Tuesday, September 30, 2008

random crap

The graphite drawing is almost done. So close I'll just wait and show you when it's finished.

Last night I dreamed I was engraving metal. And I think I was pretty good at it, it's hard to tell from a dream though. In the mean time I'll just become more scrimshaw-obsessed. I need to finish (err, start) that nude I sorta started and get her on ebay. I am doing another tutorial following my experiments with mammoth ivory, which is interesting stuff. I'll post the link another day. I tried wet sanding it and it totally absorbed water like mad. Eeek! Never had elephant ivory do that. I had to let it shrink back to normal and then dry sand it. I'm experimenting with different inks and surface preparations (to seal or not to seal) and will progress onto a good piece when I feel like I know what I'm doing. Subject matter: bison (not even sketched out yet).

Oop gotta get those Serama illustrations underway.

I got all my ink the other day. I want to do a large full color piece of a tundra swan on elephant ivory but I want to make SURE that the technique I think will work actually will work before I do something like that. The colors in the swan image are very soft and muted. The ink colors straight out the bottle are shockingly bright so I'd have to do a LOT of mixing. I'm going to start with a small pendant just to practice some color stuff. Subject matter: peacock (colorful!!). This is ready to be transferred to ivory. I really prefer working with etching ink but it doesn't work very well for color. So I'll be using liquid drawing ink. Hmm, where are my tiny brushes...

It's been feeling slightly fall-like but not quite, it's still getting hot during the afternoons. It did rain a little last night. Not a measurable amount though. It did make a rainbow though. The bird population is changing. I hear the white crowned sparrows along the creek. 2 of the 3 hummingbird species are leaving town. I've heard sandhill cranes in the last week (I MUST go to the preserve with The Beast camera this fall!). The horses are getting fuzzy. I'm trying to ride Shylah and Dusty each at least three times a week. Shylah needs exercise. Dusty needs training. Oh heck, they both need both things. Shylah's energy level seems better. She's been on her new diet (added beet pulp, may do other changes too but I'm taking it one step at a time) for about two weeks.

Working with Dusty is a challenge, sometimes it feels like the blind leading the blind, with both of us having to learn about gaits. When Dusty was here for a while two years ago I never got him consistently gaiting and felt like I never could. There seems to be more potential now. Did I magically learn something in those two years? I guess so, plus just doing a whole lot more riding helps a lot. He'll do it, though I don't know enough about TWH's to tell you whether he's foxtrotting (he does that) or doing a running-walk (does he do that yet?) or what. He does about 4843809348 different things and I REALLY have a hard time telling them apart. I know walk, and I can get him going at a very extended walk. I know when he's trotting because it feels like I'm going to bounce into the treetops (UGH). His canter is SO smooth that I have a VERY hard time telling when he's at a slow canter versus a "gait" of some sort. I'm sure you gaited horse people are laughing at me, it must be very easy for you to tell. But I come from the "walk trot canter whoa" world, so you throw and extra few things in there and I'm lost. JJ says listen to the hoofbeats, I want a 4 beat smooth gait. It's so much easier to hear that on the ground. In the saddle it's much harder to hear the hoofbeats over the squeaky saddle and the wind whistling past my ears. Anyway, he's doing much better, but getting him to maintain a gait is going to take a lot of time, it either falls apart into a trot or he throws his nose in the air and starts cantering, and just when he's going well we're at the end of the pasture and have to turn around and go back the other way. My goal for him is to be a really solid trail horse (hmmm...? He's kind of a fruitcake sometimes) and I really want to get him gaiting well. Heck, he's a TWH, he needs to be able to do what he's supposed to do!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Operation Fuzzybutt and the non-used socks

I headed out of here Friday afternoon and drove the almost-all-boring 209ish miles north to the land of boulders and bears, better known as JC and DC's ranch. We were actually going to be doing our yearly trail ride thing (with Shylah, and now Dusty too!) at this time but that's been rescheduled for later in the year. However, I went up anyway because...

Saturday we left at the horribly early hour of approximately 6:15am and drove to Bend, Oregon (6 hours each way) to pick up JC's new horse. Thankfully I was only a passenger, but still... Actually it was a lot of fun. I like road trips, and I got to see an area I've never been to before (at least not while I was old enough to remember it, apparently I was there once when I was really young). It's high desert country, lots of sagebrush and scrubby trees, and long stretches of forest along the way in southern OR that reminded me so much of the drive through Yellowstone that I half caught myself looking for bison when we would emerge into an open meadow area! I did see two bald eagles!

