Friday, February 19, 2016

Night Run - A Creative Process Blog

Night Run
18 x 24 Mixed Media
The trouble with becoming known for a specific subject or theme in your paintings is coming up with a new take and not duplicating yourself. I first faced this issue with the canyon lands of Utah, and then with the Mission churches of New Mexico. Now it seems to be horses. Churches of the southwest follow an architectural formula and horses a biological one. So it comes down to color and arrangement and interaction with background to achieve uniqueness in each new composition. 

Unlike my mission period I am no longer doing four to eight art fairs a year and so do not have to "cookie cutter" my horses to produce volume. And I am working in larger formats so each painting takes more time and thought.

I stepped back from horses recently do produce a few paintings in my Fat Grass Country Series which has a different subject and palette. I was inspired to do another horse painting by a photograph of a snow sculpture on the internet. It was, of course, white and so I got to choose my colors. I decided on night sky.

Sky poured

 It is not my first night painting of horses. Tres Amigos was my first and I was very happy with the result.

Tres Amigos
20 x 20 diagonal Mixed Media
My problem after the sky is poured is always what color to make my horses. I don't feel I have to stick with the colors they come in naturally but lately I have been sticking closer to those. I still want to do one with carousal horses one day. After laying down India Ink on outlines of the horses and then under them to define them further I washed in basic colors with watercolor.

Horses defined

Laying in foreground color
I like obscuring the hooves of my horses because it gives more a sense of movement. And I would rather spend my time on other details. Like stars and manes and grasses.

Grasses filled in with Oil Sticks

And after spending time filling in the foreground and a lot of details on the horses I arrived at this sticking point. As I gathered the progress photos into a folder to be able to do this blog and delete from my photo files the numerous other photographs I took of the progress of this painting I realized how quickly I had worked. And then how long it set at about this point because something was not right. I call it my Is-It-Done-Yet phase. It sat on the easel where I couldn't avoid looking at it while I worked on the drawing for my next painting.

In fact, I cleaned up the studio and stretched two canvases and transferred the new drawing to one of those canvases and the painting Night Run sat there until I could define what bothered me. In no particular order they are: large silver metallic spot over palomino, the palomino stallion drew my attention too much, the color of the grey mare seemed to fade into the sky, the red horse had no tail.

So the red horse got a tail and that reduced the amount of palomino neck you see and made the buckskin more more prominent. And the blue mare became a dapple grey which oddly enough makes the red mare stand out more. Oh, and I put gold glitter on top of the silver spot.

I posted the completed painting again so you do not have to slide back up to the top to compare.

I am not totally sure why it takes me so long with some of my paintings. Maybe if I was a better artist I could turn them out faster. I did when I was doing cookie cutter missions for fairs. An artist friend says I think too much. And at the moment I am at the Is-It-Done stage on the painting I began while this one sat on the easel being contemplated.

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