Saturday, January 19, 2019

Guest Tutorial | How To Make Boots

Natalia of Midnightline Studio posted a photo tutorial on Facebook, and I asked if it was okay for me to share it on my blog. I think boots are a fun challenge. There's a fine line of making them realistic and functional. I thought this was really helpful, so hopefully you will too. Thanks again for allowing me to share this!
Here's a photo progression of her boot making process, with text by me.
First you need supplies, which includes leather
 and a pattern.
 Cut out the boots.
Cut out embellishments. 
Line them with your liner leather. 
So cool!
Stitch mark and shape.
Fold the liner leather in half, and glue it along the outside of the boot to make it look padded.

Next are the straps. Cut out and punch a hole.
Attach to a strap of lace. To make the closure piece, it looks like nail shaped and cut?
Attach the closure.
Line the buckle with the liner leather.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

New semester, new school

The most common question I get asked is, "What are you doing with your life now?" I don't have a problem with it. It's a valid question and the answers I give are a mix. Maybe I'll get a Phd, become a police officer, or hit the lottery? I'm still crossing my fingers about the lottery, but I've axed the other options. Maybe. I've been told I don't have to know exactly what I want to do and that that's the fun of life, but the void of the unknown is a bit stressful. Or so I think.
Last week I started school at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. I’m going for Computer and Informational Sciences, but the specifics of it may change. I got my bachelors in English and am now doing a 180. I'm excited to try something new. 
NaMoPaiMo starts in a few weeks (!!!).I've picked out a model. Instead of traditional, I'm doing a stablemate this year. I just have to figure out a color. Maybeeee this year I'll actually finish the challenge!
Also, Breyerwest is a little bit more than 2 months away!

**I just noticed that responses I wrote to comments didn't actually post. Will be fixing that!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

In Which I Paint Giant Books

I think the best part of life is when your favorite things combine. I love art. I love books. 
I painted a mural at a local indie bookstore. Prior to the mural, it was a white cinder block building on the side of a major road. So for a period, people thought the books within the walls were not of genres like mystery or history. Or people thought books weren’t inside at all. Having a mural with titles like The Hate U Give and Dread Nation makes it obvious what type of store it isn’t. (Also, if you haven't read those books, go get them!).
One day someone sent the bookstore a picture of a giant book mural, and a different girl painted a few titles near the logo. I eventually took over. 
For the past two years I’ve worked on painting the mural. I worked on it during the summer, sometimes sporadically, other times daily. 
And I finished it before I left for Breyerfest 2018. I think the last book was finished in late June or early July. (I didn’t get a chance to take pictures with it until the fall!)
There’s a mix of titles. Some are classics, but the majority of the books are local authors. The rest are books that the bookstore owner and myself love whether they were sleepers or widely acclaimed. 
I free handed each one I painted. The bookstore owner’s husband would paint the block color and I would go back and decorate it. Sometimes I'd add enough colors that it no longer resembled the orignal block. 
I started each book by thinking up what object might mesh well with the book. From there I would count how many letters and spaces were in the title and compare it with how many bricks the painted block took up.
I’d draw out a design, take out the 18 foot or 8 foot ladder, pencil, and sharper. Then I drew it out onto the brick. Some days my eyes and hands cooperated and it came out exactly right. Other days I couldn’t paint a straight line. 
But eventually, the whole side of the building was filled with a colorful array of giant books. 
I love it. It’s also a display of my improvement. The more spines I painted the better they got
There was a big unveling for the finished mural. The date got switched so I wasn’t actually there for the official unveiling since I was at Breyerfest.
Photo Credit- Harrison Merkt
The authors that attended took pictures next to their books. Tears were shed. 
Photo Credit Harrison Merkt

When I returned home from Breyerfest, I had a card waiting for me signed by all of the local authors. I had some tears at that too. Publishing is a hard business for writers, and it was nice to recognize some for the talent that lives near me. 
The store has two more sides that face the road. I started on the front of it in late summer. My favorite thing about the whole ordeal is how many people like it. Putting your art out into the world is a nerve wracking experience. You never know how people will respond to it. This has been well received and I’ve helped dreams come true. The fear of the unknown can’t touch that.  

