Friday, September 25, 2009

Carousel Horse

I thought it would be interesting to include the reference photo that I used, so that you could see my process, and so that I can document this for future reference. I used to be really literal about my interpretation from photos, painting every detail that was in the photo and I found the results from these paintings were sterile and had less of what I wanted to express than I would like. I have had to make a really conscious effort to eliminate distracting and unnecessary detail, adjust tonal values, and work out the composition.
I do a grid of four squares on my photos, usually. You can see the blue lines on the photo, made with a blue Stabilo pencil (an indispensible tool from my sign painting days). This way I can gauge where lines should be without looking too static, as if I was following a join the dots picture.

I tried to emphasize the horse in the foreground, tone down the lights above, and eliminate distracting detail behind the horse, while maintaining a feel of the carousel. The photo was taken at night, so the colour balance was incorrect, but I thought that I would keep that in the painting to give it a kind of old fashioned look. I would go on this ride!

6x6" Oil on gessoed masonite


  1. I am just in love with this whole series of paintings, Catherine. They just hold so many fun memories for me and bring out that childish glee of the amusement park. Wish I could afford to buy them as these would make a great addition to my walls!