Horsemanship Painting Finished

Horsemanship in Hungary

Well, this is the finished item

From the last painting, this was really just an exercise in detailing

There were many instances where the brush went too far, when putting in the shadows, so here I have repaired with white gouache. This was mostly around the legs of the second lead horse, so his forelegs do now, I think, look as they are catching the sunlight. Also I have redefined the ears and manes of some horses, which look a bit brighter now.

I kept looking and looking at what I thought was the finished item, thinking it was very black and white. Not that I have used any black whatsoever in this painting, just my usual mix of violet and transparent brown, but the darks did seem to veer towards black which bothered me. To get some colour back into the picture, I glazed the horses with dilute Alizarin Crimson, which has helped considerably, I think. It isn’t quite so obvious from the jpg, but better in the original, where some of the horses have taken on a strawberry hue, which is more convincing than before.

I have reinforced the pink muzzles, and given the rider a pink waistcoat in stead of a black one. He was wearing a white cockade in his hat, which I have changed to a crimson one.

The last horse painting Wild Horses in the Camargue did well. Let’s hope this one does too

I have just signed off my entry papers for next February’s exhibition in the Guildford Institute which is very much themed on paintings of waterways, so I shall be busy now preparing for that. Still, it is good to have that pressure

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Horsemanship Painting Partway

Horsemanship painting partway

This is the story so far

Since the drawing I have lightly put in the shadows with Ultramarine violet, and allowed to rest for a while. The background trees and fence posts I have made deliberately hazy, hopefully to give the effect of the dust storm kicked up by the horses’ hooves. The horses were travelling at a decent canter, as I remember, and the day was hot and dry, so plenty of dust for us all to enjoy.

I have started to finish detail, starting with the front row of horses. I have used the same violet mixed with Transparent Brown by Sennelier, which I usually find to be quite a good warm weather shadow colour. In some cases, I needed more than one glaze, and then when that had dried out thoroughly, I started to wonder if I had gone too far. Just as an experiment, I lifted some colour out which enabled me to define muscles on the horses. It was not unlike sculpting in a way, almost carving the horses, and because it is a slow process it gives you time to get this fine detail, correct, hopefully

The characters of the horses seem different. Second from the left looks the most spirited. His head is up, and I see he is wearing the Martingale harness to stop him throwing his head back, which would tempt him to bolt. I think that is what it is called. A long time since I rode, but I remember that danger signal when the horse would throw its head back and then charge. Great fun if you have a long run for him to do it in. Scary otherwise.

The one on the left seems to be feeling the heat. They had worked hard, that is for sure

I would like to introduce a splash of hot colour somewhere, either Cadmium Red or Orange. Maybe something attached to the bridle like a ribbon or cockade. Not sure yet so will have to think. It needs something, I feel

 

Little Frog Painting Part Finished

Little Frog Part Finished

Well, we are about half way with the study of the little frog, photographed on his leaf in the wetlands of the Danube Delta. We saw some really impressive examples of wildlife that day, but the frog and his colony were the only ones interested in keeping still for the camera!

I started with my foundation mix of raw sienna and Naples yellow, across the whole sheet of paper. I let that go hard overnight, and worked in a pale green around the frog, in a patchy manner to simulate hopefully the puddles on the leaf surface. The green was mixed from Antwerp blue and Cadmium Yellow.

This becomes a glazing exercise with each coat going rock hard overnight. I don’t use a hair dryer myself unless I’m in a hurry. I prefer the paint to dry naturally so that the paper goes back to its original shape

I used the same green over the frog, twice. After that cadmium yellow followed by burnt sienna, and by that time I am trying to get some texture and shadow into the frog’s surface, I was hoping to see some granulation going on, but very little happening as yet

I shall continue building up the shadow with some dark brown, and that will contribute to the final result

The exhibition at the Royal Surrey Hospital is finished, and the results are in. I have sold five paintings which is a result. The ones in question are Bosham harbour and Church, Wild Horses of the Camargue, the Venice painting of San Giorgio Maggiore with Gondola, Fishing Boats of Beer and RHS Wisley Gardens

I think without checking that these are in my gallery

Pleased with that after such a poor start to the year

The Little Green Frog, starting the drawing

Little Frog

Something completely different to architecture this time, so really not sure how it will end up

You may remember that I posted the photograph of the frog a few weeks back, just after getting back from our trip down the Danube. We had been out in the wetlands of the Danube Delta to look at the fabulous wildlife there. Most of it was exotic, but moving too fast for photography, well at least my standard of photography anyway

The pelican were fascinating. We don’t have them in the UK, so watching them feed was very intriguing They seem to cooperate with the cormorants, who dive deep, which drives the fish to the surface, whereupon the pelican scoop them up in their elastic shopping bag of a beak

I just could not get a picture of them doing that which is a shame , because that would have made a really good subject for a painting. All I had time to photograph was my friend the frog. Actually there were colonies of them, basking in the intense heat and humidity, each one on a lily leaf. They did not seem in the least perturbed by the small boat gliding through the leaves, so very kindly posed for a picture

It will be interesting working out which colours to use on this painting. A background mix of raw sienna and Naples yellow as an undercoat, I think, and maybe a very pale green glaze , after this has gone hard. There will be some masking out of small details like feet, as the green round the frog will have to be darkened. The other colours will possibly be burnt sienna and burnt umber, which I will decide when I have seen the initial glazes.

