Friday, 31 May 2013

Puppy Drawing

After completing my art GCSE about five years ago or so, it made me completely want to stop sketching and drawing 2D art. I felt to overwhelmed with the entire course and I ended up hating my passion for creativity. Ever since, I have been making sure that I only draw and paint for my own leisure, particularly on paper.

After purchasing an A3 sketch book last summer and overcoming the mental block that I don't have to fill every page to the brim with certain projects that I HAD to draw, I began to just sketch. I finished this puppy yesterday, in under two hours which I thought was impressive and it also demonstrates that no, I haven't lost my talent and yes, I have most certainly improved my eye for realism and detail, even if I still have a long way to go.

What does please me, however, is that I feel compelled to draw again today! I have to prepare for the MHL Live and I am zooming off to Barcelona on Sunday with my friends for an end-of-year holiday celebration, so I might not be able to but I will see how I feel in the evening if I have free time. :-)

Who knew that this drawing I produced last night would have such a story!


Three more customs

Last week when I returned home to paint until I dropped, my plans were cancelled when my airbrush compressor died. It was three years old and I used it a great deal, so although it was very sad I am pleased with the service it did give me. The fuse was checked and it was fine and I thought it would be less hassle and cheaper to just get a new one.

The new compressor arrived two days ago and I still need to get used to it, but I am happy with the results so far. First up, Breyer's Classic Haflinger.

I also finished the last CollectA shetland I had in my body box. Say hello to Mint!

The last one is the CollectA Dartmoor model that was already in progress when my first compressor died. He is now finished and I think I will try him as a welsh section A/B.

I think these will be the last painted pieces I do in time for the MHL live next weekend, Eep! It sure has come around quick! I am sure it will be a fantastic day out.


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Caring for Mohair Models - Part Three

This is the final blog post about mohair models - caring for them.

Caring for Mohair Models

A lot of model horses are around where they have mohair manes and tails, and since haired models are a passion of mine, I thought I would share some information on how to keep your horse’s hair looking and staying nice.

Artists that use mohair on their models horses don’t usually just stick it on with glue; a lot of thought, time and patience has gone into every strand of hair, just like sculpting. The hair has to be prepared (even with multiple colours sometimes, depending) and it is only half complete once stuck and dried onto the horse, as the styling of the hair has to then come in.

When it comes to me styling the hair, after cutting the hair to the correct length I want and brushing it through for any loose clumps to come out, reference pictures can also help as the hair could be lying flat on the neck or windswept, for example. I train my hair through the aid of wet paper towels, where I dampen it a fair bit and, according to what I want to do, put it on the model’s hair. This is usually to help train the hair to sit downwards on the tail or flat on the neck itself. It also helps to keep the hair together and to prevent frizziness.

Sometimes I leave this on overnight, or only for a few hours, it doesn’t usually take long. After this process I use mousse or sometimes (rarely) hairspray to help keep the hair how I want it. The mousse in my opinion is the best, it helps to keep the hair in the perfect place and sometimes ‘hardens’ it slightly so I have full confidence that if untouched, it should not move too much and will remain in the desired position.

After seeing some model horses at shows (or pictures after they have left the artist) I am aware sometimes that the mohair can go out of place still, despite the artist’s and owner’s best efforts. Hopefully what I now have to advise should benefit those that wish to keep their horse’s hair tame and looking nice for display and in the show ring, whatever their model is used for.

One of the first rules in my book is not to touch it too much! Sometimes when packing them for a show, or moving them about from place to place, or if they have to unfortunately go into storage for a period of time, the hair can inevitably go out of shape. If this is the case, usually just pushing or moving it back into place with your fingers is enough.

There has been conflict with regards to owners of their horses brushing the hair. After I style my model’s hair I never brush it again. Some horses that I haired three years ago that I still own haven’t had to have anything else done to them in terms of mousse or brushing. Some owners may want to brush the model’s hair, and although some people believe that the model is theirs and therefore can do whatever they want, I am aware that some artists in the US have moral rights outlined in VARA. This means that, under the law that protects artist rights, owners shouldn’t brush their models hair or manipulate it at all. This is because the model has had its hair styled and worked in a particular way and in an artist’s opinion (including mine) brushing the hair would be the same as adding paintwork as such to a completed 2D canvas.

However, unfortunately such circumstances do mean that markings could appear on that canvas, and it may have to be repaired or left as is. In the case of the mohair, it could start to go frizzy or slightly out of shape and this is at no fault of the artist or owner. But my trick of perhaps not brushing the hair unless absolutely necessary or styling the hair with mousse would be a good step in the direction for keeping your model’s hair looking nice, tidy and perfect. I will always refer to hair mousse as being one of the most effective tools, along with your fingers and hands.

