View Full Version : NZ Thoroughbred "Morgan"
01-05-2009, 05:52 PM
Happy New Year everyone.
This is Morgan, a NZ thoroughbred in conformation - commissioned by a local stable for one of their clients. At 28"x22" it's a fairly large canvas for me but, as usual, I find that conformation portraits are hard to paint because of the severe scaling down that needs to be done: it's like trying to paint a person's full length portrait on an 18" high canvas.
The background came from one of my own stock photos of a field at a local farm, the actual background that I photographed him in wasn't quite so pretty.
Oil on linen, 28"x22"
01-05-2009, 06:38 PM
I love your background and I think the body/legs looks very good but his head feels small to me. I also think his throatlatch needs more definition. I have noticed that some paintings when viewed on the computer screen have the proportions thrown off so maybe you've got this right on but I would check the head size.
01-05-2009, 07:06 PM
You know what ? I think you're right! Thanks for that.
I checked measurements and his head is the correct length, but not quite deep enough (it's too pointy). That should take care of the latch, too.
01-05-2009, 08:01 PM
I love the colors and textures of the bg except for the little branches "below" the horse's head. They distract my eye. I agree with the diagnosis of a bit of a small head, and it seems like maybe the nostril is a bit low, or overly defined by the solid dark color next to his white muzzle. The colors in the horse, as with the background, are beautiful! Thanks for sharing:) .
01-05-2009, 08:35 PM
I think dark colors can be tough, but you did a nice job. His stance looks nie and natural. The background looks nice and painterly and the colors set the horse off nicely.
It looks like maybe the reference you were working from was taken on a rather overcast day though, as usually dark horses reflect a lot of light giving thier coat brighter highlights. If it were mine I would punch up the body highlights quite a bit more. That will also help define the shape of his musculature a bit more. I do agree that the head looks too small, and the ears too. If this is really how small they look in the photo I would assume camera distortion and consult some additional photos.
I look forward to seeing the update.
01-05-2009, 08:37 PM
Beautiful painting Simon! I love the bg as well as the colors on the horse's coat!!
01-05-2009, 10:03 PM
Let me start by saying you have done a wonderful job here. Your colors are gorgeous. I have to to agree with the bit about the small head...and the neck seems too long to me as well. The rest of him so so muscles that neck seems weak and unsupportive. Do as Crias said, and if you can, consult other photos. I love that background though. I too can't wait to see this updated!
01-05-2009, 11:38 PM
Crias - Yes, his ears are too small, and I meant to rework them but didn't. I used a 50mm/f 1.4 in my K10D for the reference photos - and then photographed the painting with the same lens, so there's basically twice the lens distortion there!
Also, I did photograph him on an overcast day - my preference would have been full sunlight and a polarising filter.
Susan - another boo boo. I haven't quite got his chest full enough and together with the head problem I think its making the neck seem too long.
Well that's my tomorrow taken care of right there. My head must have been in the clouds while I was painting this.
Thanks for all the advice and help.
Simon, I always love seeing your work. This one looks very much like one of those old paintings from England. I think it's great the way it is - I'd leave it!
01-06-2009, 01:44 PM
Lovely painting but the head is too small as you have already been informed. there is a small patch on his back that is light in colour and (it may just be the photo) it makes his back look swayed. It may not look that way at all in real life just an observation. Do let us see your progress.
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