The Horse in Action
I have been drawing and painting racehorses for many years but it still remains a real challenge to capture the mood and excitement of this amazing creature in full flow. Many of my commissions have been of famous racehorses and this requires a degree of research, making sure that the horse has the correct markings etc. I am usually free to form my own composition, providing it remains a true representation of the horse or race in question.
I have found it easier to capture the speed and the excitement through my pencil and charcoal drawings than using oil and acrylic paints, although the finished paintings allow for more detailed work. I also use watercolours and they seem to bring an entirely different feel to the image. Of course, preference is very much down to personal taste. There are some very worthy representations of horse racing that have hardly any detail at all and it is a subject that has been depicted for centuries.
Easily my most frequent commission has been that of Desert Orchid, the galloping grey steeplechaser that won the hearts of the nation with his bold front-running style. I was fortunate enough to see him in the flesh and photograph him from different angles shortly after he retired from the sport. This provided me with my own persona reference library that has proved invaluable over the years. The head portrait in pastel and charcoal has proved very popular and I have also depicted him in racing action on several occasions.
A favourite method of mine is to use oil pastels because they provide both the colour and the dynamic effect that I am looking for. By working in rapid strokes of colour, I find that I can capture at least some of the movement without compromising the detail too much. After all, it is the colour that first attracted me to the horse racing scene many years ago.
Many artists tend to find their own method or style of working and stick to it. This is only natural but it is nice to try a different approach and I am determined to try sculpture at some point this year. I have a little experience of working with clay but the results were some way short of spectacular! I found it to be an altogether different discipline, trying to create something three-dimensional. This will certainly be a big challenge when it comes to representing the horse in action.
If you would like to see more of my work you can visit my website at http://www.harveymayson.co.uk or Bigvyor.com. I have set up my own gallery space on Bigvyor and urge you to come and join us at the new global art community. There are ambitious plans for the site and it’s great to be part of this exciting new venture.