Thursday, February 22, 2018

Brasenose Layer 11: Finished

 For at least a week I've been polishing this sentence:  Many microbrushes and Q-tips died in the making of this horse.
Here at the end, it's almost anti-climatic.  As I write I'm waiting for the nail polish on the eyes to dry.  (Photos were taken later.)  It's taking more than one coat, although the first coat did most of what I was hoping for.  Did I read tutorials?  Yes (see the Thank You list below).  Am I following them?  Barely.  I'm like Leonardo daVinci:  read up on something and then forget everything and just do it.  In this last sprint -- details, the homestretch --, I'm reverting to my tackmaking experience of 39 years, and using liquids instead of powders.  Outside of my test piece, a medallion started in January, and Rinker the Appy Etch (completed in 2015 - he took 2  1/4 years), Brasenose is the first 3D model horse I've finished since about 1983.  He was begun the 10th, finished the 20th.  Hard to believe: eleven days, 11 layers!  This record speaks of a lot of pent-up-ness.
This post will show Brasenose without tack, as he was the night he was finished and I sneaked out at midnight to photograph him.  I also went out next morning (the 21st).  After all the dire forecasts, the blue sky was rare and wonderful.  Pictures of him wearing tack were, of course, the main part of the 116 shots (clear evidence of infatuation), but those will be in another post.
Layer 11:  Finished
 In the middle of that night, a combination of snoring and excitement kept me up, so I started blazing away.  I learned to aim the lamps low so as to bring out his shading.  He looked like porcelain.  This is now my high-dollar horse, the one my husband always warned me against, for fear of breakage.  The incandescent bulb (the other is a fluorescent) gave him a deep golden glow.  Charmingly, the photo above shows his 'brazen nose" -- Pearl Ex reflections.
Thank You:
First and foremost, Jennifer Buxton, for birthing the idea of NaMoPaiMo and patiently listening to me when I said I'd never.  May she ever feel proud of what she's created.
Margarita Malova, who sculpted and cast this lovely resin.  To get the conformation as good as this speaks of many long hours and of other sculptures.  How is it the Russians have such a thriving hobby scene?  I'm jealous.
Olivia Miseroy, who posted the tutorial that I followed the most: Painting a Chestnut
Bobbie Allen and Lisa Smalley, who encouraged me with emails at the times it mattered most.
Sarah Rose, who sculpted Jypsi and then gave me one:  my precious test medallion.
Uncle Eli's, the art shop in State College which sold me some Jack Richeson pastel sticks, Pearl Ex and brushes.
George Young, my husband, who helped me clear out the storage barn (amoung many other things).
Last but not least, the Russian Post Office deserves mentioning.  For not much moola they shipped a horse halfway around the globe and let me track him.  Following his progress through some of the ground so familiar to my war-gaming George was a great pleasure for both of us, and a lesson in how other countries ship stuff.  I wish my own P. O. could be that good.
Pastelling is painting with powder.  His body and much of his mane and tail were done that way.  Never having painted a horse before, let alone an Akhal Teke with their metallicism, I was making up this color as I went along.  I kept no recipe.  I shaved the pastels into the bowl and mixed by eye, adding Pearl Ex in every layer.  I wore a mask and gloves.  By the end I had my favorite approach, scrubbing in the sparkling powders with a very short, broad brush, dusting with Mom's old Japanese moth-eaten bamboo and then going out to the storage barn to spray him.  The third brush down is the dedicated Pearl Ex brush.
Copper sparkles got EVERYWHERE.

This is a rare glimpse of how I carried him.  There was a lot of carrying, as the barn was across the driveway and around the end of the house.  That was one aspect that surprised me: learning to smuggle him under my poncho, in plastic wrap, through all kinds of weather!
Layer 9 with wrap
The mane and the tail-tip cost me the most effort and took the most time.  Somehow the Apoxie mane accepted pigment differently and was harder to color.  I spent large portions of the 17th and 18th de-painting these areas.  I used rubbing alcohol with Q-tips and microbrushes and a plain brush.  I'd get the hair ends white enough, but somehow the orange I wanted was missing.

