Posts Tagged ‘horse’

Plein air at Tower Grove Park- Wait, my subjects left!?!

April 7, 2016

What do you do when your subject leaves before you’re finished painting????

I recently took a workshop with Dave and M. Shawn Cornell and the focus was on studying your subjects in sketch, paint, and just with your eyes and mind–committing as much as you could to memory. The logic behind this is so you can “paint what you know”. To drive the concept home, we did several Notan (small drawings used to establish balance in a painting’s composition) sketches of landscapes and views, totally from our mind. After doing several of these, we then chose one that seemed to be the strongest idea and worked on developing the concept. We did more detailed Notans if the scene, detailed Notans of the details of the scene, and then small color studies of the scene. Finally, we did a larger painting using only the reference materials and studies we’d made. Normally what we found, is that the scenes were places we recognized, saw on a daily basis, or favorite places that have been committed to memory because of our fondness for the location.

This was a tough exercise for a lot of us (including myself), but it would turn out to be a great exercise that I would put to use, sooner than later.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I had been doing the “painting a day challenge for the month of March”. I’ve been trying to limit my time on these little studies each day, to one hour….or at the most an hour and a half. Each week, I sort’ve changed subjects or themes. One of the last weeks, I was painting horses. I’ve been drawing and painting horses since I can remember but, I still needed practice in getting them down quickly and correct so, these studies were proving to be great exercises for me.

Last Sunday, I went to Tower Grove Park to paint with members of the MOPAPA group. I painted a flowering tree first thing, then I migrated to a pavilion to eat lunch with a few of the members. As I was walking up there, I saw a Clydesdale hitched to a carriage and the gentlemen driving him was there to give carriage rides to the park visitors. I took a few pictures, chatted with the driver a bit and went on for lunch. After lunch, we decided to set up and paint one more painting before calling it a day. I walked around and looked at the flowers and the ponds and kept coming back to the Clyde and carriage. Could I pull it off? Could I paint quick enough to get a gesture and idea of the scene before he went around for another ride? I decided to take on the challenge and setup my easel from across the pond from the carriage, where there were tulips in front of the horse. I started covering my canvas with a wash and started drawing feverishly, and there went my subject. He was only there for a few minutes before he started giving a tour around the gardens. Eventually he came back and I started painting like a mad woman again….he left about 5 minutes later. So, my quick draw studies and my exercises at the Cornell workshop started paying off. I started filling in what I remembered from studying the horse and carriage earlier while chatting with the driver. I also adlibbed a bit based on what I knew about horses and harness in general. I reached a point that I really needed to see the carriage again….so, I worked on the background, waiting for my subjects to return….except they never did. They were done for the day.

So, what do you do when your subject leaves? Well, if you haven’t done any homework or studied your subject much, it’s going to be really hard to paint what you don’t know. So, you either have to surrender or hope to come back another day and hope for the same lighting and subjects. I had accepted the challenge and feel like I pretty much walked away winning. I’ll let you decide.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/untitled/470223

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/untitled/470222

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Painting a day 2016-Day 23-Blinded eye-draft horse study

April 2, 2016
Blinded eye-draft horse study 5"x7" oil on canvas panel

Blinded eye-draft horse study
                  5″x7″ oil on canvas panel

“To be an artist is to believe in life”
-Henry Moore

I have found, while plein air painting, that one of the biggest challenges is to focus on your subject and try to only include it and supporting detail.  As a beginner, you see it all so you want to put it all in your painting.  Squint your eyes…that is what most instructors will remind you.  That does help….if I remember to do it.  Maybe I need to remind myself to look at the subject with “blinders”.  Blinders are meant to keep a horse focused on the road ahead and looking forward….kinda like plein air painting before the light changes.

Here’s another in my series of draft horses.  This guy had one blue eye and one brown eye….those blue eyes in horses are eerily beautiful.  This painting is based on some photo reference I took at my uncle’s farm while he and my cousin were tetting (fluffing) hay so that it dries quicker, with a team of horses.  I believe this big guy’s name was “Bud” and he was part Clydesdale–beautiful horse.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/blinded-eye-draft-horse-study/470008

Painting a day 2016-Day22-Plow horse

March 30, 2016
Plow horse-study 7"x5"

             Plow horse-study
                         7″x5″

This guy is one half of a big, Belgian team of horses that  I “met” at a historic horse, mule, and oxen farming days.  Such big, beautiful animals that seem to look graceful even when pulling a plow.

Every time I see a team of Belgians, I think of my grandpa “ship” and the summers he kept a team and let me “help” with a few of the chores involving the horses.  I was fascinated by those big, beautiful, blonde horses with the huge hooves.  I remember watching him harness, hitch, and drive them as if he’d been doing it all his life…..oh wait, …..he had.  What I wouldn’t give to have had a few more years with him to learn to drive a team like he did.

