Two draft show horses, ready to strut their stuff, but not necessarily too happy about it. I'm calling this painting "Attitude" since they appear to be displaying quite a bit of it!

Two draft show horses, ready to strut their stuff, but not necessarily too happy about it. I’m calling this painting “Attitude” since they appear to be displaying quite a bit of it!

I thought the last pair of draft horses in harness that I painted were incredibly complicated (see them here) and felt like it took an eternity to paint them. The new pair, part of a four-horse hitch at the Michigan Horse Council Stallion Expo this past March, are going to take an eternity plus an infinity. Is it a coincidence that I finished the first painting last May? I don’t know. Things have a way of creeping up on you. The only thing I can say at this point is that the painting part shouldn’t be nearly as difficult and time-consuming as the pencil drawing was. These guys were outfitted in show harness and fancy braids, which you may not see too clearly in the photo but believe me I think I know every wrinkle of their ribbons and every facet of their harness studs.

It’s probably time to bring up a little discussion about drawing, and why I insist on doing it rather than projecting or tracing the image–which, of course, would save a lot of time over the painstaking freehand drawing method. It has become totally acceptable among a huge number of artists to project the image they will later paint. I do use a projector for very large canvases, but I project my drawing, not the original image I made the drawing from. I figure I’ve already drawn it once, I don’t need to do it again. But I definitely need to do it once. And the reason is…this is how I get to know the subject intimately, by staring at it and making endless corrections until I am totally bug-eyed! I need this connection with the subject in order to let myself become one with the painting. I don’t know how else to describe it, except to say that experience has taught me that if I trace something I have no idea later how all the parts relate to one another. When I draw, I know that I have studied every aspect of what I have drawn and the map is laid out for me and I understand it. I have no quarrel with artists who trace or project their original images; it just doesn’t work out very well for me.

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
This entry was posted in art, draft horses, drawing, horse portrait, horses, painting techniques and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Attitude

  1. i feel the same way; projecting seems like cheating to me, although like you, if one has done the homework, then projecting is ok — i don’t have a projector but often wish to have one to project images of large trees on a wall so that i can see them better!

    yes, after one has spent hours analyzing the subject, and the map has been executed, the painting is easy!

    i look forward to watching the progress.



  2. I do a lot of tracing AND I do a lot of freehand drawing. Actually, I find that sometimes tracing an object helps me to figure out where I’m going wrong if I’m having trouble with a drawing.

    I guess it’s just a difference in how our brains work.

    But, I do agree that there’s nothing like drawing an object freehand to develop your eye and hand-ey coordination.


  3. Hansi says:

    I wish I could project images right from my mind onto paper. But unfortunately they must first follow my hand which leads to a lot of serious distortion.

    Very nice and well drawn image..


    • Alli Farkas says:

      If your images didn’t follow your hand they would most likely be colossally boring. The distortion is what makes them fun and interesting. So, “get over yourself!”–as they used to say a few years back. You’re fine!


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