Wednesday, December 28, 2011

End of Year Cleaning

This is about the cleanest that my studio table gets. There's no getting around it -- I'm a slob. This is our cool retro kitchen table. I have an actual room set aside for my studio but I tend to work here a lot because the light is better. I covered the top with a piece of plexiglass. It's usually so cluttered that I end up holding the model in my lap while I work. 

I wish I had a picture of the awesome cake that I made for Christmas. It was a spice layer cake with cream cheese frosting, the first layer cake I ever made, and it turned out great. The slices were beautiful. It tasted good, too ;-)

Hope you all have a great new year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Weekly Update

I've got a couple more layers on Johann now. He still looks too orange, I can see this is going to be a difficult color that will need a lot of finessing. He's going to be more of a browny-gold with sort of chocolate darker areas. It's hard to describe. So I'm still in the process of toning him down.
I've been working on the roany patches of Oliver. I wanted to get some of the roan work established first, and then I will go back and tighten up some of the markings. I worked on Elsie's mane and tail but she still looks pretty much the same so I'm not showing her photo, I'll be setting her aside to dry for a bit and then will start roaning on her.
And here's the fleabit Sushi that I'm doing. I'm trying something a little different with her and doing the initial fleabites in oils. It looks really stark at this point but there will be a lot more layers and blending in later. I'm really enjoying the larger flea bites and the fact that they're different sizes and more random, it's so much faster than doing a roan where a lot of sections need to be pretty uniform.

And that's all for now! I doubt if I'll post anything next week, so Happy Holidays to all of you :-)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I know I've been AWOL from the blog the last few weeks, as you can see I've been busy working on Equus Max. I've worked up his roaning and now I'm going to focus on his head, legs and mane and tail before I go any further with the roaning. I need a break! I can't tell you how many days have gone by where I've worked for hours, only to think at the end of the day: "it looks the same!" He's finally starting to get somewhere now. I really made a mistake by not doing a scumbled lighter gray base before starting the roaning. I'm a slow learner and stubbornly seem to do the same wrong things several times before a new idea sinks in. I've done a little scumbling over the hairs here, but will need to do more.

In the photo above, I've photoshopped the ribbons and the frosty mane and tail. His ear tips have rubbed off so I'm touching that up, that's why his ears have white tips.

Here he is from the other side:
and here is a shot of his chest area:
You should be able to click the photos to enlarge them.

This week I was able to work on Elsie and a little bit on Oliver. After I work on Max in oils I will need to let him dry for a while, so I will get a chance to work on my other pieces. I'm looking forward to it! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Uh oh!

Hope you all have a fun and safe Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Oh, my bleary eyes!

I've been spending the bulk of my time now working on this gigantic Equus Maximus. He still has a long way to go, but I can definitely see him starting to take shape. I did some scumbling of paint under the initial roaning, but now I'm doing more hair-by-hair roaning on top of that. I wish the photos showed the complexity that is going on. He has only been sprayed with Krylon matte fixative, which is actually kind of satin, but after I do more roaning on him I'll spray him with Dull Cote and that will flatten the color and make the contrast pop a little. 

This guy will probably be taking up most of my time for the next couple of weeks, so forthcoming blog posts will be sporadic. Sometimes it's relaxing to work on a piece like this, but after days on end, my eyes are not happy :-0 I also get really tired (or really antsy) from sitting in one position for so long, it's like I get into a trance and forget to move or look up.
I have managed to work a little bit on Elsie. I still have some more to do on her body color, but she will also be a roan. At least she's small!
Ollie's picture is a little blurry. He's going to have roany patches on him, so I'm starting to work on that before I tighten up the pattern.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Warm Greys

Here are a couple of warm grey color that I've been trying out recently. I like both of them.

The one on the left is Sennelier Acrylique Warm Grey, and the one on the right is Old Holland Warm Grey Light oil paint. They're both pretty similar which is good for matching acrylic colors to oils if I need to do that. They are so warm that they're almost brown in color (in fact, both these colors are a mix of browns with white). I've added titanium white as a tint and mars black as a shade on both of these for comparison.

The tints are really nice, great for highlighting, light dapples or to incorporate into the base color for white markings or a grey horse. The darker shades are great for greys again, muzzles, and also for some grullo colors. Out of the tube, these greys would make a great base color for a classic champagne (haven't tried that yet but it looks like it would work), or a dun or brownish grullo color. They're also a good base color for chestnuts, can be mixed with a darker brown, black, etc. for a variety of grayish-brown colors. Very versatile!

