Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Clean Slate

This piece is an old commission that's been languishing here for...well...a very long time. I had continual problems deciding on a color, but nothing felt right. While I didn't want to do something humdrum or a rehash, I also didn't want to tip over to the other side of the scale because that didn't feel right, either. So it changed from silver dapple, to sooty palomino, to fox dun, to dunalino pinto to I forget what it's supposed to be now. To make matters worse, my issues with painting began to surface when I got this piece, which only amplified each time I restarted on it. I was fine with small scales, but 1:12 scale and above began to throw me out of whack. I knew it was a privilege to paint this rare sculpture and so I wanted my work to be up to snuff...but I was disappointed each time I put brush to body. Then my nose would start to twitch, I'd get discouraged and frustrated and put it aside. This makes for bad juju, and so this piece sat...and sat...and sat. You can see remnants of my old painting approach in there -- it's a retro in limbo. Why was this particular piece such a gauntlet? Somehow between waffling on color and my growing dissatisfaction with my painting ability on larger scales, this piece became Ground Zero.

But I've worked through my painting problems, which in a roundabout way allowed me to settle on a color that was just right -- a slightly sooty buttermilk buckskin pinto. The light buckskin color would let the sculpture shine through and the slight sootiness would let me play with effect and tone while the pinto pattern would let me play up the hairs in the mane and tail. Speaking of which, as you can see, the sculpting of the mane and tail are
my older style, and I'd debated on whether to redo them. After mulling it over, I decided against it because I thought it would be more fun to marry the old with the new and see what happened.

So rather than shoehorn the past into the now, I decided on a clean slate and airbrushed on an entirely new base coat:

Now to let this piece dry for a couple of days and then I can really get to work! I'm rather excited to see what I can do now, even with the memory of so many false starts still fresh in my mind. As I hit milestones with this paint job, I'll post the in-progress pix here so you can get an idea of my process (or lack thereof).

I'm also working on the Haffie mare and trying my darndest to have her final sculpted tweaks done by the end of this month, then have her cleaned-up and ready to cast
sometime in February. She's another example of a redo-redo-redo peppered with frustrations. And also like this painting commission, this mare was only going to be finished in her own time. Some things cannot be shoved around.

In more ways that one, 2010 is a clean slate for me, both in the studio and personally. And in the truest sense, this commission piece embodies a new Mink Studios: My previous struggles still lie under the surface but the old and new bits will mesh together once given a clean slate for a fresh start.

"Perseverance is failing nineteen times and succeeding the twentieth." ~ Julie Andrews

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