Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of Year

This year seemed to fly by and I didn't get as much done as I had hoped. Although I do feel that I'm learning and getting better with each piece, I had grand plans for how fast I'd be able to paint and was hopelessly inadequate in that area. I hope to be able to organize my time and techniques more effectively in the new year and get more works out there.

I am down to the last of my blank resins and am pretty sure I can get them all done in 2011. So far I've had really good experiences with commissions, so I do plan on continuing with them, though it will probably be spring before I can take any more on.

I have to admit that this wasn't a great year for me money-wise, and trying to deal with money issues and survive as an artist has been a real challenge for me.  I am hopeful that I will be able to turn the corner soon and be a little more successful in this area.

The main thing I want to focus on in 2011 is to simply relax and enjoy myself more, and not get so caught up in worrying about things that I have no control over. I think I should be able to do that ;-)

I hope everyone else has a healthy and prosperous new year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Update

I'm going to be in and out of the studio the next week so this will probably be the last post before Christmas. I have been really productive and am really far along on Alvaro, Mercurio and the reiner, but I don't want to show them until I've got more details on them. So here are a few things that I've just started or are still in early stages:
Sushi is on her third layer of oils, I think. She's going to have some light dappling on her shoulder/back area, and then a surprise! You'll see...

Mini Nahar has another layer of oils. I think I already said that he'll be a straight bay, I'll probably give him a sock or two and some kind of facial marking.

I've softened the dapples a bit on Mercurio at this point. I just love this sculpture.

Here's another Taboo that I just started. He looks so terrible right now! He's going to be a red roan overo (maybe some sabino) I've been looking at a lot of reference pictures lately so I can't remember.
I've also done some research for a Nevada and the Stormwatch that I will be starting (probably next year). I'm finally getting down to the bottom of my resin list! That means that hopefully by the middle or end of next year I can start concentrating on more current resins as they become available. I definitely don't like having a big herd of unpainteds on my shelf.
That's it for this time, I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Naples Yellow Comparison

Naples yellow is one of those great "horse-y" colors, but I have found that it really varies from one manufacturer to another. Each company seems to use different mixtures of pigments to make their color, and it can range from a bright yellow to a subtle neutral. I've been cycling through tubes to see what manufacturer I like best, so here's a few that I've tried lately.

I like Rembrandt paints in general because they are very smooth and relatively cheap (plus their tube is 40ml vs 37ml for most standard tubes). However, some of their colors tend to be garish, and also they tend to use more oil so I have started steering away from them a little bit.

The first color on the left is Rembrandt Naples Yellow Light. As you can see, the tube is almost full because I didn't like this color. It's too light for my taste, and it almost has a greenish cast to it. The color to the right of it is Naples Yellow Deep. This one is better, and I have used it on models, but it's still too yellow and falls into the garish category for me. It can always be modulated by another color, but I'd rather not take the extra time when one color will do.

Next is Sennelier Naples Yellow Deep. I really like this color and use it all the time. It's a nice neutral yellow, and the consistency is buttery without too much oil. I don't use a lot of Sennelier colors because I had a really bad experience with a stringy tube of paint from them once, but this is one color that I will definitely buy again.

Finally, there is Winsor & Newton Naples Yellow. This is slightly more yellow than the Sennelier, but it's still a very nice color. The problem I have with it is that it has lead carbonate in it. I didn't realize this when I ordered it online. I don't like using paint with lead in it, not because of the toxicity so much, but because the lead makes the paint heavy and difficult to brush out. It's a weird feeling and doesn't work well with the lighter synthetic brushes, it needs a good stiff brush to work best.

There are still a few other brands left that I'd like to try, but I need to use up the Sennelier first. It lasts a long time!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Weekly Update

Sushi has a simple airbrushed basecoat and a thin layer of oils on her now.
I worked some on the dapples on Mercurio. He still looks a little polka-dotted and regimented at this point.
I got a chance to work a bit on this Mini Nahar. He's going to be a straight bay. It was really relaxing to just put some paint on and blend it, and not have to worry so much about hair growth, patterns, size of dapples, etc.

