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Remember Mr. Ed?  As I painted this portrait, I decided to change the color from the color of the horse in the reference material because his face reminded me of that famous talking horse.  I used to spend a lot of time with horses.  This painting was fun for me. I am still working with 140 lb hotpress paper and searching for ways of creating on it while playing in the paint. I used frisket on the mane.  I stroked it in, added color, stroked some more frisket on top of that dry wash, and a third layer. That gave the streaks you see in his mane. I used both flat and round brushes.  I limited my palette to yellows, reds, halloween orange,  june bug and sepia.  Below is my drawing and first washes for you to view.


    first strokes and washes


  1. wow.. nice horse 🙂 i can feel the wind around him! 🙂

  2. Just beautiful 🙂 as always great art work I just love viewing your art works 🙂

    • Thanks, Alonso. Glad you are back to blogging. Hope you are all settled into your new homeplace. I will enjoy following you, once again. 🙂

  3. What a wonderful painting, Leslie! I love all the movement you created in it! Yummy!! 🙂

    • Thanks, Beth! …especially for taking time to visit when you are trying to catch up with everything around the shop.

  4. Beth’s right, Leslie. There is a lot of movement in this painting. I love it! Excellent work!

    • 🙂 Couldn’t figure out if it was the wind blowing his main or a toss of his head. Thank-you, Debbie! 🙂

  5. Good paintings! You are very talented.

  6. Wow Les. Your love for and knowledge of horses comes through in your expression. He speaks freedom.

    • Hi Nancy,
      I think it is time to indulge my joy in drawing and painting horses for awhile….. I have continually pushed it aside. Remember the pages I filled with horse drawings? Thanks a bunch for your comment! 🙂

  7. Hello Wilbur! If I remember correctly, that’s what Mr. Ed said to the owner, but then I’m way to young to remember that. Very cool painting!

    • Ha! You are correct, Ryan. Of course we both gained our knowledge about “Mr. Ed” through watching the re-runs as youngins. Thanks, Ryan! 🙂

  8. i still say your work is a deeply spiritual imparting force…and that’s clear with the energy here oozing from the horse (did NOT mean to rhyme!). i love it…

  9. Beautiful horse. I love the expression from the warm glow of the colors and light. I can sense that he wants to talk.

    • That is what kept grabbing me in my brain, Emily. His scrunched up nose just made me think he was going to talk and then Mr. Ed just popped in my brain. I specifically chose those warm colors just to see if I could do it. Thank-you!

  10. Oh No! Now I have the theme song to that show (Mr.Ed) stuck in my head! I’m really not that fond of horses because they scare me. But when you paint them they look great.

    A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
    And no one can talk to a horse of course
    That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed.

    • Laughing and laughing, Carol! I forgot the lyrics and couldn’t get past “The horse is a horse of course”. Thank-you for finishing it for me! You must have been watching the re-runs when you were younger, also!
      Horses are big. It is one thing for a dog to accidentally step on your foot and completely another when a horse does. A little savvy about them goes a long way.

  11. This is crazy good, Leslie.

  12. This painting once again shows how your painting style works well with HP paper.IMO, I prefer to have the sepia background throughout.

    • Thank-you, Raji. I experiment with backgrounds. Usually I use bright colors throughout. I have been intrigued with how a background can enhance depth and like to play around with lost and found edges? I tend to be a little hard edged in my painting and would like to correct that. I wanted to not have so much of a division between the neck under the horse’s jaw and the background thus enhancing the three dimensional quality of his nose poking forward. I am still experimenting. I am sure I will experience many changes as I explore these possibilities. Good observation!

  13. It is a master piece Leslie!

  14. Ears up, each in different direction, nostrils out, head up and eyes alert…boy something’s got this horse’s attention. And you captured it, Leslie. Wow!!

    • Oh, Amy, are you a horse person? People who know those details about a horse’s expression gemerally are! Thank-you for this comment. It was all that you mentioned, above, that attracted my attention to the reference material.

  15. That’s awesome Leslie! It totally looks like he’s going to say his part in the theme song, and the movement totally grabs the viewer and imparts a personality to the horse.

    • Thanks, K. That expression is what drew me in to want to try and capture it.

  16. Beautiful! Just beautiful!

  17. I so gleefully remember “Mr. Ed” the talking horse, Leslie! LOL. As a child I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t talk to everyone. As an adult I seriously wonder about the creator of that television program’s intentions. Maybe they were talking to their favorite horse? Your handsome Mr. Ed looks ready to chat all day long.

    • Thanks, Eva. I liked watching Mr. Ed but some of the story line was adult for me. Now, FURY? I think I’d have to watch those re-runs today! Ha!

  18. Its easy to see that you DO indeed know horses Leslie! This is a great picture – the horse has so much personality which you have managed to incorporate in the expressive style! I do remember Mr Ed, yacking away over the stable door to (was it Wilbur?) I wish they did repeats of this over here 🙂
    “A horse is a horse of course of course,
    But no one can talk to a horse – of course
    Unless the horse of course is the famous Mr Ed
    Go right to the source and ask the horse…….”