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/plow-horse-study/469081

Painting a day 2016-Day 21-Austin Study 3

March 28, 2016
Austin+Study+3

Austin Study #3 7″x5″

I got into photography as a result of my painting.  I knew I needed to gather my own reference material and photography was another creative outlet….except with the occasional, quicker result.  The more I got into photography, the more I loved the challenge of getting a new composition or viewpoint and coming up with a fresh, point of view.  I combined that with my love of being outdoors and playing with my horses and wildlife.  I even found myself lying on the ground while the horses grazed…..I’m sure the neighbors thought I was out of my mind….

This little painting is based on one of those days….lying on the ground, listening to soft crunching noise my horse ate grass around me.  Occasionally he’d come over and sniff my hair, tickle me with his nose and then move on around me—almost as if he’s just checking to see why I’m laying there and if I’m OK.  I miss that big furball with the gentle, kind soul.

“Life is too short, ride your best horse first.” ~unknown

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/austin-study-3/468610

 

Painting a day 2016-Day 20-Dixie Study

March 27, 2016
Dixie+Study

Dixie Study -7″x5″

This is Dixie.  Another in my dramatic light and vivid color mini series.  Black horses really do have a lot of color when they have great lighting and you look for it.  The photo reference for this was beautiful and worked well as a photo except it was too underexposed and I lost all of the detail in the shadow on the left side.  I tried to improvise and fill in some of the detail–I think I somewhat succeeded but the painting just didn’t meet up to my vision.  Although, sometimes it is tough to capture that vision in just an hour ala prima (all at once, wet on wet) session.  I think I’ll try this subject again….another day.  Until then, HAPPY EASTER all!

Painting a day 2016-Day 17-Murdoc #2

March 24, 2016
Murdoc 2- 5"x7" study

Murdoc 2- 5″x7″ study

“The horse knows.  He knows if you know.  He also knows if you don’t know.”  ~Ray Hunt

This is Murdoc,…aka Doc.  He is a very intelligent yet frustrating equine, -depending on who you talk to.  I am usually amused by his antics, my dad and my husband….not so much….

 

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/murdoc2-study/468030

Painting a day 2016-Day 9-After the Rain

March 10, 2016
After the Rain

After the rain-horse eye

Day 9 of my painting a day challenge brings me to practice a detail or close up of a subject, my Halflinger cross gelding’s eye.  This painting is based on some photos I shot one evening as the sun was setting after a rain.  The lighting was warm and gave his coat even more of a rusty, orange glow.  The colors were very saturated because of the rain and he still had raindrops running down his mane and forelock.

“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire.” ~Sharon Ralls Lemon

 

Saddle Up–Day 20

February 22, 2015
5"x7" oil on canvas panel

5″x7″ oil on canvas panel

I’m not sure of the origin of this saying but I fell in love with it when I saw it awhile back on Pinterest.

While on this ride called life, you have to take the good with the bad, smile when you’re sad, love what you’ve got and remember what you’ve had, always forgive, never forget, learn from your mistakes, but never regret.  People change, things go wrong but just remember, the ride goes on.

Here’s the link to this painting on the Daily Paintworks Gallery, thanks for looking.  http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/saddle-up/335293

Valentine–Day 14

February 14, 2015
Day 14

7″x5″ oil on canvas panel

 

“Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.  Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.    Love never ends.”  1 Corinthians 13:4

 

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Here’s the link to this painting in the Daily Paintworks Gallery, thanks for looking:  http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/valentine/333329

Belgian–Day12

February 13, 2015
Day 12

7″x5″ oil on canvas

Any time I see this breed of horse, I instantly think of my grandpa “ship” and it makes me smile.  I used to be so fascinated by these beautiful blonde, “gentle giants” and how grandpa handled them and worked them.  He used to keep a pair during the summer and of course, I would invite myself along when he would go out to feed, water, or work them.  One of the benefits of growing up next door.  Well, benefit to me….he may not have always seen it that way.  I’m sure there were times when I was more in the way than “help” but, he never turned me away.

I thought I was really big stuff when I got to lead one of them all by myself or help put the harness on.  I loved to watch him throw the lines over his shoulder, after they were all harnessed up and take off driving them and then back them up to the wagon or buggy that he was going to hitch to.  I can remember watching him drive them in the parades, at farming demonstrations, and in a horse show.  He seemed do it all with such ease, it was obvious he grew up doing this.  I’m sure these horses were associated with a lot of hard work back in his early years but I’d also like to think they were associated with some fond memories for him as well.

Here is the link for this painting in the Daily Paintworks Gallery, thanks for looking! http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/veronica-brown/belgian/333050