First step- Begin with a bisque horse! Although it is possible to start painting a horse while it is still greenware (un-fired), painting on bisque just gives me better peace of mind. I begin by drawing out the pattern in pencil. A rubber eraser works best if I want to change anything (it doesn't smudge). I look at pictures of patterns before I start on any horse. Here I used a pattern my friend Lesli picked out:
Second- Masking. On this guy you will see a variety of possible masking materials. I don't quite know why I used so many on this piece- it is just the way it worked out. The green is saran wrap, the silver is foil, the blue is painter's tape (love that stuff) and the pale peach is masking fluid (for the finer details. I like the edges left by painter's tape- it often works to a nice effect when masking).
Third step- Painting! Starting light to dark, I airbrushed a number of underglaze colors here, painting the horse. I was careful to avoid getting too much chestnut color on the forelock, as I wanted it to be flaxen. All the light areas are left light through a similar avoidance. The grey muzzle and eyes were last, with a touch of black for contrast.
Forth step- All peeled! You can see there is much work to be done in terms of cleaning up the edges and shaping the cat-tracks, etc. All that is done with a combo of x-acto knife (I go through many blades!), typewriter eraser, and sometimes a bit of sanding with a sponge.
The fifth- More masking!! Okay- the edges are all cleaned up, yet I want to add a bit more color to his tail. I did this last so I wouldn't risk rubbing the tail while I worked on the body.
Sixth- A little more cleaning of edges to get the tail where I wanted it, and he was ready for another bisque fire! Even though he's been bisqued once, it was important to bring him up to the higher bisque temp again so that the colors would turn out as bright as they are supposed to be. He came out of the second bisque fire looking pretty much the same, except that the paint was set & less fragile.
Seventh step- Detailing. I tidied up those edges, got the areas I missed, and then I hand-detailed the eyeballs, hooves, chestnuts, and fiddled with his cat-tracks some more. Oh yes, and I painted his nose pink! Sorry no pictures of this...
Eighth- glazing. I sprayed him all over with pink glaze that becomes clear when fired. No picture of this step, but here's an approximation of what it looks like (thank you photoshop!):
Finally, the glaze fire. And praise the Lord, he's all done! Yay! Now to start all over again on another piece...!