January 21, 2012

In Progress Commissions

The last three commissions. I kind of feel like it's the end of an era. Granted, I haven't taken commissions openly in several years, yet somehow I always manage to have one or more models on the books for some incredibly patient people. This time two are for trades, one for a resin I missed out on during the original release, but really wanted, and the other for tack from a great tack artist. How could I not? I think my development as an artist has benefited greatly from taking commission work. Working with customers to bring their vision to life helped me see things from other perspectives. Doing portrait work fine tuned my ability to portray what I was seeing. And I've gotten to work with some really great people over the years. Going forward I will be creating for myself, if time allows and occasionally offering pieces for sale.

So here are in progress pictures of The Last Three.

Dapple Grey is such an elusive color for many artists, myself included. Each one is as unique as a snowflake. I have the privilege of working on two dapple grey Arabian resins at the same time. One is warmer and darker and the other cooler and lighter. It's been fun to work on them simultaneously and note the differences as I go along. This one is the traditional scale Nahar resin by Sarah Rose. Above he has had one "layer" of pastel work and then sealed with a matte fixative. Don't be fooled, I spent countless hours over many evenings with different shades of grey working on that single layer. This is more involved than my usual approach to laying down the first layer. I usually stick with one or two colors and do more of a blocking out method of the dapples, which is how I approached the Indian Silver below on his first layer, and what I demonstrated in my The Art of Pastel: Dapple Grey DVD.

Here is where the Nahar is now after additional layers of pastel to deepen the color and further define the dapples, followed by an acrylic layer to simulate hairs over the entire horse, followed by another pastel layer to pick out areas and deepen the dark areas. Somewhere along the line I fine tuned his face, lower legs and painted his mane and tail. A little more tweaking and this boy will be done. He has been the most time consuming of the three, so he is the furthest along. I try to work in groups to be more efficient. They will all get their final details, like eyes and hooves, at the same time.

The Indian Silver, by Deborah McDermott, is meant to be much lighter and cooler in color (more "blue", less brown). This photo shows the initial blocking in of dapples in just a few shades of grey. Taking your time at this stage will lend for a more realistic dapple grey "pattern" in the end. I also leave the face and lower legs for fine tuning after this stage.

And the Indian Silver after the acrylic stage, followed by more pastels. I also painted the mane and tail a slightly mellow color to stand out against the body and I'm really pleased with it. Still trying to figure out how I want to shade it though. I also want to work on the dapples a little and the color transitions. I think I'll do another layer or warm white acrylic to meld the transitions again. He needs a little more tweaking. I'll try to remember to take a picture of the two side by side to document the differences between them.

And here is sweet little Pixie, by Sarah Minkiewicz. I was given artists choice on color and I have always wanted to do a baby bay tobiano on this sculpture. My own Pixie I did in a silver grulla. This is one layer of color to block in the pattern. Same technique that I use in my The Art of Mixed Media: Chestnut Tobiano DVD.

Pixie has come a long way since then, with acrylic to add more panagre, especially to the flank, but also variation throughout the coat to bring out the fuzziness, as well as pastelling all the white areas to create the warmth of flesh under the hair. I talk about that technique in my The Art of Mixed Media: Leopard Appaloosa DVD (another shameless plug :D). Next step will be to highlight all the white areas and work on the edges of the pattern.

I am so pleased with how these three are turning out. I will post finished pictures of them in a few weeks, after my second CPA is past and I have a short break. In the meanwhile, I will be posting some past-due show reports next weekend. See you then!

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