Monday, May 27, 2013

Muddy Monday: A Color All Her Roan

May 27 Muddy Monday

Recently, the hobby has seen some uncommon Hagen-Renaker Roan Lady models change hands on public sales forums. There seems to be some confusion as to what color this actually is, in terms of the palette of HRs of Monrovia and San Dimas eras. The Monrovia version of Roan Lady in Rose Gray is a legitimate Rose Gray. The San Dimas version, however, is another animal. Collectors still call this San Dimas color, "Roan Lady Rose Gray", as it is apparently unique to this mold. 

What is it, really? It is neither doeskin nor rose gray; it is more like a hybrid of the colourways. It is not what we know as "HR rose gray", in any of its variants, as it lacks the colors of overspray that are familiar on rose gray. It is not "doeskin", as it lacks the knee markings, and is a different slip base color. In short: the component colors that make it- slip and overspray- are different from both rose gray and doeskin. Purely from a palette standpoint, it is its own color. Now consider the very different style and location of spray, particularly on the faces.

left: "Roan Lady Rose Gray"; right: Doeskin
models courtesy Jo Ellen Arnold

Let's stare down the actually slip color of the body, side-by-side with a normal doeskin Roan Lady. The belly angle is clear of overspray. The one on the left is a warm base color, while the one on the right is what we most often recognize as the colder, doeskin slip.

models courtesy Jo Ellen Arnold

Examine more closely, and one sees that this model's body shading is not in any way "rosy", as one sees on typical HR rose grays (of any other mold).

models courtesy Jo Ellen Arnold

Now, take a peek at an even more shaded example of this same color.

model courtesy Janet Hicks

Suddenly, the "rose" seems to pop out, with more shading. While still not like the collector-labeled color "HR rose gray", it has its own warm quality. Yet, lest we forget, here is an example of what HR Rose Gray looks like (in just one of its many shading variations). 

Photo courtesy Dara West

This Roan Lady has late Monrovia stickers, but a green San Dimas braid. She is most likely a transition model between the two factory eras. As for typical HR rose gray, the color of the overspray is decidedly reddish, downright maroon. The slip color is darn close, if not a perfect match due to variation between "dye lots" (tinted slip batches).

Left: San Dimas "hybrid" rose gray; right: Monrovia rose gray
Photo courtesy Dara West

Left: Monrovia; right: San Dimas "hybrid"
Monrovia has RED shading, black on knees and hocks.
Photo courtesy Dara West.

No maroon, here. The Ladies below are the hybrid color.

Model courtesy Janet Hicks.

Photo courtesy Dara West.

You may have noticed that the San Dimas "hybrid" variant has a unique braid color, turquoise. The doeskins have green braids, a dead give-away if you are ever faced with a particularly lightly-shaded example.

A light example, photos courtesy Karen B. Dietrich.

Is that foreleg white?

Back in HR's Monrovia era, Roan Lady was issued in matte white shaded with gray, from Spring 1959 to Fall 1960. The San Dimas matte colors of Doeskin and "Roan Lady Rose Gray" (or "Hybrid Gray") were produced in San Dimas, in the years 1966-7, 1970, and just six more months for Spring 1971. The term "gray" was used interchangeably on the order sheets for Doeskin and Rose. You didn't know what you would get. Today, grey/gray are sometimes used to identify all three vintage colors, so, always ask to see photographs when shopping online.

Another reason to request photos of any "gray" Roan Lady for sale: HR has reissued this mold, and five of the new gloss colors are grays. She is currently available to order in Charcoal Gray, (steel) Gray, White (gray), Rose Gray, and two versions of Dappled Gray.

Thank you to Jo Ellen and Janet for letting me photograph their models, and to Dara and Karen for their own photos in this post!


Alcorn, Ed. The Hagen-Renaker Online Museum. Web site.

Arnold, Jo Ellen. Access to collection for taking blog photographs.

Hicks, Janet. Access to collection for taking blog photographs.

Roller, Gayle. Hagen-Renaker: A Charlton Standard Guide. Third Edition. Page 85. The Charlton Press: Palm Harbor, FL, 2003. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Muddy Monday: Sabino Before Sabino Was Cool

May 20 Muddy Monday: Sabino Before Sabino Was Cool

Even if "Butch" is a hipster name, he doesn't rub everyone's nose in it. Sure, he was the original sabino. But, like, he won't brag about it. 

