Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Art Tour

We have an annual event here in Harney County, celebrating and recognizing the artistic talent of the area.

This year, Michelle had her art on display downtown at the Harney County Chamber of Commerce building.

Michelle has 2 art "projects" going on right now; her "Working Ranch Women" series and the paintings and drawings for the book. So she had 2 panels set up, one for each of the projects.

I felt the tour, and the artwork was well received. I was pretty pleased with the reception the wild horse art got; people were very interested and impressed!

For each of the 3 pieces displayed, I helped Michelle in putting up the actual photos the subjects were taken from.

For the book cover, with the multitude of horses, people could see these horses were painted from actual horses and they could see where the idea for the cover came from, which is a trap site. We had about 8-12 different photos on display around the almost finished book cover artwork. People seemed to really enjoy seeing how and where the art came from.

For Mesteno, we had the old photo of him at the horse corrals, plus a couple photos of Kigers in the wild, showing the color and the scenery that inspired the painting.

For the one of Corine, titled "Horse With No Name", we had the original photo of Corine and the horse as well as a description/explanation of the freeze brand and how to read one. We got a lot of questions about that process and it was nice to have the explanation and example right in front of us!

All in all, I felt the tour went great and I think the book is really going to be a hit, even here where wild horses are "common".

I'll post photos of the displays later ...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Orphanage

So I thought maybe I would post a few little snippits from the book for you all ...

The first one will be from the "Orphanage", a section in the book with a little information and photos of some of the orphans we've had the last few years from the BLM.

A couple of the most memorable would be "Sweetheart" and "Karma".

As some of my followers may recall, Sweetheart just about didn't make it. She was days old when she came here and was pretty pathetic looking:

She nearly died due to an unknown infection. I slept in the stall with her for about 3 weeks, helping her to stand so she could drink her milk and eat her hay and grain. She never gave up and neither did I!

And this was Sweetheart as a long yearling, before she went to her new home:

Karma came to us at about 3-4 weeks old. She wasn't in dire need like Sweetheart but she did need mothering. She was an unusual color, even for a foal coat and we quickly determined she is a chocolate, or bay silver dapple.

When she shed out the following year, we decided we were right on her color:

Karma got her name because of circumstances before she came to me. I spotted her in the corrals on her dam about 2 weeks earlier. Her dam was a beautiful black mare, nicely built and Karma just had a "presence" about her. I jokingly told the BLM if that little one was an orphan I would take her in a heartbeat!

I got a call 2 weeks later. Another mare slammed into Karma's dam and broke her hip on a gate and she had to be put down. We brought her home and thanks to others on the wild horse lists on Yahoo, she was aptly named "Karma".

Jill in NC was dubbed Karma's "godmother"; if anything ever happened to me, she would go to Jill. As luck would have it, we simply got too full here with horses and were forced to downsize our herd. I offered her to Jill and she took me up on it. Karma went to training with Kitty Lauman before Jill got here to get her clear on the other side of the country. Karma did well with her training and she is enjoying life now on the east coast!

More to come later!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another Weekend

Not much to report ... things are moving along!

I am reviewing different publishers, trying to find the most "bang for the buck" since I will be self-printing the book. I do have a couple of publishers I can submit the manuscript to, seeing if they are interested in printing it but with the economy in the tank, it's not looking hopeful. Most publishers won't go out on a limb for an unknown author publishing a non-fiction piece of work, sad to say!

If you know of a publisher I should look at, please let me know! I am looking at Whitehall right now as they have very nice, quality, full color, soft cover, "perfect bind" books and are fairly reasonably priced.

The air is feeling like fall, even if it is still August. I'm taking advantage of the cooler weather in the mornings and evenings to work on my book and such and taking advantage of the nicer weather in the day to try to ride!

The Burns BLM is currently gathering the Murderer's Creek horses. Let's hope for a safe gather and no orphans that I will need to add to the "Orphanage" section of the book!

