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Musket Barrels, Dapple Grey, and Horse Bits Done. . .

Here is where things are with the 14-figure cavalry squadron that has been on the painting bench since at least September.

Still a way to go with the current unit of cavalry, but I had a reasonably favorable experience doing the trumpeter's dapple grey mount two evenings ago.  

Instead of blazing, sun-bleached bone white for the dappling, I used Antique White, applied it with a crummy, not-so-good brush that doesn't hold a point, and used a stippling motion.  In addition, I was careful not to have very much paint at all on the bristles and smudged it around as soon as it had been applied before the acrylic dried.

Knowing when to stop is, in my view, an important and sometimes overlooked part of developing as a figure painter.  Sometimes, I notice figures online and in magazines that look a little overdone, almost like the painter didn't quite know when to put down the brush.  The popular three-shade methods, while they have many followers, too often veer into this land of the overwrought.  To my mind, the power of suggestion tends to yield a more realistic and pleasing appearance t0 units of 15-40mm figures than does trying to paint every last button, fold, and nostril of our small lead and plastic soldiers with a base color, shade, and highlight.  Just my two penn'oth you understand.

That said, I am tempted to try some additional very light dry-brushing in the area of  the horse's right shoulder (facing the camera) and on it's lower muzzle to tone down the dappling and black just a wee bit before calling it done.  See the photograph below, which I found online and used as a visual reference.  You'll notice here that the nose-lips area and much of the rest of the horse's coat have an ever-so-slight dusty, undefined appearance without crisp edges.  That leads me to think some very light dry-brushing might further enhance my rendition of said steed at the bottom of this post.

Anyway, my trumpeter's horse is far from perfect, but at arm's length, I think, it gives an almost reasonable approximation of a dapple grey, which is a nice change from my more usual (and simpler) damp or dry-brushing of light gray or white over a darker undercoat.

Ok, almost time to get the boy ready for the school bus.  It's 8:17am here.  Hustle, hustle!

-- Stokes 


Ed M said…
Although you're points about impressionist vs realist/detailed painting are spot on and well taken, I find myself impressed at the attention to detail (or should I say, "key" details) in your technique--especially given the large-figure units you are doing. Perhaps we all go overboard in our own ways, which is what makes following along and learning from others in their blogs so satisfying. Thanks for sharing your project and process. Looking forward to seeing the completed unit.
Matt said…
I think that's a very impressive dapple result. Avoid the temptation to tinker with it!
Agreed on all points.

Nice grey!
Andy McMaster said…
As said, very nice dapple.
Big Andy said…
I like painting Greys - or I would not have the Scots Greys in my 30mm collection but it does get a bit samey when you keep doing them. However that splendid photo and you post has give me a new angle on the job- thanks. Love it Andy

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