Watch the Custom Horse Painting Demo of ‘River’ | Stage 6

When we last saw ‘River’ in Stage 5 of his evolution, he was nearly completed. Based on input from Beth and my own need to tweak here and there (sometimes, we artists have a hard time of stopping….we keep seeing things in a painting that need a little of this and that), I believe ‘River’ is ready to depart my studio and head for home in Florida. What do you think?

custom horse painting

‘River,’ 24″x28″x2″ oil on wrapped canvas

Beth wrote saying that I have “captured him beautifully!!” She had described her vision as one that arrived while she was practicing yoga and that River was telling her, “I feel great, I can run again!” Previous to his death, River had been quite ill, in pain and unable to run.

I, of course, could not be more pleased knowing that I have transformed Beth’s vision. I will miss him and his spirit in my studio. Way back in the beginning, the challenge was one that I was not too sure I could tackle, though I do love a good challenge. I am grateful for this opportunity and for Beth’s faith in me and my artistic skills.

Horse lovers, how did I do? Do you feel his glee at being set free in horse heaven?

Please share this post with others who may be interested in the painting process.

Watch the Custom Horse Painting Demo of ‘River’ | Stage 5

In stage 4 (see below)of this custom horse painting of ‘River,’ he was coming to life but still looking a little naked – definitely bald – without his tail an mane.


I had been wondering how the entire painting would alter in feel once they were added. However, before I added his flowing tail and mane (and it was difficult resisting from doing so. I wanted to see the cherry on top too! LOL!), I had to make several adjustments in the background and on his body. I like to call it fine tuning. By the way, fine tuning does take several hours. Much of the time is standing back away from the painting and assessing what needs to be tweaked. I also walk back and forth fairly often.

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Dishwasher Parts for a Painting Studio? | Re-purposing Household Items

When you have visited a painting studio, have you ever noticed how we artists tend to re-purpose everyday household items? Problem solvers by nature, most of us are prone to being creative with items that are usually found in a kitchen, bathroom, garage or wood shop.

Recently our household needed to replace our dishwasher. As I closed it for the last time, I kept asking myself, “Are there parts in there that I could use some how?” Sure enough, the utensil basket caught my eye. Since it is self-standing, I thought, “Couldn’t this hold my brushes?” My current arrangement of miss-matchy cans and jars was less than ideal.painting studio

I even liked the sections in the dishwasher utensil basket. (Go ahead, you can ask me why I have so many brushes.) For the smaller brushes I did need to put a piece of plastic in the bottom of that section so that the handles did not slip through.

This new brush holder takes up the same amount of space as my other containers on my painting stand, but the brushes are much easier to access. And it’s kind of cool, no?painting studio

I have also re-purposed a bathroom extension mirror. It works well when I want to look at my painting from a different angle or perspective. Mirrors are good to have in a studio because they makes us look at our painting with a little more objectivity when we are self-critiquing. Here you can see my painting on my easel which is on the other side of the room.

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Watch the Custom Horse Painting Demo of ‘River’ | Stage 4

As I continue this custom horse painting demo of ‘River,’ I have increased my horse language and learned all kinds of things about the unique characteristics of horses. I am glad that I have models across and up the street from me. The real model surpasses studying photographs.

When you have been around a horse, have you ever taken a few minutes and watched its ears swivel? Have you noticed how the ears can face the same direction simultaneously and the next second one ear turns to a completely different direction? They are similar to two separate radar satellites. It is entertaining to watch and make sure the next time you are around a horse, notice how his/her ears move. They could be telling you something.

As in every commission painting I create, I am always learning something – one the many benefits of commissioned paintings that I enjoy. ‘River’ has been teaching me a lot about his family of horses. They are complex and spiritual beings that, I believe, will always offer mystery to we humans. In fact, this intrigues us. They project strong contrasts – huge, powerful and intimidating, yet soft and gentle; quiet for most part, yet full of stories to tell and not afraid to let you know how they feel; lumbering when they walk, yet graceful and light on their feet when on the run.

custom horse painting demo

At this stage of the painting, I have have begun altering the background slightly by adding some texture with my palette knife. I do this by lightly scraping thin layers of color across the canvas.

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