This fall it looks like the South Steens herd will be gathered. With any luck, Michelle and I would like to attend this gather and maybe get some last minute photos, and maybe some art, for the book before it's printed!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We survived!

Well, Michelle and I went on the radio this morning and talked about her artwork and about the book.


It was scary and I'm sure we sounded nervous but I think it went well. We talked for about 20-25 minutes, and I don't think we bored anyone. I felt like it flowed well together, talking about the upcoming art tour here next week and then tying the art Michelle is doing for the book in with the whole thing.

I did hear a comment something to the effect of "brown nosing" when it comes to the BLM! Jokingly, of course. But honestly, our local BLM is simply awesome from the staff to the program itself and I have no problems bragging up on them! They are the reason I saw fit to do a book about Oregon's wild horses! So yeah, I probably did some pretty heavy promoting of the BLM, because they deserve it!

Between this blog, going on the radio, and now a web site for the book, it's really feeling like it's coming together. It's felt like a dream for so long and now it's sinking in that it's a reality!

So, I started a web site last night. I obtained a domain for the book and uploaded a beginning to the site. There are changes to be made, and none of the links on the left side are functional yet but it should be all together within a couple days.

Click here to see the new website:

Oregon's Living Legends

I'll continue to keep updating this blog, but the web site will have the "constant" data and facts about the book. I will be able to do so much more with the web site than I can with the blog, but the blog will be great for changes and announcements.

So, signing off for now but keep checking back! And thank you for your suppot!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The process of art

Since becoming friends with Michelle, and starting this book, I have been privileged to see the works of art she has done as works in progress. It's great to first hear about the concept of a drawing, then see the subject matter she is going from, then watch the progression of a piece of art.

I thought you all might like to see it too!

Michelle is currently working on the book cover. I've gone over photos over and over, trying to decide on "the" photo for the cover. Michelle and I began pouring over photos from the BLM and from my collection, trying to decide on what was worthy to grace the cover of a book on Oregon's wild horse herds.

Michelle came across a photo that has an artistic feel to it. We both agreed it would be simply great for the cover.

Then we went a step further ...

The photo that gave us the idea for the cover came from a trap site. A trap site is the place where the BLM contractors that gather the horses will drive the horses to for sorting and loading into the trailer to haul to the holding facility. When the horses first enter the trap, which is basically a pen of panels with jute fencing around it, they go in a bit of a swirl ... they come to the fence and follow it around in a swirling motion.

Here's the photo that gave us the idea for the piece of art Michelle is painting now:

We decided to go beyond this photo. The horses heads and backs and faces and all are so nicely depicted, we thought why not make it larger, more horses, representing pretty much all the colors the horses come in?
So here is how Michelle initially mapped it out:

She numbered the horses and decided on colors and such as she went along. Here is what it looked like after the first time she painted on it:

Today, she is about 2/3 of the way through with the painting. It's a huge painting (I'll get the exact dimensions from her) and it will shrink down nicely with lots of detail. This is what she has completed as of today:

Pretty cool, huh?

So, if you have an Oregon horse, and it has some face markings that stand out, send me a head shot of the horse ... maybe you'll see it in one of the drawings! Michelle is looking for face markings and such so they don't all look alike. There is one in the drawing above that belongs to an adopter, so send us yours and maybe you will see your horse in one of these!

Friday, August 7, 2009


Everyone likes pictures, right?

I thought I would share a few that may be in the book ...

This is Mesteno, whose painting can be seen below:

Here's a couple of horses we suspect are brothers; they were adopted a few years ago by a guy over in the Willamette Valley.

Last fall, I was accompanied by my neighbor and a fellow blogger up onto the Steens to see the South Steens horses. We found the "Hollywood Herd" and they allowed us to mingle amongst them! It was quite an experience and I thought I would share a couple photos from that day as well here ...

And one more, for good measure ... this one was checking out my fellow bloggers daughter, who is just off camera, walking up to them with a camera of her own ...

Now after seeing these photos, how could anyone question what I see in these horses? Our BLM has simply done an outstanding job in the preservation, and improvement, of these herds!