Anyway, out in the middle of this scrubby BLM land up there is this area with gorgeous houses and spotless barns and perfect fences and green irrigated pastures and sprinklers everywhere. One has to wonder where that water comes from, considering the surrounding landscape. It was a very pretty area, looked like it would be a lot of fun to ride out there. The ranch where JC's new colt came from was absolutely beautiful, and the people who owned him were very kind and showed us all around and we met most of the horses. I didn't take many pictures there, but here's one of their mares:

We got back home (JC's home, not mine) late last night and that little colt is just so calm and sweet. He's a 5 month old Gypsy horse, doesn't yet have a barn name so was called "Fuzzybutt" all weekend, he's so incredibly plush you just want to pick him up and squeeze him. Obviously, a more manly name is needed, though it's hard to imagine this little puffy marshmallow horse turning into a majestic stallion. ;-)

He's now living with Doc, the dun overo Azteca colt, who just got weaned and isn't very happy about that.

I got home this evening, I'm tired. But I know you want to know about the other half of the title..

I wish I had a picture. Maybe I should have taken one but I was felt funny about taking The Beast camera into a truck stop store. We had stopped at a gas station/truck stop in Chemult, Oregon, and I noticed in the store this bin of packaged socks for sale (you know you can buy anything in those places). Anyway, on this bin of packaged socks the hand-written cardboard sign said:

"Non-used Socks $2.99"

The question that immediately came to mind was how much are the used ones?

Why is there a need to clarify NON-USED?!!? Seriously. Do they sell used ones? Does anyone know, I'm really curious. I mean, why not just "socks $2.99" or if you really wanted to be specific "new socks $2.99."


I dunno... I think we'll be laughing about that one for years to come. :-)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

September 24 work in progress

Photographed this afternoon:

Photographed tonight, not sure why it's so pink looking, oh well:

Still need to do the background. I'm really diggin graphite and velour! :-)

I mailed my entries today for the National Wildlife Art Museum's Miniatures and More show (Jackson Hole, September 2009). I submitted scrimshaw. I'm sure that will confuse them as to what category it should go in. They make it very clear this is ├╝ber competitive and they hardly accept any new artists from year to year, so I'm considering this a long shot and assuming that I will not get in, because getting my hopes up would be foolish. I will not hear anything til probably some time in March 2009, so there won't be anything to say about it until then. I'd tell you to cross your fingers but that's a long time to wait. :-)

I need to think of a good image for a scrim on mammoth ivory. I want to try it out but I don't have anything brilliant in mind. I'm not sure how well I'll like it. I still need to polish it. I've been warned it tends to be pretty soft. That could be good or bad depending how soft. I have a whole page of sketches for "long skinny" images but somehow none of them seem quite right for mammoth.

I ordered a bunch of drawing ink and I'm just ridiculously excited about trying color scrim again now that I have a hunch it might actually work! I'll probably start with a pendant of some sort, just something small to experiment with.

I want to do another tutorial. There's another contest going on... I want to win another, that would get me closer to getting an airgraver... (because right now it's still quite a ways off). Hmmmm....

Monday, September 22, 2008

September 22 work in progress

For years before I was an exhibitor at Draft Horse Classic, I was a visitor. And I always showed up at prime-visiting-hours, right before the horse show, when the art show is jam packed. So I thought the art show always must be busy. Ha! I will never forget seven years ago when I sat around and twiddled my thumbs all weekend, read the same magazine over and over, wrote random things in a notebook, and generally was bored out of my gourd. Now I know better. I bring something to work on. There were maybe six artists working on stuff this year, and not only is it a good opportunity to get a lot done (what else can ya do?) but it's a great crowdpleaser. I'll get a big group of people standing around watching me draw, and asking questions. I was self-conscious about it at first, years ago, but it doesn't bother me at all now, I kinda like the crowd! So if I'm not actively writing out receipts, or wandering around the building visiting with other artists, I just sit and draw, and usually get a LOT done in all those hours.

I had sketched this out right before the show, and started the final drawing on Thursday. Here's how it looked as of Sunday evening:

not yet titled
12x18 inches
graphite and charcoal on velour paper
price TBD

I had wanted to finish another real eyepopping scrimshaw piece this week but that won't happen, not enough time. So I'll make do with what I have for the art show entry. I think I need to try using India ink again instead of etching ink (at least for some projects). I would really like to be able to use Renaissance wax as a barrier between colors (I DO want to get good at doing color scrim, even though I prefer the look of B/W) and I find that wax and etching ink are not a good combo. The wax will wipe the etching ink out of the scrim, unless it's been drying for a *very* long time (seems to be at least a couple months, based on some experimenting I've done). Who has time for that? Psh!

