Tag Archives | The Boat

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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Sonja Johnson’s “Bjorn” custom glazed by Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig

I recently began taking pictures of my vast “chachki” collection so that I could participate in the medallion show being held on the Model Horse Blab website. Unfortunately the I will probably run out of time before the deadline (this Friday) to get them all photographed.

The ceramic community has a long tradition of creating these kinds of items, and I have avidly collected them for as long as I have been involved. Originally most came to me as show awards, since that was the primary purpose for them in the early years of hobby-based ceramic production. Tempting awards helped to fill the ceramic classes, which in turn help foster a vibrant ceramic showing community. Over time, however, more and more of my pieces came from my interactions with other ceramic artists. Many of us made these items so we would have something to send to friends and colleagues. Because of this, I tend to look at my collection as a tangible reminder of my connection to people in our community.

The other thing that makes these pieces special is that they are often used for testing ideas. This is true for the sculpting, the production and the finishing. It is so much easier to try out a new sculpting style, or glaze combination, on small bas relief. They are excellent pieces for experimentation!

Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig’s largest “Rune Horse” art glazed by Lesli Kathman

So I have been eager to share them through this experimental show. I also thought it might be fun to share the design process that goes into something like this. The article on medallion design in the recent issue of The Boat has had me thinking about my own methods for this kind of project.

I will have to give a warning, though. The project I’ll be using is my 2009 Christmas gift. I’m going to be posting some step-by-step pictures, so for those who exchange holiday trinkets with me, you have been warned! If being surprised by the finished piece is important, you might want to skip reading the blog for a few weeks.

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