Diary of a Dummy Board- Coming a Cropper?

Belle is now dry enough to put on the next layer of paint.

Firstly, let us remind ourselves of what we are copying.

Belle on her horse- the original photograph.

This isn’t the very final layer of paint. That one, is hardly discernible to the naked eye on the web. You would see it however in real life.

We are going to put on all the darker shadows ( we said, didn’t we, that good dummy boards have good shadows?) and the dappling on the horse. All the tiny white lights will go on it too. ( No, not the kind you stick on your Xmas tree), the sort that are pinpricks of white to show where the light is hitting a particular spot. You can for example see, in Belle’s hair, the light catching her lovely blond curls. Where the light is strongest, she will have highlights ( and at such an early age -tut!)

We shall also paint in the larger expanses of horse, the rockers and Belle’s dress, with another layer of paint and blend in the shadows and lights.

On her dress, which is primarily white, we see little detail in the original photo. This means we have to be a bit inventive and paint in some shadows to make Belle look three D. We can see in the original photo, that the bottom of her dress has holes in it. It’s obviously Broderie Anglais- the favoured fabric of the 19th century girl’s smock. This we can paint in very lightly with a Paynes grey base mixed with white. This is the only detail on her frock.

So this is what we have achieved so far,

Belle nearly finished- the painting stage.

this afternoon.

We shall now let her dry thoroughly, prior to putting on a layer of PVA.

PVA? Before you think I have gone completely bonkers, let me explain.

PVA...stands for- Perfectly Versatile Adhesive!

Oil paint is quite a soft medium when it is first dry. It takes weeks to properly cure and a layer of PVA will help to protect the paint whilst it is being cut out. The tiny teeth on the miniature saw might chip the paint from the edges of the basswood so we had to work out a way of being able to cut out the figure without damage. Customers don’t like to wait too long for their commissions and this is a way of minimizing the wait. I came to it simply by trial and error.

There were a lot of errors and they were a great trial!  🙂 ( sorry )

I had a few disasters when I was first learning to paint on basswood in oils. I’m sure there are plenty of you who have experienced that sinking feeling when a project that has taken hours of hard work, goes wrong.

PVA applied in a thin coat gives a glassy layer of protection which does nothing at all to the finished result. Anyone who wants to try this at home…… don’t be worried by the milky-ness of the PVA…it dries completely transparent.

PVA..also stands for paint very attentively!

So now Belle will be removed from the slope and left to dry. Then we shall cut it out with a tiny fretsaw. This is the most nerve-racking part of the process, for, if you haven’t followed the cardinal rule of the dummy board maker ( follow the grain of the wood and no sticky out bits )… you are liable to come a cropper!

Hahahaha… good one that… come a cropper…for an equestrian portrait! 🙂

Of course we have a few sticky out bits but, in the main, we should be alright….

Perhaps, whilst Belle is drying, we can talk about our other commission..the seated lacemaker?

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3 Responses to “Diary of a Dummy Board- Coming a Cropper?”

  1. julie Says:

    This just looks better and better ! wonderful work Sue and I’m looking forward to hearing about the lace maker commission too.
    julie xxx

  2. A little Brown to our White… « Pastmastery's Blog Says:

    […] We shall add just a few more touches before it must dry thoroughly. We can PVA him then – you remember that really useful stuff? If not, click here Coming-a-Cropper […]

  3. Double Entendre….moi…? « Pastmastery's Blog Says:

    […] { If you don’t comprehend this… and I’m not surprised..then go here – Coming a cropper } and is ready to cut…several steps forward of the first photo you see in this post . Note […]

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