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Hindend Study & Musings about the Creative Process.

“Hindend Study”, 8×6, oil on panel

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The creative process baffles me, or perhaps after all these years I am discovering new things about myself? In my studio currently, I’m embarking on an ambitious series involving complex, yet exciting colour combinations and loose, yet expressive movement of some lovely young horses. Well, that is the hope in the end at least. In all reality it’s completely un-chartered waters for me. My judgement of this paintings are often skewed and have left me a few days in a worse mood, (sorry family!) wondering my abilities. However, I felt something with my recent painting of Braecrest Elizabeth that I could push on and further explore.

At the end of a rather exhausting two weeks of painting and nothing I wanted expose to the rest of the world, I decided to put the piles of unused paint on my palette to use for something else. I felt the need to step back into a comfortable box of knowing where a painting was going, and having a predictable outcome. Just to remind myself, why yes, Jenn, you can paint dear. A simple hind quarter study was a wonderful way for me to relax, not to overthink, but focus on simple value changes and structure. While it may only be horse people like myself who are obsessed with horse’s hind-ends, it grounded me to paint something so simple, yet beautiful….now back into the cave to work on the new stuff next week.

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Braecrest Elizabeth

Braecrest Elizabeth, 8×10, oil on Raymar panel

I’ve had a series in my mind for a while that encapsulates light, movement, and colour of horses. As an evolving artist who used to work in a very strict realist style, erasing the defining edge of a painting causes a feeling of inner angst that I’m just becoming confident working though.

Think about it, we’ve been taught as kids to ‘colour within the lines’, then add my disciplined years of architectural drafting and design where precise was what I had to be. Each time I push an edge into the outer boundary, given there is a layer of underlying paint, the results are spontaneous and unexpected. Going into the unknown, less predicable.

I completed this painting after a full day at the easel, my eyes not clearly registering what I was seeing. I thought it looked OK…then left it for a couple days. I returned today to realize that this was a breakthrough piece for me. I did not worry about all the defining details, but what was important to express the form showed through. The palette is soft, yet the values coherent. I’m lucky to say, it’s sold already. It is a wonderful feeling to know that my collectors saw what I was originally doubting, but then once I had fresh eyes, saw a really lovely painting.

My model for this painting is ‘Braecrest Elizabeth’ as a foal in 2009. http://www.braecrestfarm.ca/horses-for-sale/2011-and-older/ It’s incredible for me to see a mare that I have known as a wee one, as well her dam, with foals previous to her. I love that aspect of my dream job.

Speaking of dream job, I’m heading to Vancouver Island and lower mainland British Columbia first week in June to do some shoots with foals for future paintings. If anyone in the area happens to be reading this, and has some foals that wish to be models, don’t hesitate to contact me! 

Out Standing in his Field

Out Standing in his Field, 6×8, oil on Raymar Panel

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I adore painting foals. Over the years in my career as an equine painter I’ve had great opportunity to work with breeders, meeting foals at various farms. Most fascinating to me, is meeting new foals by different Stallions but the same broodmare year after year. Studying the nuances different crosses yield is fascinating. The inquisitive colt as my model here, was from 2016 at Wensleydale Farm in Yamhill. “Leo” is by Lordanos, out of Daveena by DaCaprio.

Which brings me to this ~ I’m looking for models for 2017!! If you are in the Pacific Northwest and have some sporthorse foals arriving this spring, I’d love the opportunity to have them as my models for future paintings. Contact me! 🙂

Lastly, I’ve started posting to Instagram. I’m still learning how to use it for my artwork, but if you are on Instagram and would like to follow me – here’s my link: https://www.instagram.com/jenniferprattartist/?hl=en

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Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes, 6×8, Oil on Raymar Panel

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It’s been a long, wet, grey winter here in Portland. Painting for me has been sporadic until the birds started singing and the green of Oregon arrived just a couple weeks ago. To get myself back in the painting headspace, I spent an afternoon digging through photos. I came across a photo of my old mare, now 19, who is now happily living with a new family, and loved by a young girl. Illy has big, bright eyes and wide forehead. There is always a slight natural curl to her forelock. She was my muse for so long, it seemed like this spring was a good time to bring her back to the easel.

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Teddy a Christmas Commission

Teddy, 8×10, oil on Raymar Panel

Sometime in November, I put the word on my Facebook Page that after a three year break, I wanted to take on a Christmas commission for someone out there. It was a heartwarming moment for me, when I received a text from a client back in Ontario, seconds later to say she was happily on-board. I’ve completed a few paintings for the McCowan family and I knew immediately that this client was not afraid of colour or artistic expression. I also was fortunate to have excellent reference photos to work from, provided by Robyn Buckler .After a few rough starts, the painting finally flowed for me. I was able to let the edges go, but maintain enough detail in the appropriate areas to create the likeness essential for a successful commissioned piece. I heard soon after Christmas that happy and surprised tears were flowing. I was overjoyed to revisit that familiar feeling of being a special part of someone’s gift.

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The Broodmare II

Broodmare #2, 5×7, oil on canvas panel

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My subject is another Broodmare from my past. This time I was playing around with some new colour variations by introducing a mix of lemon yellow and cadmium green light in the background. As i’ve softened the edges around the head, the warm tones from the subject have blended into the background colours,warming the overall effect. The result is soft and the expressive eye, having the most detail, is the focal point.

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Comet in Cobalt

Comet in Cobalt, 6x8 oil on Raymar panel, unframed

Comet in Cobalt, 6×8 oil on Raymar panel, unframed

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I recently re-discovered a series of reference images from a photoshoot I did with an Arabian stallion named Comet a number of years ago. Ultimately my client ended up wanting me to work from an image taken by another photographer, which left my photos to serve only as backup information for the horse. There were however a number of poses from this expressive boy that I never took the opportunity to use – until I unearthed them today.

Comet in Cobalt, 6×8, oil on Raymar Panel, unframed.

 

Mr. Inquisitive

Mr. Inquisitive, 6x8, oil on Raymar Panel

Mr. Inquisitive, 6×8, oil on Raymar Panel

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Foals are so much fun to be around. Over the years I’ve photographed so many different foal personalities. They can be shy, playful, nervous, excitable, complete hams, princesses…etc..etc. The inquisitive ones are always approaching you to inspect your camera up close; hence the foreshortened, nose-first pose of this little guy Leo. (Lordanos, Wensleydale Farm, Oregon)

Mr. Inquisitive, 6×8, oil on Raymar panel, unframed

The Broodmare

The Broodmare, 8x10, oil on canvas, unframed

The Broodmare, 8×10, oil on canvas, unframed

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I took a break from painting over the summer to do, well, summer things. This was my first painting back after a few months. I love painting simple side profiles of horses and mares in particular, so this portrait was the perfect subject to start back up again.

I feel really lucky to have known so many amazing broodmares over my life with horses. Many of them seem to carry a wise sense of calm in their eye and overall expression. Always a pleasure to capture in the paint.

‘The Broodmare’, 8×10, oil on canvas panel, unframed.

That Mare Look

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That Mare Look, 8×6, oil on Raymar Panel, unframed

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The goats were a great diversion, but I decided today to get back to horses – a mare to be precise. While I currently ride a gelding, I’ve always been partial to mares. No offense geldings, but there is something about mares that speak to me as an artist. Find me a mare with a broad forehead, big, bright eyes, slightly dished face and natural wave to her forelock and I’m smitten.  🙂