About the artist:
I have been creating art since childhood, mostly horses. Okay, almost always horses! While I was born in Phoenix, where I live today, most of my childhood was spent on a farm in rural Missouri. Life was slow there, and animals (both wild and domestic) vastly outnumbered people in our area. When we first moved into the turn of the century farmhouse that I grew up in, we still had to hand pump our drinking water from the old well out front. Neighbors were spaced about a quarter mile apart, with nothing but fields in between.
It was a calm environment with few distractions. Aside from the electricity and the occasional car passing by instead of a buggy, it was pretty much unchanged since Civil War times. No cable, no malls, no pizza delivery, no video games. Entertainment what you made of it, reading books, playing with animals, riding a horse, or drawing a picture. It was often lonely, but always beautiful.
When I was 16, I graduated early and began college at Central Missouri State, the local university, majoring in Fine Art. I felt I'd taken my education as far as it could go in high school, and was eager to take more advanced courses. After a couple of years there, I moved back to AZ, hoping to finish my degree at ASU. I continued to take classes at Glendale Community College, which featured some truly fantastic instructors. But life and finances dictated work over school, and I set off to make a career in art regardless.
Always involved in model horses on a sporadic basis, the customs I was able to squeeze in between work and school went a long way towards making ends meet. I was lucky to find some great mentors when I first began customizing and sculpting, and big thanks to Chris Nandell and Kathleen Moody, who both shared techniques and materials that helped guide me along.
At one point I'd about dropped out of the hobby altogether, when through Kathleen I met Dave and Kim, who were casting resin models through a company they'd created called "Da-Bar". I painted a few resin models at first, and when those sold well, began regularly painting items for sale from their line.
Before that point I was equally involved in painting (on canvas), drawing, and I hadn't really chosen any particular area of specialty with my art.
While today I am mostly known for my sculptures for Breyer, or for model horse painting, I've actually experimented with all kinds of subjects, styles and media. People were one of the last subjects I tackled, and some of the most fun. (But even at that, I usually manage to slip a horse in there, somewhere.) One of my jobs was at a scenic studio, where among one of the projects was airbrushing giant fish (yes, fish) for the large signs hung on various "Bass Pro Shops" stores.
Sculpting also was one of the later projects attempted. I really only began sculpting a few items in clay during my late teens. The original work that later became "Rejoice" was started at age 19, and was only my second attempt at really sculpting a horse. Needless to say, it was something that seemed to come naturally to me.
Today I've at last found a comfortable "niche" for my artwork, and divide my time between sculpting horses and painting models. Who would have thought a hobby I'd enjoyed at age 10 would end up being my livelihood twenty years later?
About my model horse painting:
I have no idea exactly how many models I have painted, but I believe
the number exceeds 200 at this point, mostly resins. My work has won
many, many awards and is NAN placed and live show proven.
I began painting around 1988. After winning consistently with my own
items, I began to paint a few here or there for other people, by
request. By 1995 I started selling painted resins on consignment with
DaBar, a company located in Arizona that produced most of Kathleen
Moody's resin editions plus work of many other artists. This gave me
the wonderful opportunity to always have a fresh supply of quality
resin bodies available at all times. Soon I began to produce my own
limited edition resins, and as DaBar faded off into model
horse history, I had a new source for supplying myself with all the
horse resins I could paint.
I've also designed paint jobs for companies such as Breyer, including
the classic scale Grulla Overo Cutting Horse and Cow, and the JCPenny
Special Run series with the "hidden pictures" of bears, wolves, and
eagles, just to name a few. When I originally submitted the sculpture
that would later become "Rejoice" the National Show Horse, I did a
sample paint job on the clay piece to show how the finished
product might look. Surprisingly, they liked the paint so well they
chose this light bay tobiano color for the regular release, which
makes this run of the mold very special to me. The QVC special
run "Artist's Proof" gave me another opportunity to design a paint
finish on a sculpture of mine as well.
It was a big and scary move to decide to take custom orders from the
general public, not just friends. It took much time and years of
experience to feel confident I could copy a photo - any photo - and
reproduce the same color on a model horse. Luckily, things have
turned out very well, with a lot of very thrilled customers eager to
find this kind of service.
Some folks are very surprised to hear that I actually take custom
paint orders. Many people have no idea I know how to paint at all!
This hasn't been the case in Arizona, and for years I've rarely had to
advertise due to the wonderful support and repeat business of the
local collectors in this state. In fact, advertising or soliciting
paint jobs has rarely been the case, word of mouth has done the job
very well for years. The reward for good work is always, more work!
I owe a huge thank you to all of you who have ordered from me in the
past. Every time I see another model I've painted win in the show
ring, I don't know who is more excited, the owner or myself. Thanks
so much for supporting my art.
Technique and Materials:
Models are airbrushed in acrylic. I begin with a light base color,
and build up the final effect through careful application of layer
upon layer of paint, including metallic undercoats on all colors
except grays. Many of my paint jobs feature dappling, and are
finished with hand painted markings, eyes, and hooves