Thursday, April 26, 2012

Horse Painting Session

Many thanks to Steve Doherty for mentioning some of our recent outdoor painting adventures in the Plein Air magazine newsletter.

I've hardly told you yet about our impromptu horse painting session. The O.H. R.A.T.S. club (Old Hudson River Art and Truth Society) convened recently to paint horses and donkeys at the Southlands Foundation farm in Rhinebeck, New York.

Garin Baker, Susan Daly Voss, Kevin Ferrara, and my wife Jeanette wanted to try to walk in the hoofprints of some of our equine-painting heroes, especially Heinrich von Zügel and Sir Alfred Munnings. (Thanks, Christoph for finding this amazing photo of Mr. Von Z and his students.)

The farmer, Lenny Miller, posed with Turk, a prize Belgian gelding, while the stableboy Cody held two donkeys. Here's Kev painting Joy. Our session lasted an hour and a half, with breaks for Turk to walk around and blow off steam.

I laid in Turk with his head down munching hay, but then he got full and lifted his head up. 

Garin got so interested in Lenny as a subject that he wants to come back and do his portrait -- never mind Turk! 

The experience was challenging and electrifying— especially with the guinea hens screaming in our ears. Someone once said that painting live animals is the Mount Everest of plein air painting. I agree, and I feel like I barely got past base camp. 


Vicki Holdwick said...

Sounds like a lot of fun - what a great day, and a lovely painting. A question about the OHRATS club - is the truth part absolutely essential??
(smiling broadly)


James Gurney said...

Vicki, we haven't printed the T-shirts yet. It could still be the Old Hudson River Art and Taco Society, but we haven't found a good enough taco joint near here.

Novice Naturalist said...

Truth! Art and Truth go together very nicely for me! Ideally, of course. On the other hand, a good Taco will go with just about anything. Looks like a challenging and fun painting time with the animals. Thanks for sharing.

ANDROID said...

Very cool. Drawing live animals makes you really appreciate the old masters. They didn't have photos to work from. One time I was on a farm and thought it would be great to draw the horses. I found myself practically running along the fence with my sketchbook because the horse kept moving!

smileyginger said...

It does sound like a great time - not just painting the animals, but the camaraderie of other artists.

You never really realize just how much "in motion" animals constantly are until you try to draw or paint them. I struggle with this constantly with my dogs. I get tired of sketching sleeping dogs!

Steve said...

First Larry the Iron Worker, now Turk the Belgian. You guys have been contemplating some serious musculature lately. Love the bluish shadow in the valley between flank and thigh of Turk.

TAP said...
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TAP said...

This is some challenging subject you choose to paint in two different styles too! Love the light and warm tones in the first one and the simplicity in the watercolor like rendering.

Sketching Artist said...

Imagine having to paint in a suit and tie like the days of old! James looks so comfortable in his t-shirt.

Unknown said...

Those are really nice sketches. Beautiful color schems in the first one , lovely linework in the second one... makes me want to go out and paint!