Pony Restoration Project

May 20, 2019 | Posted by Lexie Bragg

BLUE BEAR is always looking for fun and unique projects to share, so when we stumbled across this adorable pony restored by artist Devon Nowlin for The National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame using BLUE BEAR Paint & Urethane Stripper, we just had to share!

Nowlin is an artist who is a self-described painter. Nowlin came into restoration work by saying “yes” to odd jobs and taking on opportunities which required her to learn new skills, techniques, mediums, and work as a perpetual problem solver. Nowlin has three public commissions in the city of Fort Worth, Texas, and has worked with several different artists and organizations throughout North Texas. “When the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame was seeking an artist to repaint their little pony, I was referred to them, and the project came to me at just the right time to take it on,” Nowlin explains.  


The National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame was started in 1975 in Hereford Texas, with the mission to shine a spotlight on the women who had been largely overlooked for their contributions to forging the American West. In 2018 the museum was closed for renovation and reopened in March 2019 with the “It’s Never Just a Horse” exhibition. A crowd favorite of the museum returned with a new look: a life-size fiberglass pony that children are invited to sit on to have their photographs taken.


The pony was originally a palomino; dusty brown with a dark brown mane and tail. The Cowgirl Museum wanted to update the look and feel of their pony by transforming it into a paint horse; a specific breed of horse with large white and dark patches of hair.   There were quite a few chips in the paint and glossy urethane top coat, so though a daunting task, Nowlin knew it would be best to strip it all off. Nowlin learned of BLUE BEAR Paint & Urethane Stripper when she worked for the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, where the museum carpenter recommended our products.  BLUE BEAR Paint & Urethane stripper is low odor, non caustic, and safer for the end user, and the environment! Nowlin chose BLUE BEAR's Paint & Urethane Stripper because safety is a top concern for Nowlin. Though she works in a large workspace with proper ventilation, it is important to keep herself and her young apprentice safe and to avoid as much discomfort as possible.


Stripping was done in two passes.  The first removed the large areas of paint, while the second was done to remove harder-to-reach areas and small detail work.  Nowlin and her apprentice wore gloves and eye protection for added precaution (however, this isn’t required) and were very pleased that they did not need to use masks.  Overall, Nowlin says she loved BLUE BEAR Paint & Urethane Stripper and would definitely use it again. “The paint that came off made such a goopy mess; if we were working with a noxious or hazardous product it would have been very miserable,”  says Nowlin.

Once stripping was complete, Nowlin repaired the damaged areas with fiberglass filler and primed the pony with an auto-body primer.  Nowlin said her biggest challenge was perfecting her sanding technique to achieve a really smooth finish. The paint coat was applied with airbrush and high-flow acrylic paint, sealed with a satin MSA varnish. Using the stripper to get down to the base layer and building the primer and paint back up to a smooth finish gave the completed pony a fine, warm, and artistic final quality. Nowlin is quite proud of her little pony for The Cowgirl Museum, as she should be!


You can find more of Devon Nowlin’s artwork at her website, and follow her on Instagram @devonnowl.