India ink is in my opinion a pain to work with, which is why I don't use it. I like the way that etching ink is applied and buffed down. But... I think India ink is my best bet for color work, and possibly also for "high use" B/W pieces (jewelry).

I did a little experiment tonight. This is a broken piece of unpolished ivory about the size of my thumbnail. The top part is black waterproof Higgins India Ink. The middle part is black etching ink. The bottom part is carmine fadeproof Higgins Drawing Ink. I let them dry for about, oh, a minute, and then applied Ren Wax. I knew the etching ink would come right out, and sure enough it did, but I'm pleased to see that neither of the liquid drawing inks pulled out with the wax. This is good, I'm optimistic about trying some new techniques. I need to get more ink colors, I only have black and red.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

and then something wonderful happened

Two wonderful things, actually. :-)

First, a very cool lady named Catherine stopped by and bought "Aragorn at One Year." Yup, the original! He's off to a good home, and I'm very excited about that!!!

And then "Thankful" won People's Choice!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I have not tallied things up yet, but I think I may find this actually turned out to be my best year, but only because of selling a large original painting, otherwise sales were way down, as were the number of visitors. Dang economy. It'll be interesting to see what the top selling card was. I have a hunch but I'll add them up tomorrow.

I'm tired and sore and happy and I ate way too much sugar today and I'd do just about anything for a foot massage right about now.

And I need to remember that when I've been shooting pics at ISO 800 I need to remember to reset that to auto, otherwise all my "normal" photos turn out gritty too, oops!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

and in keeping with tradition...

How my morning started:

*sigh* Every year something goes wrong. I'd hoped to escape unscathed this time around but no such luck. This is the second time I've gotten a flat tire during the DHC show (and this is also flat tire #14 in my lifetime). Luckily it happened here in the driveway, and the people I am staying with have one of those tire plug kits. Thank you R family!!! I really can't even get worked up about flats anymore, I just looked at it, rolled my eyes, and thought "well of course." I was only a half hour late to the show.

Today was much better but it's still noticeably different this year. Tonight was the artist party. Several of the artists (and friends) are talented musicians so they get together for a little jam session. It's a lot of fun. I think it had been about 13 years since the last time I two-stepped, lol!

I feel like this by the end of the day too:

Friday, September 19, 2008

a slow start

Well, let's just say there's significant room for improvement in sales here at the Draft Horse Classic. Yesterday, in typical Thursday fashion, was a complete waste of time. Today was slightly better but it sure seemed empty. I'm counting on the weekend!

Here's the booth:

"Thankful" with first place ribbon:

"Sunday Morning" with second place ribbon:

Some Friesians:

A Clydesdale:

The horse pics were taken during the Thursday evening show, which started at 6:30pm, so I'm impressed they came out this well considering the low light. I think I was shooting at ISO 800, but of course it eventually just got way too dark.

I'm getting lots of questions about scrimshaw, and I'm actually impressed by how many people know what it is (at least somewhat).

I love it when people remember me from year to year, and even better is when they tell me they've come up just to shop my booth (yes, that really happened today!) I recognize a lot of the same visitors from year to year.

Oh, want to hear some really exiting news? I won the "Most Informative" category in the engraving tutorial (with the bear cub scrimshaw) so that's going to be a significant step toward getting setup to learn how to engrave metal. I'm gonna git me an airgraver! Woo hoo! Now I just need a vice...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

wish me luck!

Well, Draft Horse Classic starts tomorrow! Today I set up the booth, and I have to say it really looks good this year. It's not cluttered, and I was able to open it up a little bigger than a 10x10 because there's an empty space (door) next to me. I'll take pics!

The entries are judged already. Drum roll please...

"Thankful" took first place in the pencil category. Woo hoo! And "Sunday Morning" took second in the "all other" category. Woo hoo!

Think happy thoughts, I'll blog if I can. :-)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

busy, how was yours?

