Sunday, December 8, 2013

Rouse Simmons, The Christmas Tree Ship

watercolor and ink painting of a schooner

The Great Lakes are known for violent storms during the month of November, and they have claimed many ships and lives over the centuries as a result. The Edmund Fitzgerald, immortalized in song by Gordon Lightfoot, is one such very famous ship. Another is the Rouse Simmons which was famous in her day as The Christmas Tree Ship. 

The Rouse Simmons was a 123 foot three masted schooner which sailed the Great Lakes from its launch in 1868 until it sank in a violent storm on November 23, 1912. Known as The Christmas Tree Ship, it was one of several ships which annually carried Christmas trees from the northern Michigan woods down the length of Lake Michigan to Chicago where they would be sold and some distributed to the poor. 

It was on just such a trip that it last set sail from Thompson Harbor, Michigan on November 22, 1912. Despite warnings that a big storm was brewing, Captain Herman Scheunemann (known fondly as Captain Santa) hoped to make one last run to Chicago before the storm hit. It was a fateful decision that cost 17 men their lives. The blizzard soon caught the Rouse Simmons in the open waters of Lake Michigan where gale force winds blew and ice formed on the riggings and the Christmas trees stacked high on her deck. This made the ship top heavy, and she was lost off of Two Rivers, Wisconsin on the 23rd, or so it is believed. 

A rescue effort was made by the life saving station at Two Rivers Wisconsin, but the lake was too dangerous, and the Rouse Simmons couldn’t be found. She had last been seen at the Kewaunee Life Saving Station earlier in the day flying a distress flag, with her sails torn to shreds and lying low in the water as the wind and waves battered her about. 

The Rouse Simmons, The Christmas Tree Ship, is a legendary ship of the Great Lakes which faced the fierce gales of November and was lost with 17 lives. The wreckage was found in 1971 off Two Rivers, Wisconsin. 

It is rumored that her ghost still sails the waters of Lake Michigan. 

Many years ago at the beginning of my career, I did a series of drawings of Great Lakes ships which had been lost for a gentleman who was a big enthusiast. This painting is a version I did for myself. It is rather crude, but I intend to one day create another version of this great ship with the fascinating history. 

You can read more about the Rouse Simmons here;

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Glorious Glory; A Horse Painting Update

Here’s an update on the Glory painting. 

I have finished Glory herself except for the mane, forelock and eye and some touchups once the background is finalized. She is coming along nicely, and I’m very pleased so far. 

It’s always nerve wracking to paint when I haven’t been for a long time and my self confidence suffers terribly the longer it goes on. But, what I’m finding with Glory is that I’m going a lot on instinct. That tells me that I know a lot more than I think I do and haven’t lost much ability in the intervening time. 

In other words, I’m better than I think I am. And not as good as I’d like to be. 

For that matter is any artist ever as good as she’d like to be? 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Holiday Horse Print, "Scotch Bar Lochinvar"

"Scotch Bar Lochinvar" limited edition  reproduction, $35

What with the holidays and all, this is a busy time of year. No matter what my good intentions are, it’s not likely that I’ll get in a lot of painting time. So, it occured to me this morning to actually do something rash and shocking; promote my prints for sale! I have plenty of them, after all, and they make wonderful holiday gifts. So, here goes. 

“Scotch Bar Lochinvar”, 13x15.5 inch limited edition reproduction on archival stock, $35. The subject is my own handsome horse, Scottie, in his much younger days. The print is a good size and looks wonderful matted in a wood or metal frame. 

It can be ordered directly from my website AND Free Shipping in the USA! Order it here, but please let me know if you have any difficulty ordering.

While you're on the website, check out the rest of the prints available here;

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Real American Hero - My Dad

Captain Dean C. Baker
2nd battalion, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Division (Spearhead), VII Corps. 1943-1945 

My dad wasn’t a hero in the Audy Murphy sense of the word, but nevertheless he was one of the many true heroes during the bloody battles of World War II. He won a Silver Star on the battlefield for “Gallantry in Action” and a purple heart for a shrapnel wound. 

As a journalist, my father could have chosen to serve his country during World War II within the Army newscorps, but he didn’t feel that was fair to all those who would be fighting on the front lines. Even though he had a new wife and two adopted daughters and another on the way, he chose the infantry. 

That’s the kind of man my dad was. 

