As an equestrian artist I am often asked if I do horse portraits and truthfully I do them rarely. I do 1 or 2 horse portraits a year but they have to fall under specific criteria. The main one being that I get copious amounts of photos to work from. This is most easily accomplished by my being able to photograph the horse myself. The other benefit to this is that it gives me a chance to really get a feel for the horse and his personality and that I think helps for a more effective portrayal when I create the actual painting.
This is an excerpt from my Apples 'N Oats magazine column regarding the creation of the Catch painting. It tells the story of trying to get that perfect reference photo for a portrait.
As they had just been turned out, Catch really took very little interest in meeting us. This actually makes the photographing part easier. However, he was so engrossed in eating, that after a few shots of him grazing, well . . . we needed a little more excitement!
So Carol flung bits of grass in the air and was rewarded with a lazy flick of the ear. She did the usual clapping, whistling and flailing of arms. He watched her quizzically, occasionally lifting his head (with large mouthfuls of grass mind you) to get a better look. But after a few brief moments, he promptly resumed grazing.
At this point, we fell to bribery. I had some apples in the van and we tried to lure him into some interesting facial expressions, which hopefully didn't involve chewing or swallowing. I managed to get a few more pictures taken, until of course the apple was gone.
So Carol, in an earnest desire to help me get some action shots, started jogging around the pasture, occasionally springing into the air, while making excited chirpy noises, accompanied with yet more flailing of arms. The jogging thing got the ol’ boy’s interest, perhaps out of curiosity more than anything, but he trotted along beside her.
The original horse painting was done in watercolor pencil on Arches 140# Hot Press Watercolor Paper.
Please Note: The watermark that appears on this image is for online viewing onluy and does NOT appear on the actual artwork.
Text and original graphics copyright © Mona Majorowicz, 2000-2018.