Melanie Miller is a creature of the night.
She is also a full-time professional model horse artist. As such, she sets her own hours, so her nine to five is usually nine PM to five AM.
I am a morning person, so as often as not, I am going to bed at the same time that Mel is getting to work. I rarely see her late night updates in real time, but I love catching up each morning. Yesterday's/today's progress photos were especially interesting, so I'm sharing them here.
Mel writes: The time has come! I've prepared my Altynai-turned-polo-pony with a few coats of Dullcote. I’ll be putting on and then rubbing off masking fluid, and I like having that tidbit of extra protection that the Dullcote provides.
I printed out a couple of my references to fiddle with and tried outlining spots, painting the jagged white marks on their own, and masking. What I am most concerned about is all of the crazy stuff happening on the neck and chest. My challenge this year - in addition to just painting a new pattern - is to get it looking like it’s part of the coat and not just paint sitting on top. A big part of that is figuring out exactly how the pattern likes to arrange itself, and VERY happily, it is actually less complicated than it looks. All of the dark areas are just small ovals in a few similar sizes. I’m now trying to decide if I should outline the spots in erasable watercolor pencil, or just mask everything. I need to find myself a quick test body!
Well, my test masking piece turned out... badly. LOL. It's a good thing I tested first. The one on the left is pencil outlined and traced with paint, it’s a good option, just a lot of work. The one on the right was masked and while the masking comes off with no paint on it, it got weirdly smeary with the paint! I rubbed the left side to check for dryness and it could have been a bit more dry, but this seems extreme for how little I was able to smudge the left. I’m going to try again with a different paint over the masking.The medallion back I used for that test didn't have any Dullcote on it, just primer. I'm trying again on a surface with Dullcote. Amanda, This time it worked fine. So weird, and hooray for obsessive testing!
This masking is going to take A While, but it’ll still be a lot faster than tracing around all of the spots to map them in.
Masking Mania! I’m not trying to do a spot for spot match thank goodness, just get the pattern flavor.
It’s five AM, but I got the masking all done and laid the white in. One thing I couldn’t really mask were the really tiny spots, so instead of just brushing a big solid layer of white on top, I used a paint pen with some Golden high flow acrylics and painstakingly drew the white on in the direction of the hairs, leaving little dark spots behind. I’ll let this sit tonight, and hopefully, I’ll have a nice speckled horse when the masking comes off tomorrow (which is actually later today!).
And with that, Mel finally went to bed. I can't wait for her to wake up and removed all that masking fluid. With any luck, that will happen before my bedtime, but it not, tomorrow will be another morning with Mel.