The HBO series Band of Brothers has special meaning for me because watching it is like watching my dad fighting his way across Europe during the last years of the war. He landed at Utah Beach on D Day plus three as part of the 3rd Armored, the Spearhead Division, which lead the fight across France into Germany. Somewhere in France is where my dad earned his silver star. The award reads; 

“Lt. Baker’s platoon was given the mission of advancing in a field for the purpose of drawing enemy fire in order that their positions could be located”. 

“Rather than submit the entire platoon to enemy fire, Lt. Baker volunteered to perform the mission and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, advanced across the field in the face of heavy enemy small arms fire, thereby causing the enemy to expose their position.” 

“The courage, determination and personal bravery displayed by Lt. Baker was an inspiration to his men and reflects great credit upon himself and the military service.” 

That was my dad alright; always putting others before himself. Shortly after that, he was promoted to Captain.  

On April 11, 1945, the 3rd Armored Division liberated Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp near the town of Nordhausen. This was a work camp connected to the V2 rocket development where the prisoners were literally worked to death or left to die on their own. As my dad told it, the stench from the rotting corpses and the crematories was so great that the townspeople had to have known what was going on there. The townsmen were forced by the allies to remove the bodies of the dead and bury them in mass graves. The few remaining pitiful prisoners were treated by allied medics and evacuated. 

Toward the very end of the war in Europe, my dad was in a traffic accident and severely injured. He spent many months in hospital, and when he finally was reunited with his family, he wore a thick brace on his back. I was two at the time and was very afraid of this strange man with the odd shape. 

My dad was the only member of his original company to return alive from the war. 

My dad receiving his Silver Star medal on the battlefield from General Maurice Rose. Not long after that, General Rose was killed by a German soldier. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Getting Back On The Horse or Facing Easel Anxiety

"Tribute To Glory", 12x12 inch oil on canvas

Do you know that old saying about how you need to climb right back on the horse after falling off? Well, the same is true for artists after an extended period of not creating. 

The truth is that I haven’t done much artwork over the past ten years or so for various reasons, and that has taken a toll on my self confidence and creative abilities. Fear of failure blocks me so often when I even THINK about going in the studio to work on a painting that too often I turn around and leave or find something “urgent” to do instead. There are currently six unfinished paintings on the studio wall that have all been there for a year or more. Most of them I haven’t touched in over a year. 

Well, I finally had to face the truth that the only way to polish up my rusty skills and improve my art was to actually DO it, no matter the outcome. Reading all sorts of articles, going to workshops and listening to podcasts just isn’t going to get me anywhere but more discouraged and bogged down. 

So, I’m committing to putting artwork at the top of my priority list, right after healthy activities and riding. The housework will just have to suffer a little while longer. It’s never been at the top of my list anyway.

To start with, I've committed myself to finishing a couple of paintings before starting anything new although my brain is overflowing with painting ideas that are calling out. First up on the easel is “Tribute To Glory” because it is the closest painting to being done. 

One of the down aspects of not working on a painting for months at a time is that you lose momentum with it and you forget how you were going about it. Even though I’d written notes on what colors I used to mix the horse color and the background color, I still had to mix a lot of paint before I found the mixes that matched well enough with what was already on the canvas. 

The other issue that’s come up for me is wanting to work in another style but being unable to switch horses in midstream, so to speak, on one painting. That will never do, unless I want to start all over again. Nope! 

So here is the latest progress on “Glory”. I’m working in thin layers of paint on a stretched canvas in oils. You can see where I left off just under the jawbone on the neck. Naturally, the next session will involve some tweaking before continuing down the neck. 

That in itself gets to be discouraging. It seems as if I paint paint paint then correct correct correct, then paint some more and correct some more. I suppose that’s true for a lot of artists, but I do wish that I could get it right the first time most of the time, anyway. 

This image is a bit contrasty and the color is a bit off, but maybe next time the sun will be out and I’ll have a better version for you to see. 

That’s all for today. Thank you for taking the time to visit and read and look. I hope you enjoy. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Designing Your Paintings with Color

Art School Color Exercise

Do you know how some memories stay in your mind forever, like accomplishing a goal or a special time with family or friends or a wonderful event in your life? Well, for me Art School was a very special and magical time. Not only was it the realization of a lifelong dream but also the commeraderie of like minded people where I FINALLY fit in. And then there were all the art projects that we created during my three years in a two year program. Some projects are more memorable than others, and this is one of them. 

