Sunday, May 17, 2020

SWEETIE - A MARE'S PROGRESS [watercolour painting of horse step by step]

Meet Sweetie. We were together for almost 20 years. As you can see from the photo, she could be very sweet and gentle; she could also be quite the opposite. She was a "lead mare", which in horse terms means she is the boss. I have always loved this photo of the two of us, and finally tried to paint it. As you can see from all the colours in her coat, this was no easy project!

Initial drawing

First wet in wet washes - quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone straight up or in various mixtures.

Above 2 photos - deepening colours, using w/w and dry brush techniques

Starting to look a bit like a horse here

A LOT of glazing to create a sense of volume and depth to her head and neck

I decided to put in her back and rump and a bit of her chest.

Deepening the colour intensity of her coat

I debated whether to put in any background, but finally decided  to put in something soft and nebulous, using the same colours I used in Sweetie's coat. Glad I put in the background!

I am posting two photos of the finished painting which show the difference lighting makes to a painting. Neither one is exactly as it is.

10.5 x 14 in./ 27 x 36 cm.

I have been trying to paint or draw for at least an hour every day lately. But with all this incredible weirdness going on in all of our lives, I must admit it gets quite overwhelming. The only times I feel I can escape is when I am outside, either out walking with the dogs, or spending time out in the barn with Bruno. I find a sense of solace, strength and comfort being with my horse.

I thank you for visiting, and wish you wellness, safety, and some peace of mind in these turbulent times.


  1. Fabulous washes, great result!
    It's hard to find peace of mind in these times, but I'm glad you found time to paint, Kathryn!

  2. It's gorgeous - absolutely gorgeous!

  3. Beautiful painting! The horse's eyes are very well done.

  4. Sweetie is truly a Sweetie and painted SO beautifully, Kathryn. I can't imagine doing a portrait in watercolor...you definitely are talented, my friend!!!

  5. Fantastic. So interesting to see how you develop the painting ... and to learn a useful new term: lead mare!

  6. Gorgeous. One can see from this beautiful work your love for Sweetie. Good to see you are still spending time with Bruno. Pets have a way of bringing a sense of normalcy to our days. Take care. Hugs!

  7. What a lovely, interesting blog! Thank you from an (ex-)rider and art lover from Germany. (I've just noticed that this entry was posted the day I turned 70. So that's bound to be a good omen!) ;-)