I did try a touch of tan Leather Dye, which was exactly the right orange color! (you can see it on his forelock), but it was so tricky to use liquid to blend pastels on Apoxie that I couldn't do a lot with it.  The Pearl Ex tempted me, and I'd paint it on his light places --  so addictive! -- but with each matte spray sealant coat, it'd go duller.  It took several layers to build up a satisfactory metallicism.  Worse, the Pearl Ex seemed to make the white parts get coppery and darker, and then I'd have to start de-painting all over again.  After a couple of rounds of de-painting, I gave up.  Natural bleached ends was going to have to be good enough.
Delightfully, the rump patches that had troubled me earlier were consumed in the ever-darkening layers.
On the 18th I peeled away his blue tapes.  His star had nothing to do with pigments, merely being scraped clean by a knife... !  The stockings started similarly, but needed gesso to cover up some wire armatures that showed through.
I was not ashamed to be using nail polish on his hooves and stockings.  I put on a light spotty coating to enliven the gesso - it gave a living-skin color, texture and protection.  I even used it for his eye whites.  The color was right, a pale translucent-y pink.  I'm ignoring warnings about longevity.  I've painted horses' hooves and eartips with nail polish since the 80s.  I'm only sorry I can't remember the name of the model airplane glue I painted King's hooves with back in 1982 or thereabouts.  It's still there and has lasted far better than anything else.
 The above is from Layer 11:  not really another layer, but what I'm calling the detailing.  The front feet had been used for handling and the hooves had a coating of 'everything.'  I lightened them and added one coat of pink nail polish, and that was it:  I was happy.

Here's a look at the last pastel layer.
Layer 10 Near
This is the famous shot put on FaceBook, which inspired Jennifer to award me NaMoPaiMo Champion of the Day:
Layer 10  Off
I did try Rub-n-Buff when I got to the irises.  This metallic paint has been an old friend forever and I intended to use it when an Akhal Teke was first decided on.  But no.  My Rub-n-Buff tubes had dried up into rock and only hard specks could be got out.  For the eyes I dissolved the specks in rubbing alcohol and then had to add pastel powders, which of course had Pearl Ex in them.  This impossibly custom mix turned out beautifully gold, just what I wanted.  At the moment, two layers of nail polish is required, but I'm reasonably happy with his eyes.

Hah!!  Reasonably!!  I'm bouncing-off-the-walls happy!!  He shines, he shimmers, he's got a head-snapping glow to him.  He's humming with power, he draws all attention to himself.  He's all-a-quiver with life, the kind a newly-finished piece of tack has.  It's a subliminal vibration.  It'll slowly die out, but now while it's fresh I'm loving him so much!!!  Without his compelling deadline to finish I feel lost.  It's always this way.  I am fortunate in that tack wearing, testing and making is right around the corner.

Layer 11 Near Forequarter
I know I said the shape of his mane was a clear indication of my intentions as regards the Akhal Teke's traditional neck jewellery.  Nothing could be easier for a tackmaker who specializes in Silver Parade (since 1979!).  When the time comes I expect making Brasenose something Teke will be do-able.  BUT --- that time has to be right.
Layer 11 Near  Outside  Rail
I have two Silver parade sets to restore before July.  I have at least two pieces of headgear and a saddle I want to make - remember I'm supposed to be making only the pieces I WANT to make?!?  And I've got at least one grandfather saddle in the works too.  As much as possible gets to be squeezed into the three (?) months before May because May and June are basically lost to me.  Every year I promise myself I'll make tack in Colorado.  And every year those two months are the time of great travel and family time, but precious little tackmaking.  Those who cannot learn from the past are doomed, etc.  It's a hard lesson.

I'll finish with a private glimpse of what my horses' lives are like.  You didn't think it wouldn't happen!  Completed hip drops from the restoration of TSII #378.
Next post:  headgear time.


  1. He is beautiful! I have enjoyed following his progress. Congratulations on this big accomplishment!

  2. Great job! He is absolutely beautiful! I would've never guessed that this was the first 3D model you'd finished in so many years. I think you handled the issues that came up like a champ!

  3. He really turned out great and I LOVE that you used a touch of Leather Dye on him - so appropriate!