Today’s Equine Art – Brumbies in Pastel

I don’t know if these are actual brumbies. In fact I am not sure of the definition of brumbie. I just wanted to say brumbie because I like the word. But I was so excited when Gecko, who lives in Australia, asked me to paint her three horses. Gecko has been following my blog for a good spell now. We discussed how to best paint her darlings and decided to do them on black. Since there are three horses featured, I wanted to do it fairly large, about 12 x 18″. She provided me with an excellent photo and I did an outline in white pencil.

Since I am left handed, I’ve found that the best way to work in pastel is from right to left, bottom to top, since I will smear everything otherwise. So rather than blocking the whole thing out, I start on the farthest right horse.

The horse is a nice red bay with dramatic white star. Since he is on black, I have to invent my own sort of backlighting, which I do just by exaggerating the light from the original photo. I rough him in with conte crayon and then do the detail work in oil pencil. The colors go on in red, brown, terra cotta and yellow. I draw some of the hairs individually and add some blue and bright white highlights.

The center horse is darker in color, and I use the opposite technique on him. I begin with a grey oil pencil, and then go over it with a conte crayon.

Now I am roughing in the lone chestnut. I begin with a terra cotta conte crayon and then do the next layer in oil pencil to detail the face. The neck and mane is highlighted in varying shades of conte, with a bright white along the top of the neck.

The black background adds a dramatic touch and some depth to this finished portrait. Big thanks to Gecko!


About Nancy J. Bailey

Artist, author, bad karaoke singer. Woodsy ragamuffin. Mom of a horse named Clifford who plays fetch and paints with watercolors. He visits libraries and schools with me, to promote literacy and making the world a better place. Yes, he is house trained, no, he doesn't live in my house! I have written three books about Clifford. But my newest book, THE NORTH SIDE OF DOWN, is co-written by my awesome sister Amanda, who has Down syndrome. Her unexpected one-liner wisecracks can always make me laugh. If you make me laugh, you've made my day!
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2 Responses to Today’s Equine Art – Brumbies in Pastel

  1. Anonymous says:

    Loved seeing how this work progressed. It’s beautiful.


  2. Gecko says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE it Nancy!!! Thanks so very much!!!


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