Anatomy of a Horse Portrait …”Star”

Since I haven’t started a new piece yet, I thought I’d share this.  When this horse portrait was commissioned, the horse’s owner asked if I could send pictures of my progress to her as I went along.  I was happy to oblige.

First, I visited her farm in order to meet her horse, “Star”  and have a photo shoot.  I took about 50 pictures in various settings and poses.  She chose two pictures from which I would create the portrait.

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She wanted me to use the pose from the  first picture and the coat color from the second.  A bit more difficult than working from one photo, but I’m always up for a challenge!

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I did the initial drawing on toned paper with white chalk pencil.  The chalk is easier than graphite to erase as I go along, so that the lines don’t show through. I added “atmosphere” in the background with chalk pastel.

Next came the fun part – coloring!

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I began with a base of colored pencil, intending to do the whole base layer in pencil first, but I got impatient and started in with the oil pastels. In the photos above, I’ve added the oil pastel to the ears.  (I just love horses’ ears!)

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I’ve finished most of the color pencil on the horse, and added the oil pastel.

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Now for the halter.  Color pencil base layer then the oil pastel.  I rework details with color pencil on top of the pastel over the whole portrait.

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The finished portrait of Star.

As always, thoughts and constructive critiques are welcomed and appreciated!

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53 responses to “Anatomy of a Horse Portrait …”Star”

  1. She had to be pleased, you have some great talent!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really enjoyed seeing your process and the portrait of Star was beautiful! Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love seeing the process. Really nice piece. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, really impressive, great portrait and talented artist!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I always like seeing a work in progress, We had paintinga done of our cats and the artist kept us up on the progress as the work progressed. Fascinating post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful art, and thanks for sharing the process with us. Really interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very nice…. there is more depth perception around the nose, so that kinda draws my attention there a bit more

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Very beautiful. Such a patience for paper! Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. oh my, you MORE than succeeded. What a tribute to both you and the subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautifully done Claire. Thanks for sharing your process.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Impressive! That’s really beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Very interesting to see your process – I hadn’t thought of combining pencil with oil pastels. Is this to give you more detail and control where you need it? The finished portrait is great!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You got it! That’s not easy either. Each one of our horses, like people, have individual spirit that shows through their eyes (and mouths)–and other aspects of the face, too, but mostly the eyes. You captured it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You have some lovely work here. I’m glad that you are sharing it via blogging.

    Thank you for choosing to follow one of my blogs. I hope you continue to enjoy the posts. Léa

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow, fantastic piece. I must say you make it look so easy… which I know its definitely not. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Very impressive. You make it look like so much fun……….must……resist……. I have buffaloes to paint! No time for horses!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wow!! This is exquisite. I’m sure Star’s owner was beyond pleased. Thank you for sharing your talent with us

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Awesome. Thank you for sharing this. I so admire your work

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The step by step illustrations of how you accomplished the fantastic finished picture is a charmer.
    You have talents in a number of places. This post shows them off!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. To see your work process is a treat. I agree sometimes we need to be fearless with a creativity, to find the new breakthrough ideas. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing your amazing talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. How interesting. So there really are horses with the star, like Black Beauty. =) Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Beautiful work, star looks stunning, I have never used oil pastel before, maybe one day I will try?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. How amazing it was to stumble upon this. Star is my horse, and I have it hanging in my bedroom. I was beyond pleased for she did such an amazing job with Star’s unique markings, as well as getting the color and pose from different pictures. Thank you so much once again for you’re lovely work!

    Liked by 1 person

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