Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Young Arab Finished

I have decided to call it a day on this one before I spoil it! It is so much softer and looser in style than my usual work, I think if I tried to add the nitty gritty detail it will lose some of it's character and atmosphere. I have titled it 'Arabian Innocence'.

I was quite pleased with it until my unhorsey husband pointed out that it's back leg looks like it has been deformed, twisted, broken and is now dangling awkwardly... quickly following the comment up with "...but it looks exactly like the photos so that's fine." Great, thank you for your input B. LOL!

I'm in the process of gessoing and sanding the canvas I plan to use for my attempt at a grisaille. It's slow progress, I'm on about the 5th layer of gesso now and I think after another few sanded layers I should have a beautiful surface smooth enough to paint the finest of details on. Can't wait to get started!

Monday, 29 June 2009

Young Arab

I'm finally happy with the background! I had planned to change it totally but messed about with it to try and hint at sky in the top bit and was quite pleased with the result so will leave it as it is now.

Got a little more done on the horse too today. Just fine detail left to go now really and smudges of colour here and there once this layer dries.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Young Arab

Some more done on this today. Fiddled about with the background a bit but I'm still not happy with it!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Young Arab

A little more work done on this one... think I will change the background colour next, as I really don't like it as it is! Not sure what I'll change it to though...

I have decided to start another Arab painting too, this time of a Crabbet youngster. I plan to attempt a grisaille for the first time which, in simple terms, involves a detailed single tone underpainting which coloured glazes go over the top. I haven't worked in black and white since I was at school so thought I would practice some pencil sketches before I put paint to canvas!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Young Arab

One minute I'm happy with how this one is going, the next I hate it and want to ditch it to start something else! Will I ever learn to be more patient with the rough early layers of my paintings?! Probably not!

It's a very young horse so it's quarters are quite concave at the angle it is stood at... but it doesn't look quite right even though I have compared measurements etc from my reference photographs over and over which tell me it is correct, gah!!! The composition works well in the main photo I'm working from so I'm just going to go with it for now I think. The main focal point of the painting should end up being the horse's impressive tail fanned across its back, I'm hoping that once the body of the horse is finished and the detail of the tail starts to go on it will detract from the shape... we'll see! The tail will cover more of the rump and back leg too once I finish the main body of the horse which will change the balance of its hind. Next step will be a glaze of rich brown paint to try and smooth everything out a bit ready for more detail to go on...

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Young Arab

I made a start on a new painting this week, this one features a beautiful young chestnut I saw competing in hand at the Northern Arabian Horse Show last weekend. My visit to the show was a fleeting one but I took away lots of wonderful reference material to paint from; the weather was fantastic and the horses breathtaking. I have been longing to paint an Arab for ages so I'm excited about getting going with this one. I am working on a deep canvas this time, 20" x 16" (50cm x 40cm ish). I have tried something a little different this time and blocked the whole canvas in the background colour before sketching the horse over the top- I am reserving judgement as to whether it helps or not! The green is brighter than I wanted it so I suspect it will be get painted over anyway eventually, nevermind!

Just the first sketchy layer of paint down so far. The green background forced me to be a bit bolder with my first layer, will be interesting to see if it makes a difference to the finished result.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

'Gallop' Finished!

Another painting finished. I have renamed the piece 'Between Fences' as 'Gallop' wasn't a particularly inspired title!

I had a great day at Bramham Horse Trials yesterday, took plenty more photos to work from! It was a beautiful sunny day, all the horses looked incredible galloping and jumping in the sunshine. I haven't a lot of time to work on my own paintings as I am busy producing commissioned work; I think my next original painting will probably be based on some of the reference material I captured at Appleby Fair, just need to decide which now as I was lucky enough to get plenty of fantastic photos there

Thursday, 11 June 2009


A bit more on this one today.

SEA Pre-Selection Results!

I have recieved my pre-selection results from the Society of Equestrian Artists! I am over the moon that one of my paintings has been deemed worth taking along to the judging panel at the Mall Galleries London in July!

'Acquiescence' did well in the scoring, 'Rocket Science' had a mixed response, while 'Washing Down' wasn't thought to be quite at the required standard. I plan to take Acquiescence to London and will probably take Rocket Science too to try my luck with it, figure I have nothing to lose!

Of course, a positive response at pre-selection does not mean the work will be accepted into the exhibition but the results have really encouraged me and put a huge smile on my face. I have only been painting for 18 months now so to have feedback that some of my work is potentially good enough to be hung with some of the best in the country is such a boost.

I'm very grateful to Ann and Helen Heffron who kindly allowed me to work from some of their beautiful photographs to create the paintings.

Saturday, 6 June 2009


Finally this one is starting to come together a bit more! The paler leaves over the top of the shadows have made a real difference. Still plenty to do but I'm feeling much happier with it. I'm managing to get bits done here and there on it while waiting for commissioned paintings to dry between layers and hope to have it finished before too long.

I was looking forward to a trip to Appleby Fair with my camera tomorrow but the weather forecast is dreadful, fingers crossed for a reasonably dry day!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Summer is here!

What a beautiful sunny start to June! Today marks the deadline that I have been working towards with my original work so far this year- it is the closing date for the Society of Equestrian Artists Annual Exhibition. Months of morning sickness scuppered my plans and set me back quite a bit but after a busy month I did manage to get three paintings completed and submitted- 'Aquiescence', 'Rocket Science', and 'Washing Down'.

I will now have to wait and see how the paintings fare in the pre-selection process, where photographs of my work will be assessed and either deemed worth bringing along to be seen by a panel of selection judges at the exhibition in London, or rejected. The process is more of a pre-rejection process in reality as acceptance at this stage is no guarantee of actually being accepted in London- but saves newer artists like myself from making a completely wasted trip to London if the work is not quite at the required standard yet. The standard of work at the SEA exhibitions is incredibly high, and wall space at the exhibition limited so the odds of work being accepted are not good! You don't know until you try these things though so I'm keeping my fingers crossed and if I don't get anything in this time I'll be back to try again next year!

So, back to commissions! I'm starting a new commission in oil today, along with several pencil portraits. Original work will be taking a back seat for a while while I focus on commissioned work however I have several exciting excursions with my camera planned including Appleby Fair next weekend, and Bramham Horse Trials the weekend after- can't wait! I will be hoping to get lots of great photographs to use as reference material for future paintings.

I was busy enjoying the sunshine for much of the weekend but did manage to finally at long last get some basic background colour blocked in on the 'Gallop' painting! It is still at the ugly stage where all the colours look horrible and the painting rough, hopefully in the next few layers it will start to come together.