Tag Archives: acrylics

Peaceful Pastelling

After what feels like months prepping (actually, I guess it was) I am finally starting to put color on my two resin commissions. The two resins are Justice by Kristina Lucas Francis (the drafter) and Stacey Tumlinson’s mini Majestuoso (the Spanish).

Both horses are artist’s choice colors and they are both going to be chestnut, although very different shades. Justice will be a flaxen chestnut tobiano and Maj will be a deep red chestnut with a hint of metallic shine. At least, that’s the plan!

I am also doing my fourth attempt at a palomino on Chryselephantasia. I did a palomino earlier this year who turned out lovely and was almost effortless… and now this. She is really making me work, but I think I’ve got things right this time.

yellow ponies

The above picture is from a week ago. Chrys was still getting her main body color, and the two resins are getting their yellow-tan undercoats. It was funny working on three yellow horses for a while there.

Since then the two resins have taken a turn toward orangey chestnut.

drafter 12-29-13

As I like to do at about this stage, I also added some basic acrylics so I can start visualizing the finished horse. I blocked in Justice’s tobiano pattern too, so I know where I need to keep going on the chestnut. He’s a bit overly orange right now, but I’m pretty confident in where he’s going.

Majestuoso has a longer way to go, since he’ll be a much darker chestnut.

Maj 12-29-13

Blocking in his dark mane and tail really shows just how far he still needs to go. I love how even just painting the eyes black suddenly brings the horses to life. This guy has a lot of layers left.

Chrys is getting closer and closer- she too got her hair and marking blocked in, and I took the tape off her hooves.

Chrys 12-29-13

At this point I’m only pastelling her greys, and fixing a few boo boos in her coat. Once that’s done, she’ll be getting her whites for real. I’m pleased with how soft her coat came out (finally!) and the super subtle dappling.

I’m so happy to be pastelling again! But I’d better keep up with sculpting and prepping too, so I’ll have a new herd ready for color when these guys are done. I’ve got at least two bays and two appaloosas coming up…

 

 

 

 

So behind!

Yikes! Can you believe it’s already August? I mean, I can, I just wish it wasn’t. I could use another month to catch up on… everything.

One thing I’m very behind on is blogging. I have a lot of pictures and progress waiting to be shared. The other thing I’m behind on are my goals for the Rose City Live at the beginning of September. Here’s what I’m hoping to get done by then:

  • repair Nightfox’s finish
  • finish acrylic details on Hale resin- and name him!
  • sculpt, cast, and paint a rider for Nightfox
  • prep and paint Chryselephantine 2.0
  • repair and repaint Alpo

WIP herd 8-2-13

And here’s where I am on those goals:

  • Nightfox has some acrylic repair, but needs socking and pastel
  • Hale needs work on his hooves, eyes, and chestnuts. Also a name.
  • The rider is sculpted and awaits casting- more on this later!
  • Chryselephantine is just getting her first layer of acrylic, along with last minute details like veining.
  • Alpo has a new leg but still needs to be sanded and get his tail back on. Plus painting!

So I have a long way to go. Right now I’m waiting for Blick Art to open, so I’m taking the time to catch up the blog on my recent antics! For there are many.

As mentioned above, Chryelephantine is finally getting some paint!

Chrys - acrylic layer

I don’t always do an acrylic layer before pastels, but it can be helpful in speeding up the process. Plus, I’m trying to follow the basic steps I used on an earlier palomino that I really liked, and this is how I started. Also, this light color does a great job of showing last minute blemishes that need to be fixed before I move into pastels.

During this stage, I am also adding last minute details with modeling paste. To show the part of her mane that is shaved (as per Saddlebred show standards) I did a layer of modeling paste along her bridlepath to the forelock, with a bit of shaved-hair texture.

Chrys - bridle path

She also got added veining and some neck wrinkles. Next she’ll get a bunch of socking, and then it’s time to add pastels! I’m really excited to get her in clothes.

Lots more stuff coming… my first adventures in resin casting! Building a full-scale panel jump! General madness! Stay tuned :)

Fuzzy Pony Progress

One of the projects I’m hoping to finish before my September live shows is this fuzzy little pony. You may remember him from back when he was a bunch of pieces, but he’s whole and horse shaped now!

After I sculpted his feathers, I decided I wanted him to be hairy overall so I sculpted hair on his chin and belly and used messo to make hair patterns over the rest of his body.

The only problem with hair texture is that it’s hard to get pastels to color every bit. So I always put down a layer or two of acrylic to get into all the crevices. Since this pony is going to be a sun-faded black, I used a brown acrylic for his base.

After the first layer of acrylic I found some places I wanted to re-texture, hence the white on his barrel.

He was looking pretty stark and scary at first, but now with some layers of pastel his color is starting to come along. And I’m very pleased with his fuzzy look!

My Teeny New Brush

Since I had a couple roans and appaloosas coming up I decided to head down to Blick’s Art Supply and finally get one of the teeny brushes recommended by the amazing artist Jamie Baker. Jamie does the most fabulous roaning, even in Stablemate scales.

But being me, when I got to the store and found the brush (Escoda Optimo Kolinsky Sable Reservoir Liner, Series 1310, size 2) I couldn’t help but price it against other similar brushes. And when I found one half the price that looked just as nice and small, I bought that instead. At $10, it’s my most expensive single brush.

My new brush is the Winsor & Newton Sceptre Gold II, Series 101, size 00. I’ve been using it on this roaning leopard appaloosa, and I really like how well it works for hair details. Of course, perhaps the Kolinsky brush is better- maybe even twice as well. But I’m too much of a cheapskate to find out. Maybe when this one retires I’ll spring for it. Who knows?

