Monday, August 27, 2018

A Farrier in Action

At the Dutchess County Fair yesterday, the farriers competed to make a perfect horseshoe. They had exactly one hour to create a standard shoe design, starting with a straight, rectangular bar of steel.

An hour was about right for me to try to capture a keyframe of the action. I watched Pennsylvania farrier Elmer Glick wielding his two-and-a-half pound hammer, which was moving so fast I had to paint it as a blur.

From where I was standing in the middle of the tent, he was lit by cool light spilling in from the sides. I contrived the background tones to be darker on the right side of his silhouette. That made his hair and his shirt stand out light against dark. I lightened the background on the left side to make his face and hammer read clearly.

This video (link to YouTube video, jump ahead to 2:35 for farrier only) gives a sense of the controlled chaos and energy of the moment. By the way, can everyone see these embedded Facebook videos?
For more about painting people in natural settings, check out my video tutorial, Portraits in the Wild.

"I loved how genuine these videos are. James doesn't hide anything. When his subject walks away, he shows us how he deals with it to save the painting."
—Stan Prokopenko,

"Insightful, direct and inspiring, Portraits in the Wild brilliantly shares James Gurney's creative process of capturing those fleeting moments of beauty that life provides.”
—Edward Jonas, Chair, Portrait Society of America

Download (66 minutes, 1080p HD widescreen MP4 video) Available at Gumroad and Sellfy for $14.95
DVD (NTSC widescreen with slideshow) Available from and from Amazon.


Glenn Tait said...

Another great sketch James!

I can view the embedded video but the Facebook link is broken.

Kevin Mayes said...

Sorry. When I play this all I get is a white space where the video should be.

Unknown said...

Just get the old 404 Error

James Gurney said...

Thanks for letting me know, Kevin, Glenn, and Unknown. I've replaced the video embed and link with a YouTube video.

Steve said...

Hey, Jim, Perhaps I misunderstood the ending commentary. Is there supposed to be a link to the work of some of the caricaturists? Either way, great to see this; always love the Dutchess fair postings.

Kathleen Noble said...

Great video, links work. Ditto what Steve said about links to caricaturists - ? Thanks!

James Gurney said...

Steve and Kathleen, Here are links for some of the caricatures mentioned at 4:14
Alani Jimenez:
Sergio Mateos:

Bug said...

So, how long did it take your subject to complete his task of making a standard shoe?

James Gurney said...

Bug, it took exactly one hour, all the way from a length of bar stock to the finished shoe.