So, I will. Maureen Love glazed sabino markings decades before the model horse hobby even knew what they were. Not only that, but she did it in her own style: a loose glaze Impressionism, that makes him look like part of the earth.

When this Hagen-Renaker mold Butch was sold in her estate auctions, the photo didn't really show just how much detail he had. He sort of looked just... dirty. Recently, I visited the collection of his owner, Jo Ellen Arnold, and took these shots to share with you all. How amazing is this guy?!

Look how the splotches of white glaze follow hair growth pattern on his flanks and rear. She even did his throat and the pink chin spot. These aren't splatters, they were applied with purpose.

All of this intimate detail makes one wonder who the color reference foal was, because this would have required photographing or observing every angle from life. Photos taken from every angle of one sabino horse were not something commonly found in popular horse books of the time. Even pictures of contemporary TV and movie horses, with all the angles, were subject to Hollywood airbrushing*. I can't even think of a famous sabino like this.

Look at that belly white pattern! The holes in the bottom of the hooves are often seen on Maureen's own glazed horses. They were often factory-discard castings that she took home to decorate in her own way. This Butch was cast and glazed sometime between 1960-61, 1964-5, 1968-70. It would be difficult to pinpoint his exact birth year, unless his bare foot holes can be wetted, to reveal his true slip color. That color might give us a clue.

There are glazed white hairs on the tips of his ear fuzz.

It is amazing how textured clay and glaze can give the impression of foal wool.

The Butch model is currently available from Hagen-Renaker as a reissue, in a variety of gloss colors. No sabino, but still very cute.

*True story. When I was hired to sculpt a portrait of a certain deceased Old Hollywood horse, the press photos, that I was given for reference, had completely airbrushed out his genitalia with pink. Just smooth. I had to ask if he was a gelding or a stallion.


Roller, Gayle. Hagen-Renaker: A Charlton Standard Guide. Third Edition. Page 78. The Charlton Press: Palm Harbor, FL, 2003.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Muddy Monday: Another Color Pops Up

If variety is the spice of life, then Lane Ceramics' Maureen Love horses must register in Scoville Heat Units. 

Here is a previously unrecorded color, on the Running Horse A-9 version 1, discovered by collector Diane Knoth.

This may be the first Lane Love horse we've seen with a "blaze". I'm going to say it. It's stinkin' cute.

Compared to the softly shaded Salmon with Gold, this underglaze is much redder, like the Natural Red color seen without gold, later in the run. 

Due to very oblique-angle directional shading, this model is quite pale, from the rear view. Shown with a White and a Salmon for contrast. Salmon, you'll note, lacks the purple spray around the base of its mane and tail. This helps determine that this new color is not just a variation of Salmon.

Another photo with altered lighting, which helps show even more contrast between them all.

Calling this new one "Red with Gold/Purple", for now.

Thank you so much, Diane!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Muddy Monday: Love and Light

From now through at least BreyerFest, this blog will experiment with a weekly short feature, each Monday. If you like what you see, and want to see weekly posts continue, just click Join or Follow By Email at the bottom of the screen, and "Like" Muddy Hoofprints or "Share" the link on your own Facebook. These are the best ways that I can tell results of this post frequency experiment.

May 6 Muddy Monday: Love and Light

This Hagen-Renaker-owned mold "Forever Amber" was custom glazed by the original sculptor, Maureen Love, for her personal collection. The model now resides in the collection of Jo Ellen Arnold, acquired from the estate auctions of week 24 (week of November 6, 2005). At first glance, this Forever Amber is a solid black stoneware-glaze finish model. Holding her in my hands, I could see a significant amount of detail and more colors, in fanciful swipes of glaze.

Using a photo cube tent, this is what she looked like standing:

When I laid her down in the center of the cube, with the light sources on her belly and spine, this is how she looked:

The painterly application of glazes makes this an Impressionistic rendition of a black horse hair coat. It is interesting how the artist used stains for shadow, and opaque color glazes to control the appearance and location of highlights. 

If you ever have a doubt about photographing a solid black model, you might try this angle. I don't know if it would work terribly well on glossy black, but matte or satin should yield similar results. Just look how much visual information the camera missed, when the model was standing upright!

Check out the detail in the brushstrokes on the face and in the eye:

Much thanks to Jo Ellen Arnold for sharing her model with the blog audience, and for her assistance in photography!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Will The Real Benny Please Stand Up?

