oil painter

Painting a little differently

My latest horse painting is a departure of the way I have painted in the past with multiple, bright colors, lots of brush strokes, and the thickness of paint with the palette knife. I don’t know why the way I painted this horse changed. I wasn’t looking for it to change. But maybe it changed because of my return to the love of drawing horses and wanting to create something a little different than all the other things.

I experimented a little with another painting a few days ago — the painting of the face of the black horse. I like how it turned out: the way the paint was thinned and how the thinning of the paint gave the painting values (lights and darks). I LOVE good values in a painting.

When I painted that black horse, it reminded me a little of my underpaintings, or first layers of my finished oil paintings. I love underpaintings. That is where I establish my lights and darks. If the underpainting values don’t read correctly as far as light and shadow, then when the color comes in on top, the painting won’t look quite right.

Many times when I’m painting the underpainting I have stopped and appreciated what I see that no one else will ever see because I will paint another layer on top and cover it all up.

Which brings me to the way I painted this Blue horse. I painted the horse in one color (well, two — a mixture of Prussian Blue and Payne’s Gray). I left the paint at full strength for the places I wanted dark and I thinned out the paint (and even used paper towels dipped in thinner to wipe off color) for the places I wanted light. I wanted to see if I could take one color and make it work for the whole animal. And I did. I love the way it turned out.

If you have any questions about my process or have done something like this yourself, I would love for you to share it with me.

I wonder what color horse I will paint next…..