Like the bunnies I drew last week, I spent all my art time this week working on another Ampersand Claybord. This time, ponies!
I’m fascinated with Claybord and how both the Golden High Flow Acrylics and the Derwent Drawing Pencils work on the surface. What seems far too vivid and strong with the acrylic paint at first, mellows into a rich and earthy palette once I add the Derwent pencils. Adding the scratching gives it an old-fashioned look, something I didn’t even know I wanted.
I start with a rough sketch on paper, sample it again on mineral paper and add in some scratching to see how it works, create a background in the Claybord panel (6″x6″) with acrylics, and then lightly draw in the subject, swapping back and forth between pencils and scratching until it feels done. I didn’t plan any background with this one but let it develop from the colors, lights and darks. I had no idea these two little ones would be in a meadow when I started out.
Both using Golden High Flow Acrylics on Strathmore 400 acrylic paper.
I experimented with painting one on a golden background and the other with a gray underpainting. Both methods created unusual effects. The golden background definitely made the painting bright and crisp. The gray underpainting looked nearly done on its own. I added several layers of paint, but I’ve learned to test colors first for transparency as some of the shadows were blotted out and needed repainting.
What a challenge for me. Sketching Pete rolling meant he wasn’t standing still, squared up, and looking pretty. Instead, he was crunched, twisted, and all crazy looking. My goal of learning to draw horses in motion has been really enlightening.
I took a whole slew of photos of my horse the other night as he fussed and played with the other horses in his pasture. I tend toward taking pictures of him as he looks directly at me or grazes–in other words shots of him not moving–but I think it’s time to put more motion into my practice. Even the blurry shots are useful, and I plan on doing a whole series of various Pete sketches that take less than 30 minutes to complete.
I’m loving the gray toned Strathmore sketchbook, which is what I used for the first sketch. The second set is on a light cream color which isn’t as useful for his bay roan coloring. I lean toward choosing grays, dark blues and purples, and orange highlights, which work well on white or cool-colored papers.