Sunday, February 24, 2019

Ambolena Layers 10 -11: Gilding the Lily

If this little filly didn't already have a name, nothing would've been more appropriate than Gilded Lily!  The phrase stems from the Victorian age and means to opulently decorate something that is already perfect and needs no more decoration.  I just found out it is based on Shakespeare.  :)  This third post of the series tells how I managed to capture the Akhal Teke's metallicism.

As near as my notes can tell me, this third wave started when I golded Ambolena's right eye.  I do tend to save the eyes for last, not because the horse doesn't need them (often desperately) but because I think my skill will be best by then.  Even so I referred back to Isaac Brushett's tutorial, posted in the first days of the first NMPM.  Painting Eyes.  I'm not the greatest at this particular part; I think Brasenose got the better of them.  But I learned and am satisfied.
Near eye:
Layer 10, face
This critical part got two coats of clear nail polish.  The whites are from the hoof nail polish.  This shot shows her blaze, something added at the last moment trying to enlarge the head and muzzle without wrecking things too badly!

Off eye.  This shot shows the black-tipped ears.  They and the mane are darker than the muzzle.  Although the Edge Cote was marvelous, I didn't quite dare use more than a few dabs on the muzzle.  I think I'd got used to her as she was in that area.

"All I know is that a Microbrush dipt in rubbing alcohol, then in Pearl Ex Brilliant Or (Gold) and made a paste of, then applied sparingly to a horse already finished & sealed, gives a clear transparent yet pure gold coat.  I was unable to stop.  The edges run out & blend together.  Only small areas at a time -- less than half a square inch.  If you scrub too hard the sealant is dissolved and you take away existing color (bucksin becomes white).  If you don't dip your brush every area, you get crumbs + flakes of drier lumpy gold.  Only by constant wiping & dipping and paste-making did I cover her; and even now I don't know how I managed it.  I do know the alcohol dish had to be refilled 3 times.  That's how fast it evaporates."
(Note the 'dish' is one of the salts:  about 2 teaspoons.)

The first shots of the transfiguration merely made it look like a gloss coat.  I had been afraid of this.  There are limits to the camera, especially in the middle of the night when one's exhausted spirits are up in the clouds trying to find Bible verses that refer to transparent gold.
Layer 10, off

 Revelation 21:21:  "The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass."
Layer 10, near
 "The gilding disguised & lessened the sootiness of the shoulders & darkness of the rump.  I am ever more amazed at what I've done!  This is only the 7th day.  So this is what God feels like...  Surely He was not as surprised as I am right now...  I am afraid to show her off.  No camera could capture it.  She is a different filly - she's been dipped in gold."
Layer 10, rear off quarter 

And from my main Notebook: 
"2:08 am   Well we know what happened!  You discovered gilding-by-alcohol and didn't stop til the whole filly was covered, sans points.  It was now 1:30 in the morning (I have a trip tomorrow morning) and I had no real way of spray-sealing this unbelievable delectable bauble of a horse, this halfway-to-Decorator, this Renaissance gilded lily, this Pearl Ex overload.  I am ashamed to show my face -- she is so over-the-top.  I am no better than the kids with their blue color-shift Albicorns. 

Except that she's a Teke.
Except that I've loved and collected Decorators all my life.
Except that this cracks open Hillingar's case, and every metallic horse I've ever admired.
Gilded Lily!!! 
I had no business complaining about my earlier problems (I can't even remember them!).  Events have moved too fast.  We've catapulted way beyond even Brasenose.  He has outbred himself..."

Next morning, I shot her on the railing outside, and the true tale was revealed.   My fatal flaw was that inability to stop.  I should have left the sooty parts alone.
Layer 10, Birds Eye near
 As lovely as the gold was, it hadn't covered exactly wisely.
Layer 10, Birds Eye off
Sunlight is the final arbiter of painting a model horse.  If it does not pass this test, no matter how striking it is, more work needs to be done.  With quiet glee I realized I had another chance to make the withers and the rump match colors.  I went back inside and punched dry powders with a Q-tip again, as well as re-golding a few areas I thought could stand more of it.  Then I sprayed her on the deck railing.  (No more trips to the barn!)  This stage is so familiar from tackmaking:  the last few dinkings when your Muse is exhausted and only plain discipline keeps you going.  It is a calm place when you're proud of your work.  This was the shot I turned in as my official 'finish' later in the day (the 23rd).
Layer 11, offside
It started raining, and you can see raindrops on her back in this nearside shot.
Layer 11, nearside
Brasenose took 11 days.  This little filly took 8, though not contiguous.  I learned so much.  I'm still catching my breath, but I have a feeling my next paintjob will be sooner than a year.

Many and heartfelt thanks to Jennifer, Margarita, Jenn Danza, Sarah Mink, Isaac Brushett and the whole phenomena of NaMoPaiMo.

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