Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hutton, Pony the 28th

Portrait of Hutton, mixed pencils, pastels and watercolor, 10 x 10". 

Hutton took me back to being 12 years old and copying horses out of Arabian Horse World magazine. It was strange and wonderful and made me feel like a kid. Props to Hutton's person for sending me a great source photo with afternoon sunlight on his face. The light/shadow effects this creates go a long way toward an excellent portrait. 

First stages of the drawing, above, and below is my kitchen-table work station at the house in Fort Myers (for those just joining me, I'm visiting family for two weeks, and also working).

What you see in the first stage is a terra-cotta colored Pitt Pastel pencil -- light in tone and easy to erase. This means that my process, the whole thing where I have to adjust and correct and readjust and correct again, can disappear once I've got the drawing accurate. The grey of the muzzle and black on the eye are carbon pencil, my second step on this portrait.

Here's the next phase. Technically phase three; phase two was the addition of watercolor in the shadows. I used a lot of blue and some violet, since that's what I was seeing in the source photo. Once that was dry, I started putting in highlights. This is a faintly yellow off-white, by the way. You don't know it in the photo, but it isn't the pure white that will be the final highlight color on his coat. By layering like this, I get a strong feeling of solid form.

The shadowed areas in the finished work are done by layering greys, blues, a violet or two, and at least two shades of pink, one lighter/warmer and one darker/cooler. And then I used carbon pencil again for the flea-bitten speckles, and watercolor for the background as the last step. I adjust the background so that it will be darker against light areas of the horse, and lighter where the horse is in shadow. This is a common Artist Trick and if you start looking at a lot of paintings you'll see it over and over.

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