Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Elegant Georgie, Pony the 23rd

Such a long, elegant neck on this lovely mare.

Right now, all I know about her is that she is very much loved and has a kind, sensitive face. Perhaps I'll learn more soon.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Say Hi to Hudson (Pony #22)

Hudson is my return to form after a couple weeks of hacking, coughing, running through way too many tissues, and being generally too worn down to concentrate on making good art. He's a Paint gelding and one of those fabulously good-natured, easy-going types with a very big sense of humor.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Beauty the Knabstrupper, Pony #21

Beauty, about 9 x 11". I used watercolor, pastel pencils, NuPastels, carbon pencil, and white acrylic paint. This kind of coat pattern is so lovely -- and takes a lot of work to capture well. What you see here is the result of layering light and dark  over one another to get the look of real texture rather than blotches of color stuck onto the surface.

Above, the portrait in an earlier stage, when I had just put down washes of watercolor to establish the base color of Beauty's coat. Below is last night, essentially finished but in need of a few touches; look closely and you'll see that it's missing the texture on the mane-braids and some of the coat pattern on the neck, which I added just after taking this shot.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Learn-to-Draw Tool: How to Use a Grid

After a bit of searching online, I found a good video on how to draw using a grid. This is a method I use a lot in order to enlarge photos or prep sketches, such as this one, which had to go from 7 x 6 inches, to 7 x 6 feet:

This tutorial shows how the small drawing above becomes the wall you see below. The painter in the video uses a 1:1 scale, since he's creating a small portrait, but the principle is the same.

If you want to try drawing and don't know where to start, using your snapshots and a grid can help. It's a good confidence-builder because it lets you draw in small, manageable bits, instead of plunging in over your head.

I still use this method when I need super-accuracy in an animal portrait or when I need to enlarge a source image.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Aurora the Gypsy Vanner (Pony #20)

Every now and then, if you make art, you make something and then look at it and go, "Whoa. I didn't know I knew how to do that."

I just had one of those moments with this white -- but very not-white -- mare. When I looked at her photo? PINK. And blue, and soft violets, and soft yellow, and just a little white in the highest highlights.

So here she is, with the pinks in this photo overly bright because that's what my camera does when I must photograph at night, with a flash, but I can't correct it without killing the color balance elsewhere, so. Until tomorrow. :-)

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.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pony the 18th: Skye, the Curly Mare

I don't know a thing about Skye; I have only a couple photos. What I saw in her, though, was a sweetness and refinement similar to Fiona's, so I chose a very similar treatment for her. The big challenge here was to approximate her coat texture! Skye is a Curly Horse, an unusual breed and one I'd never drawn before.

And now she is the first piece of art I've completed in 2013.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Let's play Spot the Lens Distortion

So, hi. Happy New Year, everyone!

I spent yesterday & the day prior getting my new website started and switching email providers (same address, more reliable service) and the good news is, my computer has no viruses.

Bad news:  I do. :-P

So I'm home, and I've got another black horse and another (mostly) white one that were put on hold while I dealt with technical stuff, and meanwhile this adorable photo just came in, for a drawing I'll be doing once the Pony Project is complete.

This is a pretty nice photo for art-making purposes. I'll have to undo the striped light from the blinds, yes, and there are some details I'll have to improvise around the nose and mouth, but the pose and expression are perfect and I can see the eyes really well.

Oh, and one particular thing got distorted by the camera. We're conditioned to looking at photos and so we fail to see this most of the time. It looks fine! But if you make a drawing that looks just like it, it'll look wrong.

Can you spot the problem I'll be correcting here?