Thursday, February 28, 2019

How to Paint Appaloosa Mottling

If you can paint small dots, you can create mottled Appaloosa skin!

Start with a reference photo of an Appaloosa with a similar pattern as the horse that you will be painting.

I see mottling as being a pink skin base and grey dots on top, so I start with a pink skin base.

Remember that pink skin is not a super bright shade of pink. Their skin can sunburn like ours, and bright pink often means it may have a sunburn!

Brushes for mottling spots:
You can use any brush (even slightly larger sizes!) that comes to a fine point, as you are only using the point for this.

The higher the number, the thinner the brush is, and they come in different shapes. 
Pictured are a few different sizes and shapes that I used for mottling and details. (You can find similar brushes at most art/craft stores.)
Photo 1: 20/0 round and 20/0 spotter
Photo 2: 18/0 round and 20/0 round
Photo 3: 18/0 round and 18/0 short liner

Base coated pink
 (like a naked mole rat!)

Here is the reference photo that I was working from. 
You can see that it looks like pink skin with many tiny grey dots on it.

If you find painting mottling to be hard, try to not think of it as mottling, but break it down into simple shapes- painting dots!

Here is what I saw when I looked at my reference photo:
-My reference has a lot of grey dots on the side of its muzzle from the bottom of the upper lip to the nostril.
-The lower lip has less grey dots and shows more pink, but has more dots as it gets closer to its chin.
-There are barely has any dots on the front of his upper lip.
-It has less dots on the inside of his nostrils.

It is great to have a test horse to practice on, which was the horse shown above.

Different sized and shaped dots in a random pattern on my NaMoPaiMo (National Model Painting Month) project horse, who is between Stablemate and Little Bit size.

To keep a fine point on your brush to make tiny spots, get a little bit of paint on your brush and gently pull your brush gently against your pallet or paint cup and gently twist the brush between your fingers in one direction. This will wipe excess paint off of your brush and bring the paint brush tip to a point.

My method of painting is considered underpainting, since the detail is added and then is painted over. 

The white hair color was airbrushed over the mottled skin.

You can also paint the mottling over the body color, if that is your preferred method. 
The difference is that you have to shade into the body color so that it does not stop abruptly. 
Pick the method that works for you!

Here is another view of my test horse. 

I practiced mottling on the face, airbrushed the white on, and then I tested out different colors, mediums, etc. on his neck to figure out what worked best for me to do the Appaloosa spotting portion.

Here is what my project horse's face looked like when I did the underpainting of the skin and skin spots.

White was airbrushed over it, leaving particular areas of skin showing.

(You can also hand paint, pastel, etc. the white layer on - whatever works for you!)

My reference photo didn't show much mottling around the eyes, so the dots all overlap in that area to the point where barely any pink skin shows through.

Here are some finished views of my NaMoPaiMo project horse!

'Appy Painting!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

New airbrush booth!

I upgraded my airbrush booth!

My original booth (in a post from last year) was made from a cardboard box, filter, a bathroom exhaust fan, and a dryer exhaust hose.

My booth worked well (it is still being used for primers and sealers), but it was pretty dark inside while painting, so I did some research and found something that is both better and much easier to store when not in use.

(My NaMoPaiMo / National Model Painting Month 2018 practice horse is going to be my "Vanna White" and demonstrate the booth!)

The whole booth is folded up into this easy-to-store small suitcase shape!

The front is folded down and under the front of the case, so I have lifted it.
The bottom and sides are simply folded into the case.

The bottom has been folded out and flattened, and the translucent sides have been lifted and inserted into slots in the top.

It also comes with a filter (currently dirty) in front of the fan and also a small lazy susan (covered in foil and airbrush paint).

Here is an angled view, so that you can see the shape.
It can be a little tight for larger or longer horses, but it is sufficient for up to normal traditional sized horses!

Here we are showing the fan exhaust point.

The booth kit can be purchased with an exhaust pipe. It can be extended about 6 feet and has a handy narrow end that could be put through a small opening at a window or door to exhaust to the outside.

An idea of how much room is inside the booth.

My 2018 practice horse is showing off my 2019 NaMoPaiMo horse, who wants to get airbrushed!!

Happy painting!

Please note that you should use these types of spray booths (including boxes with bathroom exhaust fans) with caution when using aerosol cans of primer/sealer/etc. due to the flammable gas passing through the fan/motor, which could spark a fire.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Horse Who Does Not Want To Be Painted, aka NaMoPaiMo 2018

"NaMoPaiMo" is National Model Painting Month.
The object of NaMoPaiMo is to completely paint the model horse of your choice during the month of February.

