Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sketchbook - Marwari Horse

Here is one more for the Breed A Week project on the Marwari horses. I really enjoy exploring and learning about these differant breeds of horses! On each of these breeds, I have studied the breed characteristics and then viewed as many photographs of the horses as possible to learn the typical look and build of the breed. With this sketch, I just worked out my drawing based on what I had learned, not using any photo references, just working from memory.

and here is a detail from the full sketch...

Monday, March 30, 2009

New Work - Mar. 30

For the Breed A Week project - Marwari Horses

These are a very old breed from India that were the prized steeds of the royals and could only be owned by royalty and warriors! They are known for thier distinctive inward turned and curled ear tips, and, are a beautiful and hardy all around performance horse.

"Marwari Gold" 5x7 oil on birch

"Marwari Pinto" 2.5x3.5" ACEO oil on multimedia art board.

The Store Plan

I've been selling my small artworks on eBay since 2005 Generally, I try to list new work for sale on eBay to end on Sundays, and, Mondays and have found that having them end on those two days have been best for selling as more people are online then. It is my one attempt at consistancy in my marketing, although I confess, even in this I tend to be inconsistant from time to time! In addition to eBay for selling my artwork, I am preparing to open an Auctiva Commerce webstore...soon. Ha! I should already have it up and running, but...well, let's just say it is a brand new site and is not as user (beginner!) friendly yet as they (and I) had hoped! I'm having problems getting the setup for shipping and other parts of the store done, so, for now it is in limbo as I am facing these problems by avoidance! But, I will have to stop avoiding these problems soon and get this store opened! I made a new years resolution and marketing plan to get this store up and producing as my main goal of the year...and time is ticking away...tick, tick, tick, tick...

Once the Auctiva Commerce store is up and running, I will be listing everything I have in it, small originals and prints, and all my larger paintings, too. I will continue to offer my smaller paintings on ebay for awhile, too, for a short listing run. After a week listing, any unsold small work on eBay will go into the estore next. All the larger new work and new prints will go directly to the estore. It is my hope eventually to get this new estore selling well enough to eliminate selling on ebay, but, for now eBay is still the only game in town...even with all thier new seller-unfriendly changes.

So, that is the plan. Now, to get it going!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Creative Struggle

I don't remember who wrote it, but, I always recall this quote from something I read years ago;

"Painting is a series of corrections."

I know this is so true for myself and for many other artists, too! Everything I paint is a struggle to 'see' it right and I always have to make many corrections along the way before anything is 'finished' (being finished usually meaning I can't see anything more to correct at that time)! Sometimes, I'll do something I'm particularly proud of, until time-experience-education show me all its flaws. Learning to see it correctly, and, to apply what I see or know, is a constant learning process. I strive for perfection of form, color, composition, and character. I learn from each and every piece of artwork I complete, and, even if I never quite seem to achieve what I have in mind, I improve with each new attempt, getting closer to that elusive perfection I envision.

I produce my very best work, now-at this point in time, yet, future works will eventually eclipse the older. Still, each work must stand alone unique and a testament to my abilities at the point in time that I create them. I often cringe when I look at my older work, because I see the flaws that I couldn't see then - when I created it. I accept those flawed works, however, that I once was so proud of, because each painting was a triumph, too, a culmination of my experience and ability at that moment in time, and, a vital stepping stone of growth as an artist and the foundations to visions and direction for new work in the future. I truly could not paint what I do today if I had never struggled, persevered, and finally brought to a finish each and every artwork I did in the past!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Beginnings - Childhood Art

Where does it all come from, this affinity for art and especially for drawing and painting horses? I dunno! It has been a passion of mine from my earliest childhood. I have always drawn horses! My family were an airforce family that traveled frequently throughout my childhood, and, one of my favorite pastimes was drawing horses, or, reading horse stories, or, pretending to be a horse! Ha! My mother swears I grew hooves on my knees from playing horse all the time - acting out the stories I read. I also had to illustrate all those wonderful horse stories or make up my own characters, and that is what I did...all the time! In my free time, and, when I was supposed to be studying, even my math tests weren't safe and often had little horses drawn in the margins.

Anyhow, I thought it would be fun (and somewhat painful!) to look at some of that old art I did growing up. Most of it was lost due to all the moving we did, but, I found a few gems and thought I would post these in my blog for a laugh! Two today, more when I can dig them up!

This is the earliest I have and is from first grade....

Please note the brand on his butt! This could use a little tweaking in the composition! Haha!

