Thursday, July 31, 2008

Friday Tip

My pre-mixed supplies were getting a little low, so it was officially paint mixing day over here. As a time and paint saver, I fix up batches of my most used colors. A rinsed out Liquitex bottle holds enough for months worth of horses, and the best part is you can squeeze out just enough paint for your project!

I also like to label my bottles not only on top for easy grabbing, but with the actual paint formula on the side. I know these formulas really well so I tend not to put the actual amounts on the label, only the component colors. When it's time to remix, I just squirt paint into the bottle and mix it up. I shake the bottle with an extra lid so that I can compare the fresh color with the old batch which is still in the old lid.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I haven't painted a rose grey in a loooong time. I used to paint them with a sort of generic "rose grey" formula that I would tweak a bit for different shades, and while it worked fine, it didn't allow for all the different variations in color tint on the body, let alone between horses. My painting has changed a lot since then, so I have decided it's time to tackle the color again. I'll be doing a little chronicle of my painting journey with this one not only to keep notes for myself, but to share here and hopefully inspire as well. Let's get started!

The reference I am working from has a subtle color range from raw sienna and naples yellow areas to deeper reddish brown smudges. Instead of making the "rose grey" color, I mixed up a similar shade of bay and altered it to suit the rosy shift. Right now I think it looks a little too pink, but I'm hoping that further layers will help deepen and bring out the individual colors. So far I have been basecoating in oils, just working on blocking in the color zones. The picture above shows two layers, and I may do a third more detailed layer before moving on to step 2 of my plan.

The next stage will involve mapping in the dappling with either white charcoal, pastel pencil or my trusty Derwent drawing pencil. I would like to try charcoal first since I haven't tried it before and I have hopes that it will do this sort of work better than the drawing pencil. I may do some powdered pigment at that time as well. From there, I may finish the horse off in oils using a similar technique to the palomino pinto Tango I did a couple years ago, but only time will tell!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Tip

Well, my photos for this Friday tip seem to have disappeared. :-( But the good news is we really don't need them this time. I'll try to remember to take them again and pretty this entry up the next time I do prepping. Updated! :-D

Since I have never been able to find Ajax (the cleaner most people use for prepping) I use Comet instead. I think they're pretty much the same thing. The easiest way to scrub up a horse is to make a paste of the Comet powder and keep that up in one corner of the sink (or a bowl if you don't have enough room). Then wet the horse down a bit, and start scrubbing the Comet paste all over with a tooth brush. Get into every nook and cranny. The paste is green, so that makes it very easy to see where it has and hasn't been. When done, rinse very well with warm water to get rid of any remaining bleachy film. Set the horse aside for several hours at least (I prefer overnight) so that it can dry thoroughly before priming. And that's really all there is to it! It's a simple step in prepping, so don't skimp here just to get started faster. You'll be thankful you did it in the long run! :-)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Tip

Well here we are at the last week of the eye painting tutorial series! This week we're covering the pupil, the third eyelid, and specular highlights. So, watch the video and check below for details!

  • Add in the corpora nigra on the top of the pupil. They are little blobby finger-like things. They stand out on some horses more than others. There are none (or very minimal) bits on the bottom of the pupil, so just tidy up the line.
  • The rotation part of the video is not *quite* accurate, since I had my pupil separate from the iris. In reality, the whole of the eye will try to stay level when the horse puts its head up and down. There is a limit to how level with the ground the pupil will remain, but for horses in normal up halter pose type headsets to those on the bit, plan to paint the pupil fairly level. In other words, the pupil does not always stay anchored in a straight line from corner to corner of the eye. You can see an example of how this works by looking into a mirror and moving your head side to side. Notice how the whole round parts of your eyes stay in one spot while your head moves around them!
  • AVOID adding specular highlights (those white dots) to your eyes. They are necessary in flat work to indicate shape and shinyness, but when used on a sculpture the lighting will naturally create these highlights. Adding them in can cause the real highlights and your painted on highlights to compete which looks unnatural.
  • Many horses show their third eyelids - some more than others. Very carefully paint in a cream base coat in the corner of the eye. Do not make this very large or it will look like... an eyesore. Add in a touch of pink in the very corner, and then line the back rim with brown. You can also shade the brown into the cream portion if you like.

And that's it! Good luck painting beautiful eyes!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Stuff!

Well, here is one of the reasons I haven't done much blogging other than the Friday Tips lately! Jasmine now comes in two versions - the original listening ears Jasmine, and the perky new ears forward Jasmine. I have also been busy making preparations for a special Breyerfest sale. Since I am not attending this year, I thought I'd offer up a kind of virtual Artisan's Gallery. Everything on the website is marked down, so take a swing by my "table!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Heard a Noise...

...and this is what I found when I went to investigate! Not my chocolate! Turns out it was the usual suspect around here - a friendly neighborhood squirrel. Oh, it's my fault, I feed them. They have learned that it's safe to sneak in and beg for food when they can find an open door. This is not the first time one has just made itself at home, and with his consolation prize scrap of bread, I'm sure it won't be the last. (And you see, this is not totally off topic - you can see sculptures in progress in the background!)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Tip

Welcome back! This week we are covering the iris. Again, most of the comments are in the video, so I'll just recap and add a few details below. Sorry about some of the longer breaks in this one. There's a lot of switching around of tools and color swatches going on in the background!
  • First, cover the iris with a light colored basecoat. Leave room around the edges for a black rim. Do NOT leave a rim around the whole iris - the eyelids are covering up that rimmed portion. Think of the iris as a brown (or whatever color the eye is) circle nested inside of a black circle.
  • Add in darker shadings on the top portion of the eye to add depth. You can also make stripes and blotches in the lower portion of the eye.
  • Do a bit of shading, and then pop in a quick pupil to check on how the colors are blending and to see how the darker pupil affects the overall color of the eye.
  • Continue with shading until you are happy. Do not worry if you cover up your pupil, it will go back in later. Eyes can be stripey and blotchy so don't overblend. At the same time, try not to make anything in the eye too hard edged.
I should note here that even though I only used one light and dark shade in the demo I'll use however many colors the eye I'm painting needs, and there's always some sort of metallic paint in the mix. Sometimes eyes look great with only 2 or three creatively blended shades, others require a whole palette. This is a very quick mockup as well. (And I have no idea what I'm doing with flatwork! 8-o ) Take your time on eyes. Do very thin washes and let each layer dry before moving on. I will frequently spend an entire day making two eyeballs "just right". You don't HAVE to take that sort of time to get really nice eyes, but do be patient and work in many layers. Eyes are a very important part of how people will feel about a paint job as a whole! Next week, details on the pupil!
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Friday, July 4, 2008

Friday Tip

Happy 4th of July! Today's eye tip deals with achieving a realistic look to the sclera (eyewhite). Most of the comments are in the video itself, so I will just quickly recap and add a couple extra tidbits here:

  • The eyewhite should be a creamy white color instead of stark white. Soft white works really well for most eyes. Unbleached titanium is also a good color for slightly darker eyes. (Both are Liquitex acrylics.)
  • Before painting on the black iris base as shown last week, paint in some delicate veining. You can start with burnt sienna, and modify it as needed to suit the eye color.
  • When dry, paint the black iris base on.
  • When dry, add a color bleed if desired. Thin the paint to a watery consistency and allow it to run onto the sclera. Repeat until you achieve the desired darkness. Splotchyness is good - don't try to smooth this out or blend it too much.
  • When dry, touch up the iris base again. Next week, tips on painting the iris!