PayPal Buttons!

I now have PayPal buttons set up on the right!

The "Pre-Purchase" button has a fixed amount of $50. That will include shipping costs to send the book to you.

The "Donations" button has no fixed amount; you can donate any amount you wish.

And remember, the lucky person who donates to the book and pushes the total donated amount over $250 will get a framed giclee print of their choice! You might want to wait to claim your print until they are all done ...

I'm not 100% certain what all the prints will look like that she is doing but I can tell you the one for the South Steens herd will be outstanding! She will be using "Lewis and Clark", 2 of the senior stallions from the "Hollywood Herd" that have been adopted and are now released onto a sanctuary in California. She will show them in a "battle", with a small band of mares and foals in the background. That print will be in full color.

She will also be doing a pencil drawing (I think it will be pencil -- it may be color -- Michelle? are you reading this?) of Ligget Table horses coming in to water at sunset/sunrise, with clouds of dust behind them.

I think there will also be some of the "forest" or "mountain" horses; hidden in the trees, on a hillside, in the snow, etc. I believe she is doing 12 prints total of the 19 herd areas in Oregon. If you have an Oregon horse, you will need to watch for YOUR herd management area being depicted and order a print!

The price isn't set on the giclee prints yet and I'm sure we'll have a range of options as well as sizes to choose from, whether you want them framed or whatever. And I think we will likely do some other, less expensive prints as well. We'll also have sets of prints where you can buy all of them or mix and match for discounted prices from individual prints. And I think we will also do a "special" price mix, such as buy a book and a print (or set of prints) for a certain amount. The possibilities are endless!

Later on down the road, I will probably set up something with Cafe Press to include the artwork that you can have printed on the medium of your choosing, be it a t-shirt, hat, cups, etc.

Things are moving ahead fast! The book will be out and in your hands before you know it!

Getting set up ...

I am working on figuring this whole thing out! I want to set up a PayPal button and will be doing that shortly ... I think I can put it beside my pages so it stays on top.

I will be set up soon to accept donations to get the first printing of the book out there. We're going to offer an "incentive program" for donations. Whoever makes the donation that brings the donated amount to $250 total will get their choice of a framed giclee print from Michelle Severe, the artist that is doing the artwork for my book! The giclee prints are so well done you have a hard time telling they aren't originals!

What's a giclee print?

Well, here is an explanation for you!

In giclee printing, no screen or other mechanical devices are used and therefore there is no visible dot screen pattern. The image has all the tonalities and hues of the original painting. Giclee (pronounced Gee’clay) is a French term meaning to spray or squirt, which is how an inkjet printer works. However, it is not the same as a standard desktop inkjet printer, and is much larger. Giclee prints are a little over a metre wide and are often affectionately referred to as a “knitting machine” as they look very similar.

I have 2 of them; one is Mesteno (see below) and one is from Michelle's website called "Workday Repairs" and they are simply awesome. They are printed on canvas on stretcher bars and framed professionally and Michelle will re-sign them as well.

I will also be set up soon to take pre-release orders on the book. I've decided to not go with any in black and white and go for full color. I know this will be an added cost I need to pass down to my customers but I believe it's worth it! The color photographs and the color artwork simply deserve to be seen in color!

Tentatively, the book will be for sale in the $40 to $50 price range, depending on the paper, the publisher and the shipping costs. I will keep the retail price as low as possible and will also take wholesale orders for bookstores and shops.

Next spring, Michelle and I will be hitting the road on book tours. The obvious places will be adoption events and the Extreme Mustang Makeover events sponsored by the Mustang Heritage Foundation. We'll get a full schedule once it gets closer.

I'm also going to put together a regular website for the book; purchasing and donations will be available from there as well!

Michelle is nearly finished with the book cover. I think you will all really like it; there are 24 horses of all colors, shapes and sizes on it and she's done it fairly large so when it's shrank down for the book cover, it will still retain all the wonderful detail she's put into it. When she has a good scan of it, I will put it at the top of my blog for all to see!