If you are at all in doubt, and I want to stress this, if you do know who the artist is I would search hard for their policies and definitely contact them. What I have said does refer to my work but I cannot in any way guarantee that this will be the same for other artists. If you have absolutely no idea who the artist is for your model and you have tried to find out, hopefully this post will advise you on making your model’s hair looking neat and tidy again.


Monday, 27 May 2013

Hairing the Model Horse - Part Two

This is part two of the tutorial on how I hair my model horses. If you have any questions, please comment below and I will help as best as I can! I have one final blog post after this which will be put up soon, so stay tuned!

Hairing the Model Horse Part Two – the mane

The victim, a different model this time:

1. You should have your horse with its tail all haired nicely with part one of this tutorial, although of course you can always do the mane first if you wish. I like to work from the end of the horse to the front, as it also re-enforces the fact that you start from the bottom of where you wish to hair and work up.

This model is trenchless. If you do want a trench, you can either use apoxie putty and build ‘walls’ either side of the neck to create the trench and then heavily sand down the sides once dry so it is all flush, or if you have a dremel (this is easier) there is a little add-on you can use which is like a disk, use this and you can ‘cut’ into the neck. The hair is prepared as in part one of this tutorial.

Here is a photo of the mohair clumps at the ready:

2. The first bit of mohair to be attached is the trickiest with manes. When hairing the mane, all of the mohair should be cut at a slant that is concordant with the neck itself. Then you attach; when it comes to attaching you want to put the mohair parallel to the neck and press down. Sometimes just using superglue is easier here, as it sticks and dries quicker. You want to put the superglue on the hair though, and not on the horse, as it could get messy and ruin your finishwork! But I did use PVA glue on this particular model, so if you don't have superglue then it is still possible.

3. After the very first clump has been laid down, the following pieces of mohair need to be placed around halfway on the original mohair piece because otherwise when your horse is finished the hairing will not look natural and you will have lots of ugly gaps in the mane. If you are hairing the horse with PVA, I would always suggest to place two or three clumps on the neck and put them in place before having a five minute break; this gives the PVA glue a chance just to make the hair stick to the body of the horse a bit more, and so when more mohair is added the others won’t fall off/slip. With superglue, this doesn't apply as much although little breaks are always helpful to make sure everything has dried and so you can keep concentration.

4. Remember not to brush it or mousse it until you have finished hairing the whole of the neck and forelock and waiting for it to dry for about twenty minutes or so with PVA (it will probably still be wet in this time but it should be brushable if you are careful – none of this ‘you must wait 24 hours’ business... Let’s face it, none of us do!) otherwise you will risk some clumps falling out and it isn’t a pretty sight. I know it is tempting to brush and style when in progress but it is much easier to do it when the whole neck is complete. If you are careful though you can cut the clumps that are on the neck to the length you want it roughly, so then you can visualise the end point - I know that this can help me sometimes if the clumps I have attached are too long.

5. When it is time for the forelock, it is the exact same principles for the mane, only you can cut it right across instead of at a slant – sometimes I even make a triangle at the top and place it under some mane hair, to make it more natural. You can also make it blend naturally from the mane to the forelock but just carrying on with the mohair and rounding it off to form a forelock at the end. When doing the forelock it is usually ideal to carry the PVA glue onwards to the top of their forehead, just beyond the poll; in real life horses’ forelocks as such.

If you want a bridle path, however, I tend to put a bit of glue where the path is meant to be and cut some hair into very fine pieces. I then sprinkle the hair over the path.

6. Once it has dried and is brushable, brush with the toothbrush to rid of any loose hair and then using scissors, cut upwards into the mane for your desired length. If hair is sticking out in weird places (it is on my example) then, as in part one of the tutorial, get some damp tissue and lay it on the neck for some time. After that, get the mousse out and start styling!

Here is the finished horse:

I miss that horse... He was lovely if I do say so myself!

I will post the final edition to this soon. I made the last bit of the tutorial a good few weeks back, it isn't linked to these two sections at all but I thought I should make it to post on here sometime soon. Seeing as I have just put this tutorial up, it seems like a good time to post it! So look out for it.


Sunday, 26 May 2013

Hairing the Model Horse - Part One

I have been recently having requests, especially since finishing Mojo the Marwari, on how I hair my model horses. I have a tutorial from summer 2010 that is still my main technique, so I shall post it here in two sections followed by how to care for haired model horses. I hope this is beneficial to everyone!

Hairing the Model Horse Part One – The tail

You will need:

Glue (PVA and/or Superglue)
Paper/cardboard/something you don’t mind getting messy!
Hair Prepped model horse
Old Toothbrush
Mousse/hair styling products

The victim!

