Saturday, February 9, 2008

Easy Rider Survives Disaster!

I had a good week: rode my horse twice, exercised four days in a row and began work again on an old drawing I had started and abandoned two years ago. I managed to do some artwork every day, even if it was only 15 minutes. All put together, in fact, I had a spectacular week!

The drawing I'm now working on is "Easy Rider". I took the reference photo on a cloudy day at a dressage show, and although it doesn't depict some fancy dressage movement, I was attracted by the relaxed feel of both horse and rider and the beautiful blood bay color of the horse. The title immediately popped into mind and so it stayed. You can see the ref image above. 

When I started on this two years ago, the first thing I did was replace the background with one that was more interesting and less cluttered and then worked out the format in a small thumbnail. My intent was to do an oil painting from this image, but first I needed to work out a sunny day lighting situation with shadows and highlights in the right places, much as I had done with The Peppermint Kid. In a moment of what must have been temporary madness, I decided to do a large pencil version first. After tracing the enlarged drawing onto paper, the work was put aside  and gotten out from time to time, but I never quite got the time to start work on it again. 

During one of those sojourns on the drawing board last year is when the near disaster occurred. It was one of those rare occasions when I clean house, and I was gingerly vacuuming dust off the drawing table when the nozzle grabbed the drawing and pulled it up. Ack!! Horrors!! My heart sank to my toes as I flipped off the vacuum and rescued the drawing. It suffered a couple of creases and a stain of some sort, and I briefly thought it was ruined and almost threw it away. But, hating to let all my effort go to waste, I flattened it as best I could and put it back on the shelf to consider another day. 

There it stayed until this past week when I got it out again and decided to use it as a learning drawing if nothing else. Miraculously, the creases seem to have disappeared, but the slight stain still remains. My first challenge was to draw the trees on the left. Now, I'm pretty confident that I can paint believable trees, but drawing them is something else. I consulted my tree drawing books, but they were not much help. I went through my reference photos and found some close ups of a maple tree in our yard. They were just what I needed, and I set to work drawing the trees, experimenting as I went. The result isn't too bad. 

Today I allowed myself to shade the horse's face, and now the drawing looks as if it's getting somewhere. It'll be easy to work on it a little at a time in between painting sessions or on days when I don't have the time to get out and then clean up paints. I'll show you its progress from time to time as it takes form and comes more to life. 

This drawing is 11 x 14 inches on regular sketchbook paper. 

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