Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Tip

I'm not quite far enough along yet to show how to do mapping this week like I had planned, but that actually leads me to a very important tip. Patience! I used to rush horses for shows, painting furiously right up until the deadline. But then those horses always needed fixing later causing unnecessary extra work, and frustrating work at that because they were already "done". When I made the choice to stop rushing things for the next show (there will always be more!), there was a dramatic increase in the quality of my work. So I encourage you to look closely at your painting habits. If you see rushing going on, make a conscious decision to slow down. You will be surprised at what you can do!

Even though I can't show you mapping today, I can at least share the latest steps on Anthem! In the first picture, you can see the final two coats of oils. In addition to detailing out the colored parts, I went completely over all of the cat tracks to make sure their color was all filled in. After that had dried thoroughly, I sprayed another coat of sealer and went back over the pattern (which is only slightly visible under the new paint) in gesso. This time, I went very slowly (this one layer took about 2 1/2 hours) and carefully around each spot and painted right up to the edge of the previous gesso layer with a small detail brush. It's important to get as close as possible so the previous covered gesso layer doesn't show, and not to go over to prevent pattern creep. (I'll touch on this in the mapping tip as well.) I also sketched in her facial markings now that I don't have to worry about painting over them.

And finally, to answer some questions in the comments from last week's tip:

1) The brush I was using was a #2 round. It could be anything that is a suitable size for the pattern though. As long as the brush has a reasonably good tip that will draw out a point, it is fine.
2) I do not thin gesso. It tends to weaken and not adhere well when it is thinned. To prevent brush strokes, only put as much paint on the brush as you can smooth out before it starts drying. With gesso, this really isn't much. Spread it all out evenly as you go and be vigilant looking for strokes and you shouldn't have any problems!
3) If you are painting in acrylics instead of oils, you do not need to seal in between layers. I use DullCote and ModelMaster Lusterless, but you can use whatever works for you!


Tracy Eilers said...

Yes! I don't rush pieces for shows either anymore, and it has helped me in the long run more than I can say. Its also bad for judges and prospective customers to see your work not fully finished and rushed. It might be their only impression!

Mel Miller said...

Yes! It's bad enough having to undo and redo work. It's worse to show work that isn't up to par and leave a bad impression!

Carol H. said...

Hey Mel, I'm a little confused by your pictures in this one. The top photo shows the model with what looks like a faint overlay of a lighter color of the pattern. Are you saying that you painted the pattern in white, then went over it all again with two coats of oil? Then more white?

I can't wait to see how she looks haired!

Mel Miller said...

Hey Carol! Yes, that's exactly right. The layers from bottom to top so far are: oil 'till it's fairly opaque, one layer of gesso for pattern, two layers of oil to finish off the color and detail, gesso to put the pattern back in. :-)

Erin Corbett said...

I have nothing interesting to add, except that I still click to your blog and reflexively search for pumpkins before actually reading.

It's like my finger does an auto-scroll to the bottom of your page and back up, and I can't make it stop!