1. You have your horse that has just been painted and is ready to hair. To make them ready for hair on the tail they need a dock sculpted. I dremelled a line into my horse’s dock here because it helps me to remember where the centre of the dock is and so I can hair easily... But I do not do this all the time and you don’t need to. Some artists like to have a nice trench for the hair to be inserted into. Again, I do this sometimes but it isn't necessary, it all depends on what you would find easier.

You need to prepare the hair for putting onto the horse. With your pack of mohair, you tease out clumps of mohair and cut it off. Then, with your PVA glue (I tend to just blob glue onto some paper as it makes it easier) cover the end of the mohair you just cut in PVA glue and attach it to the paper/cardboard. I don’t actually have any photos of this unfortunately in this part! 2. Wait until the hair clumps you glued to the paper/cardboard is half dry before peeling one off and cutting it again. If it is completely dry it can get stuck to the cardboard/paper as you pull it off and it can take some of the paper with it. Half dry seems to be just right!

I tend to cut at a slight slant, depending what side of the dock I attach it to, and then I make a triangle shape at the end for when placing it in the middle of the dock. This will hopefully become clearer in the next few photos.

Dip in your PVA glue once more, mainly on the side you are attaching the hair to (or if you want you can use superglue on this part) and attach it to the very end of your horse’s dock.

I cut the hair straight here, of course this is fine but I have since altered my technique slightly, hence why I wrote about it above.

3. More hair is added to around the dock area. This is to give the tail more bulk, but it all depends on the effect you want to achieve. I like my model horses to have nice, full tails!

4. This piece of mohair now goes on the top of the hair you already put. This is the piece of hair that I cut so it is triangular shaped. This bit of the hair for me is one of the most important bits as, if you did the others fairly messily, this one covers it up. One this is placed on the horse, hold it down (or just wait for it to dry if it is superglue, you don't want to get stuck to the horse, I speak from experience!) and tease the hair over and around the dock, as if it is falling naturally from where it is over the bits of hair you had.

Unfortunately this photo doesn't show what I poorly explained!

5. Don’t try brushing it or anything until you have haired right up to the end, and if you run out of the clumps of mohair you created just create more. I never make more than three or four at a time and I build up the tail in sections. If I create too many then they dry and stick to the cardboard/paper I am using. It also encourages you to take your time and to do it slowly, and gives a chance for the hair to properly dry. It doesn't take me absolutely hours to do, but it is still a fairly time consuming process - approximately a couple of hours if I work solidly and quickly, but I tend to work fast!

I am a very impatient artist...

6. Once you have finished, just leave it until you are absolutely sure all the glue has dried. Once you are sure it has you can use an old toothbrush to brush out any excess hair as not all of it will be attached to the horse. You will find that a lot comes out but don't worry! After you have brushed it will all flow together more and look a lot better and natural. If some is sticking out in weird places and not how you want it to look, get some water and use some tissue and drape it over the horse’s tail so the hair falls to how you imagined - this is optional. It is also easier to style and cut the hair when it is wet! After you have cut it you can always use some mousse for hair to help style it, although with this example I actually didn't - I usually always do!

Here is the finished horse:

I hope this is helpful to everyone! Part two will come soon...


Friday, 24 May 2013

Mojo Progress

Well all was well and good, I returned home for the summer to paint horses and relax, when low and behold my compressor for my airbrush died! I was so heartbroken and sad. However, Mojo's basecoat was finished and initial white markings had been mapped on, so I am working on him for the time being.

I haven't haired a model in a while so I am looking forward to getting this model done, he is going to be so striking!


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Painted Bailadito

Catriona Harris of Chesntut Ridge showed me this Bailadito that she painted to a bay. I love him, I think he is gorgeous!

The photo is courtesy of Cat herself, thanks for letting me use it!


Friday, 17 May 2013

Royal Windsor Horse Show 2013

In between my exams, I thought I needed something to do for a day off and this show, near to where I live in the UK, was simpl perfect timing. It provided a great day out and I even met famous showjumper Tim Stockdale while I was there! I took well over 500 photos and have since managed to whittle it down to 200, but that is still a lot to go through.

One of the other reasons for going was to put my new camera, my Nikon 1, to the test of equestrian photography. I have to say, it did pretty well and I am very pleased with the outcomes. Some of the showjumping in the day:

And I was to tickled that, on the day I went, there was an andalusian/lusitano/cross class. Iberian horses are my favourite type and they were beautiful!

There were also arabians there... And these horses were also simply stunning...

The stallion in particular was beautiful, they let him loose to gallop in the arena and I got some pretty good shots!

I still feel like I have bombarded this post with a great deal of photos but there were many, many more, I can assure you!

I just want to put a disclaimer that all these photos are COPYRIGHT Clsre Stokes 2013 and are NOT to be used without permission... Many friends and hobbyists I know have unfortunately had their photos stolen in the past and I don't want this to ever happen to me...