Once upon a time there was a lonely G1 Stablemate Morgan Stallion who wandered eBay in search of a home. He was mint his owner said, he was in excellent shape! And lo, he was sold to the highest bidder and trotted off his new home.
Only he wasn’t mint, and he wasn’t in good condition, and his new owner was bummed.
And lo, he was bummed, for he had thought himself a most handsome horse.
But all was not lost, because scratches and black marks and slightly warping are still not enough to turn this old gentleman into a dud. So his owner shipped him off to me for a bit of sprucing up!
Thus follows the story of Dancer, who was a ‘simple’ black custom the drove me happily nuts with his seams and his refusal to take good photos…
Starting From, err– With Scratches
I knew when she mailed him over to me that this little guy had had a rough life, but I wasn’t really prepared for the level of care he needed. The black marks were actually the easiest bit to fix, it was the bad seams and the warping of the mold that really caused me some headaches.
A quick whitewash with gesso popped out the worst of the scratching, but they also highlighted some mold defects that I wasn’t going to be able to fix. His neck was significantly warped on the ‘off’ side and his legs were slightly akimbo. He still stood and from certain angles looked fine– but this little guy was never going to be Live Show Quality.
So I rolled up my sleeves and decided to make him the best Photo Show Quality horse I could!
Brown’s the New Black
The color request I got was for a black horse, but I’ve learned over the years that just painting a flat black will make the horse look off. So instead of just using the Ivory Black I started with a layer of Bark Brown. Then I shaded the brown up to the Licorice, which is a black with a touch of blue. The mane and tail were a mixture of the Ivory Black and the Licorice to make them pop a bit against the body color.
Thus, depending on the light, Dancer looks either a nice shaded black or a incredibly dark bay. You can get an idea of the range of color from the photos below. I actually ended up trying several different photo setups trying to get him to photograph well– there’s a whole album on the Facebook page of me ranting on that issue.
And yeah… I kept finding seams so even when he was ‘done’ he had a habit of going back in under the sandpaper/knife.
Medium: Liquitex Artist Color Acrylics (Gesso, Ivory Black, Burnt Umber, Light Blue Violet, Phthalocyanine Blue), FolkArt Acrylics ( 2907 Bark Brown, 938 Licorice), Apple Barrel Acrylics (20504 Black), Sargent Art Chalk Pastels (Earthtones)
(Yes, I got a little carried away with the camera… but he was so much fun to photograph!)