Sunday, March 29, 2009

Arabian Angel

This was a great morning for painting horses en Plein air. I was able to work on two paintings before the wind became too much. One of the horses was a 10 year old Arabian mare, named Angel. This was Angel's first ride to the Goldfield Ghost Town, and it took a while for her to calm down. Since Angle was so animated, I had a little more difficulty when I started the painting. I wanted to focus the painting on her big expressive eye and subtle color transitions in her coat.

The Horsemanship Connection: Watching Angel calm down and relax was very rewarding. The process of being aware of the subtle changes in a horse is a big part of connecting with feel. Rather than focusing on the behavior that is unwanted, offering support and making the environment conducive to learning will allow horses to absorb the lesson. Helping a horse get past something they are afraid of is one kindness we can offer our horses. Whether I am working with a horse or on a painting, remembering to keep my breathing steady always adds calm to the situation.
"Arabian Angel" 6x8 oil painting is available for $40.00 plus $4.80 shipping.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Painting "Buddy"

The weather forecast called for high winds today, and I was not disappointed. Before it got too windy, I was able to do a quick portrait. This is "Buddy", a handsome fellow that I had the chance to paint en Plein air. I tried to set up in a slightly sheltered spot, but ended up with glare on my pallet and panel. I ended up taking another photograph of this small 6x8 oil painting when I got home.

The Horsemanship Connection: During this past week, I was able to take Adobe out for our first trail ride in months. While I was riding I considered how many principles Horsemanship and painting have in common. I thought about balance, movement, emphasis/timing, harmony/unity, rhythm, pattern, variety and proportion/focus. Each of these principles has a feel of presence and clarity for me in both disciplines. I will focus future posts on each of these principles. For now, I would like to leave you with the image of riding down the trail, on a horse with a relaxed neck, reins gently swaying, and a big smile!

"Buddy" 6x8 oil painting is available for $40.00 plus 4.80 shipping.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Taking time to see

It was a beautiful morning for Plein air painting. In the first group, was a handsome Peruvian Paso with a long forelock and a sweet face. His name is "Quito", and has a mischievous personality. When I went over to visit with him, he wanted to play with my hat! (I was told he probably would like to make one or two new creases in it!)

The next horse I painted was a Clydesdale. Seven year old "Tucker" has one blue eye and steady personality. During the gun fire, (western gun fight re-enacting), Tucker did not even flinch!

The horsemanship connection: I have heard a saying, "The fastest way to train a horse is very slowly". The meaning is to take training slow enough for the horse to clearly understand each lesson before moving onto the next one. Having a solid foundation that the horse understands pays off when things speed up or something unexpected happens. When I am painting, I start with a small thumbnail sketch, defining values and composition. Then, when drawing the sketch on the canvas in a thin wash, I focus on accurate drawing. When I take my time at these early stages, it always pays off as the painting progresses!
"Quito" is available for $40.00, plus $4.80 Shipping

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Smoky, the horse en Plein air

This morning started out cool as I got my gear out, but by the time the first group of riders came, I was ready to paint. When I paint horses en Plein air, I truly see and connect with them. I have purpose and clarity in my approach. Painting a black horse from life is very different than painting one from a photograph. The light allows me to see colors in the coat, and transitions from light and shadow. These are expressed with warm and cool colors and really give a feel of life. When painting a black horse, I don't use black paint. I mix my dark's so that I can have a warm and a cool dark. This allows for shape and form to exists in the dark areas.

This cowboy was ready to go before I finished the painting. I made a few changes after they were gone and am very happy with the result. The feeling of being fully present, aware and alive when painting from life is what I want to express in my paintings.

The horsemanship connection. When I approach my horse, I have purpose and clarity. When I am focused and aware, the horse knows that. He also knows when my mind is elsewhere, during these times, he tends to want to be someplace else too.
"Smoky" is available for $55.00, plus $4.80 shipping

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Painting and Horsemanship-The Connection

I will be devoting some of my posts here to the connection I see between painting horses en Plein air, (from life), and horsemanship. There is a strong bond that develops between horse and human with horsemanship. With in this relationship of respect and trust is a level of awareness that is most frequently called, "feel". Tom Dorrence, Ray Hunt, and Bill Dorrence with Leslie Desmond talk about it in their books. I learned about it during my journey with my Percheron, Comanche. When he came into my life he was 15 months old, 300 pounds underweight and his feet were in bad shape. From his view, humans did not have much to offer him. Getting a halter on him was hard, picking up his feet was impossible. These very basic tasks required breaking the learning down into simple steps that he could learn.

The way I approach a Plein air painting, has a connection to the way I view horsemanship. When I am setting up my easel, I have a feeling of purpose and clarity. I am present, with all of my energy on my subject. I watch the horse that I am going to paint. The position of the ears, look in the eyes, the level of tension that might be present around the mouth or in the neck. When I make the first drawing on canvas in thin paint, I am very aware of the placement of the feet, and the position of the head and neck.

As I continue with the painting, I focus on the horses personality. I want to know "who" I am painting. This connection and understanding of the horse, translates into the colors that I use and the "life" expressed by the horse. The light shining on the coat, the cool shadows and reflected light, add a feel of life to the painting that reaches out to the viewer, making another connection.

Inspiration is where you look for it

I went out to paint horses this morning, but none were hitched up yet. Rather than waste a beautiful morning with wonderful light, I turned around and painted the Superstition Mountains. I like seeing the purples, greens and blues that are in the area. Inspired by the light and color, I did a quick 6x8 painting that shows the morning colors.
"Inspiration" is available for $40.00, plus $4.80 shipping

Monday, March 2, 2009

Budweiser Clydesdale's in Harness

Today was the last day the Budweiser Clydesdale's are in the area. I wanted to get out and paint one from life, with the harness on. I was able to start with a quick sketch when they arrived. While they were unloading, I quickly laid in a thin wash, and got the body of the Clydesdale painted. They positioned the first horse in place and I was ready to paint the harness. My goal was to get the most important information in this painting, without getting to caught up in the detail. Painting horses from life gives me more experience to bring to each painting completed in the Studio. I have enjoyed the past few days painting these amazing Clydesdale's. Thanks to all the people who stopped by to chat while visiting the Budweiser Clydesdale's.
"Clydesdale in Harness" is available for $100.00, plus $4.80 shipping

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Jake, the Budweiser Clydesdale

It was a fine day to paint, with the temperature in the mid 80's. It was windy, with gusts strong enough to effect my paint brush. I felt like I was trying to land paint on an air craft carrier. Despite the wind, I wanted to paint the Clydesdale's. I painted Jake this morning. He was interested in napping and eating. This afternoon the Team will perform again at the rodeo grounds.

During the past few days, I have had many inquiries about purchasing these paintings. "Jake" is available for $40.00, plus $4.80 shipping