New Work! “Summer Snack, Mongolia” Step-by-step

“Summer Snack, Mongolia” 9×12″ oil on canvasboard

Fresh off the easel! “Summer Snack, Mongolia”. Without really meaning to I took 2021 off from painting and didn’t do much art at all. Quite of few of my colleagues spent the year the same way, not very motivated with Covid so serious. But as the new year has dawned folks are picking up their brushes, pens, pencils etc. again same as I am. I did another painting before this one, which I’ll also be posting a step-by-step on but am so pleased with this one I decided to share it first.

The setting is in the northern mountains of Mongolia not far from the city of Erdenet. I was the guest of a family for the aimag (county’s) Naadam festival. They are race horse trainers so I had the privilege of being part of the preparations for the races. Mongol horses are allowed to run free when they aren’t being used for work. I was out walking around and I spotted this mare and foal with the valley and mountains behind her.

I am unapologetic about tracing from photographs to save time and that’s how I started.
The next step is to work out the values, which is the relative light and dark. This is very important step.
The next step is to transfer the drawing to the canvas and restate the drawing with a pointed brush.
Since I didn’t tint the canvas I needed to get a tone down over the whole piece.
This stage and the next two I spent building up the colors and defining the shapes

Now I head for the finish…

As you can see I’m almost carving out the shapes, committing to them
The clouds are pretty much done. Background needs another pass or two. The colors and structure of the horses is defined.
Almost there. Background is done,, working on the foreground. The bare ground needs to be a lighter value than the upright grasses otherwise the horses won’t look like they’re standing on a surface.

At this point I was unhappy with the hind leg of the foal closest to the viewer. I painted it and wiped it out at least 4-5 times. And here, once again, is the finished painting….

“Summer Snack, Mongolia” 9×12″ oil on canvasboard

Happy Holidays! New Work!

“Almost There” oil on canvasboard 12×18″ (price on request)

For the first three weeks of November I was at the easel every weekday painting the pieces that I showed the color comps of on Sept. 22 here. I finally decided not to use them for the original purpose and will be entering them in some upcoming juried exhibitions. I’m pleased and proud of them so I want to debut them here on my blog.
The one above is from reference I shot at a naadam in Erdenet Soum in 2015. I got to ride in the chase car for two of the races so I got fantastic reference as we drove alongside the horses and riders.

“After the Race, Scraping Sweat” oil on canvasboard 14×18″ (price on request)

In Mongolia the sweat of a winning horse is thought to be auspicious, so the trainer scrapes it off. The traditional tool for this was the bill of a Dalmation pelican, an endangered species, so now the scrapers are made of wood, often with nice carving on them. One always knows the trainers by the scraper in their belt or sash. I was really struck by the colors of this two-year old, who had already raced. Very pretty.

“Patient” oil on canvasboard 14×18″ (price on request)

And here you can see one of the trainers at the same event with his scraper tucked into his sash. This would be his personal riding horse. He (they are almost always stallions or geldings) has a traditional saddle that is well-worn and a common type of bridle knotted from hand-braided rope.

I’ve also kept up with Inktober52, not missing a week so far. Four drawings to go. You can see all of them on my Instagram feed here.