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!