this point during my day in the studio with Candace Liddy, back in March.  And this is how he has been ever since.  (with the addition of a few small globs of epoxy around his tail.  

I had thought I'd just use him as an epoxy dump, since I was feeling intimidated to do much more than that.  Yesterday I decided it was time to get serious.

Here's how he looked at the end of the session.  I'm taking her advice and starting with the outline, to match my reference picture.   So he now has the beginnings of a topline, neck, chest, points of shoulders, and belly.

I had thought he was classic scale, but it turns out he is bigger than that.  Large classic or small traditional?  He is modeled after a Thoroughbred stallion, so I might be able to call him a large classic?  I'm not sure, there's plenty of time to decide all of that later on.  There is obviously still a ridiculous amount of work to do on him.

Stunt double horse seems to be saying, "What the heck is that??!"

Inspired by my post on the state of the gift shop Pegasus figures, I decided to make some solid plans for their wings.

I have a bunch of these french fry cups, maybe they are called..?  I've used them mainly for paint mixing, but yesterday I discovered they make perfect small project parts holders.

This little guy will be running, just before take off.

And this foal will be standing, stretching, I think.

I've got some bad news, bat.

Here's all 3 baby Pegasus to be.  Including future bat foal (who kinda looks like he's being eaten by the bat at the moment).

Another set of wings that I've acquired here came in a bagged figurine from my favorite figurine store, where I've been finding the horses, donkeys, and puppies.

The contents of the bag.

Ta-da!  Figure assembled.

Of course, I bought him for his wings, which - luckily for him - didn't have to be hacked off.

They are so pretty!

But what about the dashing dude that came with them?  Could I use him with a horse somehow?

Interpretive dance?

I thought about doing some work on him to make him into a prop person - and yes, I will probably do that.  He appears to be too big for SM scale, but he might work for LB.  My LBs are still packed away, so for now I've stowed him away in my "doll drawer".

What about his wings?  Well, I'm having a bit of trouble deciding.

So far I have 5 candidates for the pretty, pearly wings.  I may even do a poll on here or on Facebook, that sounds like fun.

Also, I did a first painting session on an ornament horse, bringing the current herd to two.  I think the blue pony with have painted snowflakes and the red Morgan will have peppermint/candy cane stripes.

I did a bit of dremel work on two other Morgans who will most likely join the ornament herd.  They're both hair prepped now and I have some fun ideas for their holiday manes and tails.  One needs a broken leg repair, so I drilled the holes for that as well.

Lastly, I did a quick etching test to see if I could scratch out something that looked like tiny snowflakes.  They aren't perfect - but, *deep breath* that's okay.  I like the look and I think one (or two) of the ornament herd will end up being etched.  (something else I've never actually done)

It was a good day.  :)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Nananananananananananananananana Bat Foooooal

I've got some bad news, bat.

Motivation Monday - A Lot of Dirt

Monday is actually drawing to a close here in Japan.  It was a good one here, I hope it is - or was - a good one wherever you are!

I have one last bit of motivation that I really wanted to share.  I found this article earlier today and...  it really resonated with me.  A bit of a warning: there is some "strong" language in here, including several "F-bombs".  If that sort of language offends you, you might not want to click the link.  I felt that this message was too strong not to share, especially with my fellow artistic types.

Screw Finding Your Passion

I know I have been ignoring my passion for a long, long time - or trying to anyway.  However, today I spent quite a bit of time in the studio, including the first big steps on a project that I've been afraid to start, but have desperately wanted to (my first original sculpture).  I feel like I have the article to thank for that.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

MOAR Mini Bodies

I needed more bodies, particularly more mini bodies, like I needed a hole in the head, but...

... here are 24 more of them....

... aaand 24 moar.

Yep, 48 shiny, brand new (to me) unpainted G2 stablemates have landed here, all the way from the UK.  I bought them from the Utterly Horses closeout sale.  I held out as long as I could; I had actually wanted to order them a while ago, but when I saw that Utterly Horses was going out of business, I had to get a couple packs of these guys.

I do love the G2 molds; I have fond memories of customizing a bunch of them, and some of them doing well at the shows, before my hobby hiatus.  They were shiny and new around that time, after so long with the G1 molds being the only Stablemates around.  The G1s are still my favorites - just because they were the very first ones that I had and that I started to work on.  However, several of the G2s are up there too: the Stockhorse, the Saddlebred, the Thoroughbred, the Andalusian, the...  haha.

My plan for this new herd is to get them painted; I'm sure several will be remodeled too.  I'd like to do a lot of live show raffle/auction donations next year, that was always something that I enjoyed doing.  It would also be fun to be able to get my work out in the show world somehow, while I'm unable to show.

Also, I have an idea to offer a "horse painting" class at the Arts and Crafts Center here, as a way to possibly build some interest in model horses.  If I do such a thing, these unpainted bodies will perfect for that.  So I'll keep at least a handful of them for that possibility.

I certainly have PLENTY of mini bodies now!  ;)

Pegasus - Before And After - In Progress

Though not the "before and after" you might think...