Friday, January 4, 2019

Year In Review

In a an hour it’s going to be 2019. In some ways 2018 felt like it flew by and in other ways it lingered. I mean the Winter Olympics happened this year. ‘Nuff said.
I did attend a few shows this year.

Went to Breyerfest.

Graduated from college.

Traveled to Punta Canta.

Made tack. I didn’t create as much as other years. But streamlining techniques and improving the quality of my work more than made up for it.

On the real horse front, I finished my final semester for IHSA.

Helped give pony rides.

And rode in a parade.

But really, 2018 was the year of the book.

I finished painting a book mural.

Helped  teach a few Author 101 classes.

A few short stories were published in an anthology (and it’s about a cat!).

Penn State sent me to a workshop through Madcap Retreats/We Need Diverse Books about writing cross culturally in Tennessee. It was phenomenal and I got to hang out with so many cool people. I mean how many people can say Laurie Halse Anderson (author of Speak and Chains) introduced herself to them in line for food?

In September I went to Texas for another retreat through Mapcap Retreats/ We Need Diverse Books. Being able to hang out with such talented people will never get old.

For the past few years I’ve always had goals for the new year. Usually they fell into blog more or maakeee all of the tack. This year I’m not making a list of things I want to accomplish. Sometimes it’s easier to just see where things fall. I do have a few things set up for the new year. I’m definitely going back to school and I’m definitely going to Breyerwest.
I don’t know what the new year will hold but I can’t wait to see what crosses my path!

Wish It, Want It, Do It

The PA Farm Show starts this week. Friday is the first *official* day, but only the food court is open. The Farm Show is the largest agricultural event in America with about 10,000 competitive exhibits. Hundreds of thousands come to experience it every year.
I've been going to it since I was small. I live about 10-15 minutes away from it so I have to go. I've wanted to enter something, and this year I finally did.
While waiting in line to register I got to see the new butter sculpture. It's a thousand pounds of butter and each year it has a special theme. The butter people all represent a different type of person/career path. Their common bond is milk and how it can transform anyone into a superhero. There's a football player, military/army person, dairy farmer, fire fighter, and doctor. A news reporter was filming it and I listened to the description of it. So there it is.
I entered four pictures into the photography division. I'm excited to see the top entries.
After years of wishing I would, I actually did this year. Someone rear ending me couldn't put a damper on that!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Christmas Pony

So this is going to shock all of y’all.

In 2018, I finished painting a model. From start to finish. 

I know. It’s shocking.

For the past few years I’ve posted pictures of in progress models. Very few were actually finished.  My lack of ability to finish a model can be blamed on two things. First, usually as I go along my technique gets better, so I end up with this:

Source: reddit

If one half of a model is semi good and the rest is trash, it’s real hard to call it finished. 

The other reason is the ugly phase. Every piece of art goes through an ugly phase. Tack goes through an  omg this is terrible buttttttttt I’ve made enough tack-ish things to know that it’ll come out well if I push through. 

But with finish work, it’s a no.


My trainer, who is also Penn State’s IHSA Team, lost her heart pony in 2017. Comet was a willing gray mare that was constantly half clipped because of her thick fur. She died the morning after I took this photo. 

Myself and another barn friend decided to give my trainer a portrait of her favorite pony. 

It took a year for me to do her. Comet 1.0 didn’t come out right. But with Christmas 2018 creeping up I knew I had to push through. So Comet 2.0 began. 

I painted Comet in a mix of pastels and acrylic. 

When searching for a photo to include I discovered one I’d forgotten about. What better way to remember a beloved pony than a picture of her with ears forward, looking over her stall guard, ready to welcome whoever had stepped through the barn door? She ran the barn, even after she stopped being ridden.

I framed the photo and both items were given to my trainer.  I’m really happy I finished painting her and shut up the inner critic. 

Now to figure out what I want to paint for National Model Painting Month!