This is another watercolor painting of horses. Basically a horse portrait. There is a lot of negative painting as well as lost and found edges in this work. The top mane of the horse and his muzzle are left white. When painting the background I was very careful to leave the ‘white’ for the horses heads, which is actually some kind of greyish blue in the end. A painting like this requires careful planning but quick and decisive strokes once the painting process starts. I strive to have a looseness in my work that cannot be accomplished by being overly careful! While painting I closely pay attention to what’s happening on the paper, always open to changing direction if my watercolor requires it. I never try to force things. It took me forever to learn that!
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!
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!!
I haven’t been producing anything I like lately so I will post one of my paintings from my travels instead. To be honest, there wasn’t so much time to paint for me in the last couple weeks. I had a job working for Jim Belushi last week and it took all my energy. This week looks much better though!
I call this one The New reflecting the Old. This plaza is in Vienna and it looks good at any time during the day, but when the late afternoon light hits those umbrellas and the reflection of the old building appears in the glass structure it is simply amazing!
I tried to keep things very simple, just focusing on the mood. As you can see in the close-up, I didn’t really paint out the figures. I used a very small squirrel mop brush loaded with a fair amount of pigment. Some artists say you cannot draw and detail with a squirrel mop because they are too soft. True, but that’s exactly what I want. I mean, I let the brush do the work and hope it’ll look like figures in the end. This time it worked! Of course, I tried to do this again last week and it didn’t… Now I am looking at this and ask myself, how did you do that?
Time to stop analyzing. Wasn’t it Cezanne who said: As soon as I start thinking during painting, it all goes downhill. I completely agree, I have the same problem! Just paint and keep your intellect out of it as much as possible. Definitely easier said than done!