I'm still debating what color to paint my Stormwatch. I'm leaning towards roan right now. When I look at him, I see pinto, but I don't know. I could do a roan pinto, but I'm just not sure. So indecisive!
That's it for this week :-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Weekly Update

Wow! We got blindsided up here in the Northwest with a winter storm, lots of ice on the roads. I thought my husband was going to be stuck on the highway overnight, but he made it home from work after 6 hours. I normally love the snow, but not when my family gets caught in it.

Anyway, on to the horses. I'm still working on the basic colors and shading of Mercurio. His dapples look like polka dots right now but that will change. I love the way Brigitte portrays movement, especially at the trot, both Lajjina and Mercurio have this beautiful presence and natural look.

I've been doing lots of little things to the reiner, started adding some mottling, worked a little on the hooves, and fiddled around some more with the spots. I've washed some more color over the blanket where I am working with the roaning, and added some color for ticking (or whatever it's called, I'm not good with nomenclature). I will go over all of that with blanket color.

I'm just putting in a basic airbrushed base coat here on Sushi. I love the way this resin looks in person but she's kind of hard to photograph because she's walking in such a straight-on pose. It makes her head look more angular than it is, I think. Some models are just really hard to photograph.

I've been able to work a little bit on Taboo. I'm really enjoying working on him and trying out some different techniques.

Whew! Well, that's all I've got to show for this week, I hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Computer Problems

Argh! I'm having some computer problems so may not be able to post anything for a while. One diagnostic test showed a corrupted hard drive which doesn't sound good, so I'm going to be doing some more testing today and the computer will be tied up. I may not be able to check emails consistently, either. At least it's still under warranty (I think). I really don't want to drag this thing to the shop...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Weekly Update

I missed a week! I'm back this week though with a couple of pictures, including a new face
Here are two SM foals that I've been working on, they are so cute! I'm not sure if I'm going to be selling them or not.

Here's the latest Alvaro shot. Since the previous photo, I have worked some on his base, his head and overall darks. I'm letting him dry for a while and then will go back in with the lights and more detail work on the dapples. His hooves of course are not done yet.

I've made some of the reiner's spots a little bigger, and worked some on the roaning and legs. I also put some darks on his mane and tail, and have just started putting color on the hooves.
Here's the new guy, an Eberl Mercurio. He's going to be a sooty dappled buckskin. I've just put a coat of airbrush color on him to start to establish color and shading.

I'm just waiting for the base to dry on Lajjina before I take more photos. I may be able to spray the base today. I have also decided that I'm going to try a fleabit gray the Sushi that I've got. I'm really nervous about doing this color, I've never done it before and am not sure how I'm going to do it. I really want to try this color though, and I think it will suit this mold well.
That's it for this week!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Weekly Update

Not too much to show this week, I had to wait to spray some things and have been sick for a couple of days, too. I'm getting some work done, but I've been moving around the studio in slow-motion because of it.

Here's the reiner from a different view so you can see his face. I also decided to make some of his spots a little larger. You can't really tell in this photo, though.

I'm still working on Jezebel's tail, I'm happier with it now. Note the new kitten's foot in the background!

The Apple Techie's color is close to where I want it now, I think. I'm going to work on her mane and tail a bit and then start on her blanket soon.
That's about it for this week. Alvaro has had work done to him but still looks about the same, and I should have some final pictures of the Lajjina resin next week (hopefully).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Brush Review

Here are a couple more brushes I found that I really like.

This is the Black Gold by Dynasty 20/0 filbert brush, I didn't even know they made these. Filberts are oval shaped and are good, all-purpose brushes. When they're new, they have a dull point to them, and as you use them they spread out and become good blenders. As you can see, this one is well-used and paint has dried into the ferrule. This brush is great for painting small areas on minis, painting around spots on blankets, and small detail areas on larger pieces. I just love this brand of brush, I buy Black Golds all the time. You can get them at Dick Blick and the price is right at $2.80 a piece.

These are Silverwhite 1503S filberts. I like the long handle Silverwhites, too, but these short handles are a little smaller and easier to handle on small models. These were pretty pointy when I got them. I really like this brand also, the white nylon brushes are very nice for scrubbing color in, and I can also use larger sizes for glazing. I happen to be partial to the filbert shape because it seems to last longer for me. I don't take care of my brushes very well, and flats and brights tend to get hard at the base pretty quickly (for me). Anway, these are excellent all-purpose brushes for either oils or acrylics. They're also pretty cheap at Dick Blick.

