Personalize Your Gift-Giving This Christmas

September 02, 2014

As those familiar with The Trail of Painted Ponies know, we have no “art department” staffed with professional designers. What distinguishes us from other collectible figurine lines is that our designs come from diverse artistic sources. Amateurs as well as professionals, youth as well as students. All it takes is the talent to bring a vision to life on one of our downloaded outlines, or one of our unpainted horse forms available in our Paint Your Own kits, and you too can become an Official Trail of Painted Pony Artist.

From time to time over the years we have made changes to our Paint Your Own kits in an effort to give artists different ways of expressing their creativity, and our most recent kits reflect our commitment to continue to offer new creative opportunities. Available exclusively through our Official Website store, you have a choice of two new figurine-sized horse forms - the trotting and the regal form. As well, for the first time we have come out with a Paint Your Own Ornament kit that includes four different ornament forms. All of these forms are unique to The Trail, having been created exclusively for us by nationally acclaimed equine sculptors, and all are cast in solid, artist-grade resin, not a hollow plastic. As well, to keep the figurines from falling over while they are being painted, they come mounted on a rectangular base, and the ornaments include their own cord for hanging.


Regal Paint Your Own Pony Artist Kit

Trotting Paint Your Own Pony Artist Kit

Something else we have done with our kits is remove the paint pots and brushes. Custom Painted Ponies are miniature works-of-art, and the paints and brushes used with them should be of a higher quality than the cheap standard fare that comes with most kits. The paints in most other Paint Your Own kits don’t mix well, making it hard to get shadings and highlights right, and they dry out quickly. The bristles on the brushes often deteriorate after one or two uses. That may be okay for beginners, but not Painted Pony artists.

By eliminating paints and brushes, we are now able to offer our kits at a much lower price – under $20. And, by encouraging you to select your own paints and brushes at your local arts and crafts store, we are sure if you look around you will find surprising embellishments and attachments that will help you create an even more fabulous mini-masterpiece.

And that, in short, is what our kits are about. As much as anything, we want to give you the means of creating something artistic and precious - for yourself, or for someone dear or near to you.

This Christmas, personalize your gift-giving by painting one of our figurines or ornaments. They will make great once-in-a-lifetime gifts for a special occasion, or simply a personal gesture that will be appreciated forever.

 
Paint Your Own Pony Ornament Set


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Comments

    Ann said on September 03, 2014:
    Will the Trail consider having a design contest for the new ornaments?


How much is my Painted Pony worth?

July 01, 2014

One of my favorite TV programs is Antiques Roadshow, the popular PBS series that features people who bring in a variety of old and vintage items – antique furniture, historic paintings, political memorabilia, collectibles – for professional assessment and valuation. After learning the story behind their supposed treasures, hearing about details that either add or subtract to their overall worth, the people are given an estimated market value. The Oh my God! reactions of people who picked up priceless pieces for pennies at a swap meet are as much fun to watch as the crestfallen expressions on the faces of those who expected to be told they’d hit the jackpot with a family heirloom passed down to them through generations, only to learn it was a fake to begin with.

At the end of each evaluation, at the bottom of the screen, the estimated price range that the piece could be expected to bring at auction is posted, and I’ve noticed recently that a second price range is added. The first refers to the estimated value at the time the show aired, and the second refers to what the value is estimated to be today. Rarely are they the same. Some prices have gone up, but the majority have gone down, reflecting the changing times, and the new reality that very few “things” are invested with an intrinsic worth that can be objectively determined, but rather are worth what someone is willing to pay at a given time.

I have been reminded of this updated feature on Antiques Roadshow recently as I read and try to respond to the questions that are entered into the Ask the Trailmaster feature on our website. I would estimate that three out of five questions are versions of, “How much is my Painted Pony worth?”

I wish we could provide a simple and straightforward answer. A comprehensive price guide that Trail of Painted Ponies collectors could refer to for insurance purposes, replacement purposes, or if they just want to sell the Ponies they have, unfortunately, does not exist, for Painted Ponies or indeed for most collectibles. Price depends on so many variables. The condition of the Pony. Whether it comes in its original box. How rare it is, i.e. how many were created. The edition number on the bottom of the base (the lower the edition number, the higher the perceived value). Whether the Pony was part of an Official Autographed Edition, or hand-signed by the Artist. Whether it is retired, which means no more are being produced. The personal significance that particular Pony may have for someone. If it is the only one missing from a particular grouping that is the focus of a collector. Whether a collector that is new to The Trail wants to add a particular Pony to his/her collection that is no longer available in stores.

