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Tag Archives: Belgians

The above painting came from a reference photo that I took one evening (several years ago) about four miles north of where I live.  There is a large Amish community in this area and I was out and about gathering photos of scenes I wanted to paint. The “Holstein” painting I posted, last year, came from this excursion. This was painted on toned masa paper glued to the illustration board. Yay! Only one more, adhered to illustration board, and I am running back to glueing my masa to Arches coldpress. 🙂   What I have learned is that I have to know where I am going with the illustration board. It does not accept the layers and the colors that the Arches does. Think two layers and I am OK, but these paintings do look different.

*Note: Recently, my free time has been eaten up by other matters. Free time is when I paint. For the time being, my time online is limited but I will post when I have something new to share and will visit all of you at that time and look forward to the time I can pick up speed once again!!!!   🙂



I have two people to thank .  Without them, this image would not have occurred. It has been about a year ago, now,  that I received an email from Anne Michelsen of Bright Spirit Studio found here. She had read how much I enjoyed painting horses and offered me several photos of these lovely Belgian draft horses. Thank you Anne!

The other thank you goes to a dear friend that I paint with. We were together painting last weekend and I took the drawing of the above painting, along with the reference. When she viewed the reference she asked me if I was going to make the background the red featured in the reference. I said, “Oh no. That would look rather garish, don’t you think?” She replied she just loved the color and thought it would make an interesting finished painting. I worked on the horses’ heads and harness and was only about a fifth of the way done with this when I left that day. Her suggestion haunted me as I continued with the painting for she often has interesting vision and takes on art.  So, on Wednesday evening, with a surge of confidence, I painted RED! Oh my….was  it  RED!  No matter what I did which was to add harvest gold and burnt sienna,  it still came up RED, RED, RED!!!  Here’s where the painting talked.

It said, “I’m flat!”.

I said, “What?!?”


By this time, I had worked for four nights on this image and I was getting to the point I wanted it to be done. I remembered my drawing teacher telling me it is only a piece of paper and Don Andrews talking about how we cut ourselves off from learning when a painting becomes “too precious” to try something new.  I looked more carefully at the barn siding, and noticed that the red was very irregular and faded in places and there were stripes of the siding showing. Not wanting to render a background as detailed as my foreground I began to swish my brush over the red and wetting it in areas. I’d then quickly grab a paper towel and lift out what I had done.  I became interested and swished in more harvest gold and burnt sienna abstractly and went back and forth between lifting and adding until I had something that looked more like I wanted.  Just goes to show you that artists don’t often get to end up with their preconceived notion of what something should look like most of the time.  I thank Anne and my friend for this offering. I feel like the finished painting means so much more for the gifts along the way.

Belgians are the most commonly seen breed of draft horses we see the Amish use in this area of Indiana.

Debby Frisella talks about the color red here.