Saturday, February 17, 2018

Brasenose Layers 6, 7 & 8

Layer 8 Near side
When I started this project I knew I had bitten off a mighty hunk to chew.  Pastelling a full 3D Trad is a lot different than a medallion!!  How to get the spray in the right places, not too heavy, not too light?  How to do shading?  How to not muddy things up??  I'm making this color up, I didn't record specific amounts, I'm doing everything by eye... Up to now liver chestnut has never been one of my favorites---

But then...
But then... I got used to walking outside to the barn, rain or snow or dark, to spray him.
But then...  After 3 coats of Pearl Ex a golden glow appeared and hasn't gone away.
But then...  Following my test piece,  altering only in minor ways (plus the Pearl Ex), his ugly stage has been short.
I now know my test medallion came into my possession in March of 2016.  That Jypsi was a bonus from ordering the Mini Rose Khan.  How interesting:  the Khan has been my only Mini Rose to be painted, so far.  O ho, what breed was he?
-- an Akhal Teke.
Layer 8  Off side
Faster and faster this horse, Brasenose, has gone for me.  The test Jypsi went fast, yes.  I was surprised;  the swiftness of her completion was one of the aspects that surprised me.  It shouldn't've but it did.  She was done before I left Tucson.  (I'd love to put her in the Also-Painted of 2018, but she was started in January.)  Brasenose was started on the 10th and already, in 8 days, he's past Layer 8.  I'm doing these posts in short bursts in an attempt to catch some of the magic as it bolts by.  The speed of it, once I finally got down to having a day and a half clear, is as the speed of a racing Akhal Teke.  He's galloping.

Here is Layer 4, in case you're wondering:
Layer 4  Off side
In this shot you can see the rump patches which have caused me some wondering grief.  Somehow I did not get any photos of Layer 5.
This is Layer 6, what I started with today (Saturday the 17th).   I only have 2 shots of 6 and they were both taken outside.  It was a dull overcast day (this is Pennsylvania, what did you expect!) and shows the red effect of the copper Pearl Ex. 
Layer 6 Near, Shot outside
Jypsi the test medallion had only one small test coat of Pearl Ex (on her face), and, as you painters probably know, it all but vanished under the matte sealant.

Always in the back of my mind is the idea of Brasenose under tack.  Naturally I was unable to resist; this is the traditional tack-shooting spot.  He has worn stuff preivously:  a hackamore, a blanket, parts of the Parade Set under restoration on the other space in the room...
Layer 6 Off, Shot outside
After much cogitation I am pretty sure this halter was made by Renee Foust.  But I am not completely certain.  As if I didn't have enough backlogged blog subjects, Brasenose in Tack is another.

Here's Layer 7, back inside again (it is snowing):
Layer 7, Near side
Layers 6, 7 & 8 are building up the middle ranges of his color.  They were mixes of dark brown, red, and what I call fox cinnamon.  I'm currently following Rachel Mitchell's advice about adding Pearl Ex to every layer, but I'm also putting on Pearl Ex by itself on the lighter parts:  the gaskin area, the neck, the end of the tail, parts of the face etc.
The face is the hardest, by far.  It's clear that there are simply years involved in learning to paint a Trad scale face.  The only thing I knew was that I wanted a bronze nose, but until today I didn't know how much of one.
Layer 7  Off side
As I write this, Layer 9 is drying, with its darker saddle areas.  He's going like the wind.  I feel that another dark layer will see me to such details as stockings and eyes.  That's for another, fresher time.
Layer 8 Near side
Right now I'm so astounded I've made it this far on this exquisite creature it will be a wonder if I get to sleep tonight.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Brasenose Layer 3

Layer 3 Near side
This NaMoPaiMo has been the most fun.  I just sprayed his third layer - in the rain!!  Hurray for ponchos!!  Yes, it was raining, but that wasn't going to stop me.  I picked him up using a sheet of plastic wrap.  This is what contributed to Jypsi's drop:  I hadn't figured out how to carry a freshly-pastelled model right before spraying.  Cuddled the flashlight (it was after dark) and the horse under my poncho, went outside (purple light:  my poncho is purple) and opened the storage barn.  Stood him up and went back for the Krylon.  (Another hard lesson:  don't carry everything at once!)  I wear gloves and a mask for this operation.  I wound up leaving the flashlight in one place and holding the horse in my left hand.  Experience helps but I have SO far to go.
In case you're wondering how he'll dry, I bring him back inside after about 15 or 20 minutes and let him rise to room temperature and humidity.  So far there hasn't been any problem with the sealant...
Layer 3 Off side
This is not to say he hasn't had problems.  He has, and rather big ones.  Reaching Layer 3 has been a process of realizing I'm an impatient cuss and that my test piece had by no means used up my mistakes!!  Hah, hah, hahh!!  How right I was in thinking this horse would teach me some more... 
Just one of my issues is working with the Pearl Ex.  It mixes in the color and goes on easily enough, but my spray seems to mute it back out.  I've got a few ideas...