The Sennelier acrylic is pretty thick so will need to be watered down before use, and the Old Holland oil is thick also, so you might want to try a medium or thinner to help smooth brushstrokes. I used to hate how thick and hard Old Holland colors were, but I really like this color so I've gotten used to it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weekly Update

Hmm, let's see what I've got today. Turko is drying but I'm so close to finishing him up now, I'm happy with how he's turning out. A lot of things are in the drying stages at the moment.
Johann's body is still slightly tacky to the touch so I started on his mane and tail. I'm doing the darks first so it looks kind of like mud.
I'm still adding white on Oliver, I went into the grooves with a darker grayish color and now I'm going over that with the lighter white. I still need to do his legs.
One thing I'm finally starting to remember is to do the underside of everything first. I can't tell you how many times I've painted the body up to a pretty finished state, only to realize that I haven't painted the underside of the mane, tail, etc. Elsie has a lot of underside crooks and crannies so I'm making sure to start on those areas before I go too far with her body.
This picture came out a little blue. Max is drying right now so I started on the base. I will do some more pencil work on him, and then some roaning with a detail brush after that. If you're interested in seeing more detail on him, I think I uploaded this picture at full size so you can click on him for a bigger picture.
Here's a Taboo that I've just started roaning. He's going to be a chestnut roan overo, and I wasn't sure if I should start with the pinto markings or the roaning. I opted for roaning. I kind of hesitated to show this picture because it looks so terrible in this early stage. Also it's about 5 times bigger than the actual model.

That's it for now! Since so many things are waiting to dry at the moment, I've been putting the finishing details on the chestnut Jezebel I've been working on. Hopefully she'll be available for sale in the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Weekly Update

Johann has his first layer of oils. He's a little too red-caramel colored right now, I intend for him to have more brownish points and a cooler gold base color.
Ollie also has one coat of oils now. I'm doing something a little different with his white markings, I usually start with a white coat that has a tint to it, but this time I'm using straight titanium for more covering power.
Elsie's basecoat airbrushed in. This is about as worked up as it ever gets in airbrush for me, I'm so inept with it. When I paint I tend to get over-excited and start doing things fast, and with airbrush I've found that it really helps to go slowly and with a more measured pace. That's hard for me to do!
Here's a detail shot of Equus Max. He's got about 3 or 4 layers on him at this point. Roans are one of the things that I am able to move slowly with (sometimes too slowly). I actually practice breathing slowly and looking up a lot while I'm doing them. I find if you go too fast with a roan, you make the marks too long and it ends up looking streaky and unnatural.
Here's a Nevada sales piece that I'm trying to sneak in when I can. He will be a dun overo.

That's all for this week!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Here's the Rose Reiner, finally finished! This was my first Traditional sized full roan, and he was really a challenge. I still feel like I'm learning when I do these, and with this guy I really made a mistake by starting with too dark of a base, so it took a long time to build up the color. I used pencils, dry pigment, and acrylics in various areas for the roaning. I tried keeping track of the time that I worked on him, and he clocked in at 212 hours (including prepwork). That's just way too long. So for the Equus Maximus that is also a roan, I'm adding some glazes/scumbles of a lighter color in paint to try to shorten that painting time a bit. I hope it works! 
Here's a little Ollie that I've just started. He's going to be a pinto. I just love this guy's face, he is so adorable.
Here's that classy Johann, I've given him a warm basecoat.
Jezebel is just taking so long because I haven't had a chance to work on her. I'm adding her markings and still tweaking her color a little bit.

That's all for this week!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Who Created Me?

I've had this little model for years and years, and I have no idea who sculpted and painted it. I bought her at the first model horse show I ever went to, which was a Midwest Congress in Illinois. I think I was 12 or 13 years old, so that would make it 1979-80? I had to beg my mom to take me to this show, which was at a Holiday Inn in a distant Chicago suburb. I remember being overwhelmed by the amount of models there, it was jam packed. Kathleen Maestas was there, and I think Julie Froelich, but now I'm not sure. I remember being awed by the smooth hair job on the works that I thought were Froelich's, but now when I see vintage pics of Julie's work, it looks like she worked exclusively in mohair. The ones I saw used the smooth hair like Faye Cohen, so I'm not sure if it was Faye or someone else now.