The exhibition is still on at the Royal Surrey Hospital, with just another week to run. I have sold two to date, namely the painting of RHS Wisley Gardens and Bosham Harbour and Church. The latter is actually going home to Bosham as it is a wedding present for someone getting married in the church in the picture, which is rather nice. Also someone has promised to send their cheque in for one of the Venice paintings but that is only a pledge at the moment.

Would be nice to have one more. but two is respectable out of twelve paintings entered

From Budapest to the Danube Delta

DSCF3796

The small green frog basking on a lily leaf somewhere in the wetlands of the Danube delta, posed quite happily as our small boat brushed by. All through this trip I have had an eye out for painting ideas, and I thought he would work well, so when I have recovered from the journey and settled back in, I might try painting him. There won’t be time for the exhibition starting on the 12th, but there is another local exhibition on the 29th which I might like to have something for

There were other things which were interesting, beautiful Hungarian horses which are half Arab, which we watched being put through their paces by the cowboys. This was near Mohacs out on the plains. The cattle were fantastic too, huge with long horns. One bare back rider controlled a team of nine horses standing on the rump of the last two, which was amazing, more like a circus act. Because of the distance from the rider to the front row of horses, they have to respond to the voice which means learning the language of the horse, a lifetimes work, I would imagine

Mohacs Team of 9 (3)

Amazing sight, and might make a dramatic painting. I also took some shots of the ubiquitous stork nesting on the tops of telegraph poles, which are always amusing. We don’t have storks wild in the UK, well certainly not nesting like that, so we find them interesting

Just going back to the delta for a moment, we went there to see pelicans, which we certainly did, but not near enough to photograph. Plenty in the air and also landing but none would pose. Cormorants, swan and egret too. We were taken to the feeding grounds of these birds, and were told about the ingenious cooperation between the cormorant and the pelican. The cormorant dives for fish as you know, which causes the fish to surface where they are scooped up by the pelican in their elastic shopping bag beaks

The architecture and landscape would provide some good subjects but to be thought about. Three capitals, Budapest, Belgrade and Bucharest plus various smaller older towns, as well as the famous Iron Gorge with its stupendous scenery, all offer possibilities

To be considered

Flamingos in the Camargue: Finished Painting

flamingos-in-the-camargue

This follows on from the last post on flamingos which just showed the preparatory drawing. I think this is one occasion where I prefer the coloured version to the black and white. The colours are really vivid

We were in the Camargue region in the Rhone estuary watching the white horses which I have already painted, and also the flamingos which breed there. This is apparently the only place in Europe that flamingos breed, although I have subsequently seen them in Sicily. Matbe they were just stopping over.

Curiously these flamingos were more white than pink, which is the image we tend to have of these birds. I have probably used more pink wash than necessary in order to get some definition between the birds. In actual fact their heads were pale pink, whilst under their wings they were bright red/orange. I used cadmium red for these markings and that was spot-on accurate

The legs again were a very deep and bright pink. I read somewhere of someone using permanent rose with some cadmium orange to get a good flamingo colour. I tried that and got cadmium red !  Oh well, two routes to the same destination, which is not necessarily such a bad thing.

I started with a light pencil drawing taken from the original sketch. I used violet to put in the shadows on the birds and on the water, which gave me the form to base the painting on. Underneath the birds, and running down the paper, I laid a very dilute wash of Windsor Yellow, as an  experiment really, which I was glad of later, and I will explain why when I get there.

I then started to put in the red markings, and the birds started to take shape. I put in reflections of the legs in the water. I left this for 24 hours to harden off, and then laid a dilute wash of phthalo blue and cobalt mix, for the water. Over the yellow, this glaze turned a soft green, and I think, made a better water colour The red reflections showed through and looked convincing. So far so good

The shadows on the water made by the birds, I deepened with Indigo. Likewise some of the deep shadows on the birds and especially on the legs, I put in with Indigo. The same colour worked well for the tips of the beaks

So there we have the finished painting. I keep looking at it and thinking it looks bright but then again it was a bright subject

Always pleased to hear from anyone else who has experience of painting these colourful birds

Flamingos in the Camargue: first sketch drawing

flamingos-in-the-camargue

I took a number of photographs of the flamingos when I was in the Camargue. None of them were usable, so I took this group from someone else’s picture as the birds had formed a natural composition which, I thought, would make an interesting painting.