What are the odds of being baby-sat by the actual live model for the Hagen-Renaker DW Clydesdale, when I was a little kid in the early 1980's? 

From Sketchbook Horses of Maureen Love, 1990. 
The book was compiled by Joan Berkwitz, with Maureen's permission.

What's so intriguing about this possibility? For one thing, I love the sculpture of Benny the Clydesdale, created by Maureen Love. He's gangly, soft, square, but also has draft horse strength beneath it all. My favorite thing about him is that he isn't shaved and braided for the showring; he has a full beard, loose mane, and fuzzy ears. He's an honest snapshot in time, and looks like the pasture Clydes I knew, as a kid. Thirty years later, I'm a ceramist, critiqued and encouraged by Maureen in my own early artworks, and this art is my daily life. How strange for it all to be connected!

I grew up in North San Diego County, which had agricultural areas intermixed with residential tracts. I had friends who also collected Breyer and Hagen-Renaker (just the minis) model horses, and we'd play at each others' houses on weekends and holidays. One of my friends lived in a large home in one of those rural neighborhoods, with real horses, and a lush, level front lawn, perfect for playing. Directly across from the lawn, two hairy, curious Clydesdales would stand there and watch us playing with our model horses. Once, our parents walked us across the driveway to meet the Clydesdales. We weren't allowed to cross the path alone and pet them. It may have just been polite neighbor manners, or because one was a stallion. As a youth in North County, I've had the top of my head lipped by a Clydesdale on the side of the road, and even rode one at a renaissance faire. Clydesdales, when they did make an appearance, were always memorable.

The small town I played in just happens to be the same small town, and the same timeframe, of the real Benny. In the early 1980's, just how many rare Scottish draft horse stallions can there be in a small California town, with an even smaller need for their plowing prowess? We're talking about a fairly rare breed in this nation back then, let alone in a very localized area where riding horse/pony breeds and grades dominated the equine population. 

From Sketchbook Horses of Maureen Love, 1990. 

The real Benny was bred by Wreford Hewson of Beeton, Ontario, Canada. I found this photo of Mr. Hewson on this site, but, alas, it is not our Benny in the image.

Benny came from an important breeder, not your average farm. There is a Wreford Hewson Memorial Class at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. 

"Class 331 – Stallion and Three Mares – THE WREFORD HEWSON MEMORIAL TROPHY

Each animal must be owned by the Exhibitor and registered in the Exhibitor’s name.  Each animal must have been shown in its appropriate single class.

Trophy is generously donated by the Clydesdale Horse Association of Canada in recognition of Mr. Wreford Hewson’s dedication and support of the Clydesdale Breed and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair during his lifetime." 

Kim Bjorgo-Thorne, on the Clydesdale breed registry historical committee, contacted the son of Wreford, for this blog post. He wrote of Benny: 

"... Mr. Lopez bought him as a 2 year old stallion. Mr. Lopez saw him at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Canada.  Think he may have been junior Ch. Stallion, but not positive.  Dad thought the horse would be too draughty for the U.S.; Mr. Lopez said that in his climate, he wouldn't grow so much hair and would end up about right.

If you've seen the model that was made you are ahead of me as I wasn't

aware and never saw the horse again after he was two...


From the Clydesdale registry's archives:

Born:Apr. 20, 1978
Imported as a 2 year old in 1980 by Frank Lopez of Vista CA.
Description:Dark bay with roan hairs, large white face, legs white."

Here is Benny's pedigree. His sire, Benedictine, was a very influential Clydesdale.

Thanks to a phone interview by a Clydesdale Registry historical committee member, Kim Bjorgo-Thorne, we have a little information about his creation. Mr. Lopez recalls Maureen coming out and sketching Benny, on-site. He loved the four HR Benny models that she gave him. Sadly, they are all broken or gone now, and he wants to replace them. He voiced an interest in having HR reissue the DW portrait.

Sketches xeroxed by Joan Berkwitz in 1990, with Maureen's permission.
Full color reproductions were less common, most were black and white.

Hagen-Renaker Designer's Workshop line Clydesdale, mold #50, produced Spring 1983 to Spring 1986.

Original HR retail sales sheet from Spring 1985.

