Ok, so I want to go over the other ‘toughies’ that were done to the Reiner. First off was the mane. The reference horse has a very neat mane, one that went from flaxen at the forelock and front area of the mane, all the way to a deep chestnut by the time it got to the withers. The tail actually was darker overall and match the darkest part of that mane. I wasn’t worried about the tail as much as I was the mane. And for good reason. Trying to get the mane and tail to be cohesive with the rest of the horse is a trick for me. Why? Because the body color of the horse was done in pigments and pastels. The mane and tail will be done in acrylics. Otherwise the pigments would get all over my white areas and because of how I worked on this horse, I needed the mane and tail done closer to the end of the horse.
So I started with the forelock. That’s all fine and dandy but the problem was I did my basecoat mix on the forelock. Then did the basecoat on the mane a couple of days later and forgot to write down what I used. Guess what happened? Yep, I had a devil of a time matching it.
But at any rate, here’s the mane basecoated with gesso mixed with a bit of raw sienna and a hint of nutmeg. I always do my basecoat on my mane and tails with a gesso mix. I’m never sure how much I’ve touched those manes and tails and since I save them for much later, gesso gives me my ‘primer’ base to apply the acrylics evenly. If you touch them, rub them, or handle them to much the primer you sprayed on can rub off. And with white primer on a white horse, it’s darn near impossible to figure out where that happened so I play it safe and just use gesso. You could use straight white gesso and apply color on top of that, I just try to save myself one step and use a mix for the first layer.
Ok, that’s good and yellow. What I THOUGHT was a decent base…but I really needed more of a pinkish brownish base. This would probably be why it took me 5 days on the mane. So here’s where you learn what not to do (doing mane, forelock and tail in 3 separate sessions unless you remember or write down your mix).
My next step was going into some of the grooves and adding some shading with darker acrylics.
For the next step I began applying color but I used glazing medium in with my color to offer some nice variegation to the colors and to be able to create interesting layering effects. The glazing medium isn’t absolutely necessary, just telling you what I used. If you use it, a couple of things to keep in mind. DO NOT ADD TOO MUCH. If you do it won’t dry right and will remain tacky and thick. Make sure you allow it to dry and then seal. If you try to apply too much acrylics on top of it, it will lift off. HOWEVER, this makes it excellent for ‘subtractive’ painting. If you apply a color and you aren’t happy with it or you want to remove some streaks in it, you can actually just use a wet brush and go over it and it will lift the paint layer. That’s kind of a tough thing to explain. If you play with it enough you’ll see what I mean.
If it’s not completely dry when you seal it it can haze and pit (create a milky look or create little pits throughout the area).
I made sure I only used certain colors. No matter what, I never switched colors. I kept the same 5-6 colors out at all times so I at least stayed on track with my colors. I used Coffee Bean, Nutmeg, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Titan Buff and a beige ceramcoat color that I believe is called Flesh. And also some white on the lighter areas.
Here’s some of the work, still wet of course, but where you can see a bit better.
Here was when it was really getting bad. Yuck
A little more work….yum.
And here was the mane once it was finished up.
So, as you can see this takes quite a few layers but creates a really lovely variegated look. This method is fantastic for gray manes as well.
I also wanted to share photos of my hooves before they were completed. For me, these are by far my best appy hooves ever. And all thanks to the glazing medium. You can really control the transparency of the paint with it and I recommend anyone giving it a try. I use the Golden brand Glazing Medium in satin. It’s cheap enough to give a whirl
And then backtracking quite a bit you may remember I posted a photo of the flanks after I had slapped some dark gray acrylics in there. That was to be the ‘skin’ showing through. That didn’t translate or work out quite how I wanted it too but here is a photo of the flank afterwards, where you can still see some of the gray peeking through
I hope somewhere in all this somebody picked up a new technique or two