There are certain aspects to Painted Ponies that are unique among collectibles and that give them a value which tends to appreciate over time. Some of the Native Ponies were created by tribally-recognized Native artists. Some have been created by celebrities in other fields. Every Painted Pony shows an exceptional degree of craftsmanship and an attention to detail and design that is commonly associated with legitimate works of art that sell for a much higher price than Ponies to begin with, and appreciate in value over time

So how does this translate into an answer to “How much is my Painted Pony worth?” I don’t think the specialists on Antiques Roadshow can tell us. What I think they would say because I’ve heard them say it is, “Ultimately, it’s value is how much enjoyment it gives you.”

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Comments

    Mary Fairchild Shader said on July 20, 2014:
    I would agree with you 100%. The true value of a Painted Pony no matter how beautiful, how low the edition number is, whether or not it is signed by the artist remains what it means to the person who bought it. I have several including a couple of one of a kind ponies which are priceless to me but to others may not be worth a thing. I do wonder however if there is a way to evaluate for insurance purposes the amount a one of a kind Painted Pony is worth? The problem as I see it is even if the artist were to reproduce the pony it would never be "just" like the one I originally bought.

    Trailmaster said on July 16, 2014:
    Hello Jackie, In order to find out the current perceived value of your figurine we would recommend checking on eBay for the same figurine with a similar edition number.

    Jackie said on July 15, 2014:
    how much is Medicine pony worth #1549 with box and papers


Appreciating the Runner-Ups from Previous Art Competitions

May 30, 2014

As the Magical Design Competition winds down to an end and before we invite everyone to vote for their favorite (voting will begin on June 9th and run through June 22th), we thought we would put together a slide-show featuring some of the previous competition entries that did not make the final cut. Reviewing them again and seeing how clever and creative they are, we are reminded how difficult it is to narrow the field down to a “top ten.” And these are just ten designs that used the Rearing Horse form as a canvas…. Enjoy. 

 

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Painted Ponies Inspire Creative Expressions Around the World

May 05, 2014

 

With each release of a new herd of Painted Ponies we are reminded not only of the inspirational power of the horse, but the unique showcase that The Trail provides to artists willing to explore an expanded notion of canvas. But this creativity is not confined just to imaginative designs on figurines. It expresses itself in a variety of ways, to different people in different places around the world. Recently we heard from two creative people from who have taken the spirit of Painted Ponies into new realms. Our way of thanking and supporting them is to share their creations with friends and fans of The Trail.

Jennifer Moffatt is a digital scrapbooker from Western Australia who is very well thought of within the industry. Recalling the wonderful books that her grandmother sent to her as a child, which she still treasures, she decided to create a similar bond with her horse crazy teenage granddaughter, Ameeka Barrett, who resides in Bakersfield, California. Each birthday and Christmas she began sending her granddaughter a Painted Pony figurine, chosen carefully and with a special meaning. And then she came up with the idea of creating a digital shadow box with the Ponies. Shadow boxes, which are created to put ones treasured possessions, favorite memories and dreams and wishes, on display, seemed like the perfect way to showcase the Ponies. Featured are Christmas Carousel, Sweetheart, Lovey Dovey, Storm Rider, Follow Your Dreams, and the Horse Whispers figurine, Heaven on Earth. 

Shadow box by Jennifer Moffatt

Halfway around the world in the United Kingdom, Laura Cohen drew on imagery from The Trail when she hand-painted her 6 year old dun mare as the “Blue Medicine Horse” to help raise money for Prostate Cancer UK. She won best-dressed amongst 30 other entries at the Western Nationals in 2013. The response was so great she followed up in April of this year at the Horse&Rider Extravaganza at Chaltenham Racetrack with another paint-and-costume entry in the Your Horse Live show. This time she drew inspiration from the figurine “Black Jack.” Laura uses a non-toxic face paint which is chalk based so it doesn’t hurt the horse and is easy to wash off with water, and has turned this idea into a business. She performs at horse events, festivals and weddings. We welcome and will feature other creative uses of Painted Pony imagery on our Facebook page


"Black Jack"

Painting "Black Jack"
 

"Blue Medicine"

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Celebrated Equine Sculptor Becomes Part of Painted Pony History

April 01, 2014

As everyone familiar with The Trail of Painted Ponies knows, we have been pioneers in the creation of an entirely new art form: the horse as a canvas for artistic expression. Part of what has made this exploration so unique is that all of our horse forms are exclusive to The Trail. We have commissioned some of the finest equine sculptors in the country to create them just for us.

