Pulling a failing painting of a horse from the brink of imminent demise.
Occasionally I hit a block while working on a piece, and in few of those cases I finally have to step back and put it away. With there’s other pieces to be worked on, the poor, lost-it’s-way canvas goes into the “unfinished” stack… kind of an Island of Misfit Toys for paintings that very few emerge from to be worked on again.
This is about one of the lucky ones, a painting of a kind and flashy bay overo Spanish Barb gelding named Lorenzo. I photographed Lorenzo at the Southern Arizona Horse Expo two years ago, he seemed like a horse that needed to be painted. Not long after, I started working on the painting, and it seemed to start out with so much promise… but at some point near being finished it just seemed to stall, and nothing I tried to get it back on track seemed to help. So away it went, out of sight, out of mind.
But it never was quite out of my mind, and recently I got a glimpse of it as I was digging through past work. I retrieved it and decided it was time to see if I could help it find it’s way back. After some reconnaissance work in Photoshop with images of it’s current lost state to test out some possible fixes completely risk-free… I came up with a resurrection plan.
I started with some recoloring of the background, followed by building the depth of color in the horse, refining other areas like the eyes, muzzle and forelock, and finally – putting his halter (in the original photo) back on… his face just seemed better framed with it on and it added an air of dignity.
Amazing how a fresh look after some time put aside (a technique I often use shorter term to break through these blocks) can bring a piece out of the dungeon and into the light.