6x6 inches - oil on 1/4 Sande board
First off, here is the craptastic reference photo I used:
Certainly not a showcase of my photography skills, but when you're rolling along at 70mph, the opportunities to photograph things like a grazing horse are a bit...limited. Anyway, there is something about the Rez horses that I find compelling, and I could do an entire series of them.
Despite my many years doing equine art as mixed media sculpture, I have to admit that I'm not a fan of much 2D equine art. It can easily run off into the realm of kitsch or cloyingly sentimental, and honestly, I don't ever want to be accused of painting anything like that.
There's nothing cozy or pastoral about this scene, so I felt safe painting it.
As far as composition and design concerns go, I knew I wanted to do a square format. I experimented with various crops, but decided there was something about having the horse heading out of the picture that spoke to me. He is uninterested in human presence and is choosing to leave on his terms - not ours.
Since resuming studio work from photos, I've definitely moved away from faithfully following the reference photo. So, of course, the ugly barbed wire fence and piled-up tumbleweeds were out. More visible sand and a lead-in through the grasses to the horse was added. However, sometimes, just by random luck, the photo has neat stuff that I keep.
Notice, for example, the distal mountains and how the line of the ridge almost follows that of the horse's back, and then curves down like his neck? And that the slopes there all sweep towards the horse? That repetition of line is a neat thing, and so I consciously kept that.
Anyway, I don't plan on going into such detail with each painting, I promise. But, since there was a bit more to this painting than just a grazing horse, I thought I'd share a bit of the "behind the scenes" thought that went into it. Because, well, I love reading about that stuff from other artists!