Sunday, April 20, 2014

All My Pretty Ponies

All My Pretty Ponies
19 x 29 Mixed Media on Artists Canvas

The drawing of this painting probably took longer than the painting. I started researching and sketching horses while still working on the painting Lost Souls. And I have probably almost a dozen horses sketched head on or at 3/4 view. But rather than begin with the large painting I have considered for all those horses I decided to be conservative and begin with just five of my favorites.

Sketch of All My Pretty Ponies

I even had to construct a makeshift light table to overlay the horse sketches and compile them into one cohesive whole. I used the glass from an old coffee table and the stretcher bars for the painting to hold that up over a bar shop light I found at the hardware store.

Since I have begun painting for my Meraki show at the Trinidad Area Arts Council's Gallery Main this July I have been working on a larger scale. So this 19 x 29 inch canvas is a "Study" for the larger painting to follow. I remember the day when 20 x 30 was considered a very large painting for me. The wild horse painting to follow this one will be 22 x 46.

Background laid in

Larger format paintings to create some issues to deal with such has space. And you might notice the sketch above does not have the horizon, or the background details. Nor does this first view of the painting have the sun in it. I was just too focused on just the horses and all their legs, tails, manes and heads.

Sun added
There was one immediate problem with the addition of the sun: What color the horse in front of it? I am not one of those people that works out all the colors before putting a single stroke of paint on the canvas. In fact at the stage above I could not have told you what color the extreme right and left horses were going to be.

I had only a vague idea of what I was doing with the foreground, too.

Foreground put in with oil sticks

This was about the place where I figured I had ruined the painting. And it is why I stretch my own canvas. You can always take the canvas off and begin again. I have in actuality only done that once but knowing I can is very freeing.

It was time to work on layers and washes to create depth and to add and remove definition. Step one was a series of white washes over the horizon and monuments to push them back into the distance. And then the ground under the horses had to be tweaked.
All components in place

I lose track of everything I did from this point out to arrive at the finished painting at the top of this blog. They seem like small things and yet some of the smallest spaces can have a huge impact on the whole.

It often amazes me that I can get all the white of the canvas covered in a day or two and then spend a week with it all my easel adding a brush stroke or two here or there.

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