Recently, I dug out this exercise from my art school days in the distant past. It is circa 1979-1980, so it’s over 30 years old and a little the worse for wear. Part of it is made of cut paper, and I had to tape some of the pieces back in place because the glue is failing. If you look closely, you’ll see that I taped the “L” upside down on one of the alphabet blocks and couldn’t remove it without tearing the paper. 

When I did this project, my kids were still quite young so I had the choice of many toys to use as my still life props. The horse is a Breyer horse model that was my daughter’s. I bought it as much for myself as I did for her! The other toys offered a varied assortment of shapes and sizes that were easy to manipulate into different colors from their “local” or true colors. After all, toys are supposed to be colorful. 

I really liked doing this exercise, not only because I was able to wiggle a horse into it, but because it was a great learning tool for learning to use color in different ways. I’ve often thought of doing another series like this but broadening the approach even further. One could use complementary colors or analogous colors or triads or any number of combinations. When you see one image created in so many different color combinations, it emphasizes the artist’s ability to manipulate color toward a specific intent in a work of art. The ability and the necessity of thinking through color choices is a skill that every artist should learn. 

I am forever grateful for the art training I received in school. This was a homework assignment in Design II (color), one of the foundation requirement courses for both the fine art students and the commercial art students. Commercial art is now known as Visual Communications which better describes this career. After all, graphic design and illustration are all about visually communicating ideas, feelings, thoughts and facts in an effective way. 

And, isn’t that exactly what a fine artist does as well?

The assignment was to create six images of the same objects in six specific different color arrangements. As you can see, the results are startling and very revealing. Notice how each is very different from all the others and creates a dfferent feeling or mood. We were free to select the colors for each object based on the purpose of each study which freed us from sticking with its local, or true, color. 

From top to bottom, the assignment for each study is as follows: 

Row 1; Black, White and Gray and Contrasting Colors
Row 2: Dominant Cool and Dominant Warm
Row 3; Dark Tones and Light Tones

Each study is about 9x12 inches and adhered to a full sheet of matboard. Now that I’ve gotten around to archiving the whole project, maybe I can bring myself to throw it out. Maybe... but not quite yet. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Deer Sketches and a Workshop

Sketches of Deer -  A doe and fawns

Tomorrow I begin a four day workshop in Traverse City with Kimberley Kelly Santini of the Painting A Dog A Day fame. The subject of the workshop is Color, and since she is an expert in that department, I’m really looking forward to it. 

Another reason I’m looking forward to this particular workshop is that Kim and I have been online friends for about ten years but have never met in person. When we first met, I did a bit of mentoring with her, and now I’m very proud to see that she has far surpassed me in her knowledge and skills and has been very successful with her Dog A Day endeavor and other art pursuits. Plus, she’s a mom to three kids with a very busy family life. I don’t know HOW she does it all!

Since last I posted, I did work on the background of that polo painting, lightening the sky and grass yet again, but the photo didn’t come out any better than my last one of it, so you’ll have to wait to see progress on that painting. 

Instead I’m sharing some sketches I did of deer a month ago. I had just encountered a doe and her twin fawns along the road to the barn, and the image was fresh in my memory. The deer on the left are done completely from memory, but it was obvious I wasn’t getting the anatomy correctly. So I dragged out my how to draw animals books and consulted with them. One had drawings of the skeleton of a deer along with a couple of photos of real deer, and they showed me where I had gone wrong. 

The deer on the right were done after consulting the books, and they turned out way better. Clearly, I have a ways to go to capture deer more accurately, but I was pleased with these drawings nevertheless. 

Okay, I must continue preparations for my workshop tomorrow and look forward to sharing with you some of the paintings I do in class next week. 

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Going With the Flow - New Oil Painting

"Flow" 9x12 inch oil painting on canvas board
I’ll make this short and sweet tonight. 

After a long absence from the studio I managed to fit in some time at the easel today on an oil painting I started back in April. 

It took a bit of creative deliberation to revisit my original intent with this painting and to decide what to do with the background. I briefly toyed with the idea of a snow scene but gave that up since I wanted to keep with an analogous color scheme where the horse and background would blend well. 

I also decided to switch gears on painting method and put down a gray value underpainting on top of the warm yellows. Today I did the background and will let that dry before proceeding to the horse. But, I kind of like it this way, too. The horse looks like he's made out of gold. 

Tomorrow, time permitting, I’ll do a background change on another  painting, and after that I have plans to do some pastel color studies to help with creating the coat on a lamb painting. I want to work lots of nice pastel colors into the wool. 