Dang, this weekend flew. I got a lot done though. I've typed up most of my labels (everything gets an "artist statement" this year), I redid my sign to include the word "scrimshaw," I got a horse drawing sketched out to work on at the show. Tomorrow I'll pick up the new cards. I barn-sat over the weekend at a beautiful ranch about 20 minutes away. It's not hard (feeding, cleaning stall, moving horses around) but it sure eats up a lot of the day at a time when I'm feeling pressed for time (hour and a half of work, hour and twenty minutes driving, sixty miles per day... I had to go out twice a day). Yesterday I drove up to Grass Valley and dropped off my entries. Tomorrow and Tuesday are going to be all about packing up, labeling, and folding cards.

The engraving forum is doing another tutorial competition, results of the first one (where I did the bear scrim) will be available this coming Friday. I'm thinking about entering the next one too, because it was fun! Someone suggested I work on an elk tooth for that one. I could do that, I do have one more tooth. I'd need to think of an image, and I would rather present it as an art piece than a necklace so I'd have to think about how to do that. Or, I just started the bronc rider scrim (well, so far just sketched). Or, there's that knife that I could potentially really mess up in public view... Hmm.

Friday, September 12, 2008

the landscape drawing

I did not give it adequate attention in last night's blog. That was sort of "omg it's done yay post it!" I'll talk more now.

Okay, just to post it again so y'all can see it:

"Teton Winter Morning"
7.5 by 20 inches
colored pencil and graphite on cream Stonehenge paper
for sale, haven't figured out the price yet, depends on the frame, etc.

It's a place I've been, Teton County, Idaho. I spent ten days there when I was on The Adventure, and many times I stood leaning on the corral gate looking out across those fields at the Teton mountains. I rode Sara the mule in that field. It's stunningly beautiful. It was green when I was there, I've only seen wintertime in pictures.

There are a couple reasons I drew this. One is that I tend to avoid landscapes and I needed to prove that I can do it and this is a scene that intrigued me, and yes it was a struggle. And it was sort of a way to pay homage to a place forever etched fondly in my memory. It's not exact, but maybe it's as it ought to be. That's one of the fun things about art, you can improve on real life. Need a bigger pasture? I can draw you one. ;-)

I'm still going to be submitting work to a gallery (likely more than one, we'll see how it goes) in Jackson Hole, but I wanted to bulk up the portfolio. A lot of the horse art I've done are portraits, and though good portraits many of them lack much other substance. That's not to disparage them, but they are the sort of things where if it's not YOUR horse then it's just not going to have the same meaning. I want to engage the viewer more, draw them in. And some local scenery never hurts anything. ;-)

I think it's one of those drawings best seen from across the room. It's not photorealistic, not up close anyway, and was not intended to be. It's actually pretty gritty:
The horses (and mule!) are about a half an inch tall.

I'll frame it this weekend, and it'll go to the show with me next week.

Just for curiosity sake there are 19 colors of pencil in this drawing.

framed scrimshaw

Just wanted to show pics of how the scrims look when framed. :-) They're even nicer in person!


Let me talk a little more about what I mentioned the other day.

Shylah is a fat horse. Often a very fat horse. Yes, there have been plenty of times when I'm lax about riding, but that's certainly not the case lately, and she seems to be ever-expanding. She is fed half the amount that Gwen (a fairly easy keeper herself) eats. Gwen gets zero exercise. Gwen's in pretty good shape, a little round in the belly.

And Shylah doesn't just have a haybelly, she has fat lumps and a cresty neck, and though she's always been a lazy poky horse, but she seems to be getting worse.

A friend suggested I look into Insulin Resistance. Lo and behold it's not uncommon in her breed.

I talked to the vet today, and was surprised by what she said. She told me that most people don't bother getting a horse tested, and she really doesn't recommend the test. The reasons are this:

1) It's a test that requires 12 hours of fasting, but the way that horses digest their food, they would really need 48 hours to truly fast, and that's obviously not too good for the horse, so there isn't a lot of faith in the accuracy of the results of this test.

2) Regardless of whether a horse has IR (apparently more commonly called EMS, Equine Metabolic Syndrome) or is just fat and lazy, the treatment is more or less the same. There is a prescription thyroid medication (no thanks). And there are dietary changes. Only feed grass hay (already do). Restrict access to green pasture (already do). No grain (nope, not since she was a baby). Low starch feeds. There are commercial low starch pellets. $23 per bag, cripes! No thanks.

Soo.... short of getting other vets' opinions, I think I'm pretty much on my own with this. It's hard for me to totally understand, not really totally understanding all about insulin, but I'm going to be experimenting with some feed changes based on some research I've read about and see if I can't get some weight off the girl and pep up the energy a bit.