Yesterday (the 10th) I accepted the gracious invitation of Kristian Beverly and her mother to spend a few hours in their home at my very first NaMoPaiMo painting party!  I can hardly tell you what an honor that was.  I had never been in their home before and only knew Kristian a little.  I'd sold her a horse and some lace and bought one of her saddles (and read her blog), but that was about it -!   Other attendees were Zoe Hatgi whom I was delighted to meet (at last, a body to the name of a Guide customer), Maddie Klein who had visited me once, and Lizzy Mace, a friend of Kristian's.  Like myself, Zoe had driven for an hour+ to be there.  For me that distance was 85 miles.
Kristian Beverly; Lizzy Mace behind lamp
The Beverlys have a room just for craft projects, and this was it.  I was impressed.  My own tack room is not big enough for more than 2 people.
 Everyone was painting in different ways, but we all had one thing in common:  tack!!  Four of these 5 were tackmakers and the table was soon covered with "the glorious mess" (Jennifer Buxton's phrase) of tack.  There are a couple of very talented English saddle makers here, Kristian and Zoe.  I was enchanted.  These girls are zooming ahead with their skills and experience.  They're already at the stage where their English saddles are better than mine.  I had brought some of the saddles I'd taken to Tucson just last week (and shown to Rachel Mitchell).  Fact is, I hadn't had time to unpack them.
Maddie Klein; Zoe Hatgi with glove

The painting party was my first opportunity to put color on Brasenose.  It's true I'd planned on starting him the day before, Friday the 9th, the day after I was supposed to get back from Tucson.  But Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD) had other ideas!!  For one of the few times in my life, my flight was cancelled.  I had successfully made the Tucson to Chicago hop and was quite confident (veteran weather radar reader) that my flight from Chicago to State College could easily evade the coming storm.  NOPE!!!  For more than 24 hours I was delayed - and a flight that was supposed to leave at 6:50pm didn't make it out until after 9.  And that was with seven (7) gate changes.  If you're going to break a record, you might as well smash it to pieces.  All that fuss for what turned out to be a mere 3 inches of snow!!!  

In their defense, afterwards, Geo told me that just a few miles to the south there had been 8 inches and more of snow.  If that had fallen on O'Hare their extreme measures would've been more defensible.  As it was I was nobly trying to reserve judgement, and having a blast exploring O'Hare.  I found a garden, a yoga room, and pet relief stations (which were very uninteresting).  I rode the tram to the International Terminal (and had to wait while snow was cleared from the tram tracks).  I put in a tremendous amount of work on my next cross stitch saddle blanket.  Eerily, I saw absolutely no one else doing any kind of stitchery or handicraft at the airport, all day.

Layer 1 showing *Bask scar
Applying Layer 1 to Brasenose was both satisfying and mortifying.  Progress at last!!!   When I was nearly done (using Q-tips to pastel with, something learned from my test medallion), I discovered I had done a much poorer job of prepping than I'd thought.  Several pinholes appeared (acceptable).  Several rough surfaces came up (barely acceptable).  The places on his rump where Margarita had patched him turned out not to be smooth (yikes).  But worst of all -- how had I missed it? -- he had a scar.
Layer 1 showing *Bask scar
There was a molding discontinuity along his off side, a double straight line from neck to haunch.  When I first saw it I thought of *Bask's scar from his sea voyage, mentioned in Marian Carpenter's book Arabian Legends.  (I've never seen this scar.)  From then on I was calling it his *Bask scar.  I hated to stop painting, but this was serious.  After a tense time I knew I could not just accept it, --- and started sanding.  At first with my own sandpaper, later with sanding sticks borrowed from Zoe and sandpaper borrowed from Kristian (where would we be without friends?), I made progress.
Layer 1 post scar
I was actually able to remove 90% of that scar.  In places I got down to the resin.
Layer 1 post scar
But then I just pastelled him up again.
Layer 1 Off side
 I couldn't see how to re-prime on top of Layer 1.   Let's face it, I was way too pent-up not to paint and I was at my first painting party.  I couldn't not paint.  I confess, too, that my strongest excuse was that he was headed for a liver chestnut and these patches would become so dark as to hide anything out of the ordinary.  There just comes a time when my own bullheaded stubbornness carries me forward.  I guess I'm not a Taurean for nothing.
This is what Brasenose looked like at the end of the painting party.
Mrs Beverly literally sent me home with a supper -- thank you!!
Layer 2, end of painting party

