Photo reference for colored pencil painting, Buckles & Belts in CP
Original Colored Pencil Painting
11 x 14 Rising Stonehenge Paper, 90lb, Pearl Grey

The goal for this week looked easy at the beginning of the week: Bring the overall ‘brown-ness’ of the horse’s coat as close to completion as possible, especially in the focal area. A matter of layering successive colors over each area until it was as rich and brown as possible.

I knew all the colors to use, too. They’d already been used, accented by a few additional colors as the work approached completion.

Alas, the plans of mice and men… and artists!

Original Colored Pencil by Carrie L. Lewis, Buckles & Belts in Colored Pencil
Colors Used: Tuscan Red, Sienna Brown

The first layer of color was Tuscan Red. I used a pressure of about 3 to apply color with the side of the pencil on most of the dark areas and darker mid-tones. The smaller areas or places that needed sharper detail were worked on with the point of the pencil sharpened frequently and kept as sharp as possible.

Sienna Brown was applied with a combination of strokes from directional strokes with a sharp pencil to circular or back-and-forth strokes applied with a blunt or flat-ended pencil. There was some overlap between Sienna Brown and Tuscan Red, but Sienna Brown was used primarily in those places that were lighter in value or more red or gold in color.

A couple of areas still need adjustment or correction. The first of them is the forelock. Alterations made a couple of weeks ago improved the overall appearance of that area, but didn’t completely correct the problems there. After reviewing the painting at the end of the work day, I decided further work was necessary.

I also wondered if the blue nose band at the bottom of the painting is helpful or not. Should I finish it as originally designed, or does this area distract from the center of interest?

It’s possible both problems could be corrected by cropping the composition a little. Rather than make physical changes to the painting that may not be necessary, I put a slightly smaller mat over the painting and set it aside for review for the rest of the day.

Original Colored Pencil by Carrie L. Lewis, Buckles & Belts in Colored Pencil
Colors Used: (Verithin) Goldenrod, Pumpkin Orange, Terra Cotta, Peacock Green, Indigo Blue, Light Cerulean Blue, Dark Brown, Prismacolor Black

I spent about 20 minutes manipulating the painting on the computer. At the end of the work day yesterday, I was thinking about cropping the composition to hide the halter nose band and part of the forelock because both areas cause awkward angles with the edge of the painting (above). Later in the day, I wondered if painting out the halter might be a better option. So, rather then do something so drastic with the painting, I tried it out on the computer first.

I wasn’t able to get a good look at things that way because of the difficulty of removing the halter without scarring the digital image. In the end, that created more visual problems than it solved, so I decided to go back to the original painting. If I didn’t like the painting with the nose band painted out, I could crop the image and no harm done.

I also decided to focus on the nose band, thinking that if I removed the nose band, that might correct some of the compositional problems I’m currently working with.

The first thing I did was use a click eraser to lift as much color as possible from the nose band. Not much had been done with that area, so I was able to remove most of the color. I softened the edge between halter and horse, then brushed away the crumbs, and began applying color.

Color work began with the same colors I’d used in the beginning, going all the way back to Verithin Goldenrod, which I applied over most of the area.

That was followed by layers of Pumpkin Orange, Terra Cotta, Peacock Green, Indigo Blue, Light Cerulean Blue, and Dark Brown. When I got through one layer of each of those colors, I alternated layers of Pumpkin Orange and Peacock Green until the line between what had originally been horse and halter was nearly invisible. The painting looked like this at that point.

Original Colored Pencil by Carrie L. Lewis, Buckles & Belts in Colored Pencil
The digital image showed a little more of a green tint than I wanted, so I continued work with alternating layers of Terra Cotta, Dark Brown, Indigo Blue, and Goldenrod.

Each layer was applied with a pressure of 2 to 4 on the pressure scale. Most of the work was done with the side of a sharp pencil, but I also added details with directional strokes and very sharp pencils.

To conclude this phase of the work, I went back to Goldenrod, which I glazed over most of the face, even in the darker brown areas.

To finish for the day, I worked on the forelock, alternately applying Black and lifting color with the click eraser, separating hair masses and trying to bring some semblance of order to this part of the painting.

Original Colored Pencil by Carrie L. Lewis, Buckles & Belts in Colored Pencil
While the day’s work seems to have successfully solved the problem of the halter nose band, I’m not so sure the forelock has been resolved. I love the long hair and the play of light and shadow on it, but the angles of the forelock within the painting and the additional angles where the forelock and the edge of the painting meet continue to be troublesome.