Saturday, January 07, 2006

The driveway is icy, the paddock is filled with snow on top of mud. Yet, I like this time in January, when there aren't a whole lot of things going on. I can finally settle down and focus on some work. Painting is progressing much more slowly this winter than usual. I think my new camera is stealing a lot of my time. I take a few pictures, I download them, I fiddle with them. All this time could be spent at the easel...but there will be time for that too.
I have a show to get ready for in March. Still far enough away to feel that I could perhaps have a new painting or two to exhibit. Yet I don't want to leave too much for the last minute. I'm trying to think about driving, carriage driving in particular. The show in question is the Driving Forum, a conference for carriage driving enthusiasts. I haven't been to a driving event in quite a while, so I'm going back through old packets of photos taken at the World Pair Driving Championships, Coaching Weekends in Newport, or other carriage shows. I've found a few promising reference shots, but it's hard to get excited when they aren't fresh and new. The challenge lies in going through the photos with new eyes, looking for something I didn't see in them before. The four-in-hand coaches in Newport provide plenty of painting fodder, Now to just sit down and draw all that harness and carriage paraphernalia. It's not just four horses--it's sixteen legs, four wheels, traces, buckles, collars, reins, and seven or eight people with top hats and lap robes! The image attached is of a work in progress, no background yet--it's a small watercolor, about 8 inches long. This size really helps cut down on the amount of detail I need to portray. The horses need to be darkened up a bit, still, and the background is just going to be a suggestion of the grand old trees on the Newport estate.