It's been a while since I "worked" on a couple of gift shop Pegasus figures, taking off their wings.

Here's how they ended up looking after "surgery":

(customizing horses and collecting the parts for such activities can be a grisly thing)

Back then I had tossed them into one of my many mini body boxes.  Just last week, I pulled them out again.  I filled in the holes and did a quick first coat of white paint to see where they are prep-wise.

I'll end up doing a bit more fill work and prep on them.  Then I'm planning to turn them into something to offer at the upcoming winter vendor event here.  Maybe ornaments, or maybe just cute little horse-shaped objects, all painted up.

As for their wings, those have joined a collection of other wings, to build a Pegasus or six.  One of the MANY model horse projects on the To-Do list.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Liebster Award

I've been nominated for the Liebster Award by CWS Stables and Studio.  Thank you for the nomination!

Here are the rules (copied from the CWS blog):

- Put the Liebster Award logo on your blog.

- Thank and tag the blog that nominated you.

- Answer the questions and come up with 10 new ones for your nominees.

- Nominate 8 blogs (with less than 200 followers), let them know you've nominated them, and link them in your post.

- No tag backs!

Question Time:

1: Do you ride horses?  If so, how often and what disciplines?
Sadly, since moving to Japan back in May - well, really since taking my boy to Arizona back in March - I have not been riding horses at all.  Though I did JUST get the random, wonderful opportunity to ride this past weekend.  I'm hoping to make contact with the riding club and get back on a horse before another 6+ months goes by!  I have tried a few different disciplines, but I do like dressage and English-type riding the best.

2: How many pets do you have?
We brought two of our pets here with us, a dog: 11-year-old Newfoundland-mix named Max, and a cat: 8-year-old domestic shorthair named Tealight.  We were only allowed to bring two pets, our other critters stays with family and friends.  Since arriving here, we've added a tank full of male guppies (9 of them) to the family.  They aren't named yet.

3: Do you customise model horses? What do you use?
Yes, I do!  For horse type, I work on mostly Breyers.  I've done a couple of Stones, resins, and others too.  My favorite sculpting material is apoxie-sculpt.  I do like hairing horses (with mohair).  For finish work, I hand paint in acrylics.

4: Favourite book/series?
Oh boy, there are a lot.  I'd have to say that I still love the Black Stallion books and Marguerite Henry stories too.  They were childhood favorites.  One of my favorite stand alone books is called Woman Chief; that's where I originally got the "Horse Tender" name from.

5: Best model horse memory?
I would have to say: winning Overall Champion OF Breyer at the 2014 Black Hills Model Horse Show, with my classic Black Stallion.  I NEVER expected that to happen.  It was the best day of my entire model-horse-loving life.

6: Model horse/horsey inspiration?
There is a lot.  I find inspiration everywhere.  I'd say the top three sources of inspiration are: online, in books and magazines, and my own imagination.

7: Worst model horse buy?
I'm not sure that I have one.

8: Favourite horse/dog/cat colour?
Horse: So many that I love, but black has always been special.  Grulla is lovely as well.  Also any flashy pinto, though I prefer overo/tovero types over tobiano.
Dog: I think merle-colored dogs are so beautiful.  Also brindle.
Cat: Probably blue or calico.

9: What's your dream horse?
Right now - ANY horse!  ;)  Seriously though, I have always loved Akhal-Tekes and I still dream of having one of them.

10: Any other skills/hobbies?
In addition to model horses, I have a LOT of hobbies/interests.  One of my biggest that I'm most passionate about is training horses - when I had horses to train.  There is something absolutely magical about working with a young, wild horse, and building a relationship with them so that they go from wild to a partner and friend.  Other hobbies include: horseback archery, riding motorcycles, writing stories, travel, hiking, camping, fishing... Also, plenty of other crafty interests: making paper goods (greeting cards, bookmarks, etc.), tatting, some jewelry making, drawing, and on and on.

Here are my questions to ask:

1: What is your favorite color?
2: Who is your favorite fictional character?
3: Do you play any online/computer games?  If so, which ones?
4: Best (real) horse memory?
5: Favorite time of year?
6: Are you a night owl or an early bird?
7: Do you have any pets?
8: Favorite breed of horse?
9: Are you working on any big projects right now?
10: What other hobbies or interests to you have?

And here are my nominees:

Five Paws Studio
Trail Blazer Farm
Shoestring Stable
Rachel Fail Model Horse Tack
Desktop Stables
Shady Creek
Last Alliance Studios
Stage Left Studios

I really enjoy their blogs and I'm looking forward to reading the answers from anyone who can participate!

Thanks again to CWS Stables and Studio for the nomination; this was fun.

As a side note: I tried to do some research on the Liebster Award and it seems that it is a thing that has been around for at least a few years, though I wasn't able to find the origin of it.  It's turned into sort of a chain letter it seems, but that's fine with me.  I think it was fun to do and I've always enjoyed getting to know more about my friends and people that I admire!  Plus, it's always nice to help each other with our blogs and introduce them to viewers they might not otherwise have, eh?  :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

I Rode A Horse - The Story

Yesterday, I rode a horse.

