Thursday, March 17, 2011

Finished Belgian Oil Painting

detail "Meet The Green Team" oil on canvas
 To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I finished an oil painting today with the working title, “Meet The Green Team”. You may remember this painting from previous blog posts. It’s been around so long that it’s almost an oldey moldey.

I’m totally elated to finish this painting for several reasons. It’s been “under construction” for almost seven years! I needed to finish it to send to a show next month. And, someone is interested in buying it! She lives in the same state where the painting will be going to the show which should allow her to buy it at the show if she can make it there.

This painting also represents a milestone of sorts for me besides being the first major work of art that I’ve completed in several years. I really challenged myself with this painting by making some significant changes from the reference photograph. As you can see in the reference below, one of the horses is a bay and both horses are sweaty  having just finished participating in a horse pull. I wanted to paint a team of Belgians so decided to change the bay to a sorrel and elminate the sweat from the horses. I didn’t care for the rusty trailer so decided to change that, too. One of the reasons it took so long to finish this one is that I ran into problems because I didn’t have good references for what I wanted the horses and trailer to look like. It took a lot of revising to get it to its finished state.

reference for painting
Finished painting, 12x16 oil on canvas
Next on the schedule will be finishing the taxes so they can go to the accountant, and then it is back to painting again. “The girls” are waiting to be finished: “Glory” and “Girls Play”.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Horse Paintings Progress Report - Deep In The Uglies

Mute Swans in winter

“Ugly” doesn’t really apply to the above photo, but I thought you might like to see what we’ve been enjoying in our beach this winter. For the first time ever, my husband installed a bubbler in the water last December in an effort to keep the ice from shifting our dock. The neighbors did the same thing, and the result  has been a nice large open space of water. It didn’t take the ducks and swans long to find this open water, and they come every day to feed in our shallow beach area. I took this photo on a rare sunny day when the swans were here.

This graceful pair of swans had five cygnets at one time last summer, but by fall only one was left. Now they are alone again and will no doubt have more babies this coming summer. Their presence is a reminder that Spring WILL come eventually!

Tribute To Glory first layer of color
Meanwhile, I put the first layer of color on the Glory painting, and it is now officially in the Ugly stage when one wonders if the painting will  EVER be pretty. But, this is only the beginning and, rest assured, it will improve. I hope. So far I’m not sure I like the green background so will play with that in Photoshop to see if I like something else better.

Girls Play Too background color layer
I decided to do the background for Girls Play Too first, and this is my first attempt. It’s also in the Ugly stage and will need much more work. Look closely and you’ll see that I painted over the horse in a few spots in order to get the background smooth. After taking the picture, I cleaned the green off the horse. At this early stage, that isn’t a problem, but later on I’ll have to be more careful because some colors stain whatever you paint them over and leave a slight color tint behind no matter how much you rub or soak the area.

That’s it for today. I’ve now made the executive decision to not try to finish these paintings for the show as I had originally planned. There are just too many interruptions in my days to be able to paint long hours or even to paint every day. I also have to finish the taxes yet and get them to the accountant pronto. So, I’ll be finishing the Belgian painting and will send that with one or two older works.  Sometimes I get overly ambitious and bite off more than I can chew, and this is one of those times. I never seem to learn. Sigh. 

BUT, on the positive side, I have two new paintings well under way that I am eager to finish. And that is a very good thing!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Starting Over - Polo Painting

"Girls Play Too" Polo painting on Belgian Linen
 It never pays to be in too much of a hurry.

Here is my second painting that I hope to have done in time for the invitational show. I had to start it over because the first time I didn’t give enough attention to placement of the horse and rider on the canvas, and they ended up too high.  I was able to scrub off the line drawing with Gamsol and salvage the canvas which is a good thing because it’s Belgian linen.

The second time around, I took more time moving the drawing around on the canvas and even using matboard corners to check how the painting will look when it’s framed with the rabbet overlap hiding the edges of the canvas. I’m much happier with it now and think I got the placement just right. 

It never pays to be in too much of a hurry.

I used the same underpainting mixture on this painting as I did for the Glory painting  but applied the paint much more thinly which is more my usual method. The underpainting will now dry for a few days before I begin the color layer.

I’m using a photograph I tood two years ago at the Horse Shows By The Bay demonstration polo match. Most of  the players were Michigan State University students using a borrowed string of polo ponies. I’ve loved polo ever since my parents took me to a match the summer we lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when I was about eleven. This was only the second match I’ve seen and I thoroughly enjoyed it and took a ton of photos. More paintings will come from them.

Since I really don’t know that much about polo, I went online and looked it up to check that the details would be accurate for tack, the field and the rider’s dress. All of the players had some kind of face guard on their helmets at the match I went to which obscures this rider’s face. I found online that not all polo players use them, so it was eliminated from the painting. I also took some artistic license with other elements of the photo. What you see is kind of rough, but rest assured the final painting will be polished and colorful.

I’m really excited about this new painting and can’t wait to get back to it. Meanwhile, I’ll put some color on the Glory painting which will really bring it more to life. Time is short, and I must hurry along. But, not too fast. I can’t afford any more mistakes that delay progress.

And so it’s back to the studio for me!