It’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it

I had a bit of a start on Sky Pads 25, but had to interrupt it–

Sky Pads 25 with poured paint background and the very early beginnings of the first pass defining the pads

I had a bit of considering to do when picking the color for the pads. There was no turquoise in the background and I wasn’t sure if a brighter blue like that would clash with the softer background tones. So I started out with some trepidation but by the time I was interrupted I had told myself I made a good choice.


My commission presented its own array of choices. I had two photos to work with:

Always thankful for Photoshop™, I took the woodsy photo and stretched its dimensions both horizontally and vertically and also altered the perspective to keep the effect of the trail heading off in the distance. I also had to recreate some of the trail and shadows to make up for moving the horse a bit more to the center. Once the horse was moved, I could cut out the nice sleek horse from the grassy photo and size it on top of the first one to make an approximation of the proposed painting.

Composite photo after adjustments

When I sat down to paint, I looked at all those leaves and had many second, third, fourth or more thoughts about them. One thing I was not going to do was paint every single one of them. I opted to mimic the rhythm of their patterns and leave that suggestion for the viewer’s eye. I also warmed up the background a bit to make it more autumn and less winter. I think it worked, and made a nice memorial portrait for the rider–who probably spent more time with this view of her horse than any other.

Aquabord© painting of Eli combining the two photos. 5″ x 7″.

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
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16 Responses to It’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it

  1. Mary d says:

    I am sure she is thrilled with this lovely remembrance.


  2. Jennifer Ziegenfuss says:

    I love it. I am so grateful for this painting and my friendship with you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have done for me over the years…advice, reassurance, conversation and leg wraps. You are an amazing person with so much talent!


  3. anne leueen says:

    My favorite view of the world!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Emma Cownie says:

    That was interesting seeing how you used photoshop to help in the composition of the painting. The final painting was just lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alli Farkas says:

      Thanks Emma! Photoshop™ has been my artsy friend for a really long time. I use it not just for quick compositional decisions but also to help figure out what size and aspect ratio a particular piece will be. Since I stretch my canvas myself I can pretty much make it any dimensions I want. Photoshop™ helps here because I always do a small-ish freehand drawing first, drawing it into the already decided aspect ratio parameters but in a small manageable size which I have recalculated in Photoshop™. Then if it’s a large painting (as opposed to a small watercolor, for instance) I project my drawing onto the canvas and transfer it with a marker pen. Some folks abhor “tracing” but my philosophy is, I’ve already drawn it once in detail, so why go through that again?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Emma Cownie says:

        Quite right. As you say it helps with proportions. I am intrigued that you use a marker pen on the canvas (an oil based one)? I on;y ever use a smallish paint brush (and red ochre paint). Once upon a time I used to use pencil until I read somewhere that it would show through the paint.


        • Alli Farkas says:

          Yes, pencil will usually dissolve in the paint! You have a better chance if it’s really hard lead. I use a water-based rather fine point pen-type marker. Since I work in oil, I can paint right over the water-based marker and it stays put. If I see a mistake in the drawing (sometimes I can’t see my drawing lines well enough through the background paint pour when I’m projecting) I can just wet a paper towel and remove the mistake and draw it in again properly.


  5. I do like the final result – and cool to see how Photoshop can be used in a non-photographic way (well I guess it all started out as two photos). I like the delicate colour palette and I think the fact that you didn’t paint every leaf makes for a stronger expression, it focuses the eye on the horse.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the transition…I myself combine many thoughts and views into one painting. Great work. E.

    Liked by 1 person

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