Thursday, 5 August 2010

Working on the Unfamiliar

This week has been consumed by travelling, visiting friends and family and catching the Picasso exhibition in Liverpool but also taking the opportunity to complete the task I had set myself along with painting buddy, Peter.

The painting task was to be based on the photograph Peter took on a recent trip to Bruges. For me this was to be a daunting task way out of my comfort zone, people and HORSES! Never having spent time drawing these beautiful animals I looked forward to pushing myself in a new direction.

Horse and Trap - Photograph courtesy of Peter Ward

As a start I decided to have an attempt at making a rough sketch as a way of making up my mind as to what I might need to do to try the painting. As you can see the sketch is all out of proportion and my first job was to be finding a way of improving that.

First draft sketch - Graphite on paper

I returned to the source photograph and did some measurement as a way of getting my head around the proportions that I would need to use to make it an accurate reflection of the source.

Getting to grips with the proportions - Graphite 0n paper

Using the measurements I drew up a grid in my sketch book and then proceeded to do a second draft.

Second draft - Graphite on paper

At this stage, feeling more confident about the proportions, I turned my attention to the other issues I felt needed to be addressed, the drawing and the difficult paint passages. The horse would be a major part of the picture so improving my confidence in drawing this would be a critical task.

Drawing the horse - Graphite on paper

The two main elements in the picture would be the horse and the driver so deciding on how they might be painted was the next job.

Driver - Watercolour on Not paper 10" x 8"

Horse - Watercolour on Not paper 10" x 8"

After the above preparations I'd reached the point where I had to commit to making the picture as planned.

Horse and Trap - Watercolour on Saunders Waterford Not 16" x 12"


This was a testing project that taught me the necessity of detailed planning. Without the planning I'd have got no further than the original, out of proportion, sketch. So from that point of view the result is an improvement. The area that was not as well planned, the background, could have had greater attention paid to it during the initial stages.

The other issue that arises is the way that the subject and my struggle with it drove me into a tighter way of working than I would have preferred. This is something that I need to think about prior to making another picture of this sort.

I got a lot of enjoyment from the project and feel that I made some progress in terms of drawing and planning as well as the application of paint. Lets hope the lessons stick.

Whilst the piece has numerous flaws it has provided me with valuable experience for future work.


Peter Ward said...

I've just posted my version Mick so you've beaten me to it. Like your finished horse. I must confess my approach was more of a `go right in' manner and I perhaps feel I copied the photo too much. The way you've approached this has given me food for thought. I do adopt a more thoughtful approach these days but the bull in the china shop syndrome' reappears from time to time!

Mick Carney said...

Peter - The approach was all about getting up the confidence to attack the subject - way out of my comfort zone. I often find that getting started is the most difficult bit and also suffer from the old 'bull' syndrome.

Joan Breckwoldt said...

Your painting turned out beautifully. Thank you for describing your thought process. You are very talented at drawing too, nice sensitive lines.

Mick Carney said...

Joan - Thanks for visiting and for your very kind comments.

Dan Corey said...

Go Mick! this looks great and well worth the work invested. Good to see you get some time ith the brush.

Mick Carney said...

Dan - Thanks a lot. Next step, out with the oils.