Wednesday, December 06, 2006

December 6 - Lesson Painting, Commission of Horse and Rider

"Lesson on Sara" Time to do another lesson painting! This time a commission, and I'll share with you the photographs that were provided by the individual. This one will really be pulling out all my reserves as I work from material that isn't exactly what the client wants. I have to "cut and paste" and rely on core knowledge to depict the horse effectively. "Sara" is now an aged mare, and the owner is wanting me to paint her in her prime. She's also jet black, always a challenge, since you don't have a wide range of values between shadow and reflected light to play with. But like Jack Nicklaus, I envision the successful painting before I begin, so have in place the necessary confidence to begin. Attached is the position wanted for this painting. Hold on to it to see how it changes!
As you may know, I first prime the canvas with a color to get rid of the white. This comes from the "old days" of drawing when we were told to work on value 5 gray paper, and use black and white Conte crayons to discover your values above and below this midpoint. It is always a good exercise! Having a mid-value ground on which to start keeps me sane when I am also considering color, shape, line, mass, and texture. Wouldn't you at least want one thing easier?
The initial drawing is not detailed at all, but merely finding edges, placement of the form, and leaving enough room for the horse to move into. Her forward direction makes it essential to have "space" for her to move. The reference photo doesn't have this, and although a nice square composition, it becomes quite static. My drawing is just suggestions at this point. To do details here would be paying too much attention too soon while ignoring the entire painting, edge-to-edge. Corrections to the anatomy and thrust will be made later. Oh, this is a 9 x 12 oil.

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