It’s been a long dry spell in the creative department, but I’m finally breaking free of all those chains that  have been holding me back. Let the creative juices Flow!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Feeling Full of Promise

Canada Geese family 

My daughter has just left for home, and the house is eerily quiet. Although I miss her already, I’m looking forward to plunging back into the routines of everyday life and accomplishing half done tasks that had been put aside.

A gentle rain is falling to water the lilac bush that we moved yesterday, looking very comfortable in its new spot. It’s no longer hiding behind the maple tree but now has its own spot to shine on its own. The small lilac that I feared was destroyed by the drunk driver who crashed through our yard four years ago has grown and is full of blooms this year; the first time ever. 

All the flower beds are full of promise, but I’m behind in getting to them this season due to Winter overstaying its welcome and another ailing pet that has taken a lot of my attention for over a week. 

Our little cat, Molly, quit eating and developed a high fever two weeks ago. She spent almost three days in the vet hospital and then had daily trips back for treatment of a raging bladder infection. Most troubling was the fact that she refused to eat almost anything for four days; a very serious matter for a cat. She became quite weak, and we feared the worst. 

However, at last she rallied and began eating and has been ravenous since. Slowly, she’s regaining her strength and returning to her old self. 

Meanwhile, there was a house to clean and food to prepare for the holiday weekend. The weather was sunny but on the chilly side; just right for my son’s running in the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City. Otherwise, we didn’t do much but spend quality time together - and move that lilac bush.  

On Sunday morning, a family of Canada geese floated into our beach; five little goslings with Mom and Dad herding them along. They stayed long enough for me to get some really good photos which I’m now looking forward to painting. 

Heading into the woods on an evening trail ride
Meanwhile at the barn, Scottie and I have gone on some trail rides with our friends, and Scottie has done very well. He seems to have gotten his energy back and is able to go farther and longer than last year. That is a very good sign; something I hadn’t thought possible a few months ago. I am overjoyed. 

Now that the hubbub has calmed down, it’s time to get back to all the unfinished projects including those unfinished paintings hanging on the studio wall. I’ve already committed to being in  a local art exhibit in June/July, so that gives me incentive to break out the paints once again. 

Let the Fun Begin!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

"Naptime"; A Plein Air Sketch of Two Horses

"Naptime" 6x7 inch pencil sketch

Spring has been very slow in coming to our area of the country, but now the grass is green, the trees are starting to leaf out, and daffodils and forsythia are in bloom. At the barn, the barn swallows are back and are busy making and tending to nests. 

The other day, Scottie had his third appointment with the equine dentist, and it was a relief to hear that he’s doing very well. The deep pocket that had possibly been the source of the infection has now closed completely and shows nice pink tissue. 

Scottie has to be sedated for the dental exam and procedures, so I had some time to kill after the vet left until he recovered enough to be turned out again. I took my little camp stool and a sketch pad out into the pasture and sketched Elmer and Millie as they dozed in the warm sun. They stayed still long enough for me to get the drawings pretty well done, and I cleaned them up a bit later in the evening. 

Not only has the weather held up any gardening, but a very sore shoulder delayed it for another week. Never the less, I did get out for a couple of hours and have so far made good progress. That is, when warm weather returns again. 

One of the tasks that I tackled while laid up with a bum shoulder was to finally get around to updating my website. I’ve added newer works and just generally made needed changes to many pages. It’s not quite done yet but getting there. This will do until I can completely redesign the website with a new look and different structure. Take a peek here; .

Today it’s blustery outside and a bit of snow is in the air. Who knew that there would be snow on Mother’s Day? 

Having gotten a number of more urgent tasks out of the way, I’m now looking forward to doing some artwork again this coming week. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Waiting For Spring

Equine Oil Painting, 11x14 inches 

Spring is supposed to be here in northwest lower Michigan, but the weather isn’t cooperating at all. Apparently, Mother Nature has decided to stay in Florida for another month. This past week we had rain, sleet, freezing rain and snow; some of it all on the same day. There was enough snow to cover the ground again and although that has melted now, there is still plenty of snow around in shaded areas and in piles and drifts. 

Since last report, I finished up the income tax materials and took them to the accountant and then put in a few more hours on the new painting. It still doesn’t have a good name, but I’m working on that, too. 

I quIckly found out that I’m really rusty on doing these underpaintings so it’s looking pretty rough at the moment. I hope to remedy that with the next layer of the underpainting. The goal in this first layer was just to establish some of the values while at the same time keeping them all on the light side in case I need to make some corrections later on. 

