Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New horse painting underway

Here in Grass Valley, we have a Draft Horse Classic at the Fairgrounds every year, for four days in September, and I love it. Big, beautiful horses, pulling carriages and wagons - farm wagons, freight wagons, old fire wagons; threading logs among trees, in the log skid, and pulling a sled piled with bags of feed in the weight pull.

Every year, along with the Classic, there's a show of horse art called "Art at the Classic." Being a lifetime horse lover, I was in heaven when I found this show, especially because the quality of the art was high. I started drawing and painting horses when I was very young, under six, and drew them almost exclusively until, somewhere in junior high, I starting branching out. I began exploring human faces and dogs and cats, and found that dogs and cats weren't built the same way as horses. Meanwhile, though, I could practically draw horses in my sleep, and whenever I wanted to try a new medium or a new technique, I'd do a horse; it was so easy that I didn't have to think about it, and I could just play with the new approach.

So, as soon as I saw the Art at the Classic show, I knew I wanted to try to get a painting of my own into it.

Here I am finally, four years later, working on a piece to enter. This horse was tied at the horse wash, amid the tall Ponderosa pines of the fairgrounds, with the sun shining through the dust.

This is oil on canvas, 30" x 38". The first thing I did, after transferring my drawing to canvas, was to paint it all blue and green. The horse is actually black, so blue as an underpainting makes sense to me for the horse, but I can't really explain why I decided to do it all in blue and green to start; I just felt like it.

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