How to Paint a horse in oils part 1
Step by Step Horse painting in Oils – Pt 1
Original Horse Reference Picture
This pet portrait is going to be of this horse. I particularly liked this photo because of the color of the horse and the late afternoon lighting. This light is creating deep shadows and strong highlights. Look at how deep the shadows that are cast from the cheek piece & throat latch straps and how they are falling on the subject.
I tend to use a limited pallet depending on the subject manner. For this painting I used: Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow, & Titanium White. Also I used some Sap Green in the background, but it’s not included in the picture below. I start with a little paint for each and add (as needed) as I paint.
Step 1: Draw the subject
Create a sound drawing of the subject. There is no need to get to detailed since the drawing will get obliterated from painting. Map out the whole subject and lock down the placements of key areas in the drawing.
Step 2: Paint the Background
Before starting on the horse itself, layout the background in paint. In this painting I wanted to keep the blurry outdoor setting that is represented in the reference photo.
Step 3: Blocking in shapes
In this step I blurred the background by lightly dragging a two inch dry brush over the canvas horizontally. Once completed, I started on the horses head itself. I began by blocking in shapes, working from the dark to light areas, while concentrating on color and tones.
Step 4: Adding the high points
Add the light areas of the face while continuing to add details
Step 5: Adding Detail to the face
While blending the high area in, I’m concentrating on tighter details of the face in regard to the wrinkles and veins of the horses nose, around the eye and nostril area.