Advice sought for horse tones

Discussion in 'Oils' started by Banjer, May 9, 2020.

  1. Banjer Active Member

    Country:
    England
    I have painted a horse using burnt umber and have tried to highlight by adding white. This gives an awful colour. Any suggestions for highlight and shadow mixes? Perhaps even a better base colour.

    Thanks, Bill
  2. kagemusha A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    It really depends on what type of horse you are trying to depict...bay...chestnut etc. etc.

    Best advice...do a Google image search and grab some ref pics.

    Ron
    winfield likes this.
  3. Banjer Active Member

    Country:
    England
    Hi Ron,
    I'm trying for a dark bay

    dark bay.jpg


    Bill
  4. kagemusha A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    I assume your using oils?...well...if it were me doing it...I would go this route.....
    Prime in matt white
    Same as before...a good solid layer of burnt umber...wait 20 minutes...now draw a clean flat brush across the surface...to remove most of the colour...but making sure it stays in the shadow areas (muscles etc.)
    Apply a layer of burnt sienna across the mid/hi's by dry brushing method...so you don't go into the shadows...this will blend into the 'staining' left from the burnt umber.
    You can add extra warmth to the hi's with some orange...or conversely...a light grey if you don't want the warmth
    For the darkest areas of the hocks and knees etc. ...I would 'stipple' in some mars black
    It's difficult to suggest a fixed colour for the hi's...as in the pic...simply because this is reflected light from the oil in the horse's hair.
    It really comes down to what is right for you mate.

    Ron
    Chrisr, 1969, housecarl and 1 other person like this.
  5. Banjer Active Member

    Country:
    England
    Thanks Ron,
    I'll give your method a go and report back.

    Bill
  6. yellowcat A Fixture

    Country:
    Canada
    Hi Bill,

    My approach is similar to Ron's. I prime the horse white. Instead of first layering the shadow with burnt umber I base coat the horse with burnt sienna. Leave to dry. To lay down a flat coat, please refer to my thread on non gloss oil painting - https://www.planetfigure.com/threads/non-glossy-oil-painting.202823/
    Second coat burnt sienna. Leave to dry. Third layer an almost dry brush glaze of burnt umber for shadow. Leave to dry. Next is the Indian red for highlight. Again dry brush glaze. A touch of raw umber or black for the knee, hock and hoof. Final touch up with burnt sienna, Indian red and burnt umber.

    Felix

    Samurai 006d.jpg
    Samurai 007c.jpg Samurai 008b.jpg
    Chrisr, Banjer, 1969 and 1 other person like this.
  7. ivopreda A Fixture

    Country:
    Italy
    maybe that palette can be useful...

    it's for a dark bay... but white where used only for the whites not for highlight browns.

    tavolozza cavallo.jpg
    Chrisr, hall-moye@msn.com and Banjer like this.
  8. Banjer Active Member

    Country:
    England
    Thanks guys,

    I have to get out of the white to lighten,black to darken mindset and start using the correct colour or mix for the contrasts.

    Burnt umber and burnt sienna work very well together in this instance. I used orange for the high highlights as I don't have any Indian red and getting supplies is difficult due to lockdown. Mail order is currently about two weeks and I am not that patient.

    Cheers

    Bill
  9. kagemusha A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    As long as your happy with it Bill (y)
  10. Landrotten Highlander Well-Known Member

    How about mixing some yellow into your reddish-brown hues? This should make it a bit more orange in tone.
    Banjer likes this.
  11. Banjer Active Member

    Country:
    England

    Hi LH,

    The orange worked very well, nice subtle transgression with the burnt sienna but I would have liked to try the Indian red as well.

    Bill
    kagemusha likes this.
  12. fogie A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Notoriously difficult things to get right, Bill. Working from photographs is one way to go...but
    the colours are always too intense and it'e difficult to simulate the subtleties of highlight and
    shadow. A useful reference point was suggested years ago by Eugene Leliepvre - he laid down
    accurate colours in a solid form which he emphasised had to be 'feathered' using the dry brush
    technique. Here's a brown bay example..... if you want some more colours I'd be happy to show
    them. Hope this helps

    Mike

    bay.png
    Chrisr and Banjer like this.
  13. kagemusha A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Just out of personal interest Mike...how would you interpret the colours in the picture you provided?

    Ron
  14. fogie A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Leliepvre's general principle, Ron, was to match the colour in the example on the areas of
    the animal as shown - dark areas sort of on top, warm lighter area below, so forth - then
    set to work with the fan brush in the direction of the hair growth to blend the highlights
    and shadows.

    Actual colours on the bay for me are essentially a blend of sienna, umber and red with a
    touch of dioxazine violet (warm blue) for the darker areas. I habitually work with only
    five colours so there's probably a shortcut to that for those who use a larger range of paint.

    Mike
    Chrisr likes this.
  15. kagemusha A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    So it was to map the various colour areas...makes more sense now Mike.
    I am not a user of the 5 colour palette...as my personal technique is based on using only the transparent/lake range of colours...so my working involves a lot more than 5 at any given time.
    Also...I tend to use greys a lot for highlighting...and avoid yellows...simply because I find that they tend to 'muddy' rather than 'warm' with my techniques.
    As an aside...I usually pay a lot of attention to the belly area of horses...where you will find many shades of pinks and blues...but that's a whole other subject :eek:

    Ron
    Chrisr likes this.
  16. fogie A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Painting horses is an art form in itself, Ron, don't you think ? The clever bit is to avoid that 'chocolate-horse'
    look and give the colour both depth and warmth. I too use glazing layers - not to the same extent, essentially
    for shading. Yours is a pure and classical technique requiring a deep understanding of the medium - the
    renaissance masters would be delighted......Rock on !

    Mike
    Chrisr likes this.
  17. kagemusha A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    Very much an art form in itself Mike...and one I always enjoy immensely...more so...when discussions like this are prompted by a genuine wish to learn from a sound question.
    Many thanks for your kind words...and yes...my classical training is at the heart of my techniques...although my tutor/mentor would not have approved of me breaking so many rules in refining my style.

    Regards

    Ron
    Chrisr likes this.
  18. fogie A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    There's always a dialogue going on in your head when you paint - is this the right
    tone? Do we need a touch more of this or that?...so forth. The voices in your mind
    are always those of your old tutors passing on the wisdom of the ages. Back in the
    day, as young know-it-all upstarts, we thought they were boring old farts. Now
    however we realise their messages were sound after all and remain with us........

    Mike
  19. kagemusha A Fixture

    Country:
    United-Kingdom
    And there I was thinking the voices in my head were down to my meds not working :LOL:
    fogie likes this.
  20. Chrisr PlanetFigure Supporter

    Country:
    Australia
    Now today's youngsters think the same about us.:):(
    fogie and kagemusha like this.

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