Thursday, May 29, 2014

"#64" New Event Horse Oil Painting

Work in progress of  an event horse. Oil on canvas
Since I'm still not very mobile with this broken leg and can't go work out in the flower beds, I have to content myself with creating greenery in my paintings. 

Yesterday's painting project created great strides forward with the other new big painting. I laid down the first layer of color on the background and am so far very pleased with it. It will compliment the bright chestnut color of the horse very well. 

The working title is "#64". It is a 20x24 inch oil painting on stretched canvas of an event horse at a horse trials on his way to a dressage test. The horse's name was Fuel Efficient, the event was the Encore Horse Trials near Chelsea Michigan about 2000-2002. I got a lot of good pictures that day and met and made friends with the show photographer, Rebecca Baucus. I'll be forever grateful for her friendliness and shooting tips. 

Sadly, show photographers are having a very hard time of it these days. They spend a lot of money on equipment and training, spend long hours shooting all the horses at shows and then long hours going through the photographs, creating proofs for clients and handling the sales of prints to owners and riders. Believe me, they earn every penny they make! But, today with digital cameras taking over from film cameras, anyone can shoot at shows, and many unscrupulous "photographers" poach customers from the official show photographers and take income away from them. Many professional horse photographers have given up shooting at shows as a result. 

The side effect of this is that some show photographers are hostile toward artists who are at shows to shoot reference photos. We have to walk a fine line to avoid interfering with the professionals as a result. I carry business cards with me but do not pass them out unless asked. I turn down any request to shoot someone's horse and sell the prints, and I stay out of the way of show photographers. I have also introduced myself a few times so that they know who I am and why I'm shooting willy nilly all around the show grounds. 

The other thing we artists have to be careful about is not violating the privacy rights of the owners, trainers and riders by painting their exact likenesses. Technically, we should get model releases from them all, but this is extremely impractical. The simple solution is to change markings on horses and facial features on humans, particularly kids. 

I used to enjoy going to the shows, seeing all the fine horses and riders all spiffied up and watching the action. Shooting dogs is a side benefit. Every show has lots of dogs in attendance, either with the barns who come to show or with spectators. I'm hopeful that once the leg heals I'll be able to get around better again and can again take my cameras to shows to "shoot" horses. 

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