Show Me How It’s Done!

Teaching someone how to paint, and to do it right, is never easy. I always find that people want to do it their way, irrespective of whether it is right or wrong. Mistakes can sometimes be costly and ruin what could have been a great piece of artwork. But, for those of you who want to know how it’s done, then allow me to show you. To begin with, and for some, this can be the boring part, what you need do is gather as much reference material as you can about your subject so that you know what you are looking at and, more importantly, what it should look like.

I was perhaps more fortunate insomuch that I served with the Regiment and got to know the kit quite intimately. Nevertheless, time marches on and one does tend to forget when something is not in front of you and all you have are some photographs that do not show the detail you need.

Stage One

This painting, of a Household Cavalry Trooper, began with a basic outline of the trooper and a basic outline where the creases in his tunic sleeves were most prominent. From here I was able to overlay the scarlet tunic with darker shades of the color by adding some red ochre to the red to give the painting a 3D effect. The chrome strap that runs from the rear section of the breastplate (cuirass) to the front by mixing Payne’s grey to the white and darkening it to make the shadow.

Stage 2

With the sleeve of the tunic now dry, this was overlayed with waxed paper so that I could rest a hand on it in order to paint the breastplate and the strap shadow. The hardest part for me was in painting the reflection of the building without the need to over-empahsize the detail. In reality this is a blurred image. It is the eye and the brain that do the rest.

Stage 3

One of the great things about using acrylics is that you can use them like oils, or again like a creamy paste that will not fade if hung in direct sunlight. By using the principles reagarding light and shadow I then completed the other side of the breastplate. But, as you can see, the painting is beginning to take shape.

Stage 4

There is a great deal of detail in the fingerguard of the sword handle as well as a dual reflection in the sword and breastplate. Most of this was lessemed with a simple wash to lessen the effect. The same wash was used on the calfskin band that holds the red rifle pull-through. This is purely ceremonial and reverts back to the use of muskets during the Crimea War.

Final Stage

The white sheepskin saddle cover and polished black leather reins were completed using a mix of Payne’s Grey/Lamp Black and Titanium White. I also used a short-haired brush that I used for stippling to add some detail to the sheepskin. All that remained was to add the shadows to the calfskin gloves. The cuff of the glove is actually formed from a plastic that can be kept white by using the same white one uses on tennis shoes etc.

But, that is the painting finished. It sold “as seen” and the buyer added their own mount and frame to match their decor. It is one that I know they are over-joyed to own and have since purchased others from the gallery.

There are other paintings in the book that show you how to create a variety of finishes to your painting that also give realism to movement, waves and the movement of dirt ect in the book shown at the top of the page.

Let me know how you get on and if this post has helped you at all.

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