I saw these lovely foals in the same group of horses that this painting came from. They were very unsure of a strange person and stayed close to the adults, but were still curious about me.
I started this painting with my new step of doing a pencil drawing at the final size first, tracing it and then doing a graphite transfer to the RayMar canvas board. My purpose was to solve any drawing problems, get the correct placement in the space and indicate the basic value pattern.
Once the drawing was transferred to the board, which had been previously toned with a wash of raw sienna to knock back the white, I re-stated the drawing with a brush, refining and correcting as I worked. This step was also done with raw sienna.
The next step was to indicate the shapes of the shadows in a dark value. I mixed a warm brownish-purple for this.
Then I started to lay in color, bringing up the shadows to a higher key since the foals were in really nice morning light.
The finished painting “Mongol Horse Foals” 14×18″ oil
Here’s the reference photo. I punched up the intensity of the color, as you can see, and left out all the other horses since the painting was about these two and their connection with each other.
I’ve been having fun painting Mongol horses. This and the previous one, which you can see here, were started before my latest trip to Mongolia.
The reference photo was shot at the beginning of my 2011 trip with fellow artist Pokey Park. We had spent a few days in Hustai National Park photographing and observing takhi. Now we were on our way south. We had left the park and were driving to the only bridge for many miles that crosses the Tuul Gol, traveling along an upland area that overlooked the river valley.
The rocks on the right are part of a complex of Turkic graves, which are quite interesting. But not nearly as interesting to me as the herd of horses that were behind me when I took the above photo.
It was August and there were a lot of flies. The horses were constantly circling, trying to get their heads as far into the middle of the group as possible. But they knew I was there and every once and awhile some would stop and look at me, which is when I got the reference photo I used for the painting.
I liked the contrast of color and head position of these two, so I cut out everyone else. The twisted blue khadag around the neck of the brown horse was a nice extra.
I’m very proud to announce that my latest takhi painting “Enchanted Evening”, has been accepted into the Society of Animal Artists’ 52nd Annual Exhibition of “Art and the Animal”. This is the fourth year in a row that I have had work in the show and they have all been Mongolia subjects, which pleases me a lot.
The exhibition will be held at the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, which is located in Oradell, New Jersey, and officially opens on the weekend of October 5-7. I plan to be there for all the festivities. More details later on as the opening approaches, but consider yourself invited!
The story behind the painting: Last August, nationally-known sculptor Pokey Park and I were on a two-week tour of the best wildlife watching locations. We were leaving Hustai National Park, one of the three places in Mongolia where takhi have been reintroduced, after a last horse-watching drive, which had already been very successful. Then, less than 50 feet from the road we spotted this small group of takhi coming down to a pool of water. We stopped and got our cameras ready. Would they come or not…
And here’s a short video that I shot on my Flip HD. Unfortunately we ended up with a lot of cars stacked up behind us, just like a bear or bison jam in Yellowstone. One woman came up next to me out in plain view (I was behind the open door of the car, using it for kind of a blind) and spooked them, but at least they’d all been able to drink. Enjoy!
“Takhi Yearling” is a painting of a takhi that I saw at Hustai National Park in Mongolia in Sept. 2006. Takhi are the only surviving species of true wild horse. It’s a thrill and a privilege to see them in their native habitat. I’ve now visited two of the three places in Mongolia where they have been reintroduced after going extinct in the wild in the late 1960s. Click to bid here
You can see it here There will not be a physical show. Images of the art, in a variety of media, will be published in the summer issue of the magazine and a selection will included in a limited edition book, both due in March. I’ve made it into the book and greatly look forward to getting a copy.
Lesley Humphrey, who placed first in painting in Ex Arte Equinus II, was the painting juror for this year. Her juror’s statement is here and is very well-written.
And if this image looks familiar, yes, this painting was juried into an American Academy of Equine Art show earlier this year.
Here are four more new paintings to go with the two I posted last week. I had a problem with the background in the last one and thought I’d show how it was and how I changed it.
Here is one of the takhi (Przewalski’s horse) that I saw when I was at the Khomiin Tal reintroduction site in western Mongolia in September of 2006. It was first light a group of horses were coming down out of the hills to graze.
This was a harem stallion that I saw at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu last fall. He was also the model for Mongol Horse #2. It amazes me that, given the extreme environment that they are exposed to year in and year out, that these tough small horses grow such long manes and tails. But they do.
I saw this Rocky Mountain bighorn lamb with his mother near Tower Campground in Yellowstone National Park a couple of years ago. They were by the side of the road, which lacked interest as a setting, to say the least. So I moved him.
This argali ram, along with five others, gave me an eyeful on my first morning at Baga Gazriin Chuluu Nature Reserve in Mongolia in July. I wanted to work on capturing the quality of light without worrying about painting too many animals, so decided to start with a small painting. I had one idea for the rocks as you’ll see below but, on further review, something wasn’t working. Time to get out the scraper. What do you think was wrong? Answer below the second image.
There were a couple of problems. One, in getting into the grooviness of painting the rocks, I completely lost track of my light source. The rocks are in full light, but are on the same plane as the ram. Buzzz. Second, I tried to use what I knew to design the rocks more or less from memory, which resulted in a boring, distracting (what an awful combination!) set of shapes. I went back to the rocks that were in the original photos and saw that they were much less rounded, which provided a needed contrast with the curves of the ram.