Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Horse Painting; Glory From Start To Finish

My usual studio setup for painting, with references nearby. 
Whenever I create a painting or drawing, I take progress pictures along the way. By the finish, I’ve got lots of photos that I don’t need. Some are blurry, some are crooked and some have bad color. I’m starting to weed them out as the art progresses now, but I have a lot of old art photos that need to be purged. 

Today I did a purge of the Tribute to Glory pictures, and it occured to me that you might like to see how the painting progressed from start to finish all in one post although most of these have been shown before. So, here goes! 

The first step was to tone the canvas with a nice palominoey yellow. Then I drew the horse directly on the canvas using my reference photo as a guide. I added white to the mane and blaze in order to define them from the beginning. 

Next I did a value painting in gray to establish the lights and darks. I liked this stage so much that I thought about leaving it as is. This is a technique often used by the Old Masters. 

The next step was to add a thin layer of color over the whole painting. 

Following that I laid on a second layer of color, a little heavier this time. You can still see the gray underpainting showing through. 

At this point I realized that the proportions of the muzzle were too narrow and Glory’s dished face did not show as well as I wanted. I made a number of corrections to the face and muzzle and jaw line and also thinned the hindquarters  to keep them from dominating too much by painting over them with the background color. 

The colors change from photo to photo due to different lighting conditions. 

In this next photo I’ve begun applying a third layer of color and have gotten as far as the throatlatch. You can see a definite line between the layers. 

In this photo I’ve finished the third layer of color and have added some highlights to Glory’s coat. She is almost done!

At this point I decided that Glory needed a larger eye and painted one. I have also made other corrections along the way at each stage; ones that aren’t as visible but affect the whole. 

And finally the painting is done! Glory got some eye lashes, the mane and forelock were finished and a final layer of color went on the background. Notice that I softened the line of the hindquarters  by blending some background color over it in order to push it further back in the picture plane. 

Here is my reference photograph. This is a small 4x5 film print that is not the best image but somewhat captures Glory. I took some liberties in my painting to portray her more as I remember her and gave her a deeper gold coat than she had in reality. The final result is a painting both of tribute to Glory and one that I hope will be a popular image. 

Who doesn’t love a palomino?

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