Thank you for visiting !
Please allow me to give you a tour of my studio and tell you about my work. Art and animals have been a part of my life since I was a child. Although I graduated as an Art Major in Depth from Winona University ( Minnesota ), I think I learned the most about art from my mother. She had a paint brush in my hand while I was still in the high chair

 

Me and some of the Papillons ( 2008 ) - Click to enlarge !

 

Photo :

Me and some of the Papillons ( 2008 )

Click to enlarge !

 

My art career began as a painter of portraits, landscapes, and, of course, animals. In my youth, I was consumed with a passion for horses. I rode them, I trained them, and I painted them. A changing lifestyle meant downsizing the obsession. Papillon dogs worked well in this category.

 

I bred Papillons under the Nanstar Prefix for 22 years. In that time, I raised 28 litters and co-bred a handful more. From those litters have come 45 Champions.

 

My first litter included Ch. Nanstar Bright Sierra UD who was BOB at the PCA National in 1987 and BOS later from Veteran class, and her sister, Ch. Nanstar's Aquilla CD, DOM who was BOS at the PCA Specialty in 1988. Second generation was Aquilla's son, Ch. Nanstar Moon Shadow CD, SOD, a group winner who sired Ch. Nanstar Corsair of Car Lee, a multi BIS dog. Other specialty winners include Ch. Nanstar's Auriga ( GCPC BOB winner ) and Ch. Nanstar Mistral ( PCA WB and later BOS winner ).
  
My goal in breeding
was never to be a "big" breeder and have a lot of dogs. I only have kept a small number and they are always house pets first, show dogs second. I think of breeding as a living art form. As with all art, the time comes when one should put down the paint brush and say that the piece is done -- then sit back and enjoy it ! That is the place where I have arrived in my breeding program. I am sitting back to enjoy the lovely dogs I have created and will hopefully live with for many years to come !

My last litter
was born 11/12/07--a single male puppy named : Nanstar Rainbow's End.

 

Me and Athena ( 2010 ) - Click to enlarge !

 

My old love of horses has come to the forefront once again. I am now owned by of a wonderful Morgan mare named : Aerie Meadow Athena.

Photo :  Me & Athena ( 2010 ) Click to enlarge !

 

After 25 years of not having a horse, Athena and I are making up for lost time and spend hours together nearly every day. She is boarded at Dakota Stables where she is one of a small group of horses belonging to friends I ride with.

 

We do trail riding and I also do arena work concentrating on western dressage. I've used clicker training to teach Athena many tricks with positive reinforcement. As with breeding dogs, there is always more to learn about horses and riding. I am so fortunate to have such a good horse and partner to work with.

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Studio L'image began in 1985 as a partnership between myself and Susan Cassem.  We sold a few of my original stoneware dog sculptures at a show, reinvested in some molds, and a business was whelped ! Sue critiqued as I sculpted to complete most of the breeds you will see in this site. Sue has since retired from the business and I have now retired also, but still like to keep up my artistic ability as a hobby.
 
The first step in producing a figurine is to complete the original. This is done in polymer clay. After the original is completed, a mold is made by painting on silicone rubber in layers over the original. When that is dry, a plaster "mother mold" is formed around the silicone. This is then opened and the original removed. Casting material is poured into the mold and allowed to harden. The casting is then carefully removed from the mold and hand cleaned and detailed. After drying for a week, the casting is painted using several types of paint in a two day process. A final sealer is sprayed on and the bottom finished with pads. Because each piece requires considerable hand work, no two are exactly alike.

 


Clay Original
 
Plaster & Silicone mold
 
Casting in mold

Clay Original

 

Plaster & Silicone mold

 

Casting in mold