Painting a horse portrait with lost and found edges.

This painting that I am currently working on is from two pretty good photographs, but I wanted to create a lot more atmosphere and romance in the oil painting than exist in the photos. The horse is a gorgeous aged gentleman, at 36 years still going strong and I want the piece to have a timeless quality.

To this end I have replaced the stable walls and door and rug in the photo with a background half in deep shadow and half in light. He emerges from the shadows with the light accentuating his profile. (He has such a beautiful facial bone structure that I had to show it to best advantage in his portrait).

The edges take on new importance in this portrait, meaning that I am trying to create contrast in some important focal areas ( the nasal peak , and the eyes)  while playing down contrast in other areas so that they lose themselves into the background. 

There are just two layers currently on the piece, but I anticipate adding at least three more layers over the coming week as the painting nears completion.

Oil painting of a horse lost found edges.png

Above: is the portrait at the second layer stage. Mapping out the main lights and darks and organising the composition, checking proportions etc. Once this layer is dry, it will be time to add mid tones and smaller details.