Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Painting an Appaloosa with T.J. Hurst

Ask and you shall receive. That's how it works on the NaMoPaiMo Facebook page during February! 
Earlier this month, Julie Ward asked for a tutorial on creating a "super-loud, T.J. Hurst style Appaloosa," and today's post is the happy result. Thank you, T.J., for graciously sharing your process with us!

How to Paint a Super-Loud T.J. Hurst Style Appaloosa

by T.J. Hurst

This isn't really a tutorial per se, but a general description of my painting process.

I start with white primer and I let that be my "whites." I am currently using Rustoleum Flat White Plastic Primer and sealing with Krylon Matte Finish. I seal the primer before I add any pastels and wear gloves at all times while handling the model.
The first layer of pastels is pinks in inner ears, around eye socket, muzzle and genitals and butt cheeks. I also add pink or tan on the hooves. I usually use two coats of pink, and I seal between each layer.
Next I start the mottling. My best advice for this is to use clear reference photos of mottling that goes with the pattern you have chosen. Not all Appies mottle alike.
I apply dark gray pastels over the pinks where the mottling will be. I "stipple" with a rubber tipped Paint Eraser and/or tiny Micro Brushes and layer as needed for darkness.
One thing I see a lot of artists do that is not correct for Appaloosas, is to put too many spots or too much dark skin on the center area of the sheath or in between the thighs. The vast majority of Appies' genitalia is pink all down the middle. The gray radiates outward towards the butt and flanks, if that makes sense.
Sometimes I use a sharpened eraser pencil or kneaded eraser to remove gray in places to achieve the desired mottling pattern. Here you can see the mottling inside the ears, around the eyes and on the muzzle. At this point, I seal the model and  leave the mottling as is until I finish the rest of the horse. I can always go back and make it darker if needed.
The next step is to rough in the pattern with gray. In roany areas (seen here on neck, chest and barrel), I apply pastels with the micro brush in a stippling technique. I leave it splotchy and random, with some white showing thru and alternate with some darker specks. Areas that will be solid on this one (forelegs) I smoothed the pastel with a brush.
Then I start adding the colors over the gray pattern areas, with micro brush or paint eraser in stippling motion. For areas that are more solid, not so roan-y, I smooth over the stippled pastels with a small brush. I leave some show-through white and on successive layers make some stipples darker. I always seal between each layer, and I work in sections, not all over the horse at once.
In this photo, the mane and tail color is started and I've done some work on the feathers.
I continue to darken and add color as desired, still using random, stippling strokes.
And then the final details - the eyes,chestnuts, shoes and nails are painted with acrylics and silver sharpie. I gloss the eyes and inside nostrils with Liquitex Gloss Varnish, and he's done! 
Ink Spots is a customized Breyer Shannondell. I repositioned his left rear leg to stand flat on the ground and slightly moved his left front leg backward at the knee.
This guy went to his first show, All The Pretty Ponies Show in Florida earlier this month. I am happy to report that he won his breed class and then took home the Overall Grand Champion Custom ribbon. 
Congratulations and thank you, T.J. I know a lot of people have found this really helpful!

1 comment:

  1. A word of caution based on personal experience - I found it necessary to paint a white base coat over the primer, rather than let the primer be the white base that shows through. Primer can yellow differently than any white paint details over time.