Wednesday, 4 November 2009


These are some Work in Progress photos of Max, a horse I'm drawing in pastels on my favourite Fisher 400 paper. Whilst this portrait is intended as a Christmas present it isn't a surprise. Sadly Max passed away very recently at the ripe old age of 30 years so his owner has been involved in choosing which photograph(s) I should work from.

The original ref. photo shows a lot more neck as Max's mane was hogged (cut short) and standing up. He was wearing a head collar, which I've removed and I've also changed the position of his ears slightly so they are both facing forward.

At the moment I've only 'hinted' at the mane as I'm not sure whether this is the length the client will prefer or if she'd like it longer. Also, I'm told that his colour is actually more rich dark chestnut than he appears in the photo so I'll need to get feedback soon but its difficult getting a good photo to email to the client now the light has gone so I'm calling it a day for now.

As well as losing the light I've made my fingertips very sore and one has started to bleed - that's the downside of working on this sanded paper as I can't help using my fingers to blend the colours - I did start blending with a brush but it isn't as effective (or satisfying) :o)

Its really a good time to stop anyway as I have a bag of prawns to peel ... that got me to thinking about one of the silly aspects of being an artist working from home. Its wonderful to take breaks from the drawing board and head to the kitchen - I do a lot of home cooking, most of which involves peeling onions or garlic etc., as we love spicy foods. I always spend ages washing my hands before touching the artwork again but I wonder whether some cooking 'niffs' adhere to the portraits ??? You know if you look at sale items on EBay they often state 'from non-smoking' or 'pet-free' home .... perhaps I ought to put a warning on my work .... 'from foodies' house'!!

Anyway, here he is, drafted out and as usual I've drawn in the eyes so I can see who I'm dealing with :o) I spent a bit of time re-positioning the ears and basically noting the main contours of his head/neck

I've used a brush to spread some basic colour and I'm using only pastel pencils (not soft pastels) for this work

This is where I've left off for the evening.


pett paintings said...

Looking good Sue...I bet peeling those prawns made the ouchy stumps sting like crazy :-)

sue said...

not as much as peeling the chestnuts later :o) My friend gave us so many we're roasting a few every night and no matter how careful I am I always spear myself with a sharp bit of shell!!

Dors said...

LOL@the foodies' house

Love how Max is coming along. Your work is superb Sue.

Just commented on 2 posts in a row that are having roast chestnuts.. My mouth is now watering for them .Yummy. love them and not had them for many years.

sue said...

Thank you Dors :o)

The chestnuts are a treat for us too as we've always lived in areas populated with squirrels (and badgers at the last house). We've just dug out our cobnut trees from this garden for the same reason. Humans 0 Squirrels 100 when it comes to harvesting them!!

My friend has found a rich source though and has been very generous

Jan said...

I've never had a chestnut but have heard how good they are roasted. I know you mentioned them in another post & I didn't ask then, but what are cobnuts?

sue said...

Hi Jan
Cobnuts are a kind of hazlenut grown mainly in the County of Kent (where I live). They are almost an 'endangered species' now as they aren't particularly cost effective to grow/pick. They are marketed fresh, not dried like most other nuts such as walnuts and almonds. So they can usually only be bought when in season, typically from about the middle of August through to October, although stored nuts may be kept until Christmas. Early in the season the husks are green and the kernels especially juicy. Nuts harvested later on have brown shells and husks, and a fuller flavour.

Unfortunately they aren't attractive shrubs/trees ... and that coupled with the fact we never benefitted from harvesting the nuts led to our decision to dig them out and put that part of the garden to better use. So ... even fewer cobnuts in Kent now :o(