The HR regular production run Clydesdale came in bay matte or gloss. There is significant variation in the location of the added white markings. Some examples have high whites, others have whites painted below the leg joints. Some have bald faces all the way up under the forelock, others have only white spritzed around the muzzle area. The body color is mostly from the brown tinted clay slip that he was cast in, so white underglaze had to be airbrushed over it, to create the traditional Clydesdale sabino markings. The tinted slip is done in batches, so it varies a bit from batch to batch, like fabric dye lots. A small amount of the body color is dark brown airbrushed directional shading from above. 

Some models have very pale muzzles, others have pink noses. Some models have actual pink underglaze applied, while on others, the bleed-through of brown clay is left to represent the pink. 

Normal matte pink muzzle.

Normal glossy pink muzzle.

The eyes are brown irises with black pupils, and very large and doe-like. Unlike other SM factory horses, I have never seen this mold decorated with eyewhites (tri eyes).

Regular Run Variations

Glossy Bay

Photo courtesy Kim Bjorgo-Thorne.

Unusually low leg whites, and a blank spot in his black mane.
I totally dig this variation, he's so different!
Photo courtesy Sue Nelson.

Model courtesy Cindy Neuhaus, photo by author.

 A bit more body shading than most.

Photo courtesy Lisa Sents.
I'm told there is a red bay variation. This looks pretty red to me!

Matte Bay

Variation of low leg whites, dark body shading.
Photo courtesy Julie Harris.

Pink muzzle with dark gray inside nostrils, little body shading.
Dark toe tips.

Model courtesy Lisa Sents, photo by author.
Exceptional mold detail on this guy, and he looks very similar to the test.
He must have been a very early piece, as they still had yet to iron out those stained feathers.
His muzzle is pure white, with black inside the nostrils!

Photo courtesy Kim Bjorgo-Thorne.

This one is different from the matte above, in markings, mold detail, and in his glaze crackle.
He is a survivor of a house fire.
Photo courtesy Kim Bjorgo-Thorne.

This image shows the variety in how even the bottoms of their feet retained decoration. The very dark feet on the far right do not belong to a regular run. 

The green stickers on the bottoms are collection inventory IDs.

The darkest regular run foot bottoms I could find.
Model courtesy Lisa Sents.

Speaking of feet, can you guess whose feet these are, from the bottoms?

This is the stoneware Benny, poured and decorated by Maureen, herself.

Model courtesy Janet Hicks, photos by author.

Bubbling in this glaze formula of Maureen's is typical.

This next fellow is rather interesting because he was claimed to be both a mold test and a glaze test, according to his original owner, a former HR moldmaker. This example was originally from Skip's collection, one of those rarities at the greenhouse pottery studio. A mold test (a trial casting to see if the mold worked) is sometimes also used as a glaze test. Waste not, want not, so bodies sometimes do double-duty testing. According to McCall, the Clydesdale was issued "after several paint problems and delays", so it leads one to wonder if more San Marcos bay tests were made. The bottoms of his feet are oddly dark (see trio's feet photo), maybe because unlike later Benny models, the white markings were not dipped-then-airbrushed in white underglaze. This looks like they hadn't yet figured out how to "overpower" the brown-tinted slip of the body. There is a significantly greater amount of dark pigment showing on the feathers (leg hair), which appears to come out from under the sprayed white. This makes sense, since it would take a couple glazing tries to get the sprayed layers to the right opacity, to prevent the brown slip body color from "bleeding" through.

This model has extremely sharp detail, being one of the first, if not the first, casting. The uneven textures on his face are the actual toolmarks of the sculptor, which are not even obvious on the stoneware version. I have only seen one other that had some faint toolmarks, shown below for comparison.

The sharpest-detailed regular run that I could locate. 
He has some of the toolmarks.
Model courtesy Lisa Sents.

The clear glaze over him is weird. It is exceedingly "dry", the mattest matte. It feels like matte hard-paste porcelain, even though it is not. Typical production matte Clydes are smooth, silky, and optically milky. They also have lighter body color to begin with, and so a pale regular run matte will appear almost buckskin next to this example. 

Test belly engraving in the mold, and a dry matte glaze.

Regular run matte belly, with almost invisible belly engraving.
Note the lighter body color.

Stoneware Benny isn't shy about his engraving mark.

This guy is not the "red bay" OF variant of this Clyde. There is a red bay and a mahogany bay gloss variant out there, but not quite like this. His knees are black. Very, very black. 

