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MEPSA Showcase Artist of the 2018/2019 Season

Corina Roberts

Joan Yount
Human beings are the only species on the planet that possess imagination. While a small portion of the population make great scientific, humanitarian and philosophical advances, most of us never reach our full potential, and we live in a sort of self-imposed thought prison. Our early life experiences form the boundaries of that confinement, and our daily activities consume the time and attention we might otherwise have to contemplate and enact our escape. At least, that is the excuse we use for not changing, growing, pushing ourselves out of our not necessarily comfortable zone.

It may not be an excuse…few of us have the luxury of contemplative time.

My first three custom horses should have been an indication that I had potential. That was twenty some years ago, and on and off I would pick up the tools and create. But it was and to some degree remains hit and miss; and often I would sell those customs for whatever I could get because I had to. Stability had never been a big part of my program.

In some beautiful serendipity, I tried to get serious again in 2015 or 2016, and I challenged myself to the completely unrealistic goal of creating 52 horses in a year…one a week. It was a production approach, not an artistic learning curve approach. I got 19 horses done, for better or for worse. And then Jennifer Buxton announced the first NaMoPaiMo in 2017.

That was an unusually busy February and I was not spiritually in tune with the NaMo vibe. I did complete a horse but I was mostly focused on the wrong aspect…the easiest, fastest way to get the horse done and not be embarrassed by the results. I did it. I would some seven or eight months later go back and re-work the horse from end to end, adding shading and hair by hair detail. That first horse was Fayed to Grey, now owned by Laurel Dedes.

NaMoPaiMo did not go away. The model horse community, through Jennifer’s guidance, developed a culture of creative positivity. I watched as artists created all year. At our live show, Models in the Mountains, I saw Kitty Cantrell’s Wahoo and Nemesis in person. I bought them, one at a time. In a crazy bold move, I painted Rain Man as a rough coat mustang. Who does that? What rank amateur resurfaces the work of Kitty Cantrell? That was a pivotal moment for me.

This was another pivotal moment. A motorcyclist and spiritual advisor named Zoey gave me some priceless advice that I remember every day. I told him that I am so excited to make art…until I start, and then I just want to rush through to the finish and get it over with, so I am not really loving the process. And without a moment of hesitation he said this. “You do that because you are afraid of failure. And because you do that, you create that failure. You rush through and you do a bad job and you screw up exactly what you thought you would screw up. You reinforce that failure. You make it real. Let go of your fear of failure, and relax, and you will make beautiful art, and you will love doing it.”

Another pivotal moment that should probably be in all capitals…the day I realized how immeasurably valuable it is to do research and have reference photos. There are a thousand things to know about colors, breed conformation, the probability of certain outcomes in various genetic combinations in both body style and coloration…you can’t get away with winging it if realism is your goal. Study, study, study. The internet makes the whole world of equine genetics accessible, and illustrated!

By 2018 I had my energy synced with NaMoPaiMo. I realized that Jennifer had figured out how to create in the model horse community what I would like to create in all aspects of my life - a nurturing, safe environment. I was down with every part of it, and more than willing to share the creative process. I picked the brand-new Markus mold as my official horse and I chose a challenging color (I did not even know what the color was!) - bay going grey. I completely jumped off the deep end and used materials I had never even seen before…earth pigments. My MEPSA challenge horse that year was my first ever work in earth pigments. My NaMo horse, Bramble, was my second. There are still some things I feel like I did not know how to handle with Bramble…but I love him. I love my own work. That is significant.

When life settled down a bit, I picked up a resin I was terrified of…Aggie by Carissa Kirksey. She is almost done now, save for the ribbons and hoof details. She was a huge learning experience, and I think when I am done with her I am going to be able to say that I love her too. Because I already love her. That girl has character!

Mostly by accident, I stumbled upon the horse art of Maggie Jenner Bennett. Specifically, Tumbleweed and Whirlwind. In those two horses, Maggie sculpted my wild self, my childhood imagination, my dreams, my everything that I have never become in life…to say they resonated with me would be an epic understatement. I bought them both. I thought I was in love with Tumbleweed and that I was buying Whirlwind to keep him company.

Whirlwind came out of the box first. For three seconds I stared at his face. His wicked, drastically detailed, wildly realistic, intimidating face. By the fourth second, I knew what it meant to have a “grail”. Within a few days I also knew that I saw a Clydesdale-mustang cross, and that if I did the unthinkable, I could make it work. So I customized, albeit very mildly, the most dramatic resin I have ever laid eyes on. He was my 2019 NaMo horse, Highlander, and he is a chocolate palomino…but he’s also a wild horse, so I did not do his whites in sparking white. He could easily be mistaken for a chestnut. I think I am okay with that.

Some people come from a place of amazing internal fortitude and confidence. They either have a loving supportive network, or they have learned to thrive without it. They create public art with verve and boldness. They are leaders; they stand strong in their person and do not depend on the approval of others to thrive. I admire them, and I think it worthy to emulate their independence of the need for external approval.

For the rest of us, I can offer this. Stop judging yourself and stop judging others. Slow down, let go of your fear, be okay with the process. If they artistic process does not have mistakes, you won’t learn anything from it. Be okay with doing things over. It doesn’t matter how many times. Listen to your self thoughts, and gently correct them. You are worthy. You can do art. You are an artist. This is not a waste of your time. Find community, and envision yourself as a positive and contributing force in that community. At first you may come in bleeding and wounded, but over time you will be able to give back. Use reference photos and familiarize yourself with your intended subject’s living counterparts. And don’t compare your work to everyone else. You will develop your own style. We are not painting dinnerware, with the goal of everyone’s piece matching all the other pieces. We are making art, together.
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The mission of the Model Equine Photo Showers Association is to serve as an inclusive organization to promote photo showing in the model horse hobby.

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