When I first started painting, my horses were not the best. Okay, that is a little bit of an understatement, but I thought you might like to see what my work looked like when I was just starting out. Click through the following slideshow to see some of my earliest work and my critique.
My first eye! The eye itself is not bad, though it lacks many anatomies (Such as a tear duct.). I thought as I was trying to figure out texture, that I could create it with a fan brush. You can see that this did not work out. Later I discovered a way to use a fan brush that was useful (In a blog post to come!).
Well, I had to start somewhere, and overall my general ideas and anatomies were not totally bad. I had taken a few oil painting classes at this point, and was just starting to get the hang of the medium.
Then something happened. I went on a trip to Brazil, and when I came back I painted this:
Totally different you say? I could not agree with you more. So what happened to me, what made this difference?
On my trip to Brazil, I went with a few equestrian friends of mine who are well connected to the Lusitano breeding farms. Every day for ten days I rode eight to twelve horses, and saw at least 50 per day. I saw all colors, shapes and sizes of the breed.
This is what made the difference. I looked, and really looked, at horses all day long. This truly helped me understand the anatomy and movement of the horse.
What I recommend to you is to go out and spend some time looking at horses. If you own a few, spend a day just looking at them. Do a few sketches. Watch them run around. Take note of the way they move.
I cannot guarantee that this will make your horse paintings perfect right away, but you will notice a difference. Time, patience, and practice is the key. Also, if you create a really good painting and then suddenly the next one you do is not as good, do not panic! Everyone has duds. I have made quite a few duds (and still do!). Learn from your mistakes, try to identify what did not work and why, and most importantly, try again.