To keep our offerings fresh, over the years we have added new forms. To the standing and running forms that were created for our initial public art project, we added the walking form and the rearing form. Two years ago, we introduced the regal form. Now, ten years after the very first Painted Ponies came down the trail, to add diversity to the line we have modified all of these forms, giving more movement to the mane and tail, more expressiveness to the faces, more action through muscle definition. We have also added new positions, including the trotting form. And as you have seen and will see more of, with the "Beauty of the Breed" collection we are featuring one-of-a-kind forms and with the mare-and-foal series, even a second horse.

Petals on the New Trotting Form

Kathleen Moody
Artist/Sculptor

The talented hand behind most of these changes belongs to Kathleen Moody, a name that collectors of the realistic Breyer horse line will recognize because she is the creator and designer of many of their most popular horses, such as Huckleberry Bay, Big Ben, Gem Twist, Marabella, Winter Song, the Wind Dancer line, and many others. Kathleen, who says she was born with horse hair between her teeth, grew up in a little city in southern California where there were no horses, so to make up for the loss she would draw them on paper and carve them with a stick out of dirt clods in a vacant field down the street. When her mother brought home a bag of potter's clay and she created her first full-bodied horse, the dye was cast.

Just out of her teens, she was hired as a Production Artist in the model shop at Disney Studios, where she painted, clothed, sculpted and did whatever was necessary to bring life to the animatronic figures for the different rides and exhibits. A career creating and sculpting beautiful and realistic horses for Breyer came next. 

The freelance opportunity to ride with The Trail is a departure in some respects, but one she welcomes. "The idea that anyone with a great design idea can create a unique horse for others to enjoy unites horse lovers all over. I have seen great, clever and beautiful designs come out of The Trail that add so much more to art, than just collecting pretty things. There is a special place in the world of equine art for these ponies! I am eternally grateful for this opportunity to create new horses for The Trail and to become a part of Painted Pony history."

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The Pasture Calls: Six more Painted Ponies Retired

February 28, 2014

A week ago, I officially retired my Quarterhorse mare, Shyloh. I was present at her birth twenty-two years ago, and other than those few years when I leased her out as a brood mare, I’ve had her my whole life as a trail horse. Whenever I had difficulty dozing off at night I didn’t count sheep, I saddled up Shyloh in my mind, and somewhere along our ride I would lasso a good night’s sleep. This decision was made easy by the recommendation of my vet. Shyloh has developed a condition in her rear legs that makes it painful for her to carry the weight of a rider. A condition that came with age and a genetic predisposition. So now she roams the 40-acre New Mexico ranch where her mother was put out to pasture ten years ago.

With horse retirement on my mind, we are announcing the next six Painted Ponies to be put out to pasture. They will ride no more. They are now, in art parlance, limited editions, since no more will be produced.


Rod and Shyloh

Looking at the Ponies on the list, I’m reminded again of how versatile the horse is as a canvas for creative expression, and how absolutely ingenious these talented artists were who accepted our invitation to “let your imagination run wild.” From the Pop imagery of “Peace, Love and Music,” to the retro Cowgirl imagery of “Cowgirls Rule,” to the elegant beauty of “Emergence,” to the charged realism of “The Front Runner,” to the Holiday spirit in “Song of Angels,” to the classic American West iconography featured in “Bonanza,” these Painted Ponies have honored the art movement that we like to call “Pony Expressionism.”

To view all of the Retired Painted Ponies, Click Here.

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Comments

    Jessie said on July 05, 2014:
    A most beautiful, heart warming story Rod. Thank you. Sounds somewhat like mine. The gelding owned by my best friend, since he was eleven,(I had his mom at the time), was born in my lap 27 years ago and rode in our local parade,(he has been in many 4th of July parades here since he was 7 months old), rode proudly (as he always does) along side my beautiful, 13 yr old QH mare. Thanks again for a terrific story!


