Articles on Pattern Interaction

With the unfortunate passing of the Realistic Equine Sculpture Society, publication of the organization’s newsletter The Boat has ended. The last issue was sent to members this past week.

Like so many readers, I eagerly looked forward to each issue. Twice a year we were treated to 200+ pages of in-depth information on everything remotely related to the business of realistic equine art. I benefited immensely from what others wrote, and I was flattered to be asked to contribute articles of my own.

When my friend Sarah (the tireless Boat editor) asked if I would do a regular column, she suggested that I write something more advanced that the usual “this gene does this” type of series. I jumped at the chance to explore a topic that I had only touched on briefly in previous seminars and articles, which was how the different patterns interact with one another. It’s pretty esoteric stuff for real horse people, but for us as artists there aren’t many aspects of horse color that are more useful. We need to know which interesting aspect of a reference can be realistically combined with a different pattern, because all of us do that a lot. Can this face marking go with that blanket pattern? If I decide to use grey as a background color instead of bay, what changes about the spots on my leopard? All of these are important questions for us, and I thought it would be fun to look at them from an artist’s point of view.

I decided to start with the appaloosa patterns. I had not written extensively about them before, and there was a lot of ongoing research into them. There was a lot of potential for new discoveries. I also, as it turned out, had become the rather unexpected owner of a very loud appaloosa of my own.

Four installments of the series “Hoist the Colors” were published. A fifth is partially completed. Since the position of RESS was that the copyrights remained with the authors, I can republish the articles however I see fit. I decided to upload them to the website. The links for each one are:


Part 1 – Pattern Interaction Overview


Part 2 – Appaloosa Pattern Basics


Part 3 – Base Color Interaction


Part 4 – Appaloosa Dilution

I probably will not get to the (almost finished) fifth part until after the first volume of the Color Book is published. Right now that is tentatively scheduled to coincide with Bring Out Your Chinas Convention in May. So if the blog is quiet in the upcoming months, know that I am just working on that – and the studio backlog.

Once the first book is out, I do plan to split this blog off with a separate one devoted to horse color. I have been told that publishing tends to flush out missing information (that is, you will get a lot of corrections!), which has been part of my motivation in writing. I want to make that easier, so a blog seems logical. I just don’t want the subject of horse color, which by its very nature is likely to generate a bit more two-way conversation, to overwhelm the studio chatter here. So watch for that later this year!

In the meantime, I’ll still be posting the goings-on here at the studio. I am not sure there will be a lot of new information since I am focusing so much on the books. But little by little I am trying to wrap up stalled projects, and as those are finished I will try to post pictures at the very least.

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6 Responses to Articles on Pattern Interaction

  1. Carol January 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    This book is one thing I’ve been saving up for, I can’t wait! Thanks for sharing all of your info with us. The new color blog is a great idea, too!

  2. Lynn W January 21, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

    I love all your articles and will certainly be getting your book(s). Thanks for posting these!

  3. Danielle Feldman January 22, 2011 at 12:54 am #

    Thank you for posting the articles. I think I’ll print them out so that I can compile them together in a binder, separate from my Boat copies. And can’t wait for the book. Better plan on keeping space in the suitcase if you’ll have it ready at BOYCC! Can’t wait!

  4. FireHorse Designs of Texas January 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    Even though I’ve been involved in appys all my life, I’ve never taken the time to REALLY think about the color influences in their genetics until I started glazing them instead of breeding them. Your articles help keep me true to my breed. Thank you!
    Cheryl
    FireHorse Designs

  5. Anonymous January 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    Thank you so much for making those available, they are amazing and easy to understand for someone who isnt into studying genetics!

  6. Caroline February 28, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    Thanks for letting me share these articles with the BOPAR members, Lesli, and I’m really looking forward to the new blog!

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