Friday, January 4, 2013

Clydesdale on the Easel

His Majesty's Nose Itches
 This is a big canvas -- 40 x 30"-- not one of the Christmas Ponies, though certainly adorable enough. Oil paint, wax medium, and a lot of solvent to create the fun washes of color in the background. I just finished it, like half an hour ago, and at the top of his leg you can see the glare of very wet paint! Update 1/6: Now that he's dry I have a better photo, taken at Frameworks Gallery where he'll be hanging for the month. I've got a couple progress shots and the source photo for this, so I thought I'd share.

My source photo, above. This is a big friendly Clydesdale who is out in the pasture with my Twilight, and makes her look like a petite little thing. He is HUGE. Thankfully, he is also a sweet, gentle goofball. I find him really attractive as an art subject, so I started snapping photos and caught this great one when he had an itchy nose.

My original drawing on the canvas, done in thin sienna paint. You can see how I'm already thinking about light and shadow as I start.

Earlier today. This is what my friend Jennifer Lowery calls "dangerously close to done." Lots of elements I love love love, but not finished, and it would be SO EASY to kill the painting at this point by doing too much more to it. A painting only needs so much work, and no more; the amount of work will be different for each painting, and the trick is to know 1. when to stop and 2. what to do if you realize you missed #1.


  1. It's perfect. I saw the "earlier today" pic on Facebook, I was going to suggest just a bit of something on his feets because they were looking weirdly claw-like in the photo. Then I come over here and look, already done. Also the title is Fantastic (pronounced like Doctor #9)

  2. Yeah, the feet were one of the things that needed the most attention. Those and the face, mostly.

    It was SO HARD not to fall into Martini Syndrome with that white paint. And to leave the blue on his face where I did. I really have to make myself step back, breathe, make dinner, go look again and ask, "Is it already enough? Does it actually need this thing I keep wanting to do?" Working by myself, it's hard to see what I have and when I need to leave it alone.

  3. Martini syndrome? And I really *like* the blue on his face. Can't put it into words properly -- seems to make it both more "arty" and more real. Love him. :)

    1. Laurie, "Martini Syndrome" is the thing that happens when you're painting and you do a little bit of something and IT IS AWESOME, so you think a LOT MORE WILL BE EVEN AWESOMER and ... next thing you know, your painting is staggering down an alley looking for the first good place to pass out.

      The professor who taught us this may, um, have had some personal experience with drinking too many martinis. :-D

    2. Come to think of it, I'd say Martini Syndrome applies to pretty much any creative endeavor. I know I've seen a LOT of clothing design that suffered from it. Like, if they'd only known when to stop with the ruffles ...