This is a
long way from finished. When done, it will be
a portrait of a beautiful pair of Irish Draught Horses,
a winning team from Tralee Stables.
I began as usual, with several photographs. I chose this
one to use for the pose, but I will need to refer to many others
in order to get the harness correct. There are so many
buckles and straps that all fit together and they have to be
exactly right, so one photo doesn't give me all the information
I need. This is often the case, and the reason I take
so many when painting from references. For example, one
horse has his eyes half shut. I'll need another photo
to get the eyes right.
I started out with a pencil
sketch. I'll trace out the general shape of the pose,
and then fill in with detail as I define shapes, overlaps
and areas of greatest interest. It's at this stage
that I make most of the decisions that will result in the
overall image...where to place each element, how big each
piece is, and how they all relate to each other.
Sometimes, I do this in the computer, as it's easier to move
things around and change their sizes and relationships in
Photoshop than it is with bits of tracing paper...not to
mention a LOT cleaner!
Once I have the general layout the way I want it, I begin
laying in some basic colour in transparent washes, so I can
see how the lights and darks are going to work together.
This painting is acrylic,
so it takes a long time to build up the colours in the glazing
technique I use. I've put in some of the basic undertones,
and have begun to work over them to get closer to the final
image. Some of the details are completed, but once the
whole piece has been done, I will go back and sharpen or blur
them, and play with the values to make sure that the main areas
of interest are the most detailed, while those of less importance
are less focused.
I hope to have this done
by the beginning of October, 2007, for my first show in California.