Poised is a study of both the relationship between horse and rider in dressage, and of the horse itself. Working together in unison to create something beautiful, the strength and poise is remarkable to watch. Portraiture for me is about the feelings evoked in an artwork, and the emotional connection we as the viewer have with the subject.
Growing up in Cornwall, I have always been close to horses. Not in a riding and hands on way, as much as watching them over hedges or petting them at field gates. I have an early memory of a huge brown horse that lived on a farm at the end of my road, I would climb up the gate to stroke his velvet ears whilst my Mum popped to the corner shop, I always felt as if he was looking after me. I love to sketch horses when walking in the countryside, and to draw studies like Poised when back in my studio.
The first full colour equestrian portrait I drew with coloured pencil was Dancer. This commissioned portrait of a very handsome and independent horse taught me so much, and still hangs in the home of Dancer’s family, whilst he is happily spending his retirement from show jumping with his best friend, in a Cornish field in a village not far from me.
Coloured pencil portraiture
Of the three mediums I work in, pencil, coloured pencil and pastel, coloured pencil is the most technically challenging. It requires a very patient approach, and an ability to study the image and identify the foundation colours upon which everything will be built. This creates great depth in the drawing, and blends many colours to create the richness and complexity you see here in Poised.
In these close up images you can see the interplay of colours, and the texture of the drawing, which brings life to the image and make you feel as if you could reach out and stroke that soft, warm muzzle.
I share the stages of creating Poised in Poised – drawing a horse in coloured pencil.