Monday 22 February 2016

Probably Peter

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the Wyndham Art Society to give a workshop. They are one of my favourite groups to visit, so welcoming and ready to have fun, they are a pleasure to teach. A few emails backwards and forwards before my arrival gave me the information that they would like to have a go at a horse head portrait - no mean task for those who haven't had a go before! So I arrived at their regular meeting spot, armed with Pete, my husband's old showjumping ride, a wonderful, if not slightly temperamental Dutch Warmblood who is a handsome old goat and worth painting. I always have lots of stories to tell about Pete, mostly concerning our love/hate relationship but certainly that he is a champion and when he wants to win, there isn't much that will stop him.
I promised the lovely people at Wyndham that I would give a brief over view via this blog of what we tackled, both to remind them and to help out any members that missed the session.
Probably Peter will be going in my exhibition at Highcliffe castle at the end of March if you would like to see him all finished, but until then, I hope that this will suffice.....

1. We drew Pete out on to good quality watercolour paper, first using Tracedown from a photograph I had taken and then worked back in to our pencil drawings to give as much information as we could. Using pink Frisk masking fluid, we decided where all our highlights were going to sit and reserved them accordingly. Using sketching pens in black, brown and grey, we drew back over the masking fluid when it was dry to start to make Pete 'pop' off the page.

2. Using cold colours to complement Pete's orange/brown tones, we dropped in a vignette background and used this opportunity to add a little Brusho to the composition which would provide us with texture and movement in the final composition.

3. Using colours loosely, we applied watercolour, firstly all over Pete and then concentrating on shadows and features.

4. After removing the masking fluid, we were able to balance out the bright highlights with darker shadows and many participants went back in with ink or gouache to put the finishing touches in to their 'Petes'.

So here is Pete, looking very pleased with himself - a fitting portrait of a horse that makes me laugh and swear in equal measure. If you have any horsey portraits that you would like to share, email me at, I'd love to see them!

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