Monday, 23 January 2012

'In the Shadows' FINISHED!

Got there in the end, phew! I may well tweak it a bit more on looking at it with fresh eyes in a few weeks but for now it is signed and declared finished!

Glad I persevered with it, have learnt lots!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

'In the Shadows' in progress, Day 7

Battling on with the most difficult painting in the world haha!

More done all over really... more defining the mane, the blaze, the muzzle, and some glazes of warmer colour in the coat in places. Now need the mane to try again to put the brightest layers over the top, think it might take me a few attempts to get the mane as I would like!

Turns out the painting is as tricky to photograph as it is to paint! I suspect that because the detail on the parts of the horse in shadow is quite subtle compared with the bright light where the light hits, the camera is doing funny things to try and level things out. Have tweaked this image in photoshop to make it closer to the original, still not right but you get the idea! If it does end up turning out well it will definitely need to be scanned in order to get a good digital copy!

The little 6" x 6" Friesian painting eBay auction finishes tomorrow evening, you can bid here-

Onwards and upwards...

Friday, 20 January 2012

'In the Shadows' in progress, Day 6

Hardest. Painting. Ever!

Wasn't expecting this painting to be dry enough to work on today, but it was, so I spent a few more hours on it. It's not getting any easier! SUCH a tricky painting! Still not sure if it will turn out ok, finding it a serious challenge!!

Hoping to get back to it this evening as although the horse's body needs to dry now, I haven't yet done any more on the mane and background so that will be my next step.

Monday, 16 January 2012

'Portrait of a Black Horse' (Study) - currently available on eBay

My first mini painting in several months, a study for a possible larger painting. This one is 6" x 6" and an image I have wanted to paint for ages! Had stopped myself previously as I have been trying to avoid painting 'boring' headshots but something kept me coming back to this one... I think perhaps the simplicity is what I love about it!

My original plan was a blurry background of countryside in the distance, which I duly painted, but when it was finished it just didn't really have the impact I wanted. Lots of pinks, purples, and blues went into the horses coat so I simply mixed the area of my palette I had been using for those and used that as the background! I think it works so so much better than the original plan, I'm pleased with how it turned out.

The painting is being auctioned on eBay, finishing on the evening of Monday 23rd January. As usual the bidding starts at 1p with no reserve, you can bid here.


Friday, 13 January 2012

'In the Shadows' in progress, Day 5

All I can say is I am so glad this is an original rather than a commission- sleep would be lost otherwise! Some paintings seem to just paint themselves while others take a lot of muddling through with plenty of challenges along the way- this painting is definitely in the latter category!!! All those colours in the coat, none of them resembling anything like the palomino colour my mind thinks it should be... almost makes my head hurt! Never let it be said I don't like to push myself out of my comfort zone now and again haha!

It's been a week since I last worked on this painting yet still some of the paint wasn't dry! Just the very brightest parts of the mane were still wet so I managed to get a good sitting in, think I really am going to have to leave it a good fortnight now before the next layer to make sure I'm not going to lift off any of this layer. The slow drying is making a tricky painting even trickier as by the time I come to sit back down to it I have sort of lost my train of thought re where I'm going next! At least I will have the benefit of fresh eyes I guess!

That said, I am pleased with the progress today... think I might have a sound enough basis to get the tiny brushes out next time to make a start on the details, always my favourite part! It's still quite sketchy at the moment, a lot of work left to do! The darkest darks are down now so I can start to think about the more golden and red coat colours over the top.

Onwards and upwards... (with fingers crossed)!


Monday, 9 January 2012

Still Life

The palomino painting was as wet as I left it on Friday this morning so I decided to use my child-free morning to do some still life. This is a funny little white horse figurine that I have had since I was a child, I have painted it (badly) several times now, it is interesting comparing the images as I slowly improve my skills. This definitely looks more like the figurine than any of my other attempts so far! Painting from life all prima is not something I find easy, but it teaches me a great deal!

Wondering about getting a realistic horse model and using that to practice painting the form of a horse from life, think it might be useful!


Friday, 6 January 2012

'In the Shadows' in progress, Day 4

Yikes this painting is tricky!!!! It looks an utter mess but I think I am just going to have to accept that it will look awful while I try and lay down all the different colours in his coat! I'm not able to work with too many colours in each layer as they just muddy one another so patience it is!

I spent about 2 hours on it today (forgot to blog about the 3rd layer which I did ages ago and was mainly background, pictured below) and found it very challenging! There is going to be a LOT of work in this painting! Think it will either turn out really well, or in the bin! I seem to recall the mini painting I did as preparation was looking dreadful until the last minute so holding onto that though! Either way, think I will learn a lot from it.

Some very slow drying pigments used today so not expecting it to be dry enough to work on for another week or so now sadly!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Hello 2012!

I can hardly believe it is 2012 already! The painting above was my last of 2011, a commission based on a beautiful photo by talented up and coming equestrian photographer Dan Foster.

2011 was a brilliant year for me; I was lucky to have some incredible commissions, wonderful clients, a few great exhibition opportunities and fantastic experiences at various workshops too. The highlight of 2011 though was probably winning The Eggesford Studio Prize for the best piece of work by an artist under 35 at the Society of Equestrian Artists Annual Exhibition, I still smile when I remember that!

I learnt absolutely loads in 2011 and looking back to where I was this time last year it is interesting just how much the way I paint has evolved- things like the way I use colour and handle paint with my brushes have changed quite a bit! I think a lot of my development has been down to producing more work from life, from my experiences at workshops under artists I admire (such as Malcolm Coward, and Susie Whitcombe) and also down to changing some of the materials I use too- the Michael Harding medium I now use for example (recommended to me by another artist I greatly admire, Michael Miller).

So, onwards into 2012!

I have been trying to figure out my goals for the year... apart from the general 'improve' ones I think I have two main ones:

1. First and foremost to produce even more work from life, especially more live horse work.
2. Get a painting juried into a competitive open exhibition which does not have horses (or animals) as a theme. Bit of a tall order but a goal that will push me a bit more I think- horses are generally not fashionable subjects in general exhibitions so I will be forced to not only paint something technically superb, but also to really produce something highly original and interesting too. How does the saying go.. "Shoot for the moon and even if you miss you'll land in the stars"? Something like that! ;-)

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, I wish you all a great 2012- Happy New Year!