Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Here's the Mystery Horse!

Bold Brigadier, watercolor, pencils and pastel with touches of white acrylic, on cotton rag paper. I used a deeper tan instead of my usual Rives BFK, because I felt this horse would look best on a slightly darker ground -- the better to make that beautiful blaze stand out. He may be the only one for whom I chose to leave the backdrop blank.  Oh, and there is a lot of violet, blue, brown/red, and even touches of green in the big black stallion. 


Center photo above, the portrait in progress. This was with the first layers of carbon pencil and watercolor. Last, my reference photo. Brigadier is no longer with us, sadly, and while I loved his sweet expression here, the photo ... you really can't see a lot of detail, and if you look at his ears you'll notice the camera distortion that made one of them much too large. I corrected that right away. The other thing I altered, you can't even tell: I made his neck thicker and more arched than it actually is in the photo. 

Yes, I know it looks exactly the same. But in order to get it to look exactly the same, I had to change it. I think it was another perspective/distortion problem, but when I drew it accurately to the photo it looked far too skinny. This kind of thing is pretty common when translating photos into art; the thing that looks fine in a photo can look very wrong as a drawing or painting. So artists learn not to let the photo be a tyrant, and to trust ourselves instead. 

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