Monday, February 18, 2019

Ambolena Layer 4

Like her famous sire, Ambolena the Akhal Teke filly is putting me on notice that not all is smooth sailing in NaMoPaiMo!  Whereas Brasenose had his problems in the beginning, Ambolena is having hers in the middle.  Literally:  I'm at Layer 4 (of supposed around 10), and there are three areas I'm stuck on.  She has pits in her shoulder, staining on her neck & belly from overspray :(, and I have an unmentionable wish for dapples.  I'm reasonably confident I can solve these problems,... but now is a good time to pause and draw breath.

Before we get further into problems, I'd like to relate triumphs.  Here she is at Layer 2 (after sealing).  Somehow I did not get a picture of Layer 1.
I had forgotten how pale and gentle and light the pastel approach is.  Spraying her primer with sealant, a suggestion from FaceBook, made sense to me as a way to combat graininess. Were not all other layers painted on a sealed surface?  I even buffed her with a soft rag (a tremendous pun, given that she is named after a ragtime strain of music).  Graininess has not been a problem.  The lightness of each coat, then, was the surprise.
Here's Layer 3, near side.
We are using the old scrub brush with two different mixtures (body and points), each made up on the spot from shaved stick pastel colors I thought "looked good."  The mixtures are also heavily dusted with Sparkle Gold Pearl Ex, and along about now I started putting this gold straight on.  One of Brasenose's lessons had been to 'keep on Pearl-Ex-ing.'  Layer 3, off side.
After Layer 3 I realized I had a couple of problems.  As before, they were with prepping.  Ambolena had a couple little pits in her shoulder I wasn't happy about.  I should have filled or filed them with the rest, but somehow they evaded me, perhaps because they were so big.  I chose to try and ream them out, then pack with spackle, my latest material for divots.
One can only use what one has on hand, and the knowledge one has at the moment. Hip pit.

NaMoPaiMo gives the opportunity to REALLY get to know a sculpture!  Previously this act had been tied to tackmaking -- it is a privilege of the tackmaker to know a model so intimately.  But Ambolena is a foal and won't get to wear more than a halter.

Problems don't come singly.  Sunday she went from unfinished to Layer 4 in one day.  But she also picked up another difficulty when I sprayed too close to freshly-dusted black pastel on the last layer.  You can see it on her full portrait too.
I post these pictures in the hope that somehow, somewhere, they will help someone.  I am not infallible.  My lovely filly is not perfect.  Perhaps I am the one who needed the reminder.

Worms-Eye view.
Overnight it dawned on me that the neck staining looked a lot like cobwebbing.  After all I am going for a 'sooty' buckskin!  And the belly staining might well be absorbed in a darker shading.  We'll just have to see.
As for the dappling, there won't be much (this is a filly).  Let's just say that I can sense the growth of dreams and wishes when they're only a few minutes old... and that there is room for dreams, during this magical month.


  1. She’s coming along lovely! I am already envisioning your Teke tack...
    Thank you for sharing - yes, even our pitfalls teach us as we press on..

  2. She is so pretty and I enjoy reading about how she is "becoming." :)

  3. Pastels certainly have a tendency to settle into the depressions and end up where you don't want them! I kneaded eraser is greater for picking up extra pastel if you catch it before you seal it.