Tag Archives: Austria

Horse studies

horse study, by frankeber 2013

horse study, by frankeber 

I'll scratch your back...by frankeber 2013
I’ll scratch your back…by frankeber 2013


I’ve been drawing and painting a lot of horses lately. They are a fascinating subject and quite difficult. These two are horse portraits from reference material. The photographs were taken in Vienna, Austria. Horses are the most beautiful, benign creatures and as a carriage horse have a pretty thankless job, I think. The carriage drivers are called ‘Fiaker’ and it seems you can’t be one unless you smoke at least two packs of cigarettes a day! That was at least my impression…

Having said that, they treat their horses nicely, for the most part. They get a blankie when it’s cold and windy, a rain coat when it’s  rainy! Don’t try to feed them though, the fiakers really don’t like that! It’s understandable, people would feed them all kinds of junk through out the day. Can’t be good for the horse…

I don’t consider these real paintings, more like studies – both are quarter sheets, approx 11 x 14 inches

In these works, I am particularly careful to limit hard edges. You can see lots of lost and found edges around the horses muzzles and they seem to be almost connected. The colors on the screen don’t do it justice, the purple in the second piece looks like a bland blue on my screen. Some colors just can’t be replicated by a computer screen. Almost a comforting thought to me!

Vienna calling!…and Salzburg

horse carriage, Austria by frankeber 2011       nice raincoats by frankeber 2011

The reference materials for these scenes are from my friend, a music professor who has played in Vienna and Salzburg many times. He travels there quite a bit and was able to take some great pictures for me! I am quite taken with these work horses and carriages! To think how long horses have been part of street scenes in those old cities! Long before cars and bicycles they were there already, easing the lives of humans by providing transportation and delivery.
You may argue that this type of horse does not look as graceful as, say, an Andalusian. But to me, these are beautiful in their own way. They may look awkward and big, but once they are moving, it is easy to see how strong and resilient they are!

I love that they put plastic rain coats over them when they are ‘parked’. Huddled together at ‘Residenzplatz’, they are awaiting their next ride, these days only to carry tourists with cameras around the old town. Still, they are in need today as they once were. Some things never change!

I know I put the two horses smack dab in the middle of the compostion, but I don’t care…I feel it’s working just fine, and rules are really there to be broken. I was thinking of putting a figure somewhere to the right of them, walking into the scene but I am not sure the painting needs it? What do you guys think…figure or not? There is sort of an opening between the tall building and the car.

Thanks to all of you who were interested in my work this past year, I really appreciate your visits! Wishing you a Happy New Year and many great paintings! Never stop slinging paint!!