Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Another New Oil Painting

"Recumbent" 9x12 new oil painting

It’s been so cold and stormy this winter that none of us have been riding much in the past two months. In fact, I haven’t been going to the barn much at all, even to check on Scottie. However, last Saturday the farrier was coming, and I never miss that if I can help it. 

Not only did Scottie get a pedicure but also a thorough grooming and his stretches which he loves. Stretches means lots of treats and you’d better be quick with them, too! Afterward, I turned him loose in the arena without his blanket, and like any self-respecting horse, he had a good roll. It must have felt really good to roll in the sand without his blanket on, and he made the most of the opportunity. 

I had brought my camera and caught some good roll sequences as well as other pictures. The photo above is the start of a new painting from one of those photos. So far it’s only traced onto a canvas board, and this time I tried something new; I drew over the pencil lines with ink in hopes of preserving the lines better. 
The reference photo for the new oil painting of my horse, Scottie

My original intent was to do this as a quick painting and enter it into an online show at the end of this week, but time is just too short, so I’ve decided to wait and  take my time with it. I love the flow of lines in the image and think it could make a good painting if I do it right. The working title is “Recumbent” for now. I’m hoping that something more catchy will come to me later. 
A snowy day

The photo of Scottie coming into the barn shows how pretty the snowfall was that day, and I think this view will also make a good  painting. 

The other two paintings that I worked on a few weeks ago are waiting their turn on the studio wall.Each needs a long block of time for the next session, and I just haven’t had it or felt like it while battling a stubborn sinus infection for the past two weeks. 

Since it’s income tax prep time, I may not be able to get in the studio much for a while, but I certainly will try. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Polo Painting, "Girls Play Too"

"Girls Play Too" oil painting on canvas

Another one of my unfinished oil paintings was moved to the easel this week for a little more progress. Well, actually, I got in quite a bit of progress. 

This oil painting, as you may recall, is “Girls Play Too”, a polo painting. I decided to proceed with the painting by repainting the background to an almost finished state before working on the horse and rider. My goal was to lighten both the sky and the grassy area and to create the background trees. Since this is a late summer evening painting, the sky needed to be lightened and warmed up. The grass was looking too dark and very flat, so I lightened it, too, and gave it some depth. 

The painting looks rather odd at this point (sometimes we artists refer to this stage as “the uglies”) because the horse and rider are not finished to the same point as the background which makes the painting as a whole look off kilter. I’m hoping that once I start work on the horse that will change. 

Here is the version that I showed you last Fall with a single layer of paint over the whole thing. 

And here is the latest version. 

Now comes the really fun part; painting the horse and rider. At least I hope it’s the fun part. One never quite knows what part of a painting is going to give one the most grief. Having painted so little in the last several years, I’m feeling very rusty, but I’m also getting my groove back slowly but surely. 

At any rate, working on this oil painting will remind me of that summer evening almost three years ago when I experienced my first polo match since childhood. Meanwhile, outside the snow falls on a frozen landscape that is months away from warm temperatures. But inside the studio, summer will be present to warm both inside and out. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Glory Gets a Facelift

"Tribute To Glory" 12"x12" palomino horse oil painting

This past week I moved the painting of Glory, the Quarter Horse mare, to the easel and resumed work on her. 

Quite a while ago I got her to a certain point, realized that she had a problem, was stumped how to proceed and set her aside. After months of staring at the painting on the sudio wall, I had an epiphany regarding how to fix her problems. The solution came to me out of the blue, so to speak, and then I couldn’t wait to get started on her again.  

The main problem with Glory’s painting was that I had drawn the muzzle too small. It needed to be corrected before anything else. My original intent was to do this oil painting in thin layers in order to achieve the luminous light in the shadow areas that I saw in the photograph. But in order to correct the muzzle, it was necessary to proceed with a heavier application of paint. 

I’ll spare you all the step by step details of Glory’s “facelift” and just hit a few of the major issues from which the painting was suffering. In addition to the too small muzzle, the far eye orbit needed to be lowered and her hind end reduced and resculptured. I’ve also been  refining and correcting the highlights and shadows in her face; pretty much all of it except her ample cheek. 

One of the things that I liked about Glory was that she had a slight dish face that wasn’t evident in the painting. I corrected that, too. 

Here is how Glory looked before I began the corrections. 

And here is the progress so far. 


Below is a photo of my usual working method at the easel. Just next to the painting is the photo of Glory that I took over 20 years ago. I liked it immediately and wanted to paint it some day. Hanging to the left is a larger version of it which I had scanned into the computer and lightened in Photoshop to give more light and detail in the shadow areas. The small photo has more accurate color which is why it’s next to the painting. 

That’s all for today. Time to get back into the studio and work on another painting.