This one jumps foreward a few years to 9th grade. I was 15yrs old and we were living at Upper Heyford AFB in England. I had a great art teacher, Coach Wiley, who gave me the tools, a few tips of how-to and left me alone to do it! I learned from him how to make my own canvases, from cutting the wood to stretching the canvas and gessoing. I created hand-thrown pottery and learned about firing and glazing...and I created this...

"Black Charger" aprox. 12x18" fired clay with black shoe polish and lacquer. I didn't use an armature (what's that?) so, his legs were a bit saggy on the far side. When I fired the clay, however, the whole sculpture blew up in the kiln...guess I missed an air pocket, lol! Anyway, I glued it all back together and the missing parts in the base rockwork actually added to the character of the rocks, luckily! It could not be fired again to use traditional glazes, so, Coach showed me how to use shoe polish and laquer to put a gorgeous irridescent blue-black finish on it.

Sketchbook - Roper - In the Box

This big palomino quarterhorse was all tensed up ready to explode into action, but, still as a statue, waiting for the calf to break from the chute and his rider to let him run! This is from a photograph I shot a few years ago at a local team roping practice.

Dog Project - Corgi

This is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi in oils, 4x6 on Mulitmedia Art board

Hackney Horse

"Hackney Horse"
5x7 oil on handmade birch panel

The ultimate high-stepping, extreme-action equine machine, the Hackney Horse is one of the oldest breeds. Developed in England hundreds of years ago as a durable, versatile and elegant coach and riding horse, the Hackney has influenced many of the modern American breeds of horses such as the standardbreds, morgans, american saddle horses and many more. Once a very popular and widespread breed, today the Hackney Horse is quite rare and considered an endangered breed.

In these close-up images, the woodgrain (vertical lining) of the birch panel shows very clearly, however, it is not this apparent in the physical painting. I sand the panels very smooth before I gesso them, and, they are also sanded again before they are ready to paint on, so, in fact these panels have very smooth surfaces except for the texture of the applied oil paint. The woodgrain is still visible and adds a subtle quality to the finished artwork, however, for some reason, the scanner and the camara always seem to emphasis the woodgrain, so, I just want you to know it is much more subtle than these photos show.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Old Roan Mare

I photographed this mare back in the early '90s while visiting with a co-worker who knowing I painted horses, had invited me to come out to her place to see and photograph her appaloosa mares and foals. She had some very nice appys and one very cute foal that I happily burned a few rolls of film on, but, the whole time, this skinny, old palamino roan mare was tied to a hitching rail just calmly watching us fool around with the other horses. Before leaving, I walked over to pet the mare and snapped a few pics of her tied to the post. I asked the owner what the deal was with her being tied there and she said she was waiting for the truck that was to haul her off to the local auction. She added that the mare was starting to go down and was losing her muscle tone and that they wanted to sell her before she died on them. She figured that she would get bought by the meat packers and at least bring in $50 or a bit more.

Then, this woman went on to tell me how they had had this mare for many many years and that all her children had learned to ride on her and showed with her over the years. I was left pretty much speechless, but, managed to say as I left that perhaps she would get lucky and someone other than the slaughterhouse would buy her instead. I didn't know this co-worker well, and I was in no position to do anything to save the mare, so, I just left it at that. I really felt bad about it though. Even today, after all these years, the photos I took of this mare make me think about that encounter and I am still stunned by that blase' attitude towards a living creature that should have been treated as a beloved member of the family and allowed to live out her days with them, or at least taken care of in a humane way if warrented...not packed off to an auction at the first sign of failing due to age, knowing the mare was likely to end up with the meat packers. Well, anyhow, as it happens, the mare did not get bought by the slaughterhouse! I found out about a week later that she was bought by a man who wanted a reliable older horse for his daughter to learn to ride on. A happy ending to this story. I like to think that a horse-crazy little girl's dream came true and an old roan mare found a loving new home for however long she had left.

This is a sketch of that roan mare from one of the photographs I took of her.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Brussels Griffon

This is the latest breed feature of the Dog project, a strange-looking little creature that just had to be the model for the Star Wars characters, the Ewoks! Ha! He was just too cute to resist! One more for the sketchbook.

These are the other dog breeds I sketched in my book, the Irish Setter and the Neopolitan Mastif. The Pug was painted in oil and was already shown on this blog.

Friday, March 13, 2009

No Chicken Scratch! The Sketchbook

I've always kept a number sketchbooks that I use to jot down ideas for new paintings or, just to dabble around in until I come up with something concrete that I want to do a finished painting of. I use these sketchbooks to do the planning and layout work, explore new compositions, try to work out anatomical problems and every kind of scribble and notation from art supply lists to mathmatical jottings. Mostly, they are just so much chicken-scratch that even I have trouble trying to decipher what I'm looking at! Ha! You know it's bad if even I can't tell what I just drew! Basically, my sketchbooks are not anything I would ever want anyone else to see, but, here are a few of the better pages from my 'work' sketchbook!

