"Curly, a Paso Fino" - 14x11 oil
It's close to the finishing line! Before I could work on Curly, I had to finish the background. Why? Because I needed to be able to paint his mane and forelock hair over the background and it is no fun painting around tiny hairs. If I had to do that, then the hair paint strokes would loose the gestural feeling. The upper background area was softened with some grey-blue colors to help it go back behind Curly, and then I just softened some of the areas in the lower section.
After studying some horse painting books, I then finished Curly's eye. Dark blues and blacks were added in various places to make him look more "black." I noticed that his ear did not seem to have the correct shape, so I tweeked that a little. Then I had the fun and terror of painting his hair. Why terror? That may seem a bit extreme, but in many of the strokes, I only have one chance to get is correct and I wanted to convey some sense of movement and for the strokes to look gestural versus painstakening painted. It was also a bit disconcerting to paint over his eye because I want his eye to show through, yet I know that his hair often covers his eyes, so I had to be delicate and quick with the brush.
Now it is time for Suzie and Rick's approvals and feedback for the final touches. For me, this is always both exciting and nerve wracking. It is a delightful honor to be painting Curly, who means a great deal to Suzie. Memory Portraits are a joy to create. It will most likely be best for them to see the portrait in person, because I digital image does not capture all of the layers nor are the colors correct. Our monitors also have different color tones. They can give me feedback on details, whether there is too much red showing through, if Curly needs this or that in order for him to 'read' as they envision him. I so look forward to getting together with them.
...to be continued.
Is Curly starting to show his personality?
Ah-h-h, I am starting to 'feel' Curly surfacing. Are you?
As you can see, various colors and values (lights and darks) have been applied. The background colors have been subdued a little but I want to keep the energy. I took the risk of starting to paint his "bangs" because I wanted to see how they would look, but now I cannot go behind that hair to change the background colors!
Various reds were added to the halter to give it some dimension, and I painted the halter very painterly. Why? Since it is red, which is an eye catching color, I don't want to give it too much attention, otherwise the viewer will spend too much time looking at the halter and not at Curly. There is a lot of push-pull that goes on when creating a painting. It is one of our many artistic challenges. I enjoy it because I like the 'intellectual play' that it involves.
I have not done much more with his eye, and will work on it shortly. Not sure how much to detail to give the eye because I need to know how much of his hair will be covering it. Also, I am wondering if his white heart shaped marking needs to be elongated. One of my dilemnas has been trying to figure out what colors to use for his highlights because if they are too light or white, they look like white markings. So far, the bluish-gray around his nostrils seem to be working.
Any reactions to Curly at this point?
...to be continued.
After I applied the first layer of background colors, I started giving Curly some colors. Because he is a black horse with brown and red under tones, I decided to start with the browns first; these will act as an underpainting. More colors have been added to the background. I am not sure how I will treat these colors, but I like the energy. Right now they compete for attention with Curly, so I know I will have to calm them down.
The halter remains red from that first layer of red paint. To do this, I did what we call 'negative' painting, which means that I painted around the shape of the halter. There is not much dimension yet in the painting, but that will come soon. I did not paint any colors for Curly's mane yet, because I was not yet sure how I wanted to treat that area. There are a couple of decisions I have to make, because I want to maintain some of that yummy red for his mane. The paint strokes for his eye are there just to give me the eye's location. It will not look like a mask when I am finished.
Do you see Curly evolving now? I have several layers of paint to go, so you will see various evolutions. Hopefully you are enjoying seeing the developments.
...to be continued.