It's not that I care particularly if she's a bit on the round side, but IR/EMS often leads to laminitis in a chronically overweight horse, and trust me I've had quite enough experience with that. One of three things will happen if a horse get laminitis: they get over and are fine, until it happens again; they don't recover enough to be sound, and are chronically lame and forever a pasture decoration like Gwen; they die like Thunder did.

I don't think I can really "assume" that she has IR/EMS, but I would not be surprised at all, she seems to fit the bill pretty well. So I need to get it under control. I will go to the feed store next week and see what sort of low carb, low sugar, high fiber stuff they have that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. If anyone has experience with an IR/EMS horse please let me know, I'm totally open to any and all suggestions, but would prefer to manage this with diet/exercise and not medication.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

cat hairs

How often have I joked about it? "It really sucks to get a piece all framed up and THEN find a cat hair under the glass." How many times has it happened to me (more than once). So tonight I framed "Thankful" in the biggest frame I've ever dealt with (26x34, that's a dang big piece of glass). I meticulously went over it and removed all offending lint and foreign particles. The thing about this velour paper is that other than being awesome EVERYTHING sticks to it. Like dust, lint...and cat hair. So I cleaned the glass, put in the art, put in the framing points, sealed it up with a dustcover, turned it over to admire my handiwork and "oh crap" was what I said. How did I overlook the glaringly obvious ORANGE cat hair under the horse's neck? *sigh* Pulled the whole thing apart, went over it again, reframed it... Whatever's in there now is staying. ;-) So here they are. Gee, think it's big enough? That's "Sunday Morning" next to it. I'll deliver them up to the show on Saturday. I'm so glad I don't have to ship that big thing!

Landscape done! You might not find me eager to jump into another landscape right away. Cropped an inch and a half off the sky, I think it's compositionally better this way.

"Teton Winter Morning"
20 by 7.5 inches
colored pencil and graphite on cream Stonehenge paper

Here are some turkeys in the yard:

I was sitting in the yard and Homer (cat) was next to me. There were very curious about him and came up pretty close, making that wonderful curious turkey sound.

I heart my D80!

I'm so tired. I did not have time to ride today, I may not have time again til after DHC.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

horses n stuff

I have a feeling if I don't write now I'll have waaaayyyy too much catching up to do later. I'm pretty much running around like a crazy person lately. I ordered more frames today, gotta pick those up on Friday. I did a bunch of file prep for new note cards and new business cards. That's right, new business cards! Wow! I have had pretty much the same cards for about 5 years, so it's time for a change. I added the word "scrimshaw" and will do half with a dog image (the Jessie scrim) and half with the same rooster as always. I was going to just print dogs but I'm not quite ready to be rooster-less. :-)

I'm progressing pretty well on the extremely long list of show-prep things I need to do. The landscape drawing is about 90% done. I was up til 1am last night trying to finish but got too tired and quit, though I'm happy enough with it that I ordered a frame today. I will attempt to finish that tomorrow. The pics look AWFUL now as it's become a very reflective surface, so I'll do a good scan when I'm totally done.

I've been riding a lot, every day now that the weather has improved. I'm too tired to get into all the mundane details and it's all arena/roundpen work so it's not like I have any exciting photos. Between two horses and several saddles there are lots of combinations to try out. After not riding English for 16 years I've been in an English saddle every day this week. Shylah is doing better about not cross cantering but I need to work on getting the correct lead over all, so more roundpen work to really solidify the cues, as she often picks up the wrong one in the big pasture arena and between her immense mane and relative lack of shoulders I have a hard time actually SEEING this. I think I need to braid her mane. Really, I kinda rolled up tonight while riding and tucked it under the saddle pad and then I could actually see her shoulders. Big improvement.

I am going to have Shylah tested for Insulin Resistance. Without a diagnosis I can't be sure she has it, but she sure fits some of the symptoms (overweight with lumpy fat deposits, "easy keeper," lethargic, cresty neck, common in the breed). If indeed she has it, it would certainly explain some things about her, and hopefully could be managed with some dietary changes. Anyway, I'm not wanting to jump to conclusions, so I'll get a definite answer soon.

Dusty's doing well, there's hope that I may get him properly consistently gaiting after all. Shoes seem to help him, and the English saddle might put me in a better position. Working a horse up on the bit is a totally foreign concept to me, "collection" has not really been in my riding vocabulary too often, so it's surely as confusing for me as it is for Dusty. I always finish his session by letting him bust loose and canter a few laps, he's a speed demon. It's a world of difference between riding him and Shylah. I'm thinking I may ask my neighbor E if she would come ride him some time so JJ and I can watch. I think I'd have a better understanding if I could see from the ground what's going on, and E is a VERY experienced and good rider. Thank you JJ for coming over, I'm pretty clueless otherwise. :-)

Anyway, that's about all the excitement, I'm totally whooped. But I'll leave you with a cute pic of Olin sleeping with his tongue sticking out. All together now, "awwwww!"