At any rate, there was a woman at the show who had a whole slew of these little ceramic (?) horses, all sculpted and painted by herself. I don't remember her name, but the last picture here shows her signature mark. Does anyone know who it could be? I never saw any of these pieces again in the hobby, and always wondered who she was and what happened to her.
As I was wandering the aisles at the show, my mom helpfully offered to keep this gal in her purse for "safekeeping," and when I pulled her out of the purse later, her leg was broken off. So much for purse safety! I've lost the leg over the years but have kept her around in the hopes that I can identify her someday.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Here is the Hank commission that I recently finished. He was really difficult to photograph, just getting a shot of his head was a challenge. I'll try to get the rest of his photos on my website and Facebook this week.
I'm still busy with roaning the reiner and Equus Max, but hopefully I'll have a couple more photos by next week.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Weekly Update

Poor Jezebel has been neglected for a while while I work on commissions, but I got a chance to do a little detailing on her yesterday. She's going to have white stockings and a thin white blaze. Sorry for the blurry hind end!

Here are a couple of closer shots of Hank. I still want to do a little more to his head and various minor things. He's got markings that are kind of crisp in some areas and then roaned out a little in other areas.
I'm starting to refine the dapples a bit on Turko, and I blocked in the colors in his mouth.

That's all for this week!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Weekly Update

I've been working on the Rose Reiner mostly, here's where he's at right now:

This is the part where I tend to get stuck. I'm never sure how to proceed from here. Do I want to keep adding hair detail? Do I use dry pigment to soften it up a little and then add more hair detail? I think it needs a little more work but it's so hard to know what to do. I've put so many hours into it that I dread screwing it up by going too far, and then having to backtrack for several more hours.
I have some time before I determine how to proceed as I work on the other side. I'm starting to procrastinate because I don't know what to do.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Weekly Update

I have been really busy working on these roans, here are a few shots of the Reiner, who is finally starting to look acceptable to me:
I start to feel really overwhelmed when working on roans because they take so much time. I feel like I'll never finish! I'm experimenting with a test horse to see if I can come up with faster technique, but I really like the effect that I get with the way that I do it now. I really don't know if it's worth my while to do these. I'm keeping track of how many hours I spend on this one, and it's already way, way up there. It will be interesting to see the total hours in the end.
I'm still waiting for approval on Sushi, but I consider her done at this point, here are a couple of shots of her:
I gave her a big belly spot:

I've been trying to touch every commission piece each day, as well as one sales piece, but I haven't been able to meet that goal at this point. I've been putting in extra hours each day, I really want to get my sales pieces out the door so I'll be able to buy a fresh horse to work on (Dante....I hope...)
I plan on getting pictures of my newly finished pieces up on my website and Facebook hopefully by next week. And that's all for now!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Weekly Update

I was sick  last week so I lost a couple of days in the studio. I did manage to get some work done though:
Here's the Rose Reiner with some more work done on his hip, shoulder, and legs. You can finally see that he's going to be a roan!
I worked a little overall on Turko, there will be more dappling on his hindquarters so it won't look that stark, but I needed to emphasize some of the darks before I went forward.
Hank is starting to come together now.
This is still the first layer of Equus Maximus, he still looks really terrible. Of course those lines won't be on there when he's done. He's got some reverse dappling, and I noticed that one side's dappling is bigger than the other's, so I will need to fix that.
That's about all for this week. I completely spaced out and forgot that NAN was last week, I don't know if any of my pieces were there. Congratulations to all the winners and I hope it was a great time for everyone :-)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Weekly Update

Wow, Blogger sure changed their dashboard, I'm not sure if I like it or not. I'll have to get used to it.

I don't have a whole lot to show this week. I'm having a heck of a time getting good pictures of Equus Maximus, I've got one layer of roaning on one side of him now, and partially done with the other side. This is the best I could get at the moment, you can't really see much yet:

Next up is a roaning detail of the Rose Reiner I'm working on, I've also worked a bit on the blanket. I'm right at the point where I'm starting to emphasize some areas and then leave other area alone to create depth. I will probably switch to a brush pretty soon on this one.

And last is Turko, who's had a little bit done to his legs, and I've put another layer of light color on him and started playing with the dappling a bit.

Well, from this post I can see that Blogger hasn't worked out the quirky nature of their "compose" mode despite the update to the look of the dashboard. I always have to go in and delete extra spaces and fiddle around with things. I could start ranting right now! But I won't...