Tag Archives: Violet

Tis the Season

I’m back from New York and working hard on the several handmade gifts I’m doing this year. I usually do a mix of homemade and bought gifts, depending on time, ideas, and general motivation. One thing I’m making this year is a portrait of my friend Liddy’s new horse, Violet.

violet portrait pix - right

Just before I left for Thanksgiving, the model was starting to move from the awkward early pastel layers to at least the vicinity of realism. She has a ways to go, but I’m feeling confident that I’ll have her done in time for Christmas.

Here’s Violet after about 5 layers of pastel:

violet progression 01

At this point I was having trouble visualizing her because of the white primer mane and tail, so I switched from pastels to acrylics for a bit. I always find that useful for the final pastel stages because it helps me see where how the colors will look on the finished horse.

violet progression 03

Ah, she’s starting to look like Violet now! Here she is with a few more layers in both media:

violet progression 02

I’m pretty pleased with how she’s turning out. She’s a gorgeous horse, and while I know I can’t do her color justice I at least want to achieve a resemblance of her beautiful coat. I think I’m getting there- she needs a number of layers in both pastel and acrylic, but I’m relieved to have her looking at least vaguely Violet-like by early December. Hopefully by the end of this weekend she’ll be even closer to done.

Tiny Things

My Christmas gift portrait cob now has hair! Said hair needs work, but she looks a lot better than last month when she had no ears and a wire sticking out of her butt…

Kettil Blacksmith is still in the pony hospital, but he’s recovering from Brokentailitis and will hopefully be ready to hit the show ring in a few weeks.


Meanwhile, awesome hobby bloggers are busy making tiny masterpieces. EG of Last Alliance Studios cooked up some delicious looking sandwiches and Nichelle of Desktop Stables made a whole library of wee books. Seriously, the first pictures in these two posts will give you a real double take.

Quick Tip: Catch All Tray

I’ve been super busy this week trying to judge a breed division for IMEHA while also doing the final planning and errands for a 300 person tech conference I’m helping organize. Event planning is hard work!

So I’m rather behind in both model stuff and blogging. But here’s a quick handy dandy tip. Whether you’re painting, sculpting, or working on tack, I find it’s very helpful to have a catch-all tray under where I’m working.

I think mind might be part of a tupperware- I likely scavenged it from Goodwill or a freebox. It’s nice to have not only to contain the mess, but also to catch flying bits (oh, I needed that buckle!), mix paint on, and other random tasks. It helps me to keep my table clean, since it catches most of the pastel dust, leather scraps, and plastic bits that inevitably fly about. If you’d like something a little more posh than mine, you can buy a Tabletop Tarp with foldable edges to hold your hobby projects.

Here’s two sneak peeks of current projects. I hope to have the pony finished in time for the September shows (she’s a commission) and the trotting cob will be a Christmas gift.

The conference is tomorrow, and maybe Sunday or Monday I’ll resurface.

Portraits for Portraits

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.

Right side

Left side (less angled would be better but…)

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?

This is the color of 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.