Beth contacted me requesting that I transform the vision she saw of her horse, River, into a painting. Initially I was hesitant because horses are not my expertise and I know there are many equine artists. She insisted that I be the one to paint her beloved River, because she loves my use of color and my other paintings. Not to be deterred by a challenge, I said, “Yes.” Living in the countryside of Colorado also helps, because I literally have horses across and up the street from me.
River left this earth in 2014, and Beth has commissioned me to paint the image she saw in her vision shortly after he died. In my process of creating custom paintings, I always conduct on in depth interview. This is essential for me and the client because it helps me to begin to envision the ultimate painting. Photo resources were collected and internet research to conducted to gather up images for me to use. Here is River looking out from his barn. Isn’t he a handsome dude? I understand he was quite the character as well.
As a result of the interview and photo references, my image of River started to develop in my minds eye. Once we agreed on the ultimate size of the painting, I then asked Beth to approve a sketch. It took a couple a sketches and then she agreed upon this one. The goal at this stage is to get the positioning, action and proportions correct. Other details will be worked out later as I paint.
The next phase in the development of this horse painting, involves transferring a 5×7 sketch onto a 18×24 canvas. I use the grid drawing system which has been around for centuries. First, the sketch has to be drawn in proportion to the canvas size. Then I draw in the grid lines. I should mention that Beth had approved the color palette I am to use and you can see it here. This color scheme was one I created based on our interview, River’s coloring and the spirit of the painting.