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Draft Horse Classic

Okay, looks like DHC did not print invitations this year. Darn them! I like those. Nevertheless.

Draft Horse Classic ("Art at the Classic" is part of this) is held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, CA. I have two pieces in the art show, and will be there daily with a 10x10 booth full of art. I'm working in figuring out what to take and how to display it this year, it'll be a little different (I'm taking less stuff, it was too cluttered last year).

Show hours are as follows:

Thurs Sept 18: noon - 5:30pm
Fri Sept 19: 9am - 7pm
Sat Sept 20: 9am - 7pm
Sun Sept 21: 9am - 5pm

I am soooo glad they don't run the show 8am - 10pm anymore, that was the pits!

Please come visit, it just makes my day when people I know stop by and say hello. Or people that I don't know! :-)

Okay, back to the grind, these are busy busy busy busy days right now.

Monday, September 08, 2008


I did not go on the Starbucks ride today, it was too hot. There's no reason to be out a horse when it's over 100 degrees..yuck! I am ready for fall!

AC came over yesterday morning and rode Shylah. She's a newbie to horses but has expressed interest in a trail ride but I want her to get well acquainted with Shylah in a controlled situation before doing something like that. Not that Shylah's uncontrollable, far from it. She is, however, well aware of when she has an inexperienced rider and takes full advantage of the situation by stopping, slowing down, grazing, etc. AC did well, and said she felt very safe with Shylah but was annoyed by her laziness. Yes, I often feel the same way, but for being an irritating arena horse I kinda like that careful pokiness out on the trail. I rode Dusty, and they did well in close proximity, and he was actually very relaxed and willing to walk at Shylah's speed, so that's promising that the two of them could trail ride together. Dusty's not wild or anything, he's just got a huge stride and a lot of ambition.

Looks like "Bears and Boulders 2008" (the week of riding at JC's) is going to be delayed a month or so. I guess that's just as well, September is really a crazy month.

Here are some pics I took late this evening:

Gwen, age 21-ish or somewhere thereabouts.

Shylah, age 5

Dusty, age 11 (?)

Gwen's face has gotten a lot more gray in recent years!


Sunday, September 07, 2008

September 7 works in progress

I'm about to start totally stressing out with art show prep. You are forewarned. ;-)

Okay, I think I'm getting somewhere on this now! I'm looking back and forth from the pic on the screen to the drawing across the room and it's so much nicer looking in person. Doesn't help that it's darn near impossible to photograph without it getting a reflection from the light (as it has here in the center of the image).

I had an image in mind for my next scrim project (two draft horses in harness) but it's a very dark and VERY detailed image, and I need another western/wildlife piece done by the end of the month, so I went through my rodeo pics I've shot and decided to do a bronc rider image instead right now. I'll have to put the nude scrim on hold for a while, this is a really important and urgent deadline. So I got this sketched out today and taped on ready for transfer.

[EDIT] on second thought I'm removing this image, you'll just have to wait and watch the image develop. ;-)

not yet titled
2x2 inches
scrimshaw on Corian

This is that knife I was talking about the other day. A really well made "art knife" would not have all those screw holes, but I have a design sorta sketched out (no I won't show you) that works around those. It's in color. I have some concerns about the darkness of the mammoth ivory. Still debating....

What is this, take photos of my hand day? What can I say, it's quicker than setting up backdrops. I got some ivory in the mail the other day from an engraver friend. Awesome! Thank you Rod C.!!!

Friday, September 05, 2008

gotta love horses

I picked up my art from State Fair this afternoon (the fair ended on Monday). I was unhappy to see that the Jessie drawing (graphite on velour) had shed a layer of graphite dust onto edge of the mat opening. Great, and here I'd hoped to get away with no fixative. Oh well. Popped it out of the frame when I got home and sprayed a LOT of fixative on there. Velour normally feels like velvet. Now it's like velvet wearing too much hairspray. I hung it up in the kitchen and I think I'll thump on the frame a little bit every day to see if everything stays put.

