I am pretty sure that my customs, for the most part, would not be considered LSQ by today’s high standards. There aren’t that many shows in my area (and I won’t spend the time or money to travel very far) so I haven’t had many chances to test the theory. It is the advent of online photo showing that has allowed me to frequently show my horses and test my customizing skills and horse knowledge against fellow hobbyists.
There is something extremely satisfying about completing a new custom and having it win. I don’t know any (active) hobbyists and my husband judges my models based mostly on whether or not it’s a bay, so it’s nice to have an outside eye (or two) tell me that I did a good job with all those hours I spent on the horse.
This August’s IMEHA results are in and I am delighted to see that three of my newer customs won their breed classes. My POA mare Diamond, whose roany-leopard coat is extremely difficult to photograph, won the Stock Pony Mare or Gelding class and was 4th out of 20 in the Leopard Appaloosa class. Rahija (formerly Nettie Perle), my PS Pebbles Arabian, won the large Arabian Mare class and was 5th out of 29 for Little Bit or Classic Sized Simple Repaints.
I am particularly pleased about Nightfox’s win in the Morgan Mare or Gelding class. I hemmed and hawed quite a bit about his breed assignment, and finally decided to show him as a Morgan Sport Horse. Morgan Sport horses are 100% Morgan but bred and used for sport events like eventing, dressage, and jumping. They tend toward the more warmblood-esque look rather than the super light breed Park Morgan style, or the very stocky Old Style Morgan. I guess the judge agreed with me.
Nightfox's color is actually based on my friend's Morgan mare, Charlotte
On a less successful note, I realized mid-hike this weekend that my recently completed customs are all lacking chestnuts. SIGH. Another camping trip epiphany involves yet another customizing project that I may just have to start.
The results from the May 2011 IMEHA show are starting to trickle in, and boy did I have a surprise when I went and checked my horses! I saw on the list serve email that the Custom Mini Show had been judged (IMEHA has separate “Custom Shows” for workmanship and “Conformation Shows” for halter/breed classes). I was flabbergasted to see, on my mare Sierra Roana’s page, this listing:
I was so surprised, in fact, that I went to the actual show results page because I thought this might be some kind of error. None of my models has ever placed in one of the big custom workmanship classes.
And when I went to the show results page I was in for an even bigger surprise!
She had not only won her class, but was also Champion of the Micro Mini or Stablemate (1996 – Current) division and Reserve Champion of the whole Custom Mini Show!
The only sad thing about this story is that shortly after I took that photo, Sierra Roana broke- the tiny, delicate stress points on her rear fetlocks gave out. I have every intention of fixing her, but it’s very difficult to get her exactly back in the same wonderful post that Maggie Bennett made her in. She’s the Micro Mini Bucking Horse sculpted by Maggie and cast in pewter by EquineArt Creations. The mold (and Maggie’s other amazing, tiny, detailed micros) are for sale straight from Maggie’s website.
I hope that I can do Sierra Roana justice and restore her to her former glory, once I’m unpacked from the move and all. I intend to get a thin acrylic rod from Myla Pearce and support her with the rod in her belly and the base. I had intended to update her finish as well, and now I really have something to live up to! I have to admit, of all the models I painted, this is not the one I would have guessed to win a Reserve Grand Championship in workmanship!
Last week I took some new pictures just in time for the February IMEHA Show. I’m judging a division for this show, but since the site gets real slow and/or doesn’t work when everyone is trying to judge, I can’t work on that right now. So I’m posting about my latest photography technique… using the stove!
That’s right. I was cooking and suddenly realized hey, not only is my kitchen one of the lighter rooms in the house but the stove has this nifty bright light built right in above it. Why don’t I set up photo shoots on the stove? So I did…
This is a pretty simple yet effective set up. I’ve got a felt ground cover with a background printed and mounted on cardboard (I’m tickled because the picture is actually of my friend’s arena back home where I ride my own horse). There’s light coming from the small window to the left of the stove, above the stove, and the red light. I covered the red light with white fabric (just a cut up t-shirt plus masking tape) to diffuse the light and prevent harsh shadows.
I’m pleased with the results for Schleich/Safari/Little Bit/Pebbles scale, although it ended up being too harsh of lighting for micro minis. I think it would most likely work with Stablemates, I just didn’t have any that needed show pictures. Here are the fruits of my (minimal) labor:
Radek, grey Kladruber stallion (CM Safari Lippizan)
Rabbit, brown spotted Donkey jack foal (CM Schleich Donkey Foal)
The one thing about using the stove light is that you need to be able to adjust your camera’s white balance, since stove lights are harsh and yellow. My results suggest that this strategy would work well for classic and traditional horses. But remember to ask your partner/significant other/spouse/housemates/parents before monopolizing the stove with your ponies!
The official results aren’t out on every division yet, but it looks like I’ve had a good month in the IMEHA photo show. The photos I’ve taken with my new camera and improved technique garnered 4 firsts and a division championship. Whee! Now I just need to photograph the newest completions and update the older photos of other models.
Flush with success, I went ahead and entered a large, free photo show advertised on the Fallen Leaves Message Board. I’d love to see some more entries, so here’s the link:
Free Online Photo Show
These free, online shows are a great way to try out the photo showing world with little pressure and no investment. Once I feel that all of my models have good photos I will consider paying the small fees for entering shows from organizations like MEPSA.
I am still busy with life and not working on my plastic ponies- in fact, busier, since now I have finals, an apartment lease to finalize, an apartment to furnish, and more rounds of interviews! Phew! But what fun.
Although I haven’t been able to get my hands in pastels or epoxy, I have been treated to some new photo show results (IMEHA) with more on the way. I am pleased to get my first wins in the custom division- one for Little Black and one for Etruria. I just finished updating my winners page.
I am also delighted to be moving very near to a dear friend who does book binding, and is thus an expert in intricate leatherwork! Mini tack, here I come!
I haven’t been finding much time to play with my ponies lately, which is disappointing. I did finish up one little custom, and when I say little, I mean about half an inch high. This is Maggie Bennett’s pewter running foal from EquineArt Creations. Isn’t she adorable? I pastelled her in baby black with blue and greys underneath. Her name may or may not end up being “Esmerelda.”
Unfortunately, my camera is not good enough to photograph micro minis well, let alone the foals (it’s a Canon Powershot SD400 Digital Elph). But luckily my housemate Sarah has a lovely Nikon Coolpix S630 which did a great job. If my camera dies before I have enough to buy an SLR, I think I’ll follow her lead on the Coolpix. It also handled the delicate lighting issues of model horse photography quite well.
Oftentimes I use my computer screen as a background for pictures (saves on printing and makes finessing the background very easy) but I was having trouble–maybe that is a problem with the Coolpix–and so I printed out the picture I wanted. Here’s what my set up looked like:
That’s my super high tech stand, aka a tissue box. I’m quite pleased with how it came out.
Speaking of photo shows, I was finally able to access the IMEHA website (it’s been down, alas) and see my April results. It’s funny how fickle showing can be. My Spanish Mustang Corsair, who was Spanish Breed Division Champion in March under one judge, this month didn’t even place in his breed class! My results were not terribly exciting but I was tickled that one of my latest customs, Smithden Freya, won her small Clydesdale class, and against larger scales too.