Generally when I’m getting ready to paint a model, I’ll take my main inspiration from one picture and then find other similar references to augment the one view I have. It’s a rare pleasure to be able to take multiple, detailed pictures of the same horse, in the same light, at the same time of year. This kind of detail and accuracy is important if you are doing a portrait of a particular horse.
The newest horse at my barn is a gorgeous dapple Welsh Cob mare named Violet. She is a beautiful mare and one of the most willing, calm, trainable horses I’ve ever seen. She’s being started by a friend, so of course I must make a portrait as a gift! After all, this horse just begs to be painted.
Since I was lucky enough to be there in person with my camera, I took all the reference shots I’ll need for a detailed depiction.
A decent full body shot of both sides of the horse are pretty essential for a decent portrait, although I’ve snuck by with less before. But the best case scenario is to get all your angles, so you don’t find yourself partway through thinking bollocks, what color are her armpits?
It’s pretty important to have a picture head on and a rear view too, especially with a horse who has such particular facial markings and tail coloring.
And because why not, I held the camera up high and took a shot of her topline.
Of course, I took more pictures- she too pretty not to photograph and more detail is always better. But those are at least the basics I’d want for most portraits. If anyone else wants to use the above pictures for reference, enjoy! You can even email me if you’d like more and/or larger sizes. That color is just too pretty to keep to myself!
Note: Violet’s owner does know about her eye. Although it looks like something scary, that lump is just some scar tissue from an old injury. It’s completely harmless and doesn’t impede her sight. And yes… I do intend to sculpt it on my portrait.