Collector’s Choice Ornaments make their Debut

January 31, 2014

A rolling stone gathers no moss, and neither do Painted Ponies. We are always looking for something fresh and new that will give collectors another way of enjoying what we do, and with that introduction, allow me to announce the return of hanging Painted Pony ornaments, inspired by some of our best-selling classic Painted Pony figurines. Along with our Holiday ornaments, these hanging ornaments will liven up any Christmas tree or wreathe, as well as make great stocking-stuffers, but they can also be used to add low-cost decorative accents to any home. And, they make terrific keepsake gifts for a variety of gift-giving occasions, including birthdays, anniversaries, seasonal celebrations. Cast in resin and hand-painted, as detailed in their craftsmanship as the figurines themselves, Painted Pony hanging ornaments come with a gold cord for hanging, and will add character and flair to your home décor and accessories. The decorating opportunities are endless….


Painted Harmony Ornament

There are five ornaments in the Collector’s Choice Collection. Three of them have proven to be popular with collectors in the past - Painted Harmony, Storm Rider and Trail of Tears – and the other two came in at the top of the list in the online voting that was conducted on our website back in the early fall – Don’t Fence Me In and Rhinestone CowgirlTo view and order your Painted Pony ornaments now, click here.


Our love affair with ornaments doesn’t stop there. For the first time we are offering a Paint Your Own Ornament Artist Set. Similar to the Paint Your Own Pony kits, this Artist Set features four ready-to-paint ornaments that are based on our four most popular forms: the rearing, running, regal and standing horse forms. Each is cast in resin and comes with a gold cord for hanging. This new offering will give everyone the opportunity to create their own, unique, personalized ornament for the fun of it, or for special occasions where a customized present will make a memorable impression.

Please note: the Paint Your Own Ornament Artist Set does not come with brushes or paints. There are so many options for decorating your Painted Pony ornament, we did not want to limit them by including our choice of brushes or paints. We encourage you to use your own supplies or to check out the offerings at your local crafts store, where you also find a range of materials that will allow you to add magical details to your ornament.


At this time, the Paint Your Own Ornament Artist Set is AVAILABLE ONLY through the Official Trail of Painted Store at an exceptionally affordable price. Click here for details.



Regal Paint Your Own Ornament

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The Year of the Horse Will be Full of Surprises!

January 02, 2014

And so we enter 2014, a new year which just happens to be the Chinese Year of the Horse. According to astrological charts this will be a fortunate year. A year that will bring good luck and good things to all “horse people.” And to celebrate this occasion, which comes around every twelve years, The Trail will not only continue our commitment to quality and variety with stunning works-of-art that capture the inspirational power of the horse, but we will also be introducing some surprises, which start with the Winter 2014 Trail Mix.

  1. On the heels of the popular “Painted Harmony,” which pays artistic tribute to the magnificent Paint Horse breed, we are introducing an original equine artwork sculpted by a Guest Master Artist that honors the Gypsy Vanner, a breed developed by gypsies in the United Kingdom to pull their colorful wagons. “Don’t Fence Me In” will be the second in our “Beauty of the Breed” series.

  2. Complementing this magnificent Pony are four figurines that recognize previously popular Painted Ponies. “Rhinestone Cowgirl” was created by the same creative mother/daughter team of artists responsible for “Cowgirl Cadillac.” “Guardian of Sunset's Gates” will replace the all-time bestseller “War Pony.” “Yankee Doodle” marches in step with previous patriotic Ponies, and “Krystal Knight” joins a collection of fantasy steeds that have pranced down The Trail.

  3. There was a time when, in addition to our Holiday ornaments, we offered collectors ornaments inspired by popular figurines. By popular demand, that time has returned, and with the winter release we will be releasing five new ornaments: “Storm Rider”, “Trail of Tears”, “Painted Harmony”, and the top two vote-getters in our website poll “Don’t Fence Me In” and “Rhinestone Cowgirl.”

  4. In 2014 collectors will also be treated to the introduction to two new “updated” horse forms. We have re-sculpted the rearing horse to give it a little more action, and in the Spring release you will see an entirely new form: the Trotting Horse.

  5. As those who follow our annual art competitions know, we have received some absolutely sensational designs that celebrate the changing of the seasons, and holidays other than Christmas. For this reason, in 2014 we will be introducing an Autumn Pony and a Halloween Pony, both of which were finalists in our art competitions.

