Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Tip

Today's Friday Tip is less a "tip" than an explanation of my painting process thus far on this guy. Hopefully you can take some new painting techniques back to your table!

First, as I mentioned in his intro post I began with a new color formula for rose grey by mixing a bay and then altering it a bit. At the time I had hoped that it would turn out less pink with more layers than the first couple basecoats showed, and that is in fact what happened. Trust your paint mixes! Or at least give them a chance... The worst that can happen is you have to strip it off.

So, after two basecoat color blocking layers, I used some charcoal pencil. (That update in this post.) This layer ultimately got completely obliterated by the oils that went on next, but it did help me with mapping in the details so it was not a waste of time. I would either use my white Derwent pencil or some other sort of white pencil next time however, just to try to preserve some of that work as it would make the next layer a bit easier to paint.

After the pencil stage I worked on a very detailed oil coat, which is what you see here. It still needs a second coat using this same technique, but I'm going to work on the legs and head a bit more before I get to that. This part took quite a while - probably a 4 hour sitting, and I was only able to do this one side. (The second side is now caught up, painted in its own session.) Here's an outline of the process I used for this coat:
  1. Scrub a small amount of white on over the head and top portion of the neck. This makes the rest of the paint blend in more easily.
  2. Using a frayed old brush, dab a tiny bit of dark rose mix on the cheek and poll. A little goes a very long way! Best to add too little and put on some more later.
  3. Using a fresh dry brush (I used one of the stiffer frayed Monarch rounds in my collection) lightly stipple blend and stoke the color into a hair-like direction.
  4. Add a touch of grey around the appropriate areas of the face and blend. This part doesn't have to be perfect; just looking for a quality basecoat to go back and detail later. I did do a bit of detailing on the eyelids and nostrils in this step, but you don't have to.
  5. Using a springy, small round and starting at the head, begin brushing white in short strokes in the direction of the hair flow. Make sure there isn't so much paint that it leaves ridges. We're looking for a visual texture, not an actual texture. The brush you select for this is very important. Too soft and with little spring, it will just mush the paint around. (I made that mistake on side two and have some fixing up to do over there...)
  6. Keep going with the little white brush adding roany areas where the white and "grey" is mixing, and adding in dapples where appropriate.
  7. Once the top section of the neck is finished, repeat the whole process for the lower section of the neck, then the shoulder, belly, barrel, and hindquarter, working in sections that are most comfortable for you size-wise. The sections are important for 2 reasons: 1) It takes a long time so if the whole horse is covered, by the time you start painting the last section, the paint will be a little too tacky to work with effectively and 2) It keeps your fingers out of the paint... :-P
In each section, use a base of the dark rose grey mix, and then add in one of the lighter mixes or some black, depending on what the reference photo(s) calls for. In the larger sections of white and color I went back and forth with white and the colored mixes using a clean stiff round brush to get a variegated color with some hair-like roughness. (Again, the horse itself is smooth, it just looks hair-like because of the way the colors are intermixing.) I think I am going to go ahead and pick some of the dappling and roany areas out with pencil before continuing with the next oil coat. More photos to come! Anyway, that's the process so far. Good luck in your painting endeavors! Oh, and I remembered to put up a photo for the tip on prepping a few weeks ago. :-D


Anonymous said...

Very nice! What a lovely, subtle coat. One question: is it physically possible to replicate this kind of paintjob in acrylics and pencils? I have yet to venture into the brave world of oils.
While I'm typing, I have one or two other ideas for tips: I'd love to try my hand at a hair-by-hair roan, but, embarrassing as it may be, I'm clueless regarding realistic hair patterns. For the life of me, I can't find any reliable reference photos or diagrams, and it seems like a risky idea to just "play it by ear." I'd love to see a tip about this!

Mel Miller said...

Hi there Kiki! I have always meant to go draw up a hair pattern chart, so I will definitely post that as a tip when I do. As for replicating this look in acrylics and pencils, the answer is yes and no. Each medium has its own look, so a grey done in another medium can look remarkably similar, but will be slightly different. Both can render excellent results though, so just go with what you like! :-)

eventingpony said...

I found the pumpkin!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Did I catch this pumpkin?


tibbi said...

Did I miss the pumpkin. Oh well, I had a good time looking through the blog:)


Mel Miller said...

Congrats Elise! I'll contact you for your address. Better luck next time Sharon and Tibbi. There will be several more opportunities! :-D