I've been lax about posting photo updates, but I should have something next week.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Weekly Update

I have been so absent-minded lately! I meant to do a brush review this week because I found a couple of brushes I really like, but I forgot to take pictures of them when I was doing my weekly photography, so I guess that will have to wait 'til next week. So here is the reiner I've been working on, I've added some more roaning to him and put a couple more layers of white on him. Soon I will start dulling that white down and working a little on his body and legs.

I'm still in the process of re-doing Jezebel's tail. I'm never sure whether I should add little bits at a time or try to do the whole thing at once. Usually, when I add a lot of material and try to do it at once, I end up rushing through it and it doesn't look as good, so this time I'm trying to go slow and build it up in smaller segments.

I'm adding layers of white to Taboo. I'm using oils for the blanket on this one, very thin layers that I'm scumbling into the coat. If I need to, I finely sand the layers with 600 (or is that 6000?) grit sandpaper.

Here are a couple of Mini Nahars with a simple airbrushed basecoat. One will be a straight bay and one will be a bay pinto.
That's about it for this week, I've been enjoying watching the WEG this week, thankfully they're showing it live on Universal Sports channel so I don't have to watch the dreadful NBC regular coverage. So many gorgeous horses!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Weekly Update

I am playing with the lights and darks of Alvaro's dapples now. I made the smaller dapples on his back a little darker and put a few more layers on him, and also a glaze of burnt sienna to warm him up in some areas.
 Here's another view of the Patty reiner. I'm still working on whitening up the blanket. It won't be that white when I'm done, but I like to use a more opaque white for covering on the lower layers. I'm also giving him some roaning around the edges of the blanket.
 I'm not sure what base color this horse is. The reference photo I'm using looks like he's got a silver mane and a dark chestnut tail. His body color looks like a dark liver chestnut. I don't know if a chestnut horse can have silver in it or not, or if that is something that happens because of the appaloosa genes.

Thanks to Cece and Jenn for giving me advice on Jezebel, I have torn her tail apart again and am trying anew.
That's all for this week!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Weekly Update

It's problem-solving day for me today!

Previously I had said that I thought Jezebel's tailbone was a little too long, so I dremelled it down and re-sculpted it and the result came out exactly the same (see top photo). I thought that was funny.  In the second photo I have Photoshopped some of the tail out, I think the second photo looks more realistic as far as the length of the tailbone, though the top photo has overall more balance. I would love to hear others' feedback. Disregard the weird lines on the second photo's tail, that is my poor Photoshop attempt at the clone tool.
Here's the Apple Techie I've been working on. This is another example of a problem I'm trying to solve. Generally, I will do 3-4 layers of oil paint, let that dry, then spray it with Dull Cote to see what the effect will be. When I do this, I almost always find streaky areas, causing me to go back in with oils and repeat the whole process again. This is one of the things that takes a long time, fixing these little areas that don't look as blended as I want them to be. Here's a closeup of the leg to show you an example of the streaky area (right above the knee).

I don't know, maybe it doesn't look that streaky, but it bugs me and I just have to go back and paint over it. I almost feel like I have OCD sometimes! Part of the problem might be because of the transparency of the paint and/or the medium that I use that causes more transparency, thus requiring more layers. It could possibly be the lighting too. I haven't had good results when I've tried painting in thicker layers, so until I can figure it out, I will just have to slog through with this slow, time-consuming way.

I have been given the opportunity to paint a couple of Brigitte Eberl's Sushi resins that were cast for Tom Bainbridge, I thought I'd post a couple of photos of her at different angles since most of Tom's angles are straight on. The casting on her was superb, what a relief to get an Eberl that will be easy to prep! One will be painted for Tom and the other I will paint for sale. She is really nice, beautifully proportioned and she has a sweet, type-y look. I'm not sure what color I'm going to paint mine, I'm open to suggestions! I was thinking of possibly a rose grey, or maybe a pinto. I just don't know yet.

Okay, next week I'll have more progress shots.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Weekly Update

Lots of updates this week!

I'm still working on Lajjina here but she's getting very close. I still want to fiddle with the dapples a little, work on her hooves and eyes and the base.

The reiner is starting to get a blanket, but he's still in that hideous-looking stage. I'm not sure if I'll keep that patch on his hindquarters or fill it in.

