Cracker and Barrel / charcoal and chalk

Got it on the 2nd try.

Got it on the 2nd try.

Drawing horses is a challenge for me. I have to use the 1st piece of paper to get them blocked in the right proportions. Then I transfer that to another paper and try to make corrections on the weak places. For me drawing is constantly correcting. I draw a line. I look at it and it’s not in the right place. So I have to draw another line and erase the 1st line. In the 1st stage, I block in areas and look at my areas and think, that’s not right. so I trim down by erasing, Then move it up or down on the paper and fill in and then erase more.

That’s one reason vine charcoal is the best medium to draw with. It kind of floats on top of the paper, if you can imagine it like that. You can push vine charcoal around so easily with a kneeded eraser.  Then on my 2nd try, when I’ve corrected it  to the point where nothing about it bothers me anymore, I go back in and add darker shadows with my charcoal pencil, which is slightly harder charcoal than the vine charcoal. And last, add highlights with white chalk.

If I work on my drawing for a few hours, that’s enough. I lose my concentration and don’t need to finish the drawing in one day. I look at it later and decide what needs to be worked on next to make it better. It’s not unusual for me to take days on my drawing, because the stronger the drawing is, the stronger the painting will be.craker and barrel underpainting

This is my underpainting. Only a beginning.

I tinted the canvas violet. Normally, I tint my canvases dark gray, but since I’m not looking at nature in plein air, because the weather is too cold or too dreary lately, I decided to use violet as an experiment. I’d like to make my horses Palominos, but my model horses are plastic with a bronze patina, so I’m not sure about mixing colors for this. This is a good opportunity to fool around with color theory.  No need to try to match natural colors, because I’m not outside in natural light. So if the violet shows through, lets see how it affects the painting. And if the violet under my other colors does make a difference, it might make my horses pop off more when I go over them a couple times with shades of gold. since yellow and violet are opposites on the color wheel.

I have one layer of glazes on the sky showing here. I’ll go over it again.

This is the 1st canvas I’ve taken the time to prime with Gesso and sand before painting. I saw another artist priming his canvas, and it reminded me, I should be doing that. This classical “style”, if you want to call it Realism, or whatever, (I’m not really up on all the art isms) goes with a slick finished look. When it’s finished you should varnish it if you want to be true to “style”. It seems to me, there’s way too much emphasis placed on “style” by those in the Ivory Tower, but whatthehell, If I’m going to paint in an unpopular” style”, I might as well go the whole 9 yards and prime my canvases.

And WOW! is this slick! hahahahah Our dear departed teacher at York academy of Art, Ted Fitzkee would love it! I  need very little  turp. The paint slides like my car on ice. You should try it! It’s fun! When I get into the glazing with my Alvi’s Maroger Medium, I’ll be like freaking Rembrandt! Stay tuned.

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Mare and Filly / charcoal

mare and fillymare and filly crackerbarrel

The weather is ungood for drawing in plein air outside, so I’ve been planning a still life. I’ve always loved horses and looked for nice models. Finally I found these at Cracker Barrel for $40.

It took me a few hours to get this far, which is fast for me!  I’ll work on it more tomorrow. I drew them life size because it’s easier than drawing small. For my still life I’ll scale them down by making a grid.

This is what they told us at York Academy of Art: It’s ok to make a grid to scale up or down a drawing if it’s your own drawing. Taking the time to try to match the proportions of the horse strengthened it in my mind. There is a file in my head for horses. If I took a photo and traced it for my drawing, that file would not grow. The act of drawing it freehand burns it into your mind with volume and proportion in a way that tracing a photo can’t do. The mind is basically lazy, and if it can save time and effort by relying on a photo it will, but then drawing skill doesn’t improve.

Drawing isn’t something you’re born with. If you are born with some dexterity, you can work with your hands on any number of different types of art. Like playing a musical instrument, drawing takes hours of practice.

So, remember, making a grid from your own sketch – OK

Making a grid from a photo – not OK

my study of Percheron Stallion Rhum by Herbert Haseltine

I’d like to draw a lot of the horses in the museum. Then when I can go to Assateague Island , maybe I can do field studies of the wild ponies with a little understanding of their anatomy, so they look real.