Painting and drawing horses is an exercise I would encourage any artist to busy themselves with.
Drawing a horse involves using basic shapes, using both curved and straight lines. When you see a horse you are looking at sets of muscles, which lend themselves perfectly to using curved or circular lines. Straighter lines can be used for shapes of legs and head.
Practice using circular lines to make a basic shape of a horse body, use straight diagonal lines for the basic shape of the head, and straight lines for the legs. Combine the curved lines on the legs to suggest the developed muscles on the thighs and hind legs.
To paint a horse you need to suggest shine on the horse’s coat. I underpainted the whole of the head shape with yellow and mixed a variety of brown colours, from light to dark browns. When the yellow was dry I glazed over a wash of light brown and then lifted the colour with a clean dry brush where I wanted to suggest “shine”. I used Payne’s grey on the hooves and also on the knees, nostrils (in varying mixes, and added some brown too). For the shadow I used a darker brown, over a glaze of mid brown. I used a chromatic black for the tail.
To make the overall shape of the rider, paint in the sky, and then you will see the shape of the head and body. Add any pattern or colours to the clothing that you would like to see on your winner.
For the background I used watercolour pencils to build the main shapes of the stands and spire. I then painted in the crowds using the side of the brush, four different colours (separately) to suggest different coloured clothing. I painted in the dark shadows in the stands using Payne’s grey.
For the turf I underpainted with yellow ochre and used a variety of what I would term muted greens. To mute a green colour i.e. dull it down, add burnt umber.
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