This painting has been quite a process.
It all started more than a month ago with the blog post below. I knew it would make a good painting but needed to be fleshed out. I decided to add more horses but didn’t want them to distract too much from the trees so wanted them quite small. These quick studies helped me know how to tackle the horses.
Next, I tackled the larger format 16 x 20 inch board, painting the elements in loosely allowing for changes. The foreground horse was added to improve the composition, pulled from my imagination so a bit more of struggle than the others. When the lights came onto the trunks of the trees, everything changed! I am so happy with the results of a more methodical approach to my work. I already know what I will tackle next!
I’ve been striving to take my paintings beyond a good likeness of the scene and into something painterly, exciting, full of life. So I seek out those qualities in other painters, and even going so far as copying their work, to help me feel handling paint differently and find out what it takes to create a certain look.
Last week I painted out at a local spot nearby and found reasonable success but I wanted to use what I learned there and back up, see a longer row of eucalyptus trees, make the subject less about the horse and barn and more about the setting, the place.
This small painting accomplishes my goals, not just to change the composition, but more importantly to add more paint and allow more freedom and life to the picture. I will try it again, bigger, on a board not simply canvas paper. Very happy with this new direction!
I’ve been working on this assignment* for months, first with drawings, gouache studies and finally this painting. It’s done from my imagination, which is not a common way for me to work. It depicts me at 15 when in 1969 my family moved from smoggy Southern California to Westchester County, New York. I had just learned to ride horses and they helped find a way out of the anger and sadness I felt about leaving California and my friends.
*Childhood Memories was a challenge to a Facebook group to which I belong. The administrator is a well-known art teacher, who exposes to us to his vision, knowledge and excitement about art, alongside his own spectacular, imaginative, paintings. Though he didn’t like the term “assignment”, I found it to be just the thing in the face of so many personal distractions lately. Thank you Chester Arnold! I will paint this way again, so fun!
I’ve been working on these three horses, since the grass was green. I’m finally quite happy with them all. What do you think?
Many of you know, I have a rich and varied background with horses. I taught many students to communicate better with their own horse. I’ve ridden and trained countless animals of many breed and disciplines. I love the strength and willingness these animals bring to the partnership.
And I love their beauty. Every once in a while, I must paint them. I was inspired by a website that posted many pictures of their young horses at liberty in big fields. I’ve started three paintings and this one is close to done.
These will follow suit. Oh boy!
I haven’t painted a horse in years. This was fun and came together quickly, just 2 sessions. It’s larger (16″x20″) than my plein air landscapes, bolder. I think I internally know horses better than the land with it’s steady, stillness. But from the landscapes I have learned something about values and color. I will do more of these.
Thanks for looking!
This painting has been sitting, waiting to be re-thought since 2008, when it was first shown, with others of the same series (below) which sold. I’m glad this one didn’t sell because I needed to learn more about value, though the reason it bothered me, was more about the drawing. I wasn’t afraid to tackle it again, re-working almost everything except the trees at the top. And I’m happy with it now.
It will be part of my upcoming show in May at the Epicurean Connection.
30″ x 24″, oil on board