This is just the sketch done in my favourite Payne’s Grey. What is it about black and white, that I often prefer the sketch to the finished painting

They breed here apparently, the only place in Europe where they do that. I have seen them in Sicily as well, but perhaps they don’t have a breeding ground there

These birds are white, with bright pink flashes under the wings. Legs are a very bright deep pink. Always interesting trying to paint a white bird on white paper. I don’t really want any background against those long white necks, as I want them to stand out sharply. I will have to give that some thought

There will need to be colour around the undercarriages as reflections will be important and part of the composition, probably a blue of some sort. Phthalo with some Cobalt mixed in is a good Mediterranean colour, and could work with the deep pink legs. The pink will probably be Permanent Rose with a little Cadmium Orange.

Whether I shall have this finished for the Pirbright Art Club December exhibition remains to be seen. Let’s see how it turns out first!

The Contented Donkey: finished painting

the-contented-donkey

This is the finished donkey painting supplied to Egypt Equine Aid for their next auction which is early next month. Full details on their Facebook page, as well as news of the wonderful work that they do

I don’t think I deserved the build up they gave me. I didn’t really recognise myself. I was just happy enough to do something to help.

Let’s hope it sells after all that. Embarrassing otherwise

Flinging myself now into exhibition work for pre Christmas and into the new year, as am rather behind. Just starting a drawing of flamingos, as seen on our recent holiday in the south of France. Not drawn these birds before. I have to say that they are rather a strange shape

Just a short post this time, but wanted to mention the finished donkey painting

 

The Contented Donkey

contented-donkey

I was pleased to be asked to provide a painting for auction for a well-known charity involved in the rescue of horses and donkeys in Egypt

Many years ago I painted from the charming photograph inset, a watercolour study. I sold it subsequently and then forgot about it. Trying to remember what horse or donkey study I could paint, I remembered this one and finally found the photograph

We were coming back from the Cotswolds, and pulled off the highway at Minster Lovell in Oxfordshire A beautiful village in that lovely honey-coloured Cotswold stone which was the home of Francis Lovell, close confidante to Richard III, who limped home to Minster Lovel Hall to lick his wounds after the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. He continued to resist the Tudors and was killed at Stoke in 1487. The whole setting is delightful and the old dovecote is still there to see. The donkeys were part of the setting and I photographed one or two including the one inset. They are fun to draw but remember the long ears otherwise they will become a horse

The pencil study I did just now, and will transfer onto  watercolour paper. I actually have a commission on the easel at the moment which is a view of Bosham in Sussex, with a lovely sweep of the harbour with the Saxon Church in the background. Bosham Harbour is a delight to paint and I have done many times. When the painting is more complete, I will blog about it, as the history is fascinating.

For now, we are talking about the donkey. I am painting this alongside Bosham and also working up a picture of flamingos brought back from the Camargue. Very rarely do I do three easels at once, so let’s hope I don’t come unstuck

I attach a picture of the painting of Christmas Shopping in Guildford , now framed,which goes on sale at the end of this month for charity in St. Nicholas Church, Guildford with all the Christmas cards, one of which, of course, is from this painting.   I am attaching also the framed picture of the Wild Horses in the Camargue, which is now ready for the next exhibition

christmas-shopping-in-guildford-high-street-framed

The framed version of Christmas Shopping in Guildford High Street, which has been donated to Cards for Good Causes. Sorry about the reflections

wild-horses-of-the-camargue-framed

Wild Horses of the Camargue framed ready for exhibition. Again the reflections are annoying but I couldn’t get rid of them

Quite a bit to do, so hope to have something to show you next time

Horses of the Camargue: Preparing to Paint

Line Drawing on Watercolour Paper

The Line Drawing on watercolour paper

I have transferred the sketch just as a line drawing onto the watercolour paper. The size of the image is roughly what I want, about 30×40 centimetres

The painting will be interesting to say the least. The horses should be lighter than the background, and as you know, you can only go from light to dark with watercolour and not vice versa. The manes and tails in the photographs seem to glow as though they have light behind them. I think they will have to be masked out for that to happen. I may have to put background in first, which will be amusing

I won’t have a lot of time this week as we are going away soon to Sicily, another wonderful source of material. I think before I go, I will hopefully have time to give the painting an all-over wash of Naples yellow and Raw Sienna, which should give the glow of low sunshine that I want. Fingers crossed on that one

So, it may be nearer the end of the month before I can finish the painting completely. This won’t be an easy painting to do for the reasons stated. We shall just have to see how it turns out