Detail

This guy still needs marking and hooves done, and looking at these pictures I see a couple other things to work on. But I’d say he’s 95% finished!

It was really nice to be working predominantly in acrylics, as I am on this appy and on Sleipnir, since I only have to wait for the paint to dry instead of the hour plus I have to wait after putting fixative over a pastel layer. When I have the time to devote, it’s nice to get so much done in one sitting. In fact, Sleipnir is officially finished… pictures coming soon.

Dots and Spots

I finally got some paint out yesterday and put some color on two of my prepped horses. It was really fun to have a brush in hand again!

This spotty fellow is a commission/trade. He is an absolute blast to paint.

Here he has one layer in acrylics and one in black pastel. Next I’ll start working on making his white a more realistic off-white horse color instead of the stark hue of the primer. That will dull down and “push back” a lot of the spots and roaning I’ve put on in the first layer, but hopefully that will give a nice depth to his color. And I’ll go back in nearer the end and darken the spots and reroan as desired. Working on his little hairs makes me really eager for my upcoming strawberry roan.

This guy is looking a little scary at the moment, but that strange mane and tail was just to give me something to see instead of white as I paint his body color in.

Many people, myself included, will do a pinto by finishing a complete solid paint job and then layering the white markings over. In this case, because the horse has so much white (his other side is nearly completely white) I’m only pastelling the chestnut color into the specific places I marked out in acrylic. That way I won’t be wasting time, energy, or materials on a bunch of coloring and shading that will just be painted over.

I used a really light layer of a base color to mark the spots (it’s much lighter in person) so that it will barely influence the final color more than plain white. After the spots are their finished color, I’ll redo his white in a nice off white horse color and add the appropriate shading. I hope he’ll end up as cute as my reference pictures!

Strategies for those Pesky Acrylic Paints

I have tried to paint horses entirely in acrylics before but it’s always ended badly. I find it extremely difficult to blend acrylics properly, let alone get them to go down smooth. The reason I fell in love with pastel finish work is because both shading and smoothness are pretty inherent in the medium. It’s great.

But pastels are not very good for fixing chips or mistakes in finish work. With my recent rash of restoration cases, I’ve been forced to use acrylics- and, to my delight, to get better at using them.

Four strategies helped me in my endeavor to fix the finish problem or chips on Alpo, Doublet, and Troy Soldier.

First: Have plenty of applicable colors on hand. Any base color that might be a part of your horse’s lovely coat can be relevant. While doing these repairs I was constantly surprised by what colors worked and what didn’t. I was very happy to have all these different colors on hand in these great Ceramcoat bottles. I lucked into these at a garage sale for a pittance, but now that I know their awesomeness I’d be happy to pay full price for them. Besides, these little bottles hold a lot of paint and keep it neat and fresh much better than paint tubes, so they’re a good investment. Having so many easy to use, pre-made horsey colors made color matching much easier- and less wasteful too.

Second: Keep track of what works. I use my handy-dandy notebook to write down what base acrylic colors I’m using on the horses so that I can recreate the mixes- or another useful hue- when I go back for more layers or additional repairs. (When I saw the photo of Alpo below I immediately noted on his page “left front hoof needs filing!”)

Third: Work quickly in small batches, with water and a rag close at hand. Acrylics dry very fast, so it’s important to remove applied paint immediately if it doesn’t match. Happily, wet acrylic is easily removable if you act fast. I brush the offending area with water to liquidate the applied color. Then I soak up the water and pigment with a larger, dry brush, which I wipe clean and dry again on the rag. Depending on how much pigment you are removing, this may take a few repetitions. Be careful not to let it leave a line of color around the edges of the area- you may need to scrub the remaining pigment a bit with the wet brush to pick it up.

Fourth: Blend beyond the repair. The goal of finish restoration is of course to repair the part that’s damaged. But if you only put your acrylic patch there, even the best color matching is going to leave a funny shape. You want to concentrate your pigment on the problem area, but use that same color watered down to blend into the rest of the horse. Alpo had a weird “rain rot” mark in his pastel work, outlined in red below. That’s where most of my pigment went, but I brushed thinner and thinner acrylic over the rest of the purple-outlined area as well to blend the repair into his body.

Speaking of acrylics, here’s Lilah with some of her acrylic detailing mapped in. The orange in her mane and tail is a bit garish, but even with that toned down I think she’ll be quite a stunner.

Repairing Damaged Finish

Unfortunately, one of the wounded from last week’s Great Feline Attack was Rumble Strip, the star of my recently finished racehorse diorama. Not only did he break off from his acrylic rod and the diorama base, but he also suffered some damage to his finish.

I am not confident using acrylics to paint a whole model or really achieve any shading, but at least I can do some discrete color matching to fix these boo-boos.

First I identified which brown shades would go into his repair. Then I set about mixing and matching colors to find which matched his damaged spots. The nice thing about acrylics is that you can remove them from the horse with water and a cloth or paper towel if the color doesn’t work- as long as you do it right away. So I could mix a color and test it on a spot without doing further damage to the original finish work.

I needed some darker colors to mix the right shades and to fix the marred spot on his tail. It worked, although I squeezed the bottle of Charcoal a bit too hard…

Happily, it didn’t take too long to fix up the damage. He certainly isn’t LSQ, but he wasn’t before either- and now he’s back to his lovely presentable self.

Attaching him back onto the base was relatively easy. All I needed was super glue with a fine tip and a bit of patience. It’s not as neat as before, but I might be able to file down some of the excess glue- once I’m positive that it’s thoroughly dry. And now the race horses are back on the shelf where they belong.

Alas, the other repairs will not be quite as simple.