Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Tip

Welcome back to the next installment on painting a dapple grey! Let's get right to the recap:
  • Begin blocking color in with the dark mix and dab paint on to the darkest areas. Pay close attention to your reference materials! The paint should be scrubbed in so that it is thin and more like a tint. If it is applied too thick, there will be brushstrokes and the blending will get too muddy and indistinct.
  • Continue with the medium grey mix, and fill in all of the non-white and non-black areas.
  • Scrub white in the lightest areas. At this stage, detailing is not important, but keeping the lightest spots white is. Use a small brush to get paint in the more crowded areas and leave a tiny border unpainted between white and black if possible. It is ok to paint right up to and over grey.
  • Lighten some areas of grey by dabbing a bit of white paint over the top. Don't blend it too much, just get a thin layer on there.
  • Finally, brush some black paint back over any areas that still need it. These spots will become a dark grey.
  • With the color blocking and brushover touchup work done, it is time to blend it all together. Use a small soft brush for the face to create smooth blending. Detailing is not important yet; just keep the color areas contained and evenly blended.
  • Using a stiff brush (I love my Monarchs for this), begin blending the coat with short, firm strokes. Be aggressive to get the paint to blend together with a hair-like texture. The texture should not be rough to the touch - instead it should simply look like lots of color variegation with a natural flow over the body.
  • Blend the lightest areas first and progress to darker zones. Painting the white first prevents smudges and muddy contamination in what should be clear white. Proceeding in this order also conditions the brush by coating it with lighter paint which will produce a hairy and grainy grey look in the darkest areas. As you work, you will need to add very small amounts of white paint to the brush. Lightly dab the brush into the edge of the paint and then scrub it either on the palette or a towel to both disperse the paint and get rid of the excess.
  • Be patient with this step - it takes a while (I took about two hours on this session), but is the roadmap for the rest of the paint job and provides depth to the finished product.
  • If needed, use a large soft brush to lightly (as in the tips of the brush just barely graze the surface) smooth the paint out in the direction of hair growth. Omit this step if the paint is fairly smooth already since it will soften what should be crisp, and may drag paint where it doesn't belong.

Tune in next week for starting the dapples!


ArabsRule said...

You make that look so easy, makes we want to dig out the oils and try again! Looking forward to the next one.

Mel Miller said...

It is actually pretty easy... once you've had a lot of practice! There's always a catch, huh? At least oils are easy to blend so even first time users can get good results. It just takes a while to refine, refine, refine.