Mongolia Monday- Starting a New Painting and You Can Follow Along

I had an idea for a painting the instant I saw this scene on the way back from the Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve in 2006.

source-photoI love the colors, the clouds, the Mongol horses grazing, but compositionally it’s a long way from a painting. My plan is that this will be a major work, as in large, maybe 3’x4′ or more since I want the horses to be big enough that I can really paint each one individually. I learned this approach in art school when one of my teachers showed our class a painting he did of the Founding Fathers signing the Declaration of Independence. Why so big, we asked. Because I didn’t want to paint the heads any smaller than an inch high, he replied. Oh, we said. Taking that as a beginning, he knew how big the painting would end up being. I’m thinking each horse at 3″ to 4″ from the back to the ground. This could change, but it is a starting point.

The process I’m going to demonstrate is the one taught me at art school when I was studying to be an illustrator. I don’t always do all the steps, but this time I probably will, both because it’s a large piece and because other artists might find all or part of it useful in their own work.

The next step was to do a small thumbnail to get my initial vision down.


This took about 30 seconds, but it has the essential information: low horizon line, mountains in the background, clouds stacked up picturesqually, one large and one small group of horses grazing. The proportions aren’t right yet, so I’ll be doing more thumbnails, as many as it takes.

In the meantime, I’m also doing fairly quick drawings of horses grazing and moving to see which ones I think will work in the painting.


To Be Continued…..