I have been in the model horse hobby, selling my work since 1999. Now, I was not good at all back then, but as many newbies, I really thought I was something. It wasn't until I really started paying attention to anatomy and coat color/pattern issues that I figured it out! It took me a few years! I am happy that my work garners top placings in large classes, NANs, Champs and Reserves...and that they deserve what they win. I have had some of my earlier work place in shows, and now when I look back at those early pieces, I think to myself "Holy Bald Headed Canary Birds! As a Judge, now, I would NEVER place that piece of crap!" LOL It is a great wake up call when you realize that you need to learn, and that you are comfortable with that as you improve your work :) I love what I do and I love to learn all the time. I strive to continually put my best work out and make sure that each piece is worthy of Live Showing for my clients. Some pieces are more detailed than others, but each piece is created with the love and care that that I would want to see, personally. I am continually studying and learning, applying new and improved details to my pieces, and expanding my knowledge of anatomy and color and patterns.
It is very unfortunate that model horse Artists are brutally ripped apart publicly, There is no need or use for that. It is in no way helpful to any artist. It is just mean and it shows that the person/people doing the ripping are not worth anyone's time. Of course, the people doing the ripping on other artists usually always remain anonymous, so you have no idea who they are and they are probably on your FB friends list...Two Faced Chicken Shits. If they wanted to help, they would give a true critique privately, and not be rude. Being truthful and being rude are completely different.
On the other hand, it is never useful what so ever, to be butt patted for every thing you paint, either! Especially for new model horse Artists. So many newbies have FB and Forum friends, that know absolutely nothing about anatomy or LSQ-ness (lol), comment on their horses saying "OMG it is so beautiful! Drool, Drool!" and "WOW, this is stunning and the best cm evar!" This just reinforces bad paint jobs and customizing practices, giving that newbie false hope and makes them think they are really great... So, that new artist does nothing to learn and improve, because they think their work is all LSQ. What a shame. Some of the new Artists could be really good if they would get real critiques and learn from them, instead of getting their panties in a wad.
I think nothing pains me more than seeing a new person in the hobby that thinks they are all that, when they have no idea what they are doing and insisting that their work is Live Show Quality. However, There are those very rare few that truly are gifted right off the bat too :) So many times, I want to email someone and tell them, in a nice way of course, that their horse's neck is broken at approximately the third vertebrae or that their paint job is lumpy and needs to be smooth. I don't because no matter how nice you are with an honest critique, most people will go right through the roof with anger and insist that their horse is completely correct and "LSQ"! No Matter, maybe one day they will wake up and realize that they need to study and learn, and that someone, for the most part, was truly trying to help them and was not putting them down, not trying to hurt their feelings. Most new artists have absolutely no idea what LSQ really means. All they know is that it stands for Live Show Quality.
Truthfully, many horses that win at live shows are no where near LSQ, and many that don't win, are completely LSQ! Just because your little CM placed at a live show does NOT mean your work is Live Show Quality!
It really all comes down to a Judge's preferences, though... What they like and don't like. What resins or models that they feel are correct or not and what colors/patterns that they prefer. There could be a perfect paint job on one resin that the Judge hates, and they will not place it because of the resin, or they might not place it because they do not like that particular Artist too. Also, that Judge may not like the finish work style, or the medium that was used. That's just the way it is.
If anyone would like to read Sara Mink's LSQ guide, to see what is involved in your work becoming LSQ, go here: LSQ Guidelinesby Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig Read it all, Several times! This is a free publication by Sarah. Thank you, Sarah, for providing such a wonderful article. I have read through this in it's entirety, many times and I always enjoy it.
I would say that my best advice to newbs is: Make sure you always use reference photos, you can use several...but only use them as a guide. Reference photos of real horses' paint and pinto markings, real horses' dappling, and real horses' eyes! Don't just sit down and come up with your own patterns and color in your mind because you think you know what they should look like, 99.9% of the time, you will be wrong! I can't stress this enough! Another wonderfully informative site about equine color and genetics is Equine Tapestry by Lesli Kathman The very top artists use reference photos extensively! Also, if you want to learn, Improve your work, and get true helpful comments on your work, ask the top artists about it, Don't ask your uneducated friends because chances are that they have no idea about correct anatomy or correct markings and color.
I still love to learn and I always will, but I really enjoy the experience of getting something correct now. It makes me jump around ecstatically when I have a epiphany! I just love the feeling and this keeps me going and improving my work for others to enjoy :)