Posts Tagged ‘draft horse’


I always struggle when starting a new piece to find the right colors for what I have in mind. And this piece is no exception. I wanted a warm yellow color to my gray horse. Gray horses seem to be a challenge for me. I make them too cold, too blue gray and this one I want warm. I want reflected light and soft yellow and rose coloring.

Somehow though I wound up with a whole lotta green.

So here’s where I think I went wrong
I made a few critical errors when I began this piece. First I started it at home in a not well lit environment.

It’s one thing to work on a piece once I have figured out my palette. But it’s probably best not to try to figure it out in not-so-great lighting.

I layed down an yellow/orange-ish base coat and then put my blue/grays over the top and guess what … it made green. Yeah, I know after 20 years of mixing color I should have expected that huh?

Though in my defense had I been working in oil pastel it would have totally worked!

And lastly I get kinda fixated on the area that I am working and in point of fact it was only 6 inches on a piece that currently measures 24 x 32. So I really need to just step back and try to remember there is a lot more to do so stop obsessing..


So the head shown here is nowhere near done but I like it better. Crappy photo makes it look a lot like the first photo … but trust me it is completely different.)

So I pulled out a dozen or so Percheron reference photos that had that glow I was looking for. Pulled out much of the color I had put in and began again. At the gallery. On a sunny day.


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I Think I Blocked Out The Trauma

I have been goofing around with drawing this piece for quite some time now. I had forgotten just how time consuming drawing tack is. Looking at my drawing above you wouldn’t think it was all that difficult. I mean when it’s all simplified out in a coloring book style sketch it really doesn’t look like much.

But … it was.

It was only after I got into the act of drawing tack that I remembered the trauma of spending a week or more drawing various draft teams through the years. I’ve not had a child but I’m guessing it’s just like childbirth. Where you agonize, bargain with God, sweat, scream and cry and after an excruciatingly long time … a birth occurs.

Yeah, this was exactly like that.

And now just like a child, I need to show it love and nurture it so it will blossom and grow into something beautiful… so I can sell it.

So okay, the metaphor gets a little thin at that point.

Moving on …

You can’t really see it here but the horses were done with pretty much NO effort. But the tack … the tack has been drawn, erased and drawn again.

At first I thought it was my geezer eyesight. Not as young as I once was and so I was playing “I wonder what that is” a lot with my sketch.

My dear equestrian artist friend Barb McGee shared an epiphany with me a year or so ago. She used to fuss about trying to figure out what things were that were so deep in shadow they couldn’t be made out. She enlightened me that in the end she decided it really didn’t matter because if you can’t see what it is in the photo it’s okay if you can’t see what it is in the finished painting.

As I told myself this over and over hoping that in the end I’d believe it … well let’s just say I went another direction.

reference photos

So What’s The Point Of Having All This Equipment Anyway?

In the end, I scanned in my photo at a high resolution (600 dpi) played with the levels in Photoshop and then printed it out at 11×14. My printer would allow 24×36 but that seemed excessive since my painting is only 20×32.

So with my new improved image I could see exactly what I was struggling with and turns out I made up a bunch of stuff that didn’t exist. Too bad I hadn’t thought of this sooner it would have saved me some editing.

Perhaps I should just be grateful my geezer brain thought of it all. You know … glass is half full kind of thinking.

So here’s the beginning of the next big thing.

PS There is still some tack that I was all … “What is that and where does it go?” but in the end I agreed with Barb and just went with it.

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