Saturday, May 31, 2008
Poseidon's Gift; The Horses
I live just a mile down the road from beautiful Torch Lake in northwestern Michigan. One day this week it was particularly windy, and I knew that waves would be higher than normal on Torch, so I grabbed my camera and headed for the beach to catch some waves. Surf's up! Reputed to be the third most beautiful lake in the world, on a sunny day Torch contains all the lovely colors that are in my panel. Besides which I needed more good wave references for the panel painting. The waves weren't as large as I'd hoped, but I got some excellent shots just the same which will help in studying wave action across a large body of water and waves as they break on the shore. To supplement those, a friend sent me some really large wave shots to use, and I'm reading a very good book on painting water titled "Painting the Sea In Oils Using Special Effects" by E. John Robinson. It is one awesome book!
Of course, the most important part of the painting will be the horses, so they were the next objects of my attention. First, again, I did research by going through my reference photographs and pulling out photos of horses walking toward the camera. I had quite a few to choose from and quickly narrowed down the possibilities to just a few. I also did a little research on the internet to find out the breed characteristics of Andalusians and their colors. In centuries past they came in more colors than today which gave me greater latitude to selecting the colors of my horses. Then the fun began as I sketched five horses in different poses and changed them from Arabians, Quarter Horses and a Morgan into Andalusians. They also had to be changed to look as if they were stepping out of water after a strenuous swim onto an unknown shore.
After the horses were drawn to my satisfaction, I made copies of them in different sizes, cut them out and tried different arrangements on a sheet of paper marked in the exact width of the panel which is a 16 inch square. When I found an arrangement that worked the best, I traced the horses and refined them further, adding flowing manes and tails that would follow the directional lines in the panel. Below you can see my horses as they will appear on the panel.
One final step awaits before I can begin the actual painting, and that is to plan the wave action which will be such an important part of the panel and the story.