Back at the barn, Scottie had his second visit from the vet dentist in March and passed inspection with flying colors. Here he is being worked on by the very capable Dr. Colleen Porter. He was so drugged that he was having a hard time staying on his feet. 

A visit with the Dentist
Unfortunately, a few weeks later his nasal discharge returned, and this time we had to dose him with a powerful antibiotic that is possibly hazardous to humans. Here I am all suited up in my home made hazmat gear after dosing him with the syringe. You can see how thrilled he is with this process. 

Dosing the Horse
Now that he’s finished his two weeks on that antibiotic, we’re holding our breaths hoping the discharge doesn’t come back again. If it does, I don’t know where we’ll go from there. 

Here’s another photo from back in February. This is J Willie going after poor Elmer. JW is a real school yard bully who picks on the weakest in the herd, namely Elmer and Scottie. He has now been banished to a separate paddock with his sister, Elle, so he doesn’t cause any more injuries. 
The Schoolyard Bully

I thought it was a great action photo and am considering turning it into a painting as well. The title? What else than “The Schoolyard Bully”?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Another New Oil Painting

"Recumbent" 9x12 new oil painting

It’s been so cold and stormy this winter that none of us have been riding much in the past two months. In fact, I haven’t been going to the barn much at all, even to check on Scottie. However, last Saturday the farrier was coming, and I never miss that if I can help it. 

Not only did Scottie get a pedicure but also a thorough grooming and his stretches which he loves. Stretches means lots of treats and you’d better be quick with them, too! Afterward, I turned him loose in the arena without his blanket, and like any self-respecting horse, he had a good roll. It must have felt really good to roll in the sand without his blanket on, and he made the most of the opportunity. 

I had brought my camera and caught some good roll sequences as well as other pictures. The photo above is the start of a new painting from one of those photos. So far it’s only traced onto a canvas board, and this time I tried something new; I drew over the pencil lines with ink in hopes of preserving the lines better. 
The reference photo for the new oil painting of my horse, Scottie

My original intent was to do this as a quick painting and enter it into an online show at the end of this week, but time is just too short, so I’ve decided to wait and  take my time with it. I love the flow of lines in the image and think it could make a good painting if I do it right. The working title is “Recumbent” for now. I’m hoping that something more catchy will come to me later. 
A snowy day

The photo of Scottie coming into the barn shows how pretty the snowfall was that day, and I think this view will also make a good  painting. 

The other two paintings that I worked on a few weeks ago are waiting their turn on the studio wall.Each needs a long block of time for the next session, and I just haven’t had it or felt like it while battling a stubborn sinus infection for the past two weeks. 

Since it’s income tax prep time, I may not be able to get in the studio much for a while, but I certainly will try. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Polo Painting, "Girls Play Too"

"Girls Play Too" oil painting on canvas

Another one of my unfinished oil paintings was moved to the easel this week for a little more progress. Well, actually, I got in quite a bit of progress. 

This oil painting, as you may recall, is “Girls Play Too”, a polo painting. I decided to proceed with the painting by repainting the background to an almost finished state before working on the horse and rider. My goal was to lighten both the sky and the grassy area and to create the background trees. Since this is a late summer evening painting, the sky needed to be lightened and warmed up. The grass was looking too dark and very flat, so I lightened it, too, and gave it some depth. 

The painting looks rather odd at this point (sometimes we artists refer to this stage as “the uglies”) because the horse and rider are not finished to the same point as the background which makes the painting as a whole look off kilter. I’m hoping that once I start work on the horse that will change. 

Here is the version that I showed you last Fall with a single layer of paint over the whole thing. 

And here is the latest version. 

Now comes the really fun part; painting the horse and rider. At least I hope it’s the fun part. One never quite knows what part of a painting is going to give one the most grief. Having painted so little in the last several years, I’m feeling very rusty, but I’m also getting my groove back slowly but surely. 

At any rate, working on this oil painting will remind me of that summer evening almost three years ago when I experienced my first polo match since childhood. Meanwhile, outside the snow falls on a frozen landscape that is months away from warm temperatures. But inside the studio, summer will be present to warm both inside and out. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Glory Gets a Facelift

"Tribute To Glory" 12"x12" palomino horse oil painting

This past week I moved the painting of Glory, the Quarter Horse mare, to the easel and resumed work on her. 

