horses, dressage

early morning dressage, by frankeber 2012     total concentration, by frankeber 2012

A new subject matter for me, but I am really getting into it. A horse is such a magnificent creature and dressage is a hard discipline that takes enormous focus on the part of both rider and horse.

As an artist, I am fascinated by the movement and elegance as well as the artistic side of this sport.

As a painter, I am focusing on the feel of the scene, i.e. the early morning workout, the manege, the vapor, the light situation  etc. The horse and the rider are just part of a bigger scene, part of something special…to capture all that would be quite an accomplishment!

I am less interested in doing horse and rider portraits. In fact, the goal for me is to paint it in ways that the viewer sees all parts without ever really painting them!

A word on painting process: I very much believe in subtractive watercolour techniques, so I try to stay away from white paint as much as possible. It must be stressed that this is a personal decision, I am not about to lecture anyone or play ethics police. If you want to use white paint, go for it.
I just think there is no substitute for the brilliant white of the paper and it cannot be brought back with chinese white or gouache. Enough said.

The second painting was done ‘alla prima’, all single washes, adjusted while still wet or damp. The only ‘underpainting’ I did was the arena’s light areas. I did not bother putting blue for the sky, it does not need it.

The riders on the track is a different story, but even in this piece, there are no more than two or occasionally three washes layered. I like to see the white of the paper coming through at all times.

I have a friend who is a dressage rider, so I will have the pleasure of watching her and work onsite in the near future! Stay tuned.

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6 thoughts on “horses, dressage

  1. will

    Congratulations on your horse pictures. I particularly like the second one, which captures the movement and attitude of the horse and rider very well. As a horseman and amateur watercolorist, I am quite impressed by your talent.
    You are welcome to visit my blog where I post some of my sketches.
    Will

    1. frankeber Post author

      thank you, Will – good to get positive feeback from someone who is a ‘horse person’. I am certainly not, but I love them anyways. I noticed you’re in France..how I miss it! I’ve lived in the Baronnies for a while (south)
      Thank you for visiting my blog

  2. Carol King

    I must admit that after Stephen Colbert did his skit about dressage, I always want to just laugh a little at “horse dancing”. But no laughing at these fantastic paintings. You really know how to keep the white of the paper in all of your paintings. Thanks for the info you always impart in your posts.

    1. frankeber Post author

      thank you so much, leslie – I am a horse lover as well, although I just recently became aware of it..drawing them endlessly made me realize how great they are!

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