Monday, 25 January 2010

Dressage Horse.

Here is a pastel portrait of a dressage horse from a local stable. I was fortunate enough to have horses at this very successful stable some years ago. It is owned and run by lovely people who studied with a well known Olympic Dressage Rider, so everyone who has liveries at this yard are able to take advantage of wonderful tuition. Whatever discipline they follow with their horses, showjumping, cross country, long distance riding or pure dressage - like the lovely chap above - it is obvious that good basic training in self carriage for the horses and a balanced seat for the rider does nothing but good. It is also very informative and fun to watch progress of friends and their horses through the years.

This dark brown gelding was very enjoyable to paint and I used Daler Rowney soft pastels. Colours were: vandyke brown 8, black (for the shadows) burnt sienna 4, blue grey 2 and 4 with a touch of madder brown and prussian blue on his muzzle and in his coat, white and a teeny amount of gold for the reflection in his eye. Leather work on the halter was also vandyke brown, touches of black and blue grey for the highlights and stitching. Using a limited palette is a good idea if at all possible.

I am still working on the large oils, but will get back to pastel and more miniatures (hopefully) when time permits. Pastel is such a lovely and immediate medium to work with that I feel it calling me :)

Monday, 4 January 2010

Eyes of the Wolf

'Eyes of the Wolf' was done some years ago but continues to get attention from my visitors so I thought it was worth another showing. This pastel was worked on suedeboard, which gives 'fur' a lovely texture. Pastel colours used were Vandyke Brown 8, Burnt Sienna 4, Yellow Ochre, some Black and touches of Cerulean Blue. Finishing pastel pencils were pale blue and the extremely useful Faber Castell 270. This is a light grey but picks up the colours you use it over and makes blending fur easier.

This study was done after visiting some European wolves near Bedford in the UK. One of the male wolves reared up and looked into my eyes - a most unexpected happening! He had his paws on my shoulders and this made me realize just how huge wolves are and what a lovely subject his eyes would be in a pastel. (The original of this study is now with collectors in New Mexico.)

There are many photos from the wolf encounter and I hope to do more studies in the future. They certainly are beautiful animals so it is understandable that they have inspired artists for so many years.