This is the story of my 2018 experience:

Here I am innocently posing with what turned out to be 
The Horse That Does Not Want To Be Painted.....

Here was my objective:

"My NaMoPaiMo horse is Knightly Cadence. I have admired this resin for a looooong time and I got this guy almost 2 years ago. I have been waiting to build enough skills to be able to give him a nice paint job myself. He will be my 3rd fully finished airbrushed horse, and it will be my first time painting an artist resin horse (I have painted Herden cows, but not an AR horse). He seems a little heavy for a hollow cast resin, and he's a little on the large side, so figuring out how to hold him while I paint will be a challenge!! I am still exploring airbrushing, and want to try to push my limited skills and new airbrush to see what I can do.
I think he wants to be a bay, but there is a potential that he could go chestnut or even get spotty as a tobiano pinto."

After prepping/sanding, the first thing I did was spray a coat of grey primer to make any other flaws to show up so that I can fix them.

Well, he had other ideas...

He decided to throw himself onto his side mid-priming.

In my panic of not wanting him to dry on his side and stick to the newspaper, I grabbed him to stand him upright, leaving hand prints in the primer.

Back to sanding and fixing flaws!

Finally, he behaved and I was able to prime him.

Of course, the Rustoleum primer left a rough texture. 

I used steel wool to smooth out the texture.
(wear gloves and protection and work on top of newspaper or something, as this leaves tons of tiny splintery bits of steel everywhere!!)

I am still newer to airbrushing, so I painted a test horse in the color that I planned to paint my project horse.

Here is a Legionario body looking lovely in my chosen color for NaMoPaiMo.

Time to start airbrushing!

Someone had a hissy fit and decided to throw himself onto his side about an hour into painting...........

I gave The Horse Who Does Not Want To Get Painted some inspiration to look at while I was at work of what he could look like if he would just let me get some paint on him!!! 

The Horse Who Does Not Want To Be Painted prefers bubble baths over painting sessions.

No success with trying to repair the scuffs down to the primer.

I got about half of his paint off with soaking and had to sand and steel wool the stubborn remaining bits.

This guy....

He ended up with a lovely rough texture from the Rustoleum primer AGAIN, from a brand new can.
Back to steel wool and sanding.

Bathed and getting a pep talk from his test horse.

I decided to put magnets into his feet to hold him on his base. 
(he is wearing his glorious plastic wrap outfit to keep him clean as I work)

He has stainless steel rods that run through his legs into his feet. 
Stainless steel is harder than regular steel, so drilling the wires won't work with a steel bit.
I purchased a tungsten carbide Dremel bit and zipped right through those wires.

2-part liquid epoxy worked to set the magnets into his feet.
I was out of epoxy, so I used E6000 glue to set them into his base. 
The E6000 did not set, so magnets in the base were out.

Option 2 was to cut a small disk out of steel for the magnet to stick to, which worked!

"Ok, I am starting to think that I am dealing with a streaker. I swear this horse is doing everything possible to avoid being painted, so that he can continue being naked! (Ok, so he is wearing primer...)" 

Then he had to get washed AGAIN due to trying out using a tack cloth to remove little bits of things right before painting, which left RESIDUE! GAH!!!! 

Back to the sink for a bath!

The Horse Who Does Not Want To Get Painted has some body color!!!!

Both sides of The Horse Who Does Not Want To Be Painted, who is now finished!! 

I sprayed him with Krylon Matte and after his 2nd coat, it looked like he was covered in dust!

Luckily the dust brushed off with a paintbrush, and I sprayed from a closer distance and he came out fine. 


Shiny new gloss for his eyeballs.

Hanging out with his test horse, and was completed during the month of February's NaMoPaiMo!

We earned a sweet NaMoPaiMo prize of a bronc halter made by Rachel Fail!

Since he finally cooperated, he was no longer known as "The Horse Who Does Not Want To Be Painted", but became "Foxy After Midnight".

He went to several shows and showed in both Halter and Performance (tack made by me).

Southern New England Winter Roundup

Berks County 4-H

Mid-Atlantic Regionals

Total from Mid-Atlantic Regionals- Performance and Halter

Trying out Harness at Pocono Ponies

Overall Performance Champion at Pocono Ponies

The moral of the story of The Horse Who Does Not Want To Be Painted is:

Keep Going!! :]