After some feedback at the folks at Blab, it was time to put my nose back to the grindstone and kick this guy up a notch!
The general consensus seems to be that he needs to go darker, so I’m going to rough in his mane with black so that I have something to balance against. I have the feeling he’s darker than he appears, but the flaxen mane is making it hard to see.
Colors in ContextElmhurst – Black Mane
Time to make this little guy a proper bay!
Since the mane is covered with sealer, I went back over with a light coat of gesso to primer it, then used Liquitex Mars Black to bring in a nice solid black. You’ll notice I didn’t bring the black paint all the way down to the base of the mane. I’ll be building this section up with pastels instead, since this will make it easier to blend with the body color.
Right now the acrylic looks very flat next to pastels, but starting from black is much easier than building to it, so off we go!
The next steps are a few layers of mixed pastels, using black and dark brown to darken the mane and to bring the body color down a shade. You can see I also changed the shading around the eye, making it less stark and moving the position of the pangre slightly.
Using dark brown as well as black pastels helps make the body color blend into the black of the mane as well as make the acrylic look less flat. Oddly the dark brown also has better coverage than the black does, which is why I don’t rely on just pastels to go dark.
Elmhurst – Pastels 8
Elmhurst – Pastels 9A
Elmhurst – Pastels 10
All in the DetailsElmhurst Details 1
Now that the color is good, it’s time to start working on the not-a-horse portion of the sculpture. (I haven’t painted tack before, so this should be a bit of a learning curve. Hopefully it will be an easy one. *crosses fingers*)
The first thing I did was to let the sealer dry for 24 hours before I started in on the details. This way any mistakes I make can be wiped away with a damp brush. This makes it much less nerve-wracking!
I went back over the reins with burnt umber and the rubber grip portion of the reins with burnt sienna. These are just base colors; I’ll be adding shading afterwards to make them look less flat—just like I did with the body color.
What you see in the photo to the above is more than one pass at painting (since it took several coats to cover with the silver), but I figured I’d leave out the boring bits. I painted small areas at a time and in light layers, which helped to reduce brushstrokes as well as any potential smudging.
Unlike pastels, I do not apply sealer between these layers!
The number is white on black, which matches the reference photos I was able to find online. Not many race horses wear these, so it took me a bit to track down clear examples.
The silver buckles and bit are painted in since I can’t find my Liquitex Silver, I fell back on using FolkArt 662 Metallic Silver Sterling since the local store didn’t carry the Liquitex. Which took forever, since FolkArt paints don’t have a high pigment to binder ratio.
The triangle pattern on the nose and browbands is getting painted a light cyan and forest green to match the racing colors of Evergreen Farm, which was the stables Elmhurst raced under for the Belmont. [Note: It wasn’t until this little guy was done that I found out the historically accurate colors were denim blue and white, ah well.]Elmhurst Details 1 – Forehead
As you can see the leather of the reins didn’t stand out well against the dark bay, so I went back over them with a raw umber wash to give them a more yellow tone. Then I went back over all of it with pastels to add some depth.
Adding a layer of dark pastel and then gently wiping the area with a cloth is a great way to get some color into the inset areas. It’s sort of like using a dark wash, only it seems to blend better with the ‘look’ of pastels.
As you can see the little guy is still lacking eyes—I left these for last since I wanted the chance to hunt down some good reference photos first!
And Now For Something Completely Different!Elmhurst – Final Back
At this point my eyes were crossing, so I swapped over and finished off the back.
As you can see it’s a flat black with my horribly hand-painted date and signature along with a small rectangle that reads: “Our Mims Retirement Haven | Elmhurst Medallion Fundraiser | Elmhurst Breeders Cup Sprint 1997 Winner”
The text in the rectangle was done in Sakura Pigma Micron on a white gesso base. As you can tell, I don’t have the best handwriting even once you take the brush out of the equation. *grin*
The Eyes Have ItElmhurst – Final No Flash
This is the first time I did eyes this big, so I went for the simple approach.
First I painted the whole eye black. Then I went in and painted the top half in burnt sienna and the bottom in burnt umber.
Then I added in a black horizontal pupil and went back in to blend everything so it looked less anime. *grin*
Thinking about it now, I should have used the Prismacolor pencils to help add depth– ah well, will have to try that one the other one!
Once everything was sealed up nicely with the Krylon matte spray finish I added gloss sealer to the eyes, inner nostrils and the very inside of his mouth. Since I have both matte and gloss brushable sealer I was able to play around with both the nose and the mouth until I got just the right amount of gloss.
Done!Elmhurst – Before and After
Another light dusting of pastels to even out the coloration in a few spots and he’s done!
Elmhurst – Final Nose
Elmhurst – Final Bottom
Elmhurst – Final Bright
Elmhurst – Final Neck
Elmhurst – Final Face
Going, Going, Gone!
I’d like to take another moment to thank Our Mims Retirement Haven for giving me the opportunity to participate in this fundraiser! I had a blast painting Elmo and I can’t wait to see the whole conga line of donations once they’ve been received in.
As for the auctions of said donations, I’ll post information about the charity auctions as soon as I have them! Since only some of the medallions are going to auction, I’m not sure where my little guy will end up… I hope whoever gets him likes him as much as I do! *crosses fingers*Elmhurst – Final Flash