This little foal has a playmate that is mostly done. I notice some streaky areas on the bay section of this one, so I'll have to do some more work on him.

I am happier with Jezebel's tail now, though I need to refine it a bit more. It looks like her tailbone is too long. I didn't notice that until I took this picture.

Alvaro has had a couple of glazes and a little work done to the mid-tones on his dapples. I need to do his other side the same way, then I think I'll work on the lights some more. I haven't done much with the base.

I actually forgot to take a picture of another model I'm working on, she can wait 'til next week I guess.

And introducing:

Smoky! We decided to adopt a kitten sooner rather than later after our older cat's death. We didn't want our other cats to get too territorial or set in their ways before introducing a new cat. We got Smoky from an awesome shelter in West Seattle, isn't he adorable? Unfortunately our other two cats got fevers (and Smoky had a cold) after we brought him home, so I've been shuttling animals back and forth to the vet for days. One is still not feeling well yet so it's really causing a lot of upset in the studio. Hopefully they'll all be back to normal soon and I can return to an even keel of working.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Weekly Update

Thanks everyone for your kind words about my cat. I'm happy to say that I got back into the studio after a couple of days off.
Alvaro is coming along. He was slightly floppy on his base, I know he's not supposed to be completely perpendicular because of the movement he's doing, but the hoof that goes into the base was pretty tilted, so I beefed up the bottom of the base and now he sits on it much more securely. I've been fooling around with colors on the base, it looks pretty gaudy right now, but I'm still experimenting.

Lajjina is getting some final overall work and I still need to paint her base. I'll probably have pictures of her in the next week or two.

That's it for this week!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Grendel RIP

I'm afraid I haven't gotten a whole lot done in the studio this past week because my elderly cat Grendel was suddenly stricken and we had to have her put down. It was really traumatic and she was in a lot of pain, so I know it was the best thing to do, but I'm still pretty devastated. It gets harder and harder to deal with death as I get older myself. I'm just glad that it happened while my husband and I were both home, so we could be with her at the end, and the vets were very nice about everything and let us spend as much time as we wanted with her. We had this cat since she was a tiny kitten, so spent many good years together. I really miss her.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Discover the Obvious

I have read and heard over and over that you need to wait a bit before sculpting into apoxie, but somehow "a bit" means "30 seconds" to me. I tear into it almost immediately, and I think that is part of my problem with it. I need to be more patient.

So while I was convalescing last week due to illness, I slapped some apoxie on my sample horse and started fooling around with it, checking how it felt at 5 minute increments. The part on the photo that I circled is the first 5 minutes, and sure enough, I hated the way it felt. It slithered around and wasn't very cooperative. I found the best "feeling" time was after 30-45 minutes. Then I could gently work with it and it didn't slither, and if I was careful it didn't tear. So I must remember to be patient when I use this stuff.

Not much else to show this week. Alvaro doesn't look a lot different, but I have worked on his head a bit and added more dark color to his body. I'll be going back and forth like this for a long time.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Weekly Update

I added light color to the dapples, and also worked on his face. The dapples will kind of morph and change for a long time before I feel satisfied. So far I've done the light base coat, then the dapples mapped in with darker paint, then more light dapples added in.

I worked on this reiner's head, body and legs. I'll want to refine the body color a little more, then I'll let him dry and start on his blanket.

I dremelled most of what I didn't like off of Jezebel's tail. I really didn't like the way it was droopy at the tip, and I cleaned off all the ragged detailing so I can try again. This time, I'm going to try really hard to wait for a while before I go in with the detailing of the apoxie. This is a problem I have; I get very impatient and want to be able to work with it immediately, and I think that causes a lot of problems. But at the same time, I don't like to wait because I get involved with something else and then it's hard to pull myself away from that. So, still experimenting with this one.

Remember this little gal? I still need to gloss her eyes, I might do a little bit with her white markings, too, but otherwise she's done. I'm not sure if I'm going to sell her or not. I just love these SM foals.

I'm trying a lot of different things with this Taboo. For instance, I tried the initial base coat in oils rather than acrylics. I think that was a mistake because I have a hard time thinning the oils down for such a small scale.

I was very ill yesterday so am taking it easy for the next couple of days. Hopefully I will still have some pictures to show next week.