Friday, April 26, 2013

When You Burn Out, Play

"Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play".  ~Heraclitus
I'm still full of ideas but this past week I've been reluctant to go to the studio to start to execute them.  I think it's partly a reluctance to BE in the studio... my son's room is a disaster, especially the bathroom where I wash out my brushes.  =/

So, I thought today I'd pick the most fun of those ideas and head down there to imagine and let my inner child out.

I have at least a dozen Breyer horses that are holdovers from when I was ACTUALLY a child.  I painted some of them, most with a stinky black magic marker (I insisted that their hooves be black... hooves are black, right?).  Most of them are tucked away in a box in the garage, but I had a couple up here at the house.

When I was a kid it was really important that all my horses look realistic.  I didn't want any stupid fantasy pink ponies.  I insisted on realism in all my toys, actually.  Maybe that says something about my inner artist.  Anyway, you might not know this but there is a whole hobby that revolves around these.  When I was a kid people would take pictures of them that looked as realistic as possible, often with incredibly detailed tack, and mail the 35 mm. pictures to a person holding a "photo show."  (There also were and are live shows but I have never gone to one).  The person who holds the show would then organize the photos into their classes based on breed.  There were even "Performance" classes wherein the horse was supposed to look like it was actually doing the thing - jumping, or cutting cattle, or barrel racing, or whatever.  Dolls were optional and of course I detested dolls, they took all the realism out of the photo because no one is as meticulous about horse-riding dolls as they are about the realism of their horses.  And I have major issues with Barbie because of her inability to ride a horse without dislocating a hip, but that's another story.

Of course, the Internet has changed this hobby completely and every once in a while I get an urge to ogle the amazing works of art.  Model horse artists take these resin sculptures, melt off muscles, reposition legs, sculpt on new details, carve out other details with a dremel, add real mohair, and paint them in exquisite (realistic) detail.  Here's an example at Half Fast Farms.

I've always sort of wanted to do that, but my fancy has taken me in another, entirely unexpected direction...
I had a brain wave that I thought might breathe new life into my old collection.  I want to paint a line of "Henna horses", some with images on them similar to Painted Ponies (I didn't like them either when they came out, for lack of realism), but all with designs painted on them with my henna paste technique.

So!  Long story long, I took 20 minutes and put a base coat on this primed Breyer Arabian foal that will be my first victim.  She's going to be palomino, with designs that invoke spring.  I'll be honest, I'm not even sure what I'm going to do.  I may paint her with a golden sunrise background and then henna on top, we'll see.  I'm just experimenting at the moment.  I have dozens of ideas, of course. 

Some of them even include some realism.  ;)

I'd love to hear what happens when you let your Inner Artist out to play.