Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Make your subject pop!

I have been working on another horse painting. Big surprise eh?!

I decided, several months ago, to repaint the "White and Wild" white horse. I first painted  this wild white colt back in 2009, in acrylic, and I did end up selling the original painting. 

A year or so later, I was looking at the photograph of this fuzzy wild horse and decided I wanted to paint it again, but this time, include more of the body of the horse and to paint it in oil paint.

I started with a black and white photo.

I drew out the horse in pencil, in a fair amount of detail. I then blocked in the blue sky and grey tones on the ground (it kinda looked like snow). The painting stayed this way for almost a year. I got busy working on other pieces and it got lost in the pile of canvas' along the walls of my studio.

When I came across it again, while tidying up the studio, I thought it might be time to re-tackle this guy. Besides...I had started a series of "White Stallions" at the beginning of the year and had not done any lately. This is a wild, white, albino colt (young boy horse), so he does count as a "White Stallion" for my series!

Although I liked the snow-like landscape in the background (some nice effects happening there), I did not like the color of the sky. So, I thought I would try something different and this is where things really started to happen with this painting!

I also enlarged the eyes a bit to compensate for what the camera does to depth of field (exaggerates it).
"White and Wild Colt" - 16" x 20" oil on canvas board WIP.

What a difference the greens made! By adding some grasses and sagebrush, trees into the painting background, the horse (subject) comes forward and at the same time, depth is added to the subject itself! Now the face and head really "pops" out at you! By the way, I did not change the grey's and whites of the horse! Look at the difference! Its as if the horse's body lightened all on its own! This illustrates a good lesson about how colors affect each other.

As I added the green landscape in the background, I did a common mistake that artists do; I did not step back and look at what I was doing. I got too carried away in developing the bushes, trees, sage brush and grass. But, when I did step back and sat on my couch...I sure was shocked at the difference! I had to laugh at myself. As much as you learn this stuff, and know technically what you should be doing, sometimes we get caught off guard and I think the things we have learned along the way, just happen (fortunately), on their own.
I believe this is when I get some help from above, and I really don't mind the help!'s lesson(s); don't forget to add dimensions to your painting, even within the subject itself. Don't forget to stand back often and don't get in too close to your painting, so you can see how it is working (shapes, color harmony, flow). In other words; don't do as I do, do as I say!

Happy creating!

Quote of the Day:

Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment. 
Rita Mae Brown 

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