He not only has zero muzzle pink, but he has odd green "grass stains" on his muzzle, as if he'd been grazing. This is exactly how he came from the former HR moldmaker.

The white speck on his shoulder is a chunk of kiln brick.

A pottery student might also note that some of the mattes shown have dry or dull edges to their ears. This is where the glaze doesn't absorb as well. It is not from wear over the years, as that would show as black pigment loss. They come out of the kiln like this. Ears and the sharp, raised parts of manes and tails still have this problem today, when using satin or matte glazes.

A regular run matte Benny with rough spots.

Maybe a coincidence only, but he has the same carved "H" on his foot bottom as the test San Marcos Zara. Other San Marcos tests (unknown if all) also have this same mark. One occasionally finds this same initial on regular issue pieces.

Recognize the KS initials from the Nataf blog post?
Model courtesy Lisa Sents.

Over the years, this piece has been photographed in the Charlton Standard catalogue of Hagen-Renaker (2nd & 3rd editions) as the entry for this mold. There are other instances I know of where Gayle used a photo of a test or custom glaze model as the entry for a horse mold, so it isn't surprising.

A few years after the Benny was discontinued, there was consideration of reissuing him again, as a Special Run. A matte gray test and a gloss gray test were made, but that was as far as the edition progressed. Here is the glossy test:

Photo courtesy of Hagen-Renaker: Through the Years by Nancy Kelly, Schiffer Publishing Ltd.

The real Benny sired two registered Clydesdale foals, the colt "Casal" (out of Jeanett's Peggy) and "Casa Linda Marina" (out of Mary Belle). These two were bred and produced one stallion at Casa Linda (Mr. Lopez' farm), "Casa Linda Benedictine". On June 30, 1988, they were both sold to Michael Jackson. Yes, that Michael Jackson. They were bred again and produced one filly at his ranch: "Michelle-Heart of Neverland".

What else did Benny do? There is an interesting anecdote at the end of this article, which may have been Benny and/or his female companions. The year would have been right for Benny.

Benny was owned by Mr. Lopez in Vista, from November 18, 1980 to September 30, 1987. Those are the years that I played at my friend's house, across from where the Clydesdales pastured. Later, we attended rival high schools, and seldom saw each other until college. She was one of my very first original sculpture clients. I have been unable to confirm the name of her Clydesdale-owning neighbor. The registry does not give the street address of Mr. Lopez' Casa Linda farm, although I do have my friend's, in an old address book. How long before I can confirm the connection?

Secret Collector Hopes: That I was there, playing with model horses just a few feet away, while Maureen sketched Benny. Or, that one of those Clydes was the real Benny, and he was watching us at play, all those years. How geeky chinahead can one get? Now you know.

Much Gratitude to Kim Bjorgo for helping hunt down the real Benny; Janet Hicks for allowing me to come and take photographs; Jo Ellen Arnold for her brilliant hospitality and the McCall reference book; Julie Harris, Lisa Sents, Sue Nelson, and Cindy Neuhaus for photos of their Bennies; Nancy Kelly for the use of her book's photo; Joan Berkwitz for my Benny and use of her book's images; Cindy Turner for the DW 1985 sales sheet.


Arnold, Jo Ellen. Pers. comm. 12/7-9/2012 and 4/26-30/2013.

Berkwitz, Joan. Pers. comm. 12/13/2012.

Berkwitz, Joan, ed. Sketchbook Horses of Maureen Love. Privately published: Carlsbad, CA 1990.

Bjorgo, Kim. Pers. comm. 12/10-21/12.

Clydesdale Breeders of the USA Online Studbook. Web site.
From this page, one can peruse all of Benny's offspring and owners.

Kelly, Nancy. Hagen-Renaker: Through the Years. Page 125. Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.: Atglen, PA, 2001.

Kelly, Nancy. Horse, Bird, and Wildlife Figures of Maureen Love: Hagen-Renaker and Beyond. Page 8. Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.: Atglen, PA, 2003.

McCall, Jeannie. The Hagen-Renaker Horse Reference Guide. Page 90. Teena Housman: 1988.

Roller, Gayle. Hagen-Renaker: A Charlton Standard Guide. Third Edition. Page 75. The Charlton Press: Palm Harbor, FL, 2003.

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Web pdf document.   
Page 85.