For me, adding my signature to any painting brings with it a feeling of true satisfaction. I consider myself quite particular, this task of signing I do not take lightly. Some artists continue to fiddle with their paintings after they sign them, but not me. When I sign a painting, it’s closure. Closure took a while to come with my latest commissioned painting. I met Regan, a well-mannered filly by Rosenthal, when she was about 18 months old. During our photo session she showed off a refined elegance, something I wanted certain to come through in the painting.
I focused on a face forward pose she gave me, hairs from her forelock subtly flowing in the breeze. The preliminary sketch came quite easily.
I moved onto the oil painting and was quickly halted in my tracks as I became faced with several challenges. Many horses at this age go through growth spurts. Regan was no different. The neckline I had sketched on her, while correct, was not reading so in the initial stages and needed softening. Regan is also black, however at late summer when I referenced her in person, the sun had lightened her coat to close to liver chestnut. This completely changes the colour temperature and quality of reflected light coming from her coat. I had to find a way to work warm earth tones into the painting, while still giving the impression that the filly was indeed black. I went back to working small and loosely, completing two oil studies of her.
I felt these two studies while very different from each other, had positive qualities and sent these off to my client. She made the choice for me and we went forward with #2. Going back to complete these smaller studies made the final painting much easier. For the most part, my palette and process was already worked out. Today, the painting was signed and i’m really happy with it. I was able to work the warm lights back into the painting and she has a soft elegant expression.