Saturday, June 7, 2008

Stage 2 - Filling in with Color

At this point, I have to cover the panel with color, trying to maintain the overall tone of the original.
This is a great example where using a "mother color" is extremely helpful.
What's a mother color? It is a color that is mixed into every other color on the painting. In this case, the mother color is that light purple/pink tone that covered the original panel. It is mixed into every other color I put down. If I can get the values (darkness or lightness) correct, then it will work, even though the colors are unusual for a landscape.

So, I've put down color, started putting in basic light and dark shades for the major components. Not a lot of detail yet, but just creating form with light and dark. I painted out a few of the background horses, as I decided I didn't need them, and I'm sort of playing around with how best to do the rocky hillside in the background. There will probably be more changes, but the major elements are there, and I know I can make it work.

Friday, June 6, 2008

First Stage: sketching the design

I decided on wild mustangs running as my subject for the painting. Here, I've transferred the basic design to the panel, after sketching it out on drawing paper to work out the kinks. The lower dark brown shape will become the rump of a horse, and the upper shape will be a stand of trees.
Don't worry, I think I can make it work.

I searched through many many photo references, and found what I wanted for the main group of horses in the front. The others are less important, and I can just wing those as I get further along, but I've indicated their placement with the white pencil.

Should be fun! Tomorrow, we'll add some color.

Le Cadeau Du Cheval

What is this, you ask? Well, this is my part of "the big picture".
As you can see from the title, this project is called Le Cadeau du Cheval, "The Horse Gift". It is a humongous mural mosaic containing 238 separate equine paintings which together will create one large mural image of horses.
How does it work?
The entire mural is painted with the overall image, divided into separate square panels and then each artist is given one of those panels to paint. This is my panel. #200 on the grid.
The challenge is to create a horse painting, staying within the same tonal range, colors, and patterns.
As you can see, my panel is slightly challenging.
I've got mostly purples, lavenders and pinks, with two very definite dark brown shapes along the right edge. Definite shapes have to be maintained, as they usually indicate an edge in the overall mural. And, I have to maintain that overall lavender color and indicate some of those swooping color patterns in the final image..

I will be documenting the progress on this, from start to finish. This is a fabulous project overall, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it. The mosaic will be unveiled in September at the international equine event- The Masters at Spruce Meadows in Calgary AB, Canada. Hundreds of artists have created individual panels, each in their own unique style, all working together to create this legacy mural in honor of the spirit of the horse. For more information, and to see the equine mural in progress as artists turn in their panels, (and to see some other fabulous mosaics) go to
So, this is where I start. Any ideas out there?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Portrait #2

I almost forgot to post this one, I've been busy working on some other things. This is also from life drawing class, and as you can see, our instructor set up some very dramatic lighting. Our model, a high school athlete, concentrated very hard on sitting quite still for us. You can see the determination on his face. This was about one and a half hours total. These are fun, and I'll be sorry when class is over. One more week!

But the big news is a very fascinating project that I am thrilled to be participating in. More on that tomorrow!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Willow Jar

This is the "companion" piece to yesterday's painting. I worked on both of them simultaneously, and yes, those are the same roses. I guess I'm just cheap, and wanted to get my money's worth from the roses, which are insanely expensive these days. These are both quite small paintings, 5x5, but I have some really lovely frames that bring the finished product up to more like 12x12, so they have a nice presence on the wall.
I enjoy painting patterns on china or stoneware. For any of you artists out there, you'll notice that the pattern itself has to follow the light and shadow masses on the pot. Where the light is hitting it, the pattern is "lit", and it also must recede into the shadows on the part of the vase away from the light. Look at the difference in tone between the red flowers on the vase on the light and shadow sides to see an example of this. All part of creating the illusion of form.
Tomorrow, another 2 hour portrait from class.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tea and Roses

Well, I just had fun with this one. The teapot is an old German antique that I've had for awhile, and hadn't gotten around to painting yet. The delicate touches of gold leaf on it's edges were fun to paint where they caught the light. The roses were big and beautiful, and I love that big splash of cadmium red - they really were that color!
This is a small painting, but I think it has impact.
Tomorrow, I'll be posting the companion piece to this one. (those roses were so pretty, I had to paint them again!)