View Full Version : First serious attempt...

11-04-2003, 06:41 PM
This is an acrylic and my first real attempt at techniques such as underpaintings and layered glazes. I've been trying to learn some more about traditional art styles, and have been researching and studying classical techniques, so now I’m trying to put these into practice.

In the reference I have, I only liked the horse itself, so I had to invent the right background. And on the horse itself I’ve made some changes - added the rest of the head (and put the ears up), and moved the right hind leg back (the angle of that leg in the original wasn't attractive and looked uncomfortable).

I toyed with different background ideas, and settled upon on an interior stable setting, with a broad beam of afternoon light illuminating the scene. I used a charcoal sketch as my underpainting – and sprayed it with Crystal Clear before applying any paint. I only did the value study of the horse, the rest is outlined somewhat but I needed some flexibility there. Wow, this is new to me! I'm used to working on - and finishing - one area at a time with maximum opacity, then moving on to the next.

Something was bothering me about the composition. It seemed to heavily balanced to the left, so I added a trunk on the right hand side to balance it out. I also realized the horses shadow was wrong, so I glazed over it and will add a more accurate one (which will be seen in the next post).


11-04-2003, 06:42 PM
Oops, here's the images...

11-04-2003, 09:45 PM
Really amazing job! I absolutely adore horse drawings. There just seems to be something that bothers me about the horse's shadow on the wall. It doesn't seem to match up with the light source. Could just be me though. Amazing, nonetheless.

11-04-2003, 10:06 PM
Thanks, and I completely agree! I've actually been addressing that problem today. I painted over the old horse shadow and now I'm working on an updated shadow even as I type (or at least a layer is drying while typing, then back to the shadow!). I'll post as soon as I get this pony a better shadow!


11-05-2003, 12:24 PM
After establishing the fact that the horses shadow just didn't make sense, I spent most of yesterday reworking that and figuring out where the shadow needed to be. Unfortunately the reference photo was no help, as the trailer isn't in the same position relative to the horse as the wall in my version.

I started to work on more details regarding the horse itself, and felt a strange sense of guilt. I normally concentrate on the background (and all else) and save the horse for last as a "reward" because that's the part I enjoy most, but that isn't as practical with this technique.

I'll be working more on the horse, the other objects and the ground/floor today.


Craig Houghton
11-06-2003, 01:07 AM
Originally posted by canvasjockey
I normally concentrate on the background (and all else) and save the horse for last as a "reward" because that's the part I enjoy most

And, what a fantastic reward it is!

The new shadow works -- I'm amazed how much of a difference that shadow makes. The shadow, as you now have it, provides a perfect anchor for the horse. And, the horse itself is magnificent. As is the case with glazes, I'm sure the true effect must be witnessed in person, but this looks fantastic.


11-06-2003, 08:27 PM
Here's the latest. I've had my artwork set up at a horse show today where I worked on this, so I've kept more of a focus on the horse (helps to draw more interest in commissions).

One guy suggested I add more to the background (a window, and other things), but I prefer to keep this one minimalist and visually simple. Talk about productivity, with all the uninterupted time sitting at the show spent painting, I might actually be done by this weekend!


prairie painter
11-08-2003, 08:47 PM
The new shadow is Much better! But is the shadow muzzle a bit pointy?
The horse itself is beautiful, as always!

11-10-2003, 12:34 AM
Thanks, Prairie Painter! I think you're right, the muzzle shadow might be to elongated (due to the angle), and should be altered.

The horse show I was set-up at ended today, and it was a great chance to sit there and paint while watching the real thing going on around me (the weather helped also, mid 70's with little to no wind - this is when us desert rats get to finally come outside!). Now I can allow myself to jump back into WC and this forum!

While it isn't quite finished (more at the touching up point) I feel close on this one. It'll hopefully be done in a day or two.


Craig Houghton
11-10-2003, 02:30 AM
I know I'd certainly stop and stare if I happened upon someone painting this at a horse show, or anywhere. I'm really impressed, and the speed at which you're finishing this is remarkable. The hard work has paid off wonderfully.

Great work!


Classical Vince
11-10-2003, 04:08 AM
Fantastic work! Cant wait to see your final touches. The shadow correction and the rest are coming together nicely. Hope to see more of your work.

11-11-2003, 01:55 AM
Thanks, Craig and Classical Vince!!

BTW - I have put that Charles Bargue book at the top of my Christmas list!!


11-11-2003, 05:39 PM
I may be totally wrong here...but all the shadows are to the left and it appears that his nose shadow is to the right...as if the light source is from two different directions. Did I make sense?



11-11-2003, 05:57 PM

Yes, you make sense, though the reason for that is the corner in the stall. The bulk of the shadow (the body) falls on the back wall, being cast a little to the left of the horse. The shadow on the left wall would be a little different as a result of it's different position in relation to the light, and it wouldn't be cast to the left of the horse (from our point of view). Shadows change based upon the shape and position of the surface they're cast on, and if you have variations in that surface the shadow is altered somewhat for each plane. Believe me, I've been researching this (using model horses and a box with a lamp, etc.). It can get really confusing, but there is a logic to it.


11-11-2003, 08:57 PM

Could not have said it better myself. (Ha! I'm going to have to read what you wrote more than once for it to sink in) I am going to try the "object" and a lamp. I have so much to learn. I'm reading a book on perspective now...complete with pictures for us slow learners. lol



11-11-2003, 10:15 PM
like i said..this came out great...and i'm glad you corrected the shadow

11-15-2003, 09:19 PM
Done at last!! Whew!

Actually, I was at two horse shows and an art show over the past week or so (two of which overlapped - set up my stuff at the horse show, drive across town to art show, set up and sit there for a few hours, pack up and head back to horse show sit for a bit more then pack up and go home). I need a nap.

Not being one to like to be idle, I of course have been working on this while sitting these shows, though with all the people stopping to talk progress was slow at best.

Here is a not so great digital pic of the finished piece (if I get a better pic taken later with the benefit of daylight I'll post it).


11-15-2003, 09:36 PM
This turned out beautiful,Carole. :clap: I especially love the color and blending in the horse. You must have a great sense of anatomy of a horse because the muscles and limbs are so believable. Great painting! :D What size is this painting?

11-15-2003, 09:40 PM
Thanks, Bud!! Horses are my primary subject, so they are a subject I put a lot of effort into (sometimes too much :rolleyes: )! This is a 20 x 24 acrylic on canvas board.


11-17-2003, 05:01 AM
Thank you for sharing this WIP with us. Really enjoyed watching how you developed and corrected the painting.