Saturday, January 10, 2009

Oh what a beautiful morning ...

Hey everyone, be sure to scroll down and see the work-in-progress and close-up detail pics I've added since I first published this post.

Warming Up ©2009 Karen Mathison Schmidt
6 x 6 • acrylic on Gessobord
SOLD • private collection, Berwyn, Alberta, Canada

A while back (and when I say “a while” I mean years) I attended a horse show where a friend was riding in competition. I went with her early in the morning and took a lot of pictures. I was watching some of the riders warm up in the arena, when I turned around and saw this scene a little distance away. The perfect light, the color of the horse, the attire of the rider, the stately oak ... it took my breath away, literally. I zoomed my lens in and began shooting. I took hundreds of photos that day at the horse show, and this is my favorite. In fact, I might go so far as to say in all the pictures I’ve taken in my entire life, this is in the top 100. And seeing as how I’ve taken probably a zillion photos all told, that’s no small honor.

Today I finally decided to make a painting of it. And here it is.

And here are the work-in-progress photos:

The initial sketch. Hmmm ... the horse looks rather cartoonish, but I’m not worried.

Block in the large areas of color. Still not worried about the horse. OK, well, kind of concerned.

Getting frustrated with trying to add the dapple to the horse’s coat (man, I’m never gonna get this horse right! I don’t know what I was thinking!) so I decided to paint it all gray and work backwards by lightening around the dapples.

Whew! That’s working a lot better. Here I’ve started adding some color to the lead line that the trainer is holding. I’m not worried about it looking too thick, because later I can make it thinner by painting in the negative space around it. I do the same thing with the tree branches, defining the shapes by painting the space around them.

See? The lead line looks thinner now. I’m starting to add layers of color to the foreground.

I love this stage ... adding color details to the tree and also developing the foreground. Starting to shape up the figure of the trainer by adding some highlights.

And here are some close-up details:

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