Some of the best paintings come from some of the most flawed photos.
This is the second in a series sharing some of the more interesting stories behind a few of my painting’s, the tantalizing tales of how certain horses end up immortalized in paint on my easel.
Mato is a beautiful paint gelding, and I’ve taken many photos of him during my visits to Rancho Bosque in sunny Tucson, along with some other horses, dogs and cattle that have been fortunate to enjoy a stay at this beautiful oasis in the desert over the years.
While many photo ops with horses can be expected, planned and even set up, sometimes it’s the impromptu moments of a horse engaging in typical gestures and activities that can resonate in it’s simplicity and pure horsiness (which is almost a word and so much better than my plan B… “horsemanity”) that make an equine artist feel giddy.
This picture was a fine specimen at its heart, but lost a lot beyond that. It had plenty going on that kept it off the list… for awhile. Besides the cluttered (but easily fixed) usual suspects including a garbage can and random people in the background, the hitching post blocking a good percentage his face along with his front legs set up awkwardly at unattractive angles underneath him were borderline deal breakers.
Still, I never quite wrote this image off, I liked the potential at the core too much. Eventually I took a closer look, and decided to address the two primary issues – the hitching post and legs. With plenty of other photos of Mato and his handsome face, I decided that recreating the parts of his face not visible was something I could manage. Nice, one crossed off the list, one to go.
Now on to solve the dilemma of the legs. Maybe it’s the old “back to the drawing board” cliché… I could try redrawing them at more flattering angles, and was even to the point of sketching out some options, when that magical term popped into my head as I was staring at the photo… CROP (and not this kind used in riding, ironically). After sitting there picturing it in my head for a few minutes, I made a quick transition from sketch pad to Photoshop-land. Here I could play with options without consequence, and it didn’t take much time tinkering to realize I had solved the leg issue… crop ‘em off!
Elated that I could finally make this painting happen, I got to work… and the rest is history… or at least “Scraping the Paint”! The original of this painting, along with prints, are now available on my Etsy store (see my Specials page for holiday deals)!