Tag Archives: ponies

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!