    Well you did – and your horse talked right back Leslie 😀

    • Ha! You know the song, too! Carol couldn’t get it out of her head yesterday! Thank-you, Lynda. Yep, he yakked and yakked and yakked!!!!! Thank-you for the comment on the portrait! I am really liking this hotpress paper.

  19. Guess I need to do a bit of reading to see what frisket is, but it certainly seemed to do the trick on the mane… Beautifully painted..

    • Hi Brian,
      It is often referred to as liquid friket, liquid mask or masking fluid. It is a liquid that you can paint on a surface to save tiny areas of white. It is best to rub a wet brush around on a bar of soap before you dip it in the friket and apply it to the paper. Frisket can ruin brushes. I use Pebeo drawing gum because it is a little more runny and easier to do detail work with. Once the frisket is dry (minutes) you can paint over and around it and not worry about losing the white of the paper in that area. I use a small rubber square thingie called a “rubber pick up” (this is a cheap item) to rub the frisket off when the painting is finished. Read a little about it first.

  20. OMG that must have been such a difficult angle to capture correctly.
    I don’t honestly believe i could have got that right.
    I like the colours too, gives the horse a very distinguished look

    • You noticed! Yes the ears gave me fits. That one that is larger pokes forward and the other one that is smaller is layed back. The eye on the right, as you face the painting, was a bear. I think this is the three quarter view of a horse head. I did draw it twice.
      Thank-you, Richard! 🙂

  21. I remember Mr. Ed!! I love this painting. The horse is so beautiful and the composition of the portrait, as well as the painting itself, makes the horse leap off the page, as if he is poking his head out of the picture…or he is poking his nose out of a window. It’s just great.

    • Thanks Amber. 🙂 I tried to work with taking emphasis off the neck, where it joins the underside of the jaw by lightening the background next to it in hopes it would push his nose more toward us. Experimenting. Always experimenting.

  22. Essence of equine! You gave him majesty and power and the breath from those nostrils- I can feel it.
    Beautiful piece Leslie.

    • Thank-you, Bonnie! Like he’s going to “snort” any minute! Ha!

  23. I swear I can hear that horse! Once again beautiful colours, great definition in the mane, and the muscle tone around the head is worked so well. I painted a horse recently for a friend and I found it very difficult. Your draughtsmanship skills are very good in the sketch. Superb.

    • I have drawn horses since Kindergarten, Keith. At one time they were oval body and head with rectangles for legs and neck, triangles for ears and a bunch of whispy lines for manes and tails. 🙂 I am backing you up on how difficult it is to draw them and paint them. It took me 54 years to get to this point! Thank-you for the comment!

  24. I love viewing your beautiful art work, always very nicely done!

  25. The mane just really pops for me on this one, Leslie. Great depth.

  26. Nice painting of the horse there Leslie. He looks like he can talk. Howdy people, who are you staring at?? Very lifelike.

    • Thank-you, Francis! The wrinkled lips and head tossed back made me think the same thing. 🙂

  27. When I was little, we bought a house from an older couple and it came with a horse. He was a huge draft horse named “Dan”. I suffered my only concussion by falling off of “Dan” at full gallop. Later, my sister managed to get my parents to buy her a horse called “Milkshake”. “Milkshake” was quite possibly the ugliest horse in history … he looked like one of those scruffy little animals that Ghengis Khan rode across the Steppes of Asia centuries ago. Anyway, your horses are beautiful as are your other renderings of animals.

    — Judson

    • I imagine “Dan”had not been handled much by the elderly couple and surely not ridden for awhile. You probably scared the living daylights out of him. I’ll bet your sister adored “Milkshake”, though. Thank-you for the visit and the comment, Judson. ….and the horse stories! 🙂

  28. I really like how the color scheme worked. Great view point, I haven’t seen a horse painting at this angle before, I like it.

    I used to horseback ride (loved it, wish I still did) and we had a horse named Mr. Ed. He was not at all like the nice horse on the tv show, he liked to bite people when they walked too close to his stall.

    Did you know they put peanut butter on Mr. Ed’s lips to make him look like he was talking?

    • I had not tried this angle before, Littlelynx. I find a three quarter view of anyone pretty difficult. Thank-you for the comment.
      I didn’t know about the peanut butter but knew they must have used something that smelled. You can get a horse to “flehmen” by placing a little something smelly on the end of his nose. Many animals do this. It is a way of capturing a scent. We usually call it a horse laugh.
      Ha…..sounds like your Mr. Ed was fed from peoples’ hands a lot. Most domesticated horses will get into a habit of nipping if hand fed. A horse shows affection to other horses by playfully nipping at them around neck and withers. To us? That is a painful kiss.

      • I used to be terrified of that horse….

      • 🙂 …and to think that he, perhaps, only wanted a treat? I know. I used to get horses in for training that behaved like that and a month of no feeding from the hand did wonders….. plus teaching their owners a few rules and tricks.

  29. … of course, of course … and yours are just too beautiful.

    I’m sorry. I must sound gauche and repititious. I just don’t have the skills to react other than viscerally.

  30. Oh ! he is the best ! Such wonderful expression Leslie ! Wonderful!

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