Friday, July 27, 2012

NAN & Breyerfest 2012

I've been back from the frenzied week of  NAN/Breyerfest activities for a few days now, and I'm finally starting to "come down" a little.  Here at home, I'm usually allowed to work at a very leisurely pace, painting a bit, taking frequent breaks.  But all of this changes if I decide to do both NAN and Breyerfest in KY, plus the Artisan's Gallery, which typically runs Thursday night through Saturday night.

It's a week of utter chaos, because there is so much to do!  And the prep work for it is also insane.  My entire Nationals show string has to be packed and shipped a couple of weeks ahead of time.  Then, of course, there are sales, so new things must be painted.  It shoots me into an unhealthy manic overdrive, where I hunch over my airbrush for way too many hours and days at a time.  I can paint faster than ever when I switch over to this mindset; but everything else (eating right, visiting friends and family, sleep and general hygiene) go flying out the window for a few weeks.  It's a love/hate kind of thing.  I love the excitement and seeing my friends at Breyerfest, but I hate what it does to me mentally and physically.

However, it was an entirely successful event, so no complaints here, other than the fact I'm writing this at 5 a.m. my time - because it's 8 a.m. east coast time, and last week, that meant I had to be SOMEWHERE.

Set-up for NAN was something like 7am.  That's 4am, AZ time.  Ouch.
For NAN, my own personal show string won eight "cookies" but I saw many others who had brought past custom orders to show, so the actually tally of winners involving my paint work was closer to 18 or so.  My strongest showing was in the Workmanship Division.  Champs in Workmanship included Custom Dilute Workmanship, Custom Overo, and Custom Tobiano Workmanship.  Here are a few photos of some winners:







Over at Breyerfest Live a couple of days afterward, my models exceeded all expectations!  You never know how you'll place - these are HUGE shows with truly the best competition in the country.  Sometimes it goes your way, other times, not so much.  While Becky and I worked extremely hard to do our very best work this year, with such stiff competition, there's no telling. 


This was not even a particularly large class.
Here are a few photos from the show:







Normally I wouldn't do so well at this show, because flying in from AZ limits how much stuff you can realistically take . . . and I hate to ship items out and risk them breaking.  But, since they were going to show at NAN, there were over 20 of my personal customs at the show.  (Compared to maybe 12 or so last year?)  A couple of other artists who beat me last year failed to attend this year, or had extremely light show strings.  I certainly don't expect to do this well again!  


Right after the Open show was Breyer's auction of OOAK and test pieces.  I was super excited this year, because when they had me out at the Breyer headquarters for the Kid's event to teach back in April 2012, I took a few days to paint some models in the factory!  Including the rare, and cherished, Alborozo!  He went for $8,000 at auction, which is less than the 13k the first auction model sold for, but still that's a lot of moolah for charity!




The next morning, I had a workshop for the clear "Suncatcher Stablemates".  It feels like cheating to teach this class, because it is just so much fun!  The students made some fabulous creations:




Aside from the showing, I had a great time hanging out with everyone!  There were a couple of people that I really wanted to visit with a lot more, but it's tough with everyone in different hotels and of course, with many of my friends being artists, they also have to take care of sales.


Saturday night we were too exhausted to face the debauchery at the CHIN hotel bar, so we headed back to the Embassy for their free happy hour, where we ran into the Jouster fellas from "Full Metal Jousting".  That was entertainment for sure!  We absolutely loved staying at the Embassy and are kind of mystified that more hobby folks haven't discovered it yet.

Then is was back on a plane across country . . . still winding down from everything and trying to recover!  In all this madness, later I realized that I didn't get any photos of the PEOPLE.  Not one single photo of me or my friends hanging out.  That's criminal!  I know it was busy, but what a shame that I didn't get even one shot of us all together.  Arrgh!!!  I will remember next time, for sure . . . . 






Everybody's Doing It.

Everybody's doing it.  Starting a blog, that is.  And I mean, specifically, a blog about their art.

I pondered all the cute and catchy blog names, and in end, I couldn't think of anything beyond the fact it would be a blog talking about what was going on in my studio.  And my name is Sommer.  So "Studio Sommer" it is . . . winning the prize for least creative blog title ever.  Yay.

I know why y'all check out these blogs and will try to include the sort of things you'd like to see.  Like how-to articles, updates of stuff in progress (with lots of pictures) and hopefully a giveaway every now and then.

But since this bloggity blog will be mostly about what's going on in the studio, as well as (hopefully) hints and tips for model horse hobbyists, let me start by showing you around my current studio.  Previously, I worked in a spare bedroom of the house.  Later a tool shed was "repurposed" into a new studio.  For the most part, my studio is rather dusty and utilitarian, with a touch of friendly clutter.

These photos are not typical . . . this is  about as good as it ever gets.  Recently, I had eye surgery, and my mom came over to help me clean it out.  It was a huge help because I was able to swing right back into working again!  This is Arizona, after all, and dust builds up FAST here.  So about once a month, I have to wipe everything down, but it had been a couple of years since I had dragged EVERYTHING out and cleaned top to bottom.


When you first walk in, there's a long counter and sink.  The letters saying "Art Room" were cast off signage that my boyfriend nabbed at a job.  (He does commercial store installations, among other things.)  My most pressing works go there - stuff I'll be doing RIGHTNOW.  This was shortly before Breyerfest, so in progress were customs and sale resins.

Off to the right, you see this giant banner with my name on it and a picture of a button.  What's that about?  Well, for umm, three or four years, I think it was, I was a server at The Olive Garden.  They encouraged us to customize our own button, and soon as I walked in with my hand-painted buttons, everyone on the staff started paying me for custom orders!  I probably painted 100-200 of the darn things between moving around three stores and all the various employees.


My last year working there, they had a button-painting contest with a theme, "The World of Wine".  Now keep in mind this was on an actual BUTTON.  So the faces on that giant blown up poster actually could have fit on your pinky nail.

While I wasn't the winner of the contest (they chose a still life of a wine glass on a table) the managers at my store in Peoria were so awesome.  They bought me a $100 gift certificate to an art supply store and posted that huge banner on the wall.  Unfortunately, to my knowledge they never held the contest again, but it was pretty fun.  The next year, I finally sold my first commercial sculpture and that was it for my button-painting days.

There is the mandatory pile of magazine clippings and reference over there, misc. godknowswhat art supplies.  To the right, piled up in the corner, are the dreaded Body Bins where innocent plastic horses await destruction, and then, rebirth.

To the left, the table where I actually sit and airbrush, which is constantly covered with debris and various horsies.


A close up reveals I was working on a "Mango" resin and a new custom that Becky Turner had just sent me.


On the shelves, rows of tiny prepped minis.  Some were painted in time for Breyerfest but most remain.



Inside the cabinets, storage for beautiful resins that desperately need attention.



By the T.V. is this little handsome man-doll that I bought on clearance at Wal-Mart.  I haven't given him a name yet, but I imagine that he murmurs words of encouragement, like "My, how attractive you look today in those paint-spattered lounge pants!"




And that's it for now.  Hope you enjoyed the tour!