Planning ideas for mustang series

First idea sketches for Paint Horse Magazine cover competition

Guidehorse paintings study

Planning sketches for "Malpais Gold" painting

I've always admired other artists that keep wonderful sketchbooks with every page filled with exquisite drawings and beautifully rendered studies. Personnally, I never put that much effort into a sketchbook before, because I always considered them to be working tools. I've always felt that the real efforts should be saved for the final painting or drawing, and so, I just did quick thumbnails sketches for layouts or values and very rarely attempted even a halfway finished sketch. When the Horse Breed a Week Project was started on WetCanvas in January, I decided to start a new sketchbook with the goal of No-Chicken-Scratch! Every page would stand alone as a finished sketch or study and it would be filled with everything from the various projects, to life drawings, to purely imaginary fantasy art...all complete - no incomprehensibility. Well, we'll see how that goes! These are two pages from the new sketchbook drawn from life of my cats, Claw-dette (top) and Foxy FaeFey.

I had a Christmas gift certificate from my sister and brother-in-law to Barns & Nobles, so, I used that to get this wonderful hand-made, Italian leather bound sketchbook/journal with over 300 pages of perfect drawing paper.

I have just loved drawing in this book...once I got over the trepidation of 'messing up' this wonderful book! So far, I have only used black Eboney graphite pencils, but, this paper should also take pen & ink, and color pencils very well, and, if I get off my Eboney kick, I may try some other media in this. These two are my newest from the Horse Breed project, Appaloosa and Australian Stock Horse.

"Appy Roping Horse"

"Australian Stock Horse"

Card Deck Cards

Things are slow all over where art sales are concerned, so, I find myself getting involved in more art projects. Besides the horse and dog breeds projects, I am also involved with the ebay art group, ACEO, in thier double deck playing cards project. Last year, they produced a single deck with the ACEO artwork of the members printed on the cards. It was a very popular project and many decks of cards were sold to the members who either gavc them as gifts or resold them. This year, it was decided to create a double deck so more artists could participate and I jumped on the chance to get in on this one. I drew the king of diamonds for my card and created this centaur king in oils as my entry. (shown much larger than lifesize of 2.5"x3.5"!)

"King of Diamonds" 2.5"x3.5" oil

I also entered into the competition for the 3 joker cards in the set, and although I did not win a slot, these are the cards I painted for it. The red joker is the card I entered as only one piece could actually be entered. I call these my ManJack Jokers and they are Leftovertaurs - created from the surplus parts from the creation of the centaurs...by some deity with a very strange sense of humor!

"ManJack Joker" 2.5"x3.5" oil (shown larger than lifesize)

"ManJack Joker Running" 2.5"x3.5" oil (near lifesize)

More new work this week includes another appaloosa horse painting, another ACEO card.

"Appy & Barn" 2.5"x3.5" oil (lifesize)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Appy Colts

These two year old appaloosa colts were best buddies and had to be together all the time. This is a new painting for the Breed a week project -appaloosa, and, is a 4x6 oil, "Appy Colts".

Friday, March 6, 2009


One of the art projects I am currently involved with is the Horse Breed a Week Challenge on WetCanvas.com which started in January and will run all year. Most of my entries are just small quick sketches in graphite and a few full color paintings as time allows. I'm not new to horse art, but, this project has already been a wonderful education for me as it has covered breeds I rarely or never paint and has been really good for shaking me out of my comfort zone!

"Irish Draught" graphite sketch 4x6"

I bought a wonderful leather-bound sketchbook with more than 300 pages to it at the start of this project. It is my goal to fill this with drawings from the Horse Breed Challenge and any other subjects that strike my fancy! Another project I am participating in on WetCanvas is the Dog Breed project that runs every two weeks. I'll be mixing the dogs in with the horses in this new sketchbook, too. I have been drawing and painting horses all my life, but, dogs are a new subject for me, so, this project will be a really great way to get to know some of the dog breeds and get my feet wet with canine art.

"Pug" 4"x6" oil painting



Welcome to my new blog gallery where I will be sharing all my latest art projects and news with you! I hope to have regular updates at least on a weekly basis or more often when I have something to share. Each week, I will show the latest work I have finished, including completed paintings for sale, commissioned works, pages from my sketchbooks and items from art projects I'm involved in. Thankyou for taking the time to view my blog! Kerry Nelson