Eden gets some ink

A little ink makes for a lot more definition

A little ink makes for a lot more definition

Well, I said a “little” ink in the caption, but it’s more like a lot of ink. There’s a lot of shadow in this picture, so that requires more ink. Usually with a chestnut horse I don’t do as much ink, but I want the shadow areas for this one to be really rich.

It’s been a long time since anybody asked me why I bother to do this, why I don’t just paint it. I haven’t even revisited that question myself–until today when it occurred to me while I was working on Eden. When I first started doing portraits, it was more of a design decision. I was after a certain “look”. But as I went along, I discovered there were also a few more advantages. The biggest advantage is that I get a great second look at the drawing before I begin to paint. As I’m putting down the ink, I find literally dozens of areas that I want to change, that don’t look quite right. Part of that may have something to do with doing the drawing one day and the ink the next, but whatever it is, I think that the time delay gives my brain the opportunity to take a fresh look and see what I missed the first time around.

The second advantage is texture and the third is sharpness of detail. Texture is a great advantage for dark horses or dark areas of a lighter horse. Because I paint in transparent layers, some of this texture will show through no matter how many layers I put down. If I need some pinpoint detail, such as mane hair or eyelashes, I can pretty much just leave the ink as is and let it be the detail with very little paint coverage.

So now I’ll let this portrait go for another day, just to make sure the ink is really dry before I start to paint. I’m pretty confident it’s dry already, but better safe than sorry has been my pattern for so long that I’m not about to abandon it now!

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
This entry was posted in art, latest version, painting techniques and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Eden gets some ink

  1. Gina Ayersman says:

    It’s wonderful! My Eden is coming back to life!


  2. Alli Farkas says:

    I read your tribute on Hoofbeats in Heaven…my, what a journey Eden had! I can see why she was so precious to you! You’ll see her portrait develop in stages of color from this point on. Can’t say right now how many layers it will take, but it will be several. Stay tuned…


  3. munchow says:

    Why ink? Besides your points, it’s beautiful in itself. I like the ink drawing of Eden. Such a tender sketch and a lot of wonderful texture.


  4. Gina Ayersman says:

    Actually, I think the ink drawing is awesome by itself also and I can already see “her” in the drawing. For me, I think the color will result in a “true life” Eden….the way I want I to remember her.


    • Alli Farkas says:

      I had a client who wanted me to stop with just the drawing. Then when she saw the ink, she wanted only the ink. Finally, when she saw the completed painting she thanked me for not listening to her and finishing it! Good thing she’s also a friend of mine!


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