  6. Finally, 2014 will see the return of the Paint Your Own Pony kits, with a difference. Where before we offered the running and rearing Pony forms, in February we will be introducing the Regal and Trotting horse forms for collectors to paint. Not only that, we will also be offering a Paint Your Own Ornament kit, giving everyone the opportunity to personalize and customize Painted Pony ornaments. Another difference in the new Pony kits is they will be available with or without paint brushes and paint pots, and at a significantly lower price point: Under $20.


All this and more will be galloping down The Trail in 2014, the Chinese Year of the Horse.



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The Trail of Painted Ponies Holiday Art Competition – A New Christmas Tradition

December 02, 2013

To most people, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without at least a few of these Yuletide traditions: sparkling Christmas trees, nativity scenes in public parks, celebrations of the birth of Jesus Christ, Santa Claus with his long white beard, an exchange of gifts on Christmas eve or morning, mince pies and plum pudding, stockings hung by the chimney with care. Around the Trail of Painted Ponies office we ring in the holidays with one other tradition. Our annual Holiday Art Competition. The December call for original designs that will bring beauty, happiness, and Holiday cheer to the world when they are crafted into figurines and ornaments.

This tradition was started in 2004, with the introduction of four Holiday-themed Painted Ponies that celebrated Christmas in uniquely different ways. “Nutcracker” drew on imagery from the 19thcentury Russian ballet, as perfect in its detail as a Faberge egg. “Snowflake” reminded us of Christmas Eve snowfalls when we watched big lazy flakes drift through the night sky and dreamed of the Pony that Santa would surely bring this year. The angelic “Golden Girl” watched the hustle and bustle of life below from heavenly clouds above. “Christmas Clydesdale” imagined a Christmas sled full of laughing children being pulled down a snowy street by a reliable draft horse.


Nutcraker Figurine

Nine years and fourty Holiday Painted Ponies later, the tradition continues with this invitation to creative spirits wherever you may be to let your imagination enrich the Holidays-to-come, along with the lives of Painted Pony collectors who have made giving and receiving Painted Pony figurines and ornaments part of their Christmas traditions.


Click Here for Competition Details.


Happy Trails and Happy Holidays,


The Trailmaster

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Comments

    Colleen Dahlstrom said on February 14, 2014:
    I would love to have a Gypsy Vanner St. Patricks Day Painted Pony. It would be an amazing collector pony to add to your line up.

    Ann said on January 14, 2014:
    Thank you for giving artists from around the world, a chance to show their talent ,and to be able to be a part of each contest.


Celebrating Our New Celebrity Artists

November 01, 2013

Every artist who creates a design that is crafted into a figurine is a STAR in our book. But some of our Painted Pony artists are “stars” in their own right. As we enter the holiday gift-giving season, we would like to single out two people whose accomplishments in other artistic fields deserve special mention.

Co-creator of “Prairie Princess,” a figurine which is part of the Fall Release, is Alison Arngrim, who became famous in the mid-Seventies when she joined “Little House on the Prairie” as the evil Nellie Oleson, a child dressed innocently in sausage curls and dainty blue dresses who was so hateful that Vanity Fair would eventually rank her as the No. 1 female villain in TV history. Ms. Arngrim has continued a career in show business, traveling the globe doing hundreds of yearly personal appearances and performoances of her one-woman show based on her 2010 Nw York Times best-selling autobiography “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch.” We would like to thank Howie Green, a pop artist who also created the best-selling figurine “Love, Peace and Music,” who has been a good friend of Alison’s since the mid-1980s when they met at the World Famous Laugh Factory Comedy Club in Hollywood, where Howie was the Art Director for Laugh Factory Magazine and Alison was a regular featured performer.

To view and order “Prairie Princess,” Click Here.
To keep up with Alison, go to www.hgd.com/alison
To keep up with Howie, go to www.hgd.com


Alison Arngrim

The other celebrity we are proud to welcome to our artist’s stable is Andre DeBrekht, an internationally acclaimed artist renowned for using the techniques of traditional Eastern European craftsmanship, and the beloved creator of classical holiday décor. Known as a “Master of Illustration” for his ability to capture Old World authenticity with a distinctive and recognizable style, with his Painted Pony “Old Fashioned Christmas“ he has created another time-honored scene that will never grow old, and will help make the holidays memorable.


To view and order “Old Fashioned Christmas,” Click Here

To keep up with Andre, go to www.gdebrekht.com


Photo to the left: Andre' DeBrehkt with "Old Fashioned Christmas" in his studio

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