As the title says really! It will be one of my most challenge equine portraits I have attempted, not only is it large, at 20×16 inches. OK it could be larger, but most of my pet portraits go up to 16×12 inches, but he is jumping AND I have to remove all tack and the rider AND……..wait for it, add a different background. Phew.

I have been scouring Google to find some images of free jumping horses to help me a bit with the anatomy of the horse with the rider removed. The tack is easier to remove, but I need to get the shape of his back right. Anyway I think I am there. Just to transfer the sketch to paper now. 

For this portrait and to aid framing purposed I have used pastelmat card. Due to the size I don’t want it to flex once in the frame. it’s a sure way to loose some pastel dust, so I use some premounted paper. It’s essentially the same, just thicker. As usual. I have sketch out the portrait on rough paper and then I transfer to the pastelmat.

Here you can see the sketch ready to be transferred to the pastelmat.

Don’t forget you can read in full about my most recent pet portraits Rafiki and Harley in previous blog posts.

I hve started blocking in the background now. The initial part will go quite quickly as I am using pastel sticks in stead of pencils. It is when I get to the finer detail of the horse and foreground it will take longer. 

My client didn’t want the poppy field to look like a complete sea of red, so I am trying to break them up with lots of green. I think they need to be more bunched together, but I am not sure yet. I can fiddle around with this as the portrait comes along and I have done more on the horse. Sometimes other parts of the painting need to take more shape before you can decide if enough has been done on the background or not. Invariably I tend to tweak both throughout the painting.

I have only taken one photo of the painting so far as it is dark and not very good quality so I will wait until tomorrow when it is light…..if we get any decent daylight, and take a better one. I might also try and catch a brief time lapse at some point, but I won’t do the whole portrait as it is huge and I will be dipping in and out. I have some other pet portraits I have planned some time lapses for over the next week, so look out for more blogs. In the mean time you can view some time lapses here

And don’t forget if this is taking too long to come together more horse portraits can be viewed in my horse pet portrait gallery

I haven’t been working at full pace the last few days. I have had a very hectic week on top of having a cold that has lingered I think it has all caught up with me.

However there has been some progress on the horse portrait. I have added a photo below for you to see the start of the painting.


It’s not a great photo as I took it in the evening. I am not sure the next one will be much better but I am trying to add depth to the poppies and fields. 

I have also added the tree line at the back and the sky. I need to add a bit more blue to the sky as the horse is in some sunlight. Not bright so I want some clouds in the sky to add some interest to it, otherwise I feel its a bit of large expanse to be just blue. 

I have started some work on the horse too. As I said in further up in tbe post I will probably work on the back ground and the horse in conjunction with each other to make sure they work nicely together and the horse doesn’t look super imposed on the background as it has been changed from the original one. 


Again I am sorry about the quality of the photo. I will try and take a better one tomorrow, but hopefully it gives you an idea of the progress. 

I managed to get some studio time today and I am planning full day tomorrow and Thursday as well. I caught a quick time lapse of the progress of this painting. Tomorrow I shall be juggling between some Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, a weimaraner and a labradoodle. Ok maybe not all of those tomorrow, but certainly over the coming week or two. Some I will be trying to get full time lapses of their pet portraits.

Here is the time lapse of the horse portrait I got today. I wanted it to be longer but I had to intercept a cat fight. My poor Murray always seems to get beaten up by the lcoal tabby cat. Such a shame as my little dude is so friendly.


I have added to the video below. It’s hard to capture in it’s entirety as it is such a large painting, so I am having to capture snippets here and there and you would be looking at it upside down and all sorts of other weird angles.

I had a good 5 hours plus on this portrait today. I am still tweaking the poppies as I go and I have nearly done most of the horse now. I will be adding more detail, brightening highlights and darkening shadows as I go, hopefully bringing the whole piece together nicely at the end. As you can see from the video I am about to upload you can see I work on the painting as a whole, working on the horse and then background and so on. This hopefully makes it all work together.


It’s been a busy, yet productive day in the studio today. I have added the grass all the way to the foreground on Cruz’s portrait and worked some more on the poppies, sky and trees. It’s very nearly ready for the scanner. I need to add the little hedgehog in, see if you can spot the outline of him. He is very tiny! I am afraid there are no more time lapses as I have been working upside down, on the side and standing on my head. Well maybe not the latter, but it feels like it and my eyes are burning as I have had pretty much a 7 hour session today.

It is definitely time for a little bit of rest and relaxation, so I am off to have some dinner and watch a film with a friend now. Tomorrow I will be up early to get the kids ready for school and back into the studio again to get everything tidied up and pretty much finished on this horse portrait.

The gorgeous gold ornate frame is waiting for this piece and I really can’t wait to see it once it is framed. This is certainly one of those paintings that is once framed it will look fantastic. I think the red of the poppies will look stunning against the gold. In fact the colours are overall very festive with gold, green and red!

Here is the latest phone photo for you to see what I have done today. Probably the least until it is scanned in!


After a brief chat with my client we both agreed it looked like Mr Hedgehog might get squished when Cruz lands the other side of the fence. That would be no good, so we are going to move him. It was also decided that it looks like he might clip the post as he jumps over. This i something I didn’t spot, but now it has been mentioned it can see the problem. I am going to move the post over and see how that looks first. I actually, now I think about it, feel like the fence is a little short, so I feel it will help the composition as a whole. 

After walking this morning I returned to Cruz’s portrait. We did drop the cross bar in the end too. I have added the cute little hedgehog, who no longer looks like he is going to be landed on and added the writing. We may not keep that in, but on the whole, Cruz’s horse portrait is nearly finished.

I went upstairs to scan it in, which is a feat in itself, one because my desktop is ancient and two its such a large painting I had to scan it in 5 parts and then stitch it together using microsoft ICE. It’s a brilliant program for artists and would highly recommend it for just this.

Anyway here is Cruz. What do you think?


Now all that is left to do is to sign and frame it. Updates to follow on this tomorrow hopefully. More horse portraits can be viewed in the Horse Pet Portraits gallery along with a larger version of Cruz’s finished portrait.

Up early this morning to frame Cruz’s portrait, I have just unwrapped the frame and it’s gorgeous. This is so exciting. I can’t wait to get it framed!


Wow, Cruz is finally framed. It was a massive piece to frame, but I have to say his portrait looks amazing now it is. I managed to get a not too bad photo of him framed. I seem to have found the spot in my house where I don’t get too many reflections. The frame is stunning and very, very heavy. It will be quite a striking piece when hung on the wall.

Here is the portrait framed and I have put another close up the frame in better light for you to see. It is so large I had to have two pairs of hands to help me wrap it up and to get it in my husbands car was a mission. I have to say I am so glad he picked up the new one this week otherwise I am not sure we would have got it to the post office! It only just fit! I would have to get parcel force to collect otherwise! I feel his new car is going to prove very handy as I have quite a few large pieces to do in 2019!


Close up of the frame. 

framed horse portrait and poppies
horse jumping over fence