Tag Archives: equine art

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.


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!


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!


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!)


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


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.


The finished portrait of Star.

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


Getting back to the studio

After a long hiatus from studio time, I’m ready to get back to it. I’m starting small, so as not to get overwhelmed and procrastinate. I’ve chosen a picture of a garter snake that I took last summer in the horse paddock. It was patient enough to let me have a photo shoot, even while I was crouched on the ground in front of it to get different perspectives. Thank you little snake!

I know snakes are not a popular subject matter, but if you can overlook the “creepy” factor, they really are quite beautiful.

garter snake ??????????

I will be portraying this little garter snake in graphite. I’ll add updates as I go along.

garter snake 1a

I was a little impatient and jumped right in before doing a complete detailed line drawing.  A good start though, I think.

Feb 17, 2015   I haven’t had much time to work this week. Got a little further. Trying to decide just how much detail I want to put on the ground. I don’t want it to be too busy, but I want it to have texture.


March 5, 2015   Not much progress – a bout with the flu left me with no desire to get much of anything done.  But I’m on the mend and getting back to work.  I find myself getting a little cross-eyed on this one.  So many little scales!

3-5-15 web  3-12-2015 004 web a

3-21-15 004 a web cor

One of the hardest parts of any drawing for me is knowing when to stop.  I think this one is finished, for now.  I’ll put it aside for a week and then give it one last tweak.  I can see that I have to work on photographing my work to have more consistency in the lighting.  Constructive critiques are welcome!