Friday, August 24, 2012
Blue Eyes Revisited
My trusty palette that I've been using since 2001… it's a popsicle holder!
You may remember a last year on this blog I did a post which mentioned my technique for painting blue eyes. I thought I'd revisit that now and go a little deeper, seeing as I'm painting a horse with two! I've been working to make my blue eyes even better over the years, and I'm pushing that a little more with Mr. Alphonse (who still needs a bit of scritching touch-up). Hopefully it will all work out! I took pictures so you could see, step-by-step, one of his little eyeballs becoming blue. I'll be sure to show a close up of him when he's all fired so you can see how he turned out….
The first step is always starting with a blank canvas. I tend to do this before his paint is fired on, because it makes scraping it off so much easier! I make sure that the area where I want eye white is truly scraped well- I can leave a little gray around the edges of the rest, as I will be painting gray next.
I outline the shape of the eyeball with dark gray, as blue-eyed horses often have a gray outline (the shade varies) to their eyes. It is handy to have lots of reference photos available, so you can check your work against reality. I do like using a darker shade of gray, for contrast.
The gray 'circle' gets filled in with my blue/gray/white underglaze mix. I do overlap the dark gray a bit, for blending purposes. I tend to do 3 thin coats (or 2, if I got the paint a little thick). The trick is to get solid coverage without getting it too thick. I once had some blue just pop off an eye in the glaze fire because I went too crazy with layers!
Blue eyed horses will often have darker blue and/or gray striations through their eyes. I use a pure (baby) blue for a few stripes in the middle, to bring this out. Here you can kind of see them drying (they dry rather quickly, so remember where you put them!).
Back to dark gray! Traditionally, I've just done an outline of the pupil in a darker gray, before adding the black pupil on top. After re-examining my reference photos, I've decided to push the gray out a bit more, and add some striations using a thin, thin brush. Don't worry if a line gets a little too thick- you can use an x-acto to clean it up a bit, if you use a *very* light touch!
I cleaned up my thin lines a bit, and added more gray to the middle of the pupil area.
Add the pupil! Do look at photos to make sure you've got it lined up right. This will only take one coat of black, as black is quite opaque. Yay- you're done!
Okay- hope this was a help to any of you artists who aren't too familiar with blue eyes in ceramic, or that it was interesting enough to those who are just plain curious! Like I said, I will let you know how the extra little lines work out- if you can see them, or if they just fade into the eye after it fires. I'm hoping I made them dark enough to stay- we'll see!
Stay tuned for more detail-oriented painting posts as I finish up the claybodies!