Saturday, February 19, 2011
Some new studies....Zenyatta, Bubble Economy and Cuse....
It's been a wonderful time to be working in the studio with all the glorious winter wonderland views out the window. But I'm ready for spring.
I have a lot going on as far as paintings go and have been racking up some major hours working on new pieces headed for my galleries this spring. Here are a few studies that have just been finished. One is of course the great "Queen Z" Zenyatta. I need more head shots in my portfolio and I thought that she was a great candidate since she has that beautiful dark bay coloring and wonderful ice cream scoop blaze down her regal face ! The fact that she was the The horse of the year for Thoroughbred racing in 2010 is also a plus!
The other two paintings here are small studies, only 5 x 7 and were done to see if I may like to paint larger pieces. They were both inspired by my day at the Iroquois races in 2010. One shot was of "Bubble Economy", headed back to the barns after winning his race and being thoroughly doused with buckets of cool water after leaving the track. What a beauty.
I loved the way the light was dancing all over the grey coat of "Cuse"...a steeplechaser that raced that wonderful sunlit day in Percy Warner Park. More pieces to come as the spring days move closer!
When I do these small studies....I like to use a method that was used in some landscape workshops I've had in the past. Obviously painting from life is the best option. But with animals.... it is not always practical for reasons you can imagine...like they are rarely still. So...my own photo references help me to at least remember the basics of the pose I would lke to do. I'll take some prints or shots on my laptop screen and place it next to my easel and paint as if I were standing there looking at the real thing. I know that photos distort and blend the values in the lights and the darks. Those are the kinds of observations that I try to make sure that I take note of when taking the shots. I can paint the things into the painting that aren't readily seen in the photo....but I remember those cool and warm shadows and can pick and choose about my edges and what I want to emphasize. The best thing about this is that with every painting, my drawing skills get a little sharper. I don't use a pencil at all anymore to start these smaller paintings on the canvas, rather I draw with the brush from the beginning. I've been drawing all my life...but I believe it is a "use it or lose it" skill.
I DO NOT use a projector or trace anything from the photos and these little studies are great for sharpening observation and drawing skills. With every small study I do...if I choose to make a larger work from that study...I've already drawn it once and it is easier then to draw it larger...since I've already made some mistakes and learned from them. So these 5 x 7 studies help me to draw/paint what I see...as if those wonderful thoroughbreds stop and pose just for me.