Sunday, January 15, 2012

Over the Hill

A total re-paint of an old painting brings it up-to-date.
I was rummaging through some old paintings the other day and came across this one of a group of horses that I had stumbled across in a ramble through the Ryan Hills southeast of Kamsack, SK. At that time, I was on a day trip hiking around the hills of a friend's large, sprawling ranch. 
I was making my way through some bush on the top of a prominent knoll when I first laid eyes on this grouping of equine pasture-mates.
They were all oblivious to me, save the one on the far right who makes eye contact. 
Luckily I had my trusty 35 mm camera with me so I was able to capture a few shots before the 'observant one' alerted his friends of my presence. A few seconds later they were off galloping away from the scene.
This painting, for some reason, never quite got finished those many years ago. 
I was inspired to pick it up where I left off and must say I am quite pleased with the finished result. My style and technique have come a long way since this was started. I virtually re-painted the entire surface, increasing the color values, pumping up the contrast and infusing the distant background with a purple haze to create more depth and atmosphere.

'Over the Hill' detail
A detail of 'Over the Hill' gives you a better idea of how it looks with more resolution in the extreme foreground to set off the soft-focus horse(s). It was fun and interesting to introduce elements of green in the lower shadows on the bellies of the animals. This is my imagined reflection of the sweet summer greens in their environment. I also included some blue on their backs to indicate reflections of the sky above.


  1. Michael, would you consider painting this one again just as you have cropped it above. Personally I think it is a stronger painting that way. Just saying.

  2. That might be fun, I do like that arrangement of horses. The shadows in particular. (Including the imaginary ones.)

  3. ...but on the other hand I really love the tall composition above. It has a grand sweeping nature to it that is reminiscent of the rolling Ryan Hills. Almost a horizontal panarama.

  4. i like the second one best, the horse to the left turned out really good!

  5. Thanks, +Marija Falina. It can be interesting to crop things, sometimes this reveals hidden strengths in the composition.