So many things to do ... so little time!

Oh, and if you have an adopter story about a Mustang you have from one of the Oregon herds, please send me your story! I could use stories about horses from Beaty's Butte, Ligget Table, Sheepshead and Stinkingwater. Any of the herds from Oregon would be great but those herds are lacking in stories.

Off to work on PayPal buttons now!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

On the radio!

Well, next week, Michelle and I will have our first real "promotion" of the book; we will be on the local radio station talking about the book and the artwork! I'm nervous about being on the radio but excited to get the publicity!

I will also be looking at collecting donations to help with publication costs, and I will be contacting various groups like the BLM, MHF and Oregon's tourism department with pleas for financial assistance for the first round of publishing.

And I will be pre-selling a few books as well. Soon, I will have links for paypal so you can pre-purchase a book -- which will be signed by myself and Michelle -- or so you can donate to help get it published!

I will also have some artwork for sale soon here from Michelle and when the book is completed, the artwork will be available individually or in sets.

Oh, and check out Michelle's web site for more of her artwork!

Michelle Severe Western Artist


One of the first pieces of artwork completed for the book, and for the whole series of wild horses, is a piece Michelle painted of Mesteno, one of the original Kiger Mustangs "discovered" back in the 1970's. He is, of course, long since gone, but to many, his legend, and heritage, lives on in the Kiger and Riddle herd management areas.

Keep watch for more art work as it comes along ...



Yes, I have joined the blogging masses! But for good reason! I'm here to introduce, and keep you updated on ...

Oregon's Living Legends (copyright 2009 LCR)

So, what's Oregon's Living Legends?

Good question!

Awhile back, I was speaking with a friend of mine, Michelle Severe, who is an extremely talented artist, with wildlife drawings and paintings one of her specialties. Actually, it's how I got to know her; she had created a bunch of artwork for a Kiger Mustang adoption event and we struck up a conversation, and a friendship, from that point on.

We were talking about how people asked if there was a book on Oregon's Mustangs, since Michelle had artwork on them.

Hmmmm ...

So, an idea formed ... and blossomed!

And Oregon's Living Legends was started!

So what's it all about?

Well, pull up a chair and I'll tell you a little about it ... and me!

Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to write.

OK, that's not 100% true ... my dream has been to live on top of a mountain with a bunch of horses and write!

I'm in the high desert, so it's sort of on top of a mountain.

And I have a bunch of horses.

So, time to write!

After speaking with Michelle, and a few brainstorming sessions, I began researching and writing a book on wild horses. Specifically, Oregon's wild horses, since those are the wild horses I am most familiar with. My husband and I have been volunteers for the Burns (Oregon) district BLM for several years and have been duly impressed with the quality of the horses found roaming free in various herd management areas here. We have been equally impressed with the quality of the BLM staff involved in the management of the horses.

I felt the efforts, and the horses, of Oregon's BLM needed to be recognized, and show-cased, if you will. I contacted the Burns BLM, I went on-line, I scoured thru documents and photos, I called upon folks who have adopted horses and I began the compilation process.

The result is my book, Oregon's Living Legends, with a hopeful release date of Christmas of 2009 or just after the start of 2010.

My book isn't a political statement, it's not "pro-BLM", it's not "pro-wild horse advocate", it's not cold with just facts and it's not all touchy-feely with the whole "Black Stallion Syndrome" type of thing either. Actually, it's all of those things and none of those things at the same time. My hope is the book will not only help people see and understand the wild horses and the herds and grow to love and appreciate them they way we have but that it will also serve as an example of what the BLM program in every state *could* be.

One of the things I things I think people will like about the book is the eye appeal! Michelle has agreed to be my artist/illustrator for the book and with her artwork gracing the pages (and it will be available separately as well), a book unlike any other will emerge.

As an example ... the piece of artwork gracing this post depicting the gentling of a wild horse by a local trainer, Corine Elser. It will be accompanied by a wonderful poem by Andrea Bassett entitled "Freeze Brand" and will be included in the book.