At the time of this project, I had never painted a horse.
I guess technically I still haven’t.
I did, however, manage to paint a decent picture of a horse onto a canvas as a commissioned animal portrait for my aunt, which was a project I had never undertaken before. Sure, I’ve drawn and painted dogs and cats before, but never horses. It was, as they say, a whole ‘nother animal.
How does one embark on a project the likes of which they’ve never attempted before?
For me, I started right in at the nose.
I started here because it’s the most difficult bit and if I screwed it up too badly at least I could feasibly start again.I do kind of wish I’d taken more photos of the process. I started literally in the nostril and it would have been kind of cool to see this whole thing born out of a nose-hole.
Right now I tend to work from one spot outwards, but I’m finally seeing the benefit of doing it differently. You can get more lighting consistency by doing some broad lights and darks before tackling the detail work. Oh well. This is a first.
I did wind up coming back to this section with more detail after I filled in more of the bridle. It looks like I’m avoiding that part. Apparently I prefer to paint horse-face than horse-face clothing.
Getting more texture in there now.
You can see I’ve gotten over my bridle-aversion enough to give it a base colour. Also, Alex has a body now. I’m sure that will come in handy for him.
I find ears to be second-hardest after nose. I probably should have done those earlier. The leather still needs work but I’m happier with the lighting around the nose and lip, and the lighting around his cheek.
The thing I learned here is that if you’re going to do a background, do it first. Paint the subject onto it after you know roughly what’s there.
I didn’t do that at all. Also, stylistically I’m leaning towards a white or textured white background in the future. I do like that the blue contrasts with Alex’s browns, but a cool grey could probably have the same effect.
And to finish it off, I made you a gif!
If you’re interested in ordering a custom portrait of an animal, let me know in the comments or visit me at www.pawsbyzann.com!