Pretty cozy in here

Feels just like home...

Feels just like home…

And the hay is…where? Hey hay, I didn’t get paid to do hay. You’ll have to wait for your lady to take care of that. Meanwhile, I’m going to clean some paint brushes. That means I think this painting is done. Will wait for official stamp of approval.

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Lakota…stall under construction

"Stall-side supervisor" seems happy with the progress of his home.

“Stall-side supervisor” seems happy with the progress of his home.

House construction is taking a bit longer than planned. Hiccup involves requiring a few layers of paint to get the texture of the wood. Sometimes I can paint over a layer when it just starts to get “sticky-dry”, but there’s one section where I’m having to wait a day or so in order not to pull up the layers underneath.

We’re in the home stretch, though.

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Lakota…looking for a stall

lakota-oil1

Right how he’s still in his blueprint of a stall, but don’t worry good buddy, we’ll have you in the real thing pretty soon. This painting makes me want to just grab and kiss that soft spotted muzzle! He reminds me of my own Charm’s face in the way the blaze slips off to the side and drops over his nostril. Ms Sassypants’ blaze also makes her look like she took a strong left hook from somebody…

I always wonder, as I'm trotting down center line in a dressage test, if the judge is going to mark me down for the optical illusion of a crooked head...

I sometimes wonder, as I’m trotting down center line in a dressage test, if the judge is going to mark me down for the optical illusion of a crooked head…😉

 

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Lakota and a l-o-t of ink

Wore out the nibs on two pens for this one!

Wore out the nibs on two pens for this one!

Normally I use technical pens when I’m doing ink underdrawings. Metal nibs, refillable, lots of different nib sizes to choose from. For Lakota I had to improvise a bit because I didn’t want to use black ink. Cleaning a technical pen, no matter how thoroughly you do it, does not guarantee that a lighter color ink will not be contaminated with some stubborn left-over black.  Although the photo looks like most of the ink is black, it’s really a dark brown. There’s also some reddish orange which is quite obvious. So anyhow, I bought a few ready-made fine-line pens in brown and red-orange and went to work. The fine-line pens have a fiber or plastic nib, which is why using them on rough canvas wore them out. Never mind, their other virtue is that they’re cheap. Black was not an option because this horse has a lot of white mixed with the other colors and when I get to painting him I will be blending the white into the colored areas and my plan is that the brown/reds will show through the white to some extent.

Whew. Now that I’ve gone around in circles trying to explain the ink I think I’ll just head on to mixing the colors I want to use for this captivating face. I will also have to remember to ask how his ear got that little split in it. I had a client a few years ago with a similar ear. She had named him Nik because of his ear and wanted to make sure that I didn’t try to “fix” it when I painted him!

Nik is about as glowing as he can get

Nik with his split ear…

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Lakota and a bunch of straight lines

Lakota, practicing his "greeter" pose.

Lakota, practicing his “greeter” pose.

Let me start by saying straight lines are not my favorite thing. So here we have a really nice-looking horse surrounded by—straight lines. My long-ago mentor used to say that you should draw everything free-hand so it looked like your lines were making an artistic mark. Then he would say, somewhat sarcastically, that if you wanted a straight line you should use a ruler. OK, ruler in hand I have made an unusually (for me) large number of straight lines to successfully enclose Lakota in a relatively realistic-looking stall.

Not to worry, when I start to paint I can rarely make myself stay within perfectly straight lines. So it will look “painterly” in spite of myself when it’s all done!

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Onward to part 2

I can’t remember ever showing a comparison of original photo to finished painting, so I thought it might be interesting to see some of the behind the scenes work that has to go on sometimes before a suitable portrait can even be started.

Original reference photo. Lots of possibilities, but not such a great background.

Original reference photo. Lots of possibilities, but not such a great background.

 

Final version of painting, cropped and edited to remove the lovely trailer.

Final version of painting, cropped and reconfigured to disguise the lovely trailer.

Will be starting on the companion painting to this one, another Appy named Lakota. You will soon see how the next one also provided compositional challenges and some background machinations via my best friend Photoshop™…

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A little bit of last night’s fun

It would have been a great time even if wine hadn’t been involved, but in this case the wine also happened to be pretty good. A few scenes from my reception for the Sky Pads exhibit last night at the Gallery at the Inn at Harbor Shores in St. Joseph, Michigan. The show will run through mid-January 2017.

recep-barn-buddies

Me, the short one, along with my dressage trainer and two of our quadrille members. The wine was good…

recep1group

Looks like the wine was good for the other guests too.

recep2group

The “monster” painting in the background. Good thing it wasn’t interested in partaking of wine.

recep3group

Interested, friendly, inquiring group of guests. I was kept busy most of the evening answering questions. Barely had time to snap a few photos.

I also had the opportunity to give a talk to an art history class visiting the exhibit, and to answer a multitude of their questions. I so enjoy conversing with folks who are genuinely interested in my art, and this evening’s experience was one of the best I have ever had! Thanks awesomely due to the curator, Susan Wilczak, and all the others who helped put this event together!

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