Thursday, July 20, 2006

Work in Progress "Arab Galloping"

I've started something new! For select paintings, I'll be donating part of the proceeds to a charity that serves the subject of the art.

I decided to paint this horse because of the beautiful light. A painting always needs a hook, whether it's good light, an interesting pattern, beautiful color, or a compelling subject. Hopefully, it will have a few of these elements! Here I've put in the first wash. To get beautifully rippling muscles, I wet the whole horse, then float in paint the consistency of cream. You've really have to get a feel for this, because if the paper is too wet, the color will spread everywhere, and if the paper is too dry, the paint will not get those nice soft edges.

That green stuff is called masking. It's like a liquid plastic, and I put it on areas that I want to keep white. After I apply it, I allow it to dry, and then I can paint over areas that will stay light. In this painting, I used it to make light hairs in the mane. Here I've added the next wash of dark.

I've taken the mask off and refined the mane. I didn't like that light band of purple on his cheek; it leads the eye away from the area of interest in the painting, which is the eye area. Next I talk more about how an artist paints so that the eye is led around the painting and towards the area of interest.

What makes this painting work? The negative space around the horse has a pleasing composition. (See an earlier blog to learn about negative space). Each part is a different shape and size. The light is striking. And, the way it's been composed leads the eye to the point of interest, the eye. That's why I've put the most contrast and detail in this area. Notice above his back, I've made the background lighter, so that it does not contrast too much and lead your eye there for too long. A well composed painting leads your eye around the painting through the use of contrast, detail, line, and color with the resting spot the area of interest. The path is circular in this painting. It starts at the eye, and then the lines of the mane lead you down the neck. The mane then points down, and then you come full circle by coming back up the muzzle to the eye again. Click on the painting to go to Ebay.

The lines of the Arab make for a great painting subject. Look at those subtle curves on his face!

Here are a couple more I finished today...



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Kyla Corbett said...

Rachel, your art is stunning, I follow you on Etsy. I have watercolored off and on for a long time and never been happy with it. Others seem to like it but I am never satisifed with it. (Will it always be that way?) I tried taking a watercolor class last year for the first time in 20 years but I learned more from 15 minutes of reading your blog than I did in a 2 month class.

Thank you for providing such thoughtful step-by-step's. Have you thought about a book or have you got one already?

Your art is such an inspiration. Thank you.

Kyla said...

Kyla - Thank you for the kind words! I do have a private blog where I teach and post videos. Email me at r1achel at yahoo dot com for details.