Tag Archives: pastelling

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…

 

 

 

 

Cold Snap

I was really looking forward to getting home and enjoying some hobby time, but weather and life had other plans. We came home to a freakish cold spell- the coldest it’s been in Oregon in my lifetime. Since cold can wreak havoc on primer and fixative, I’m limited in what I can work on.

To add to that, I can home from California with a bad case of poison oak- so bad that my whole face swelled up and one eye was swollen shut! So my downtime pretty much involved lying on the couch icing my face. Luckily, I also got some steroids to take so I was feeling (and looking) better pretty quick.

I was jonesing for some hobby time in general, but I also wanted to get back to work on the portrait horse I’m making for my trainer. I base-coated him in acrylic and I decided to try doing a bit of pastel on him and see how the fixative behaved in our freezing temperatures.

Adding pastels

Adding pastels

I figured that if the fixative did go wonky, I would only need some sanding and another coat of acrylic to get him back. Luckily, the fixative worked pretty well, so I was able to make a lot of progress on this guy.

After a few layers in

After a few layers in

At first I made him a little too red, but I was able to back it out a little and I think I got the nice red bay I was going for. I did several layers of pastel over a weekend to get his body color where I wanted it, and I’ve been using my free time on weeknights to work on his acrylic details.

Working on his intricate blaze

Working on his intricate blaze

Ducky is a somewhat challenging horse to do a portrait of because he has a very intricate blaze, and even his leg markings have pretty unique edges. I’ve been doing a lot of layers followed by buffing.

Duckys blaze

The temperatures are still mostly below freezing, but they’re supposed to come back to the usual 40’s later this week. Even with my success (and/or luck) with fixative on Ducky, I don’t want to try doing primer, or spraying fixative on a grain-prone color like palomino. So those projects will have to wait.

Detailing his markings

Consulting my notes while working on details

But I’m sure glad I was able to make progress here! Hopefully I’ll be gifting this little Ducky next week.

Progress, here and there

I wanted my next post to be the first in a series about molding and casting my rider doll, but those posts are… postponed…until I can successfully write about it without expletives. My first try was rather bumpy, but I’ve reassessed and have a grand plan for Success on the second try- whenever I get a chance to do that.

Meanwhile, I’ve been progressing pretty well on my other goals. I’m done resculpting Alpo and he has his tail back on. I’m painting him white as a base for some new clothes. He’ll still be a grey, but slighty different. I really liked how his eyes, muzzle and teeth are though, so I’m doing my best to reserve those features while I redo the rest.

Alpo 8-9-13

Chryselephantine 2.0 is getting her deeper color! And some little health dapples too. I’m working hard to avoid grain on her- buffing between every layer which means more work, twice the fixative, and more time. But worth it if I can avoid the dread grain.

Working on her definitely makes me happy that I usually do Stablemates. She’s only a Pebbles but man! There is a lot of space to cover with pastel! And my hand gets tired holding her. Remind me never to say yes to a Trad! : P

Chrys 8-9-13

The Hale resin has both his details and a name! This photo does not do him justice, but meet D’Artagnan, the blue roan Breton stallion. He’s done except for his eyes, which needs glossing. He was the second resin I got, and I’m excited to have him all dressed. I worked really hard on his roaning too, and I love how it came out. Hopefully I get a chance to take some better pictures soon.

d'artagnan 8-6-2013

Click to enlarge the roany goodness

Nightfoxes minor repairs are coming along well too. I’ve also been doing a bit of brainstorming on performance ideas, so all in all I’m feeling a lot better than I was a while ago about getting things done. I just got to keep fingers crossed on this pesky casting business…

Tis the Season

I’m back from New York and working hard on the several handmade gifts I’m doing this year. I usually do a mix of homemade and bought gifts, depending on time, ideas, and general motivation. One thing I’m making this year is a portrait of my friend Liddy’s new horse, Violet.

violet portrait pix - right

Just before I left for Thanksgiving, the model was starting to move from the awkward early pastel layers to at least the vicinity of realism. She has a ways to go, but I’m feeling confident that I’ll have her done in time for Christmas.

Here’s Violet after about 5 layers of pastel:

violet progression 01

At this point I was having trouble visualizing her because of the white primer mane and tail, so I switched from pastels to acrylics for a bit. I always find that useful for the final pastel stages because it helps me see where how the colors will look on the finished horse.

violet progression 03

Ah, she’s starting to look like Violet now! Here she is with a few more layers in both media:

violet progression 02

I’m pretty pleased with how she’s turning out. She’s a gorgeous horse, and while I know I can’t do her color justice I at least want to achieve a resemblance of her beautiful coat. I think I’m getting there- she needs a number of layers in both pastel and acrylic, but I’m relieved to have her looking at least vaguely Violet-like by early December. Hopefully by the end of this weekend she’ll be even closer to done.

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!

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!

Visualizing Colors

I ran across an awesome idea from Karen Grigson of Bluebird Studio in a Blab thread recently. The subject was shading and tones on a white horse, and she posted this cool visualization from the reference picture:

What a brilliant idea! And it’s not just for those difficult white/off-white tones, either. She also posted these:

Seriously, this is so brilliant. And widely relevant too- no matter your medium of choice, these easy color palettes are extremely useful! I can’t wait to get back into finish work and use this technique.

If you don’t have a program that can take color swatches like this, there are several free downloadable ones. Karen mentions Paint.net (downloadable at getpaint.net) which runs on Windows/Vista. If you’re using a Mac, never fear, GIMP is a free, open-source photo editor for Mac.

Karen Grigson is not just a talented (and helpful!) painter, but also an excellent and creative sculptor. She did an awesome post on her blog called Character that has some great tips on facial customizing.

It is super awesome how open and helpful hobbyists are!