a painting for david

Posted on April 15th, 2015 by mountain girl  |  7 Comments »



While David was away working at Master’s Golf for sixteen days, I made this oil painting for his birthday.  I was thrilled to obtain generous permission from The Wild Horses of Sable Island Gallery in NYC to use Roberto Dutesco’s beautiful photograph Tenderness as my inspiration.


Sixteen days is a long time for us to be apart (we are one of those weird couples who don’t need much space from each other) and this photo expressed just what I wanted to convey.


Here is the sequence of my painting:


The White Elephant awaits!  There is always some trepidation at this stage.


The rough sketch.


First bit of paint: Burnt Sienna, which I quickly switched out for Burnt Umber.


A few initial strokes.


The monotone sketch. Whew–the White Elephant has been conquered!


Putting in more tones.


And highlights.


Deepening the shadows.


Sculpting with more highlights.




I seem to have a rather vague sense of color, so it takes lots of experimentation before it feels right.


Putting color in, rubbing it out.


Adding more lights.


And more.


I felt I needed an undertone of Raw Sienna for the neck and forelock.


Defining more details.


I liked the white background, but took a jump and brushed in a glaze of Cerulean Blue Hue.  Too blue.  I let it dry a day and glazed two coats of white over it.


I love the end product–this very light blue with textural strokes of pure white going through it.  I highlighted the mane and forelock and added some movement to them, edged the side of the canvas in a deep black/brown, and signed it.


From blank canvas to finished artwork, the painting took about 25 hours.  I worked for ten days, 2-3 hours per day.  It measures 24″ x 36″, the largest oil painting I have done, and I found it incredibly calming and non-tedious compared to my smaller works.


I love many things about the way this painting turned out, including how it changes the visual feel of our home.  Most of all, though, I love the quiet joy and tender satisfaction these two horses find in each other’s company.


With David home again, I know just how they feel.

7 Responses to “a painting for david”

  1. Your Lion says on :

    I love it! The photos of the process are amazing, mind blowing. Just wow, love you HUGE!/:O)

  2. Mom & Dad says on :

    Oh my God, honeeee…..this beautiful painting is just AWESOME!!!! We are so blessed to have such a talented daughter-in-law – you are very much loved 🙂 mom

  3. Mimi says on :

    Yup, very nice, Doll…I liked seeing exactly how you did it, one step at a time! Beautiful!

  4. mountain girl says on :

    Glad you like it! I am very very very happy to be your daughter-in-law,too!

  5. mountain girl says on :

    Zia wanted us all (her, Caleb, Cash, and I) to sign it in BIG letters all over the blue background, haha!

  6. Jennifer Miller says on :

    That looks amazing!

  7. Poco Mountain Girl » Blog Archive » a trip to aspen says on :

    […] This spring, I received permission to make an artist’s rendering of his work, and made an oil painting of […]