Anyone For Some Horse Portraits?

Because I have been doing a lot this first part of the year.  I have said it before, but dog portraits make up the majority of my commissions and I love dogs. I am owned by two! They are my favourite animal, but from an artists perspective I absolutely love my horse commissions. Horses have been a subject of fascination for artists for hundreds of years. I am sure everyone knows of George Stubbs Whistlejacket. I think that has to be one of the most well know horse paintings ever.

Most of mine tend to be head and shoulders paintings and so are the ones I have been working on this year.

My first horse commission this year was of a beautiful chesnut horse called Fergie. My client loved the portrait I had done of  Kauto Star and she wanted something similar painted of her daughters horse. It is always an honour to paint handsome horses and Fergie didn’t disappoint.

I had a few reference photos to work from, but we settled on one to base the portrait on. The only thing my client wanted adjusting was his forelock. No problem as I had other photographs to help with that. We decided to blend his neck out into the background and we chose a dark background to make Fergie stand out.

Chesnut horse portrait in pastels

Khan and Darwin

Next up were this handsome duo. I met them last year for their photoshoot. I had previously painted my clients dogs so it was lovely to hear from her again to paint her horses.

The photoshoot turned out to be fun as I had my son with me due to a bug he had picked up a few days earlier. Both horses refused to play ball for a long time despite Leo waving carrier bags and my clients friend banging the food bucket! 

I took in the region of 1000 photos and after a while I felt fairly confident that I should have something to work from as we had been a good 3 hours photographing!

To my relief when I got home there were more images to work from than I had realised. I produced a few mock ups for my client and she settled on this one

double horse portrait mock up

I did change the background colour slightly in the painting at my clients request as we selected a yellow gold frame for the portrait and felt the background would compliment it better with more yellow ochre in it.

Double horse portrait in pastels with a yellow and cream background

I am really delighted with how this double horse portrait turned out and the likeness I acheived. You can view more in my horse portrait gallery

Also please take the time to pop over to my facebook page where you can see some videos of Khan and Darwin coming to life.


Beautiful Bella was the next horse commission. A beautiful black horse. My client came to me after being recommended by a friend of hers. I was delighted by this as it always the biggest compliment. I thoroughtly enjoyed painting Bella’s portrait and it has been a while since I have painted a black horse. I did have a piebald a while back, Pugsley and dark bays, but not a black one. I decided for Bella to have a plain background and I settled on a warm pale blue. It compliments her perfectly and both myself and my client where delighted with the outcome.

Bella, horse pet portrait in pastels