Tag Archives: Horses

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.

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!!