This is a potential problem because "Thankful" (the ginormous drawing that's going to Draft Horse Classic) is also graphite on velour and not "fixed." So I have to verify that fixative looks okay and is going to stick everything in place, otherwise I'd have to get a completely different type of frame, and seeing as how I brought home a frame for it today that has a three digit number price on it, I'm not keen on ordering another style. It's the biggest dang frame I've ever used! I hate big pieces of glass! Yikes! 26 x 34 inches. Eep!

Shylah and Dusty got some work with desensitization stuff tonight. I'm going on the Starbucks ride again this Sunday with Shylah (corner of Bond and EG Florin around 6-6:30pm Sunday) [EDIT: scratch that, I'm not going, it's WAY too hot!] so we had some fun with trash cans and plastic bags and pop cans. She was super, but that's all stuff I've done with her before (not *specifically* trash cans and pop cans, but barrels and buckets and bags and bottles and you name it). She loves tarps too, when she walks over one she likes to reach down and grab it with her teeth. I can completely cover her in a tarp and she just stands there like a big blue lump. Dusty was only slightly less accepting of things. Shylah will take any opportunity to stand still and take a nap. Dusty takes any opportunity to run around, so me tossing a plastic bag full of pop cans into the air and catching it (that's very loud!) was an excuse to run even after he wasn't scared anymore. He didn't like his head covered by the tarp.

Oh and I took an old horse shoe and a hammer and pounded on Shylah's feet for a while. She didn't so much as bat an eyelid, so I'm not sure what was up with her the other day. Just a bad day I guess, or maybe the burning-hoof smoke freaked her out.

I had this random thought today and wondered how many horses I've ridden in my lifetime. I don't consider myself a particularly great rider, but I think in the last few years I've improved a lot just from training my own horse and riding more of other people's horses. This'll either seem like a big number or a little number depending on your background. I'm probably forgetting some.

There were horses I sat on, with adult supervision, as a very young kid. I don't think these count, but there was Babe, my aunt's palomino, and a horse where my brothers too lessons that the instructor used to pack me around on sometimes.

-Smokey, the neighbor's pony
-the ponies at my pre-school (it was on a farm, the class would go on pony rides). Specifically I remember King (bay) and Stormy (b/w paint)
-Kyd, my cousin's gray Arab (I think I only rode double on Kyd)

The horses we boarded for a therapeutic center (and I took lessons on them), still childhood:
-Rebel Anne, world's laziest chestnut QH mare
-Token, black gelding afraid of pigs, I liked him!
-big pale gelding (palomino? gray?) I can almost remember his name but not quite, I want to say Oscar or Wilbur or something like that, I just remember he was HUGE and pale colored, I think he was palomino
-my instructor's old gray horse, he could only walk and trot

And then I started taking "real" riding lessons in 5th grade:
-Blue, a sweet POA mare
-Rascal, black cob type gelding, I really had a soft spot for him
-Dee Dee, bay OTTB (off track thoroughbred), very nice mare
-Lady, bay OTTB, I much preferred Dee Dee but Lady was a more advanced horse
-Sabuken (I always called him Spooky), HUGE bay OTTB gelding
-Prissy, my friend M's black pony mare who only wanted to run

And then began the search for my first horse, I seem to remember looking at 8-10 horses before I bought her, so either I didn't ride them all or I just don't remember them:
-Money, a pretty paint mare who wasn't sound
-a chestnut ranch gelding from the horse dealer, he bucked
-another chestnut ranch gelding from the horse dealer, he bucked too
-a chestnut/flax Arab mare, gorgeous but a little high strung

-Thunder, I bought her in 1992, bay QH mare
-Meeko, my friend M's Arab gelding
-Blue Top, JJ's black TWH gelding

Thunder died in 1999. About six months later the search began again.
-Appy gelding, sooo sweet but vet exam showed him going blind
-another Appy gelding, too small
-chestnut QH mare, nice horse but someone bought her before I got her vet checked
-bay QH/TB gelding, too high strung
-young chestnut/flax TWH X Arab gelding, sweet boy just not what I wanted

-Gwen, black Morgan/Shire mare I bought in 2000
-Ardie, bay Arab gelding who belonged to WM
-Shylah, black Canadian Horse I bought in 2003 (started under saddle in 2006)
-Dusty, JJ's Champagne TWH gelding
-Lina, gray Andalusian mare
-Kaylee, JC's Gypsy Horse mare
-Sugar, chestnut Rocky Mountain Horse mare
-and then there's "that mule" (ha ha!) Sara ;-)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

just a lot to say

Okay, I'm still not sure this is going where I want it to go but I'm about ready to call the sky done. At least for now. I'll start on the foreground tomorrow. I'm still iffy about this though...

