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Society of Equine artists

So this is for a bit of fun, but the Society of Equine Artists has opened its annual exhibtion this week, award ceremony this Sunday. These are my picks for the prize winners, not including myself obviously!!
You can see the whole exhibition online at www.equestrianartists.co.uk although the slide show is maddeningly slow. It would be much better formatted as a gallery, so it could be more easily browsed.
I’ll post the actual winners next friday!

Best drawing – “Crusader” Rebecca De Mindonca Pastel £1,900 38″x31″

I haven’t come across this artists work before, and it’s stunning, although I think the shoulder needs to merge more softly into the red background. The racing paintings on her website are fantastic, so I’m suprised they havn’t been included in the SEA exhibtion. 

Best contemporary “Irish Draft Stallion Gortfree Hero” Sara Hodson ASEA Oils £800 21″x21″

Sara has submitted a very strong trio of works. See more at
https://www.sarahodson.com/

Best Group of works by full member – “Guards” Kristine Nason SEA Pencil £580 20″x24″

Best hunting work – “Kimblewick Hunt Leaving the Full Moon” Dennis Syrett SEA PPROI RBA RSMA Oils £8,000 32″x40″

I like Frderick Haycocks work as well, also a strong contender. 

Best coloured horse (!) “Zebra” Kim Thompson Acrylic £1,800 21″x41″
This might not count being a zebra, so technically not a horse, but it’s a lovely work. Realistically Malcolm Coward will probably win. Again.

Best in show -“Seventh Wave” Rosemary Sarah Welch SEA Oils £2,200 42″x38″

Best Sculpture – “The Chaser” Amy Goodman ASEA BA(Hons) Bronze 1/8 £5,250 20″x20″x8″

Best racing work -“Headway” Michelle McCullagh SEA Oils £2,800 25″x18″
Hard one to call this, as Michelle won last year I think, but to me this one stands out. 
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From start to finish.

You may remember if you read this blog regularly that I attempted to show the process of the development of a painting last year – one of the highland cows. For whatever reason; I lost concentration, got distracted by the children or another of the myriad of excuses that artists deploy when they’re procrastinating, was that the painting was a complete disaster, and ended up ripped up off its stretchers rolled into a dusty tube and joined the collection of cast offs under the dog’s chair in my studio.
This time I thought I’d finish the painting first. I’ve used a commissioned portrait of a sidesaddle rider to demonstrate. This is the photo I was given to work from, not ideal, but enough.

 

Stage one. Planning and composition.
This looks deceptively simple but is in fact the most crucial part. I have finally been dragged into the modern age by my soon to be brother in law Jack, who lent me a tablet and stylus so I can sketch, erase and the move things around at will. I’ve taken the original photo, removed the ungainly rider from the front, and arranged the remaining three into a better balanced composition, which hopefully emphasise the sidesaddle rider (the commission subject)

Stage two. Oil sketches.
These are small sketches, painted quickly in an hour or two which let me have a look at the balance of the painting, the harmony of colours, and allow me to make mistakes inexpensively. I wanted to go with a plainer background as seen in the largest sketch, but the client wanted a landscape.

Stage three. Main painting.
Once the the canvas is measured out, stretched and primed with a dark ‘ground’ I sketch out the drawing onto the paint with a pen. I now have to order these especially from the States as my uk supplier discontinued them and like many artists I hate to change tools. I have painted with the same half dozen Old Holland oil colours for the past decade. Expensive – one of the tubes is about £40 a go, but worth it.
I can’t explain why some paintings work and others don’t, but well planned and thought out paintings tend to work better than those I rush into. I always have an image of what I want to achieve in my head, sometimes I achieve it, sometimes I never quite get there, and on rare occasions I exceed it. The first version of this didn’t work, and got very ‘muddy’ but I was more pleased with the second.

Attempt No 1

Final Painting 

Final stage
Letting it dry, touching up the details and highlights, and varnishing. Then sending the proof to the client, which is terrifying EVERY time. They were pleased fortunately.

I’m most often asked ‘How long does a painting take?’ and in answer I really have no idea. This was commissioned in May, and delivered in August. If the first version had worked it would probably have been ready the month before. Each painting is different, some are finished in a week, and others take six months.