Pattern interactions

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The full horse from the previous post, showing a rather impressive variety of pattern edges all on one horse.

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“My face doesn’t look like it belongs with my butt!”

The recent discussion of the possible sabino-manchado horse has had me thinking about the topic that has consumed much of my attention for the last few years, which is pattern interaction. That was the subject that I began to explore in a series of articles for the magazine published for the (now sadly gone) Realistic Equine Sculpture Society. I had touched upon it before in presentations, but only in the most superficial way, because exploring the ways that the different patterns interact is speculative. We cannot test for most of these patterns, and to make matters worse we already know that some of what we call a pattern (like sabino) is actually a catch-all phrase for a group of patterns that may in fact prove to be quite different from one another. When teaching about horse color, it seemed less confusing to stick with what was actually known.

But just as my friend Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig pointed out in a recent blog post about the difference between anatomical charts and living, breathing animals, and how important that is for anyone wishing to convey life in their sculpture, so too is there a difference between the rules and categories of coat color genetics and the living animals we encounter. Much of what is said about horse color is simplified. It has to be; that is the first step to understanding it. But once those concepts are clear – once a person understands that this is a frame and that a tobiano and that a sabino – then the next step is exploring the far more complicated way that color presents on individual horses.

And one of the biggest influences on that is the way that the different patterns interact. Someone questioned the use of “portions” of the photos in the previous post, but that is exactly what pattern interaction is about. When there are two (or more) patterns, which portions remain? Which are lost? Which get changed so that they look different from either of the original pattern?

In the next few days I am going to try to reformat some of the information that appeared in the RESS articles, and hopefully from there start exploring the topic further.

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5 Responses to Pattern interactions

  1. Jacqueline Ferrigno June 29, 2011 at 7:14 am #

    And in that photo we can clearly see that, at least when it comes to the hind end, the patterning is an interaction of sabino and tobiano. And that is what I mean about using selective parts for comparisons. Because in the post below, the only mention was of sabino, and that this spotted pattern was seen through out the horse, and that sabino wasn’t usually seen so concentrated at the top like that. But it’s not just sabino, and when the whole image is presented, we can see that. So then the pattern makes much more sense to the viewer.

  2. The Equine Tapestry June 29, 2011 at 8:07 am #

    If using selective parts for comparison is going to bother you, it’s going to get worse because there is going to be a lot more of that. Often when I am taking reference pictures, the details are all that I have because they serve my purposes (that is, something to refer to when painting).

    I am somewhat baffled by your repeated suggestions that I am somehow hiding something. I did not say that the horse was “just sabino” – please read the post again. I provided the picture to show that sabino *can* put spots on a white ground (as it did on that horse). It was a caveat to my statement that round spots inside white where not typical on sabinos. I stated that those did not typically occur continuously across the horse, nor did it tend to concentrate on the top of the hindquarters. That is hardly a controversial statement. And in fact sabino does not do that on that specific horse, because his rump (which is still primarily dark despite the presence of tobiano) does not have spots spread across the top of his hindquarters.

  3. Jacqueline Ferrigno June 29, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    When painting, I understand. But when talking about it genetically speaking it’s a different situation. The forum is down right now, for me at least, but I believe someone else also mentioned the same about about using parts of an image instead of a hole when comparing patterns. It’s not that it bothers me, more so we are conversing about it. But as the someone who questioned the use of portions, I felt like I should explain why. I’m not saying you were hiding something, in regards to the sabino comment in the comparisons post, but when reading your comment below the image, as a viewer all I see is sabino mentioned. So when I see that image, as a viewer I assume that this horse is only sabino. But when the entire image is shown like in this post, the pattern makes more sense because now we see that he is more then one pattern. So instead of viewing a horse with those white markings on his rump as an acception to the rule, it now becomes more sensible when we understand that at least tobiano is involved.

  4. The Equine Tapestry June 29, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    Unfortunately “pure for pattern” horses are hard to find, especially if you are looking to illustrate a specific aspect. If you add in the constraint of not pulling and posting photos without permission, that gets harder still. Those are the constraints this blog observes, so let me say up front what you see here might be a mixed pattern. If I think the presence of other patterns are relevant, I will certainly say so, but chances are that if it is not relevant (by my estimation, which of course may be flawed!), I may or may not remember.

    Consider that a blanket disclaimer. :)

  5. Nikki Byler June 29, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    I am very glad that I subbed to this! I love reading and learning about patterns, especially when it comes to my own customizing. I’m a stickler for “correct” looking Appaloosa and pinto patterns. If i end up making a horse and I don’t llike it, I usually end up selling it. LOL!