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

 

From Budapest to the Danube Delta

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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

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

 

White Horses of the Camargue

Camargue Horses

White Horses of the Camargue

When we were in the south of France a few weeks ago, we finished our voyage down the River Rhone at Arles. I have already mentioned my walking tour of the city in the footsteps of van Gogh, as well as the magnificent Roman amphitheatre

Just south of the city, and in the salt marshes of the Rhone estuary, is the Camargue region, famous for its semi-wild horses, its black bulls bred for fighting and also flamingos, which breed there, the only breeding ground of that species in Europe.

I say the horses are semi-wild. They roam the region more or less at will until round up time, but also they are used for riding, and the tamer ones used by riding schools and trekking stations. They are, I believe one of the oldest breeds in Europe, and because of the remoteness of the area, the bloodstock remains undiluted

I wanted to paint them. I do paint horses occasionally, usually heavy draft horses as I find them intriguing, but the Camargue horses are something of a challenge, because of their colour as much as anything. You can always find one white horse or two perhaps in a herd, but a complete herd all the same colour is unusual, and would make a striking painting.

I took some pictures of my own, which were shot from the hip very often as an opportunity presented itself, and were ok but not the best. I bought a photograph from a local, which was much more impressive, and am using this to compose something which I hope will make an interesting painting

I have sketched something out as above, using Paynes Grey watercolour which I now prefer to ink, which I think will work. Quite a lot of shadow of course on white and how to make it stand out against white paper will be interesting too. I shall transfer this sketch onto watercolour paper and see how we get on