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.
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.
Do you remember me talking about applying three layers of gesso in Stage 1 to create a subtle texture on the canvas? Now is when I use my palette knife to catch the tops of this texture, giving it an organic feel and look. Another reason why I like doing this, is because I do not have complete control of where the paint catches and there are always surprises. This is a signature stroke of mine. I do not know of other artists doing anything similar.
I have painted in his eye, straightened his right front leg a little. Is it enough? I have also added more layers to his head and muzzle and corrected his right ear. His left ear isn’t quite right yet. I haven’t corrected his back right leg yet.
The golden colors behind him have been intensified a little. Is it enough or does it need more?
Next I need to paint in his tail and mane. If the background colors in those areas are satisfactory, let me know and I will begin painting them in. It will be fun to see how these additions will impact the overall feel of River. I can’t wait! What do you think the flowing tail and mane will add to the painting?
Please forward this post onto those who may be interested in watching this custom horse painting of ‘River’ evolve. See below for links to the previous stages of this custom horse painting demonstration. Thank you!