9x20 inches
colored pencil

So while I'm struggling with that landscape, I am (stupidly?) considering working back into some of my older drawings and adding backgrounds to try to make them more interesting. This has challenges, like they've been sprayed with fixative, and signed, and I'm just not sure it'll look good, but I'm thinking about pulling a few out of the frames and seeing what I can do. Why not, I guess, other than it's mildly terrifying to add stuff to something I always considered finished.

I bought some mammoth ivory on ebay today. I feel I need to clarify this. By "mammoth" I don't mean large. I mean, literally, mammoth, as in the wooly kind. As you might guess, it's rather old stuff. No restrictions on import or export either. And a "slab" is pretty small. The ones I got are about 1x2.5 inches and less than an 1/8 of an inch thick.

You know, the downside to scrim is there's no way to reproduce it. I mean, on one hand that ups the value of the original, but with a lot of other art you can make more than one. Sculptures can be cast in bronze, drawings and paintings can be printed and you get something that looks just like the original. I *have* seen cast scrimshaw, it's usually done in resin or plastic I think. Metal engravings are pretty commonly cast, but it's (I think) easier to remove the ink from metal than from ivory, and of course the piece would have to be un-inked to have a mold made, but if I don't ink as I go then the values don't turn out right. A quandary indeed. And besides that I'd hate to spend a zillion hours making some fantastic art piece only to have it damaged in the the casting process. Metal has the advantage of durability. I can't print scrim, whereas metal engravings can be printed (directly from the engraved plate onto paper). Then again a paper print is not the same as holding the engraved piece in your hand. I suppose I could make photos or something, but it's just not the same as the object itself.

So pretty much everyone just needs to have their very own scrimshaw art, I think that's the obvious answer. ;-)

The horses got shod and trimmed this morning, and I am mortified to report that Shylah was bad. Well, not like maliciously bad but she kinda freaked out about the hot shoeing (that has to be strange having smoke come off one's feet...no this does not hurt them) and she was clearly thinking "OMG what?!" about all the hammering. I'm really surprised about this, she's always been totally ho-hum about foot handling. So I will be hammering on her feet daily until her next appointment later this month. She's never been shod before. She's 5 years old. She has good feet and normally does not need it but she's going to a location that's very rocky and it's made her sore in the past.

I was not able to do much riding on Blue Top, the TWH. He's having some lameness problems (foot? knee? arthritis maybe?) and I only rode at a walk long enough get a sense of what was going on. I hope it is something that can be treated, he's a good old boy and a very steady horse, it would be a shame for him to have to retire. So I'll be splitting my time between Dusty and Shylah for a while. Looks like the English saddle will fit either horse. Tee hee!

Draft Horse Classic is Sept 18-21 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, I'll say more when I get the announcements (if I get them).

To do before then (thinking out loud, bear with me):

lots of framing
finish landscape
start graphite horse drawing
new note cards: Jessie, Thankful, maybe more but those are definitely on the list
new business cards! scrim image perhaps
add background to The Saddle Horse, The First of Spring, Hamish???????????
make NICE labels/price tags for each piece, including artist statement on each (trying to "showcase" work a little more)
need black card stock, velcro dots, photo corners
do framed scrims need brass plaques with title? hmm
all the usual last minute packing
determine what art to take, not as much this year, it looked too cluttered
deliver entries
start next scrimshaw, yes, need by end of month eek!

Oh, I know! Go to bed! Zzzz.

Monday, September 01, 2008

the boys are back

JJ's horses Dusty and Blue Top are here. Both are Tennessee Walkers. They'll be getting shod Wednesday morning. Blue Top will go home Thursday or Friday, Dusty's going to be sticking around for at least a month. I'll be working with him all month (as time allows) so that he will be ready for trail riding up at JC's in late Sept, and hopefully some trail rides with other friends as well, if other friends are comfortable riding Shylah.

I'm sure I'll be taking pics at some point.

The kitchen color came out more pale than I'd hoped. I wanted a much darker color anyway but compromised on this one. Oh well. It's better than the ugly wallpaper. It took two coats plus a primer, so it's good to be done!

I hope I get my DHC announcements soon, I need to mail those out.

I did not ride tonight, there's a big fire in the area and the smoke is horrible this evening.

I think I'll buy some mammoth ivory slabs. I'll still debating what to do about the knife.