The Warrior's Horse
Oil on Canvas ~ 9x12 inches
The Warrior's Horse is finished and I have to say was a lot of fun to paint. I really love the way the pink muzzle contrasts against the pale green color on the horse's nose.
In my reference photo the eye was just a dark mass and I decided to lighten it considerably for more added interest.
While I painted this horse I could not stop and wonder how warfare has changed. Now tanks and armored vehicles cross the desserts, where once the throbbing sounds of horse hoofs announced the arrival of an army of warriors.
Well, it's time for another update. I have been a bit busy with preparations for Christmas and did not get as far as I had hoped to. Oh well ~
Today I like to talk about saturation of a color. Saturation is the degree of richness, purity or grayness in any given color. When a color is mixed with white or grey it looses it's saturation and becomes muter looking. Often the most saturated color comes straight out of the tube. In the Munsell value system a 14 is the highest degree of attainable saturation possible. I used a high chroma in the tongue area in the shadow. See instead of being dull, how lively that tongue looks in comparison to the previous posted images?! Adding little punches of saturation adds more interest to a painting.
Well it's back to the easel for me, I am wrestling with the mane, a symphony of very light beige and white that really need to get more defined to work in the painting. A little trick my teacher once told me was, if stuck look for the solution in the exact opposite realm. I can't get any lighter, therefore the solution lies in making certain areas darker or more muted. Ying and Yang at it's best!
A little studio talk ~ I love when the head starts to take shape! For this painting I am using an entirely different color palette consisting of Titanium White for impasto work, Flake White, Ivory Black, Alizarin Crimson, Sap Green, Thalo Green, Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna. Some of these colors on their own have a reputation for loosing their intensity, but I have found when they are added to more stable hues, this problem gets drastically reduced. So in other words there is a lot of mixing going on!
This horse has some wonderful brown tones with reddish hints in it's coat. Balancing those warm brown/reds against the cooler deep burgundy shades of the leather straps is turning into a little challenge of push and pull. In painting it helps to exaggerative, but it has to be done in a sneaky way to avoid the work turning into a garish mess. I feel I am at that point, where I have to tread cautiously.
The horse has a very light mane, therefore that side is kept rather light and more abstract. The only thing visible are the strands of ribbons and again I am focusing on shapes only.
The head on the other hand is starting to be developed. Like a blind person, Iam groping around for the little nuances that give the head it's trademark horse look. Again each step of the painting will be a step in getting everything together. I am looking for darks agains lights and vice versa to make the head pop off the canvas.
I usually start my paintings with a rough very light pencil sketch, followed by a pen and ink out line. This time I wanted to use Burnt Sienna, diluted with a bit of Liquin for a quick water color like draft. I like how I can quickly fill in larger masses of light and dark over the quick drying outline.
I started a new painting called the "Warrior's Horse" in it's initial drawing stage. During Halloween I visited the equestrian center in my Neighborhood and took a lot of photos of horse in costume, which you can view on my
The minute I saw this horse belonging to
Becca Beal, I fell in love. I have some plans for a large scale painting and wanted to do a small head study for the time being. The military style coloring went really well with the horses brown coat and made for a great contrast. The horse has a lovely whitish mane and a very pink muzzle, which I can't wait to paint. Horses are such beautiful animals and I sure hope that I can do this one justice.
The photo was taken during Halloween at my neighborhood equestrian center. You can view all photos of the event through this