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Painting: Painting with Oils
Discuss Oil painting techniques.
Tarleton bust build - Step 5 - Helmet
Pennsylvania, United States
Joined: June 04, 2002
KitMaker: 1,580 posts
Historicus Forma: 1,170 posts
Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - 04:17 AM UTC
I. Introduction
When I first painted the helmet, I chose to do it in black, the sash or band done in green and the fur piece done as a natural brown hair color. Iíve since learned that it may be more correct to do the entire helmet in black. So what Iím writing up here is how I did the helmet. But you may choose to do it all black. If so, I believe that you will be able to use the description Iíve written up for black on everything. My only suggestion is that you might want to vary the black paints you use to try for some distinction between the natural materials (the fur) and the man made materials (the helmet and the sash). You could also try using different colors between them for the highlighting. Iíll try to offer some suggestions throughout this installment.
II. Basecoat
I began by base coating the helmet, sash and fur with Mars Black. For the feather attachment, trying to get total coverage deep down in the feathers was rather difficult with a brush I found it much easier to just spray paint it with black. After painting, let everything dry thoroughly.
III. The Helmet
For the helmet, I chose not to try to do both shadows and highlights due to the uniformity of the shape. Instead, I chose to just apply highlights. I chose to use my Sepia paint mixed with Titanium White to a medium grey shade. Lightly apply this mix to the edge of the brim using what I like to call a wet brushing technique. This is really just like dry brushing except that the paint will not dry immediately like an acrylic paint will. The big advantage to this is that you can than gently spread the wet paint around so that becomes a thin glaze rather than color laying on color the way dry brushing can end up looking.
For the helmet proper, using the same mix, apply it across the arc of the helmet, running from front to back. Do this as a band about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up on each side of the fur. This will help to accent the curvature of the helmet.
Hereís a photo that I hope will show what it is Iím trying to describeÖ

Note: If youíve already attached the feather piece, this could make it a bit more difficult to paint the fur. If you canít remove the feathers then youíll just have to figure out how to work around them for painting the fur. And the repaint the feather piece black after you get the fur finished.
IV. The Sash
Due to the way the sash is sculpted, I had some difficulty painting it. For me, the folds are rather small to try to paint a base color with both shadows and highlights on it. After several tries, I ended up approaching the painting a little bit differently.
For the sash, mix Winsor Newton Blue (Green Shade) and Cadmium Yellow to a very dark green shade. Paint the entire sash with this mix. It will serve as the shadow color. While wet, begin adding a little bit of the Cad. Yellow to the tops of the folds and gently blend it into the dark green paint. Try to keep the Cad Yellow off of the chains holding the sash in place. But if you canít donít worry about it. You can always repaint them later. Keep adding more Cad. Yellow until you get a brighter green shade that you like. If you have the desire, you can try for some highlights now. I just didnít have any luck doing so.
When youíre satisfied with how it looks, let it dry thoroughly.

V. The Fur
Begin by painting the fur with Burnt Umber. This is a good time to make sure that you donít have any unpainted areas down deep in the recesses of the fur. Look it over very carefully from all angles. It can be pretty frustrating finding that missed spot after youíve finished the piece.
After painting the Burnt Umber, gently begin wet brushing the tops of the fur with Naples Yellow. What youíre going for here is just a subtle change in the color so that itĎs a little lighter on top than it is down deep. When satisfied, let it dry.
Next, apply some thin washes of Sepia. Here youíre just trying to stain the fur rather than trying to color it. While wet, mix up some Burnt Umber and Naples Yellow to a medium to dark shade and wet brush this over the tops again. Again, just looking for a subtle change in color. Try for a little bit lighter color along the curved corner between the top and the sides of the fur. This is about the closest youíll come to a hard edge on the fur. When satisfied, let it dry.
Lighten up the Burnt Umber/Naples Yellow mix and wet brush the tops of the fur again. Mix up a little Raw Umber with titanium White and wet brush this mix as well. To keep the fur from looking too uniform, try varying where you apply these two mixes throughout the fur. Again, when youíre satisfied with the results, let it dry. If it ends up looking too light after itís dry, try another thin wash with the Sepia.
If youíre painting the fur black, you can try highlighting it with Winsor Newton Flesh Tint. I was skeptical when I first heard of this method but Iíve tried it and it works.
VI. The Chains
If you werenĎt able to keep the paint off of the chains in Step IV, youíll need to paint them either the very dark green mix again or just use black. After they dry, take a very fine tip brush and carefully pick out the tops of the links with gold. If this goes well youíll see a nicely defined chain when youíre done.
For my metallic painting I like to use Printers Inks. If youíre not familiar with these, theyíre a sort of wet powder that give possibly the best metallic finish available. You mix them into an appropriate color oil paint and add a dryer. Theyíre available from Michael Roberts and can be found on this linkÖ
Most of you wonít have these on hand so Iíll suggest you use your favorite gold paint for this step.
VII. The Feathers
To make it easier to handle the feathers for painting, I attached them to a toothpick with white glue. Donít use too much white glue or it will be difficult to remove them later.
Once the white glue is dry, I did a simple highlighting of the feathers using Winsor Newton Flesh Tint. I did it with by dry brushing the Flesh tint over the tops of the feathers and then gently blending it out until I was satisfied with their appearance. Be sure to do this to the underside of the feathers as well. When attached, there are areas of this side that will be viewable.
When dry, you should be able to gently remove the feathers from the toothpick with a slight twisting motion. You can now attach them to the side of the helmet with either a drop of epoxy or white glue. I know that super glue (CA) will work here but I always fear the white frosting that it can cause.
VIII. The completed head
The title sort of says it allÖ

What Iíve opted to do for the moment is to attach the feathers with green sticky tack. I havenít decided yet if Iím going to repaint the fur black. If I do. It will be a lot easier if I can remove the feathers.
Pennsylvania, United States
Joined: June 04, 2002
KitMaker: 1,580 posts
Historicus Forma: 1,170 posts
Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - 04:26 AM UTC
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