It started out with Jeff and I hearing that there would be a horse archery competition over the weekend.  (more on that in a future post!)

In addition to the horse archery, there was an arena set up in the middle of the park where some demonstrations were going on.  The first day, we had gotten there late and didn't get to see much except a couple of people riding around in the arena.

On Sunday we got there early and saw that there was a jumping competition going on.

I told Jeff that seeing these horses was really hard for me, because I missed riding so much.  Especially seeing things like the archery and this, English riding - which I had been getting more into over the past couple of years.  So far we've seen draft horse and pony pulls, a ceremonial parade with draft horses, and "wild" draft horses here in Japan.  That has all been wonderful, but this weekend was the first time I'd really seen people riding - doing the things I used to do before we came here, and... it hurt to watch it.  I started crying as we talked about it.

I tried to pull myself together and took some pictures at the end of the row of jumps.

After each of the horses went through, we noticed that they raised the jumps.  We moved around to the long side of the arena so that I could get some side shots of them jumping.

A pat for a job well done.  This horse was very pretty.

After the jumping was done, they did a victory gallop where the top three horses went around the arena twice.

Immediately afterwards, a woman in the arena with a microphone approached us and tried talking to us.  I felt bad, I had no idea what she was saying or what was happening.  There was a huge crowd there and I was feeling embarrassed, trying to figure out what was going on.  We figured out that she was asking me to come into the arena.  Without hesitation, I took off the camera and camera bag, handed them to Jeff, and headed in.  I had NO idea what was going to happen, but if I could get closer to the horses, I was going to go for it.

On the way over, she asked my name and held out the microphone "Bobbie," I said, then immediately corrected myself, "Bow-bee".  That's how my name is pronounced here.  She said "Ahhh, Bobbie-san!" and went on chattering into the microphone for the crowd.  I was still so confused, but we walked right over to one of the horses.

There was some talking among the riders gathered around and someone handed me a helmet!  I put it on.  Then they handed me a pair of gloves and I put those on too.

Next someone put down a mounting block and an older man was motioning to the mounting block, then pointing at my foot, and the stirrup.  Oh yeah, I got this!

I was fully prepared to be led around on a "pony ride" but I didn't even care.  I was on a horse!!!  They adjusted my stirrups (waaay down from where they had been).  I noticed they'd brought another woman out and had her on a horse too.  She looked excited, but nervous.

I'd gotten myself sort of situated in the (small) saddle and started to gather the reins.  Someone on the ground asked me, "Have you been on a horse?"  I leaned forward, nodded, and replied, "I have a horse."

They were excited by this and passed on the news.  The next thing I knew, the person holding the horse, let go and they motioned for me to ride away.  Really??

I was off!!  Riding a horse, in Japan, all by myself!

I rode around at a walk for a little bit.  I thought it would be a lot of fun to try a trot, but I didn't want to take off on someone else's horse.  However, as I approached the woman who'd brought me into the arena, she said to me, "Gallop, please, gallop."

I laughed and said, "I don't know about that!" and she laughed too.  But I started trotting right away, all smiles now.

Jeff took lots of pictures and even some video!

A little more trotting.

I rode over to Jeff at one point and told him how she had asked me to gallop.  He said, "Do it!  Just take off.  Wow the crowd!"  I laughed.

I didn't take off at a full gallop, but I did get into a canter and we did a couple of passes by the main crowd.  This was the only picture of the cantering.

He was such a good horse.  Very well trained.  I was in heaven.

I still couldn't believe this was happening and I was trying to soak in every moment..

The woman who had brought me into the arena got my attention and told me it was time to stop.  I laughed as I got ready to turn toward her.  I could have ridden for hours.

She held him while I hopped off.  Once I was back on the ground, I asked her if I could give her a hug.  She laughed and we hugged each other.  She then asked me to come and meet the President of the riding club.

She took me by the hand and ran me over to an older man by the truck that they had been loading the jumps into.  They talked and I ended up getting a business card for the club.  I knew there was a riding club here, but I hadn't tried to find it or make contact with them yet.  I guess I have now!

I had a bit of a conversation with her, after she gave m the card.  She asked me about my horse, in America?  I told her yes, he is back there.  She asked, "Pony?" and I said, "Horse." and held my hand up about where Bo's back is.  She said, "Ah, Saddlebred?"  I thought that was interesting.  I wasn't sure if she meant the breed itself or if she was asking if he was a riding horse.  I told her that he is a "Paint".  I was't sure if that's a breed they are familiar with here, but she seemed to recognize the term after thinking about it.  I pulled out my phone and showed her the quickest picture I could think to find - my Facebook profile picture.

She said, excitedly, "Ah, yabusame!"  (horse archery)  I told her yes, sort of like that.  :)

It was an absolutely amazing experience.  It wasn't until later in the day that I realized just how much I had needed that time on a horse.  I felt like a big black cloud that has been following me around had lifted away.  I felt like I'd been carrying around a ton of bricks and they were gone now.  I felt like I could do anything.

I want to try and make contact with the riding club soon, hopefully this week.