The next day was Sunday the 11th, and we stayed home.  We both very much wanted to stay home AND it was raining.  Progress was made:  my camera captured two more layers on my little Teke.   My memory also tells me 2 layers were done this day.  Mysteriously my notes depicted only one more, making a total of 3.  I dealt with this discrepancy by labelling the first Sunday one "Layer 2.5."
Layer 2.5 Near side
On this layer, inspired by the party, I abandoned the Q-tips and went back to a brush, but this time a short wide thick brush.  It really helped.
Also, entirely on my own, I added the blue tape boots.  They are to be his stockings as well as handholds.  He also has a star, not visible in these shots.
Layer 2.5 Off side
Here we see the patches on the off side slowly becoming less of a blemish.  It's not perfect, heaven knows.  I am struggling with several aspects of this paintjob and that's merely the most obvious.
On Layer 3 I started putting gray shading on his face, mane & tail and knees & hocks.  I was using a microbrush for this, yet another giftie from the painting party.
Layer 3 Off side
 You can see that as of Layer 3, his rump patches are turning out "somewhat" successful.  I wouldn't exactly recommend it. 
Layer 3 Near side
 My pastels are named Jack Richeson Fine Oil.  They were on sale at Uncle Eli's, the specialty art store that's been in State College since before I got here.  It's grand to live in a University town.  It's not grand to be such a beginner on such a beautiful model and have so many mistakes to work through.  I guess I'm just like any other artist.

Thanks to Jennifer for thinking up this wild idea.  I'm having the most fun.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Jypsi Layers 8 & 9: a Drop

Layer 9
This has been the most fun! but also the most shocking.  An accident happened this morning:  I dropped her!!  Never try to open 4 door locks while carrying a medallion on a paper towel AND a spray can...

The wisdom of doing a test piece has been well and truly proven.  Today I did the last two layers.  I have done all I can whilst at my folk's house in Tucson -- no Pearl Ex, no gesso. As it is, I feel I'm skirting dangerously close to muddy.  All that remains is the eye and a blaze:  the mythical Layer 10.  When I started, I honestly thought 10 would not be enough.  Live and learn!

Here she is right after the drop:
Broke, Layer 8
Eartip gone, divot on the offside top butt, other scratches and marks.  After I was done whimpering, I took her back inside (unsprayed) and repastelled the white places.  The smaller scratches were no trouble but the large rump nick suffered, mostly because I didn't think.  I proceeded to paint it with today's color, which happened to be the darkest layer of all - the 'saddle' area on the back of a liver chestnut.  Of course, that made the nick into a permanent dark spot.
Layer 8
With no real options, I decided she'd sustained an injury from a rambunctious pasturemate.  These things happen.  The eartip could be explained by frostbite (!).  The rest of the layer was a success.

I've learned to lighten things with a clean Q-tip.  I've learned that a layer of red (technically 109 Earth Red Ochre) can do interesting things to a liver chestnut; I'm inventing this color as I go, and I wanted a coppery tone without sacrificing the essential not-a-bay brown.

Such a sweet little mare.  She has taught me a ton and considerably eased my pent-up frustration at not being able to start my NaMoPaiMo horse until after the 8th.  In tack parlance, I have "used up my mistakes."
Layer 9
But do I think that Brasenose won't be doing the same thing?!  Hah!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Jypsi Layer 7

Jypsi in Repose by Sarah Rose x SBY
In keeping with my brief posts, this is a one shot.  Since she's not my NaMoPaiMo horse proper, I don't feel she belongs on the FB group feed... and she's not in focus to boot!  I'm on a strange computer with no PhotoShop and I really shouldn't bore you with how hard it was to get my recalcitrant and unfamiliar cell phone to disgorge this shot.  It was taken on an aluminum table in a Tucson back yard.

The visit with Rachel [Trails End Studio] was wildly successful and greatly appreciated, but it contained no painting.  Only one critical ingredient was missing at my folks', so I jogged 15 mins to Ace Hardware (only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun...) for Krylon Matte.  I am not going to try to re-supply stuff like Pearl Ex and brushes... not with just 4 days to go and an airplane ride home.  As of tonight I have done Layers 6 and 7.  She's gone from a medium claybank dun to what seems to me to be an incredible chestnut shading towards liver.  Alas no other pix were taken. Success!!  Success!!  I've been chuffed all afternoon.

Lessons learnt in these 2 layers include painting just a small area per brushful, something I knew from leather dyeing but was forgetting.  I also switched to using Q tips instead of brushes, simply because I'd brought none and Mom had only one she was willing to sacrifice.  (Who cares if it looks motheaten; it's a perfect dusting brush!  Thanks Mom!)  Surprisingly Q tips worked very well, once I learned to truly powder the pastels... and not scrub with the stem.  An earlier lesson was enforced:  Unlike leather dye, which lightens as it dries, the sealant darkens the pastel powder.  Since I'm going for liver chestnut -- and was despairing she'd ever get there! -- this is an entirely welcome effect.

Tackwise, I am working on another saddle blanket and dinking with the Carousel Set.  Thanks for reading!