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!
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“Scratch That Itch” is a 10″x8″ original oil painting on canvas board. It is unframed.
The subject is a takhi foal I photographed at Hustai National Park in May of 2005. One of the rarest animals in the world (there are only around 2000), takhi are the only surviving species of true wild horse and are being reintroduced to three locations in Mongolia. I’ve been lucky enough to visit two of them.