Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hummingbird Syndrome and a New Horse Sketch

"Goldilocks" palomino filly sketch

I’ve been suffering lately with a case of Hummingbird Syndrome; easily distracted and flitting from one project to another without finishing any of them. 


Having put the paintings aside to ponder on them, I decided to inventory my oil paint pigments to figure out which ones were getting low and needed to be ordered. That done, I decided to research each of those pigments and make notes on them as an educational project to help make better choices when choosing which colors to use. This turned into more of a project than initially anticipated! Some of my tubes of paint are so old that they don’t contain any information on them as to the pigments used or their toxicity and lightfastness; all information that is included on more recent tubes of paint. 

What followed was research online at the websites of various paint manufacturers and other art related sites. To my dismay, Grumbacher does not include pigment information on their website while Winsor-Newton, Daler Rowney and Old Holland do. Of course, I have a lot of very old tubes of Grumbacher oils. To supplement what I couldn’t find, I consulted the Artist’s Bible; Ralph Mayer’s Manual of Artists Materials and Techniques. Pretty dry stuff that and also incomplete for some pigment numbers found on newer tubes of paint. The book was last revised in 1991 so is now out of date. 

I’ve almost finished this project, and it’s been very illuminating. For instance, a company may change the pigment or pigments used in a particular named color over time. And what one company calls Burnt Sienna may contain totally different pigments from what another company calls Burnt Sienna. Each pigment has different qualities of lightfastness, opacity, drying time and toxicity, so it pays to know what’s in the tube. It’s also a good reason to stick with one or two brands of oil paint. 


One evening while watching TV, I sketched the above drawing of a foal. The next morning I worked on it some more and added some background. It turned out so well that I had to share it. Then I thought about doing more sketches, something I should be doing daily anyway. So I got out some more photographs to copy. 


My horse, Scottie as a four year old
But, before I could do anything about that, I was distracted again by a photograph of my horse as a four year old just before I bought him. Having scanned that and a few other photos and the sketch, I posted it on Facebook to share for Throwback Thursday when people post old photos of themselves or family or childhood pets; that sort of thing. 

Before I knew it, I started researching my horse’s pedigree and found some resources online. The biggest find online was a website where you can type in the name of a horse and get that horse’s pedigree that may go back hundreds of years. For instance, my horse is an unregisterd Quarter Horse, but his sire is registered. In researching his sire’s pedigree, I was able to track back as far as the foundation sires of not only the Quarter Horse breed but the thoroughbreds whose blood are part of the breed through a Thoroughbred named Three Bars. Three Bars goes back to the Godolpin Arabian, Darley Arabian and Byerly Turk all of which were used to improve the Thoroughbred breed back in the 18th century. Their pedigrees in turn go back to the 1600’s. That’s where I stopped. 

Finding these three horses in my horse’s geneology was nothing short of magical. It took me back to my childhood of reading Marguerite Henry’s books, Album of Horses and King Of The WInd. I adored Album of Horses and spent many hours reading and rereading it and even copying some of the drawings and paintings. 


Meanwhile I dealt with a spoofing attack on my email account. Some spammer was using my email address to send out hundreds of thousands if no millions of spam emails. Although the spam wasn’t going out of my email server, all the returned spam emails were coming into my email server. By the thousands! The highest count was over 9000! A call to my website host was not of much help except the advice to just wait it out and the returned mail notices would go away as the spammers moved on to use someone else’s email address as the From address. This blitzkrieg lasted for five days, and thankfully, yesterday morning it ended. Abruptly. 

The website tech guy advised me to sign up for a newer hosting package that included more perks and better spam filtering at a lower cost. So, of course, I had to look into that but couldn’t find much on the website. 


With all of these loose ends dangling at this point, I’ve dedicated today as a catchup day. Putting aside horse geneology and website hosting changes, I will endeavor to finish the pigments research project. Going through my horse’s folder and throwing out old farrier receipts, vet visit bills and Coggins test results is also on the schedule after which I will file it away again. And make a separate folder for the geneology finds. 

But first the bathroom needs to be cleaned. 

No comments: