Tag Archives: appaloosa

First Donation Finished

Hurrah! I have finished my donation for the Harvest Halter Live Show in September.

This is Cornucopia, a Safari Toob pony in bay appaloosa. I’m going to show her in early September (as a POA/Shetland cross) and then she’ll be a raffle model at the Sept. 22 show.

Safari Toob horses are right between Micros and Stablemates in scale

I am working on a donation for the earlier show as well- another pony. I think I have a pony problem… luckily these two are headed immediately for new homes!

My Little Appy™

This poor guy has been 99% finished for over a week but now he’s finally done and ready to go home. He is my second commission, and was just a blast to paint. I’ve been calling him “Martin’s Appy” in my notes, but I have faith that his new owner will give him a more suitable moniker.

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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?


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!

Random Work In Progress

This is the Safari Rocky Mountain Horse Stallion remade to a Tiger Horse mare. She was first painted with basic colors of burnt sienna (body), burnt umber (mane and tail), white (markings), tan (light hooves) and grey (dark hoof). In this picture she has also had one layer of pastelling on the front half of her body, including the black lower legs and muzzle.

Cool Colors

Just a quick post today, for various reasons…

I was tickled to find, while browsing for appaloosa reference pictures, that apparently there are appaloosa Gypsy Horses. As a draft horse fan, I am seriously drooling.

I also ran into a fun blog for model horse hobbyists, called Check Out This Horse! It’s basically a daily digest of interesting-colored horses for sale. Some of the pictures are too small for good references and it’s a little heavy on champagnes, but definitely a fun site with some cool and inspiring pictures.

Pencil work: flea bites and roaning

Inspired by my lovely new collection display and a post about flea bites on Fallen Leaves, today’s post highlights two horses that are nearly finished and who have both been detailed using colored pencils.

First is “Nettie Perle,” a Pebbles Arabian mare in flea bitten grey. I adore this mold and was very lucky to be able to trade for one, since they are pretty expensive even as bodies. After prepping and using white primer, I shaded her with white, grey, and black pastels. After those layers were sealed I did several layers of fine ticked flea bites using a Derwent colored pencil. I am very pleased with the results. Now I just need to do facial details, hooves, chestnuts, etc. and she’ll be finished.

Horse number two is the Peter Stone Chips pony, another awesome and hard-to-find-cheap mold. I searched for one as she is the perfect portrait of a mare that long ago taught me to canter, Diamond.

Diamond circa 1998 with a foal

Diamond was a POA broodmare and summer camp horse with the most unusual coloring- her official color was blue roan with leopard spots. I actually had a custom done of her (on the Trad. POA mold) when I collected horses as a kid, but I was never really happy with how she turned out.

To create Diamond’s roaned and leopard coat, I used black and white pencils (both Derwents and pastel pencil) to make hair marks over a pastel base coat of her blue-grey-white coloring. I’ve done several layers of roaning in both black and white, including both hair marks and larger spots- you couldn’t really tell on her where roaning ended and appaloosa spots began, so that’s the look I’m going for.

As with Nettie Perle, I’m very pleased with how this penciling technique has worked out. Diamond is also at the stage where she only really needs last details such as chestnuts, hooves, eyes, and face detailing to be done.

Tips for working with pencils:

  • Follow hair growth charts – a horse’s coat is full of interested whirls and curls and you want to make sure to capture this correctly with any hair detailing. I have posted hair growth charts in a gallery here.
  • Go slowly – this is not something to rush! I like to watch TV while I work so that I am not overly focused on the pencil work but relaxed and methodical.
  • Seal between layers – the best effects are going to come from multiple layers of “hair” just like a real horse. Seal between layers to avoid messing up previous work.
  • Sharpen the pencil often – no matter what scale you are working on, hairs are tiny! Keep a sharpener handy and don’t let your marks get too wide and blunt.
  • Vary your strokes – for both roaning and flea bites, varying the number of “hairs” in different areas will create a more realistic pattern. You don’t want uniformity in the coat, just consistence. Especially with flea bites, the concentration of red hairs varies a lot (notice on Perle above some thicker patches of pencil lines near her withers, flank, and barrel).
  • Experiment to find the right pencil – I use Derwents and pastel pencils, but there are lots of options out there and there is certainly no right answer. One brand I’ve heard good reviews of repeatedly, but never tried, is Prismacolor Verithin. I use Derwents mainly because that’s what I already had when I started doing models, and they work well for me.