Tuesday, December 02, 2008

"How Many Horses?"

"How Many Horses?" - Oil - 20" x 24" - $1200

"This farm is in an area known as the 'Lost Coast', south of Ferndale, California. It was a great subject with its view from above and colorful roofs and trees. The horses milled around and by the time I finished, I wasn't sure whether I had painted the same horse twice or not." --- SFG


Because of the unusual perspective, I made a special effort to get the drawing right, paying special attention to the size of the buildings, truck and horse trailer in the background. If I had made them too large, the distance between them and the nearer barn would have been reduced considerably.
In the excitement of a new subject and the rush to get into color, you must not minimize the importance of good drawing from the start. Even then, I forgot to take the photo of the drawing until I had laid in my dark background trees.

Here, I've laid in all my darkest areas and cast shadows. I will refine these colors, but the shapes will remain throughout.
Now I've begun to lay in the areas in light, remembering that the more distant areas will be cooler. The further colors have to travel from the source to your eye, the more the cool color of the atmosphere influences that color. If you look closely, you'll see that I have overlapped areas of color rather than painting just up to the outline. By overlapping, I'm able to control the softness or crispness of the edge I want as I lay it in or I can alter it later. I decided that I needed a second vent roof to break the line of the roof on the right.
I've made the ground around the horses a little darker than I expect it to be in the end. In fact, I will make all of my lights darker than I will have them in the end to reserve a greater value range for the last lights.

The greens of the roofs vary so the highest one reflects more of the sky color and the lower one is richer.
You can see by my palette at this point that I have compared darks to darks, greens to greens, yellows to yellows, and yellow-orange to yellow-orange.
When I mixed the color for the sunlit part of the barn, it was much darker than it appears to have been. When compared to white, it was several values down. Doing this paid off later when I was ready to put in the accents on the rough wood and the white horse's coat.
By this stage, I've put in the sky holes in the background trees that allow the viewer's eye to escape and not be trapped. Look closely again and you'll see that I've laid a slightly different color over many areas to fine tune it. I added the posts on the lower left because I felt I needed balance on that side. Later, I decided that was too mannered and uninteresting. Notice how much improved the painting becomes by what is left out. This is where I left the painting for a few days.

Because I had laid a good foundation, I could develop the painting further during the follow-up session in my studio. I worked on each area with color that was the same value, but different temperatures to enjoy the vibration that doing so creates. I finalized the foreground using the darker grasses that were present.

1 comment:

Carol Schiff Studio said...

Bravo Susan, your WIP is always so interesting and informative and the painting is wonderful. Thank you for going through the trouble to do a tutorial.