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Finished my first miniature. Not sure how I feel about it. It’s not the ‘painting small’ part — most of the things I’ve painted in the past had patches of super high detail. It just feels a little cramped. Closeup here.

I liked working on vellum, though. Watercolor doesn’t actually stick to it, so you can lift the paint if you make a mistake. But to make an area super dark, you have to go over it and over it with tiny dots or streaks.

Trying to apply a heavy, wet color wash on vellum is a disaster. It rumples, then dries hard. Live and learn, but whooeee that stuff is an expensive sacrifice to the gods of the learning curve.

Anyway, for a first effort, it isn’t awful. A bit boring. I can’t really do anything with this first one, though…I was getting so wadded up with artist’s block that I finally threw up my hands, went to Google Images search and typed “crowing rooster.” Not usually how I source my subject matter!


Comment from Hutch
Time: March 16, 2017, 9:43 pm

Not to change the subject, I received a small Royal Mail packet containing two Dicks in my mail yesterday. Hooray!

Comment from Janna
Time: March 16, 2017, 9:47 pm

How long did it take to paint it?

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: March 16, 2017, 9:51 pm

Really very nicely done. I can’t imagine the ability to paint so delicately. Is the secret to such steady hands more gin, or less? 😉

Comment from Crabby Old Bat
Time: March 16, 2017, 9:55 pm

The last time I drew a crowing rooster, it involved tracing my hand. I guess a miniature is out of the question.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: March 16, 2017, 10:08 pm

That looks very nice, stoaty. Has sort of a Van Gogh-ish background. 🙂

Have you tried gouache on vellum? Shell gold? I saw on one Tudor miniature, the woman’s pearls were little beads of paint and they also used a base of silver.

Anyway, did you ever see those glass paper weights with the slit on the bottom where you slip your art work in? They make nice gifts.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: March 16, 2017, 10:47 pm


Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: March 16, 2017, 11:15 pm

That’s really good and I really mean it!

Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: March 17, 2017, 12:59 am

I LOVE IT!!!!!

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: March 17, 2017, 2:17 am

That’s really very nicely done…and I somewhat-know whereof I speak.

Some years ago, in pursuing part of a sometime-hobby of mine, model railroading, I did a short series of “drumhead”* illustrations in H-O (Half-O) Scale for a friend who had seen and admired several O-Scale (about 1/48th of full-sized – full-size “prototype” being about 2-1/2 to 3-foot diameter) ones I had done for my own cars. Painting-in small details like that – I did my work in acrylics, on thin discs of polypropylene, so they could be backlit using wee-bitty lightbulbs – “grain of wheat” bulbs, they’re called – is NOT easily-done! Not if you want sharp, distinct detail, that is…Usage of magnifying gear of some sort, plus itty-bitty brushes, and a lot of patient, steady-handed concentration definitely required!

(* A railcar “drumhead” is/was the round medallion hung from the railing at the back of the rear passenger coach of a train, mostly back in the first half of the 20th century – the most common type was painted with the logo of the railroad, and might be lettered [typically as an overlay or circularly ’round the outer rim] with a name for the “specials” trains. Very picturesque, and all – but small on model RR’s; my O-scale ones were just under 1-1/4″ or so, IIRC – the H-O ones were half that size!- Fun!)

Comment from LesterIII
Time: March 17, 2017, 2:20 am

If it is ever to be offered for sale, Stoaty, I would happily bid. I am confident I am not alone.

Comment from catnip
Time: March 17, 2017, 4:56 am

It’s brilliant, Stoaty, especially as your initial effort, and delightful in full color. I particularly like his baleful, beady eye.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 17, 2017, 8:23 am

B’awwww…thanks you guys.

Hutch: Yay! Two dicks is better than one!

Janna: about four hours. That’s a bit worrying, as my miniatures book says a bespoke portrait typically takes about forty. FORTY! Shit, I don’t know if I could stand to work on a thing that small for that long. On the other hand, there was some really lovely portrait work in that book.

In the other book I bought, not so much.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 17, 2017, 8:51 am

Oh, Ric Fan. It kind of is gouache. There are touches of opaque white and yellow in the finish.

Fun fact: Brits pronounce it goo-wash. Silly Brits.

Not done shell gold, but I’ve done gold leaf in the past. Still have the gold in a drawer somewhere. Tricky to work with, in terms of figuring out the dynamic range in an image. Is it a light or a dark? Yes!

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: March 17, 2017, 12:38 pm

Stoaty, I think you’re being unnecessarily hard on yourself. The colors are great and the whole portrait is in good proportion. Years ago, I bought one of those cat paintings on a plate at a local thrift store because the cat reminded me of my long-since-passed red tabby Arizona. Reminds — but the eyes are a little too big and ears a little small to be a good portrait of a cat. In contrast, your rooster is very well done!

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: March 17, 2017, 9:29 pm

Now THAT is an enraged chicken! You really are the Queen of Chicken Rage!

Crabby Old Bat, you could try using a pantograph.

Comment from Niña
Time: March 17, 2017, 10:32 pm

It’s considerably better than I could do, so it gets a thumbs up from me! 👍🏼

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: March 18, 2017, 1:22 pm

If I ever win the Dead Pool again, I want a copy of that!

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: March 18, 2017, 1:24 pm

J.S. Bridges. Would making a drumhead in a size easy to make, and then taking a color slide photo work, and then just cut out the drumhead from the slide?

Comment from Claire
Time: March 18, 2017, 4:32 pm

as a fancier of chicken paintings, that is *really nice* !

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: March 19, 2017, 7:06 pm

SCOTTtheBADGER:I had to think this one over a bit – then think about how one might (best) control the finished size of the color slide “print”…at the time I was doing the work, I had no access to home-printing of color slides, so I never considered the possibility. I think perhaps what you suggested could be made to work, if two items one would need to control could be dealt with: 1) The sizing problem already mentioned – which might require some jiggering-around before it would give satisfactory results, and 2) the need to hold the cut-out color slide material satisfactorily flat when assembling the whole “drumhead” for usage (color-slide print photo film stock tends strongly to curl – that’s part of the reason why finished slides have that fairly-wide “frame” of card-stock or thin plastic [called a “mount”], the other, bigger reason being to afford proper handling, storage and usage of the slides), which would also require some experimentation, I should think.

Thanks for the suggestion – if I end up making more of the things, I’ll give that method a try or two…

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: March 19, 2017, 7:13 pm

By the bye, Your Stoatliness – that rooster is entirely, quite-superiorly done, and is eminently satisfactory, ‘specially for a first-run try at miniatures; you can almost hear the critter trying to crow…

Maybe for a next subject, you might consider a wee portrait of Mad Jack – cats are near-abouts as endlessly-fascinating as a chooks, after all, when you think about it, yes?

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