Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Echo", a Horse Drawing

"Echo" a Quarter Horse Mare

Drawing from the photograph

I saw a woolly caterpillar in the barn aisle the other day, and that is a sure sign that Fall is here and winter is on its way. 

Usually, Fall is very busy at our house as we batten down the hatches preparing for the snow and cold ahead: taking water craft out of the water for winter storage and cleaning out the flower beds, preparing for the holidays and other sundry things. This year is no exception and is shaping up to be even busier than normal after what was a busy summer. 

For one thing, we took our cat, Molly, downstate to a cat clinic for radiation treatment for hyperthyroidism. She has been on medication for two years, but it was no longer working. It has been traumatic for both us and poor Molly since she had to stay at the clinic for four days and is now in quarantine at home for a week. The treatment itself is very safe, but she was stressed to the max just being taken away from home and "abandoned" by her people and now isolated from all of us in her room alone. She came home very thin and totally exhausted but is now doing fine if not very lonely. 

In spite of the hubbub, I started a new drawing the other day. Not a sketch but an honest to goodness drawing of a Quarter Horse mare that I wanted to finish in colored pencil. I will probably also use the drawing for an oil or pastel painting of this mare and her foal, a painting that I've long wanted to do. 

The drawing was done freehand using the photograph above. I didn't do any measurements to start with, and when it was done, I found some problems. Hunting up my calipers or dividers or whatever you call the thing, I used that to measure the proportions of that particular horse, using the head as the basic measurement by which all others were compared. One head equals the length of the neck and also the width of the barrel and the length of the forelegs to the fetlocks and so on. I traced the original drawing onto a sheet of tracing paper, making some adjustments as I went. This is just the first tracing. I will do another over the top of this one because there are still several adjustments to be made. 

When I'm satisfied with the drawing, I'll trace it onto a good sheet of paper and finish it with colored pencil. That can serve as my color study for the larger oil painting. For that I will add a foal and a background. The foal photo I'd like to use has lighting opposite to what is in the photo of Echo, and I'll have to change it to match the mare by doing some sketches and a value study before proceeding to the painting. 

It feels very good to be tackling a brand new image with challenges to overcome and having the confidence to do it. 

Echo was a former ranch horse who became a broodmare and a trail horse. She is still very much missed by her family. This will be her tribute. 

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