Quite a while ago I got her to a certain point, realized that she had a problem, was stumped how to proceed and set her aside. After months of staring at the painting on the sudio wall, I had an epiphany regarding how to fix her problems. The solution came to me out of the blue, so to speak, and then I couldn’t wait to get started on her again.  

The main problem with Glory’s painting was that I had drawn the muzzle too small. It needed to be corrected before anything else. My original intent was to do this oil painting in thin layers in order to achieve the luminous light in the shadow areas that I saw in the photograph. But in order to correct the muzzle, it was necessary to proceed with a heavier application of paint. 

I’ll spare you all the step by step details of Glory’s “facelift” and just hit a few of the major issues from which the painting was suffering. In addition to the too small muzzle, the far eye orbit needed to be lowered and her hind end reduced and resculptured. I’ve also been  refining and correcting the highlights and shadows in her face; pretty much all of it except her ample cheek. 

One of the things that I liked about Glory was that she had a slight dish face that wasn’t evident in the painting. I corrected that, too. 

Here is how Glory looked before I began the corrections. 

And here is the progress so far. 


Below is a photo of my usual working method at the easel. Just next to the painting is the photo of Glory that I took over 20 years ago. I liked it immediately and wanted to paint it some day. Hanging to the left is a larger version of it which I had scanned into the computer and lightened in Photoshop to give more light and detail in the shadow areas. The small photo has more accurate color which is why it’s next to the painting. 

That’s all for today. Time to get back into the studio and work on another painting. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Swan on the lake
 Happy New Year, Everyone! Are we all relieved that we didn’t go over the “fiscal cliff”? Are we tired of hearing about the “fiscal cliff”? I know that I am. 

Now that 2012 is behind me/us and a brand new year has arrived, it’s time to do my usual end-of-year tasks. Last year for some reason I didn’t do all the usual things like assessing the past year accomplishments and important events and setting goals for the coming year which may partly explain why 2012 was so lacking in artwork being created or finished. I had no motivation, no goals to strive toward. This year I plan to rectify that by getting back to those old year end tasks and giving myself some benchmarks to strive for. 

As for the last few months of 2012, I’m sorry to report that they didn’t go much better than the previous months on the horse front. Scottie’s sinus infection came back with a vengeance, and we ended up hauling him to Michigan State University Large Animal Hospital for diagnosis and treatment. We had to leave him for four days, and I’m sure he thought he’d been abandoned there forever and unsure what his future held. He certainly acted like it. 

When we went back to pick him up, we found a very depressed, disengaged horse, but as soon as we walked him outside to the trailer, he knew he was going home. His head went up, his steps quickened and he was so focused on the trailer that he didn’t even flinch when the tornado warning siren went off nearby. Since getting back home among all his buddies, you can tell he is one happy, grateful horse who appreciates all his humans and friends even more than before.  

While at MSU, x rays of his head were taken. They revealed that he had advanced periodontitis, or badly infected gums, which had eaten away bone around his teeth and created pockets between them which resulted in food packing into the spaces. He was subsequently seen and treated by a veterinary  equine dental specialist who extracted one tooth, cleaned out all the pockets, medicated them and filled them in with a material that will keep food from packing in them again. She found two full blown abscesses percolating away which probably led to entry into the sinuses. 

Since he’s been home, Scottie’s nose no longer runs, and he is acting much more like his old self, pawing and begging for treats and generally being charming. We have gotten back to work albeit slowly since he was so very sick for so very many months. He will require months of continued antibiotic treatment and periodic dental checks, but we are hoping for the best; no return of sinus infection. If that occurs, it will be back to MSU for further treatment. 
Scottie searching. This will be a painting some day soon

The biggest lesson learned for me and my barn mates is that there is a huge difference between a trained veterinary dental specialist and a lay person who calls himself an equine dentist. The equine dentist who examined Scottie back in September missed all the signs of the disaster going on in his mouth. 

Rather than palaver on any longer, I’m just going to share some random photos from the past year that I hope you’ll enjoy. I won’t even mention the fact that our kitty, Molly, was very sick over Christmas and that our grand kitty, Terrapin, was also very sick and came home with her mom, our daughter, even though she hates Molly. We had to keep the two cats separated which was stressful for both of them. 
Our kitty, Molly

That’s all for now. Enjoy the photos and talk to you again soon. I promise. 
Road to the barn, Fall 2012
My barn buddies. Scottie's first trail ride since Spring. 
Scottie really enjoyed his trail ride