Thursday, April 2, 2009

Painting horses en Plein air

When painting horses from life, "How do you get them to stand still?", is the question I hear most often. Followed by, "How long dose it take?". When I am painting horses at Goldfield Ghost Town, I never really know how long I will have to paint. In this photograph, is Kody, the Palomino, the horse I chose to paint. I took this photo as I saw the riders coming out and getting ready to leave. Since I had not finished the painting, I wanted to have something to look at for detail accuracy. The horses are tied to the hitching rail, but are still able to move around. They shift from side to side, play and nip their neighbors. Although they are not completely still, I have a chance to capture them quickly.

This is all I had completed of Kody when his owner was ready to leave. I have the horizon, the main shapes and shadows in place. I continued to work on this until I had it 90% completed. During this time I had a nice opportunity to talk with folks as they watched me work.After I got home, I added some accents and highlights, as well as Kody's halter and lead rope. Horses live so much in the present, and that is how I feel when painting them. I spend the time it takes to get a feel for the personality of the horse I am painting as well as the coat color and conformation. The subtle details I acquire during this time are what the horse "tells" me about where they are at that moment, and that is translated into the painting.

"Kody" 6x8 oil Sold


Melody Lea Lamb said...

Charming little rendering of Cody! Thanks for sharing your process with us. :)

Karen McLain said...

Thanks Melody! I enjoy every horse and person I meet!