Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Guest Artist ~ Donna Ridgway

Donna Ridgway is multi-talented, to say the least. Not only is she a great artist, she's an amazing photographer and a renowned storyteller! She and her husband Robert live in Montana, and I love reading about their adventures as they travel around photographing the animals and the landscape. It's definitely worth the visit to her Travel the Gravel blog to read about some of these excursions! She also has a photo site of reference photos for artists which are available for very reasonable prices. You can see the artwork she's currently working on, on her studio blog. All right, who's up for planning a trip to Montana?

"I'm so Pretty!"
By Donna Ridgway

When Linda asked if I'd like to be a guest blogger on her site, I
searched through my photos for a reference. This mare caught my
attention and became my choice for today's post. I liked her long mane
and the way she was standing. A reference photo to me, is a loose
starting point, I need to look at something to begin a painting, and I
like working directly from my computer screen, so I opened the file and
enlarged it to fit the screen.

This painting is on a hardboard support which I've gessoed several
times, it's 12X16" in size. I'm working from a primary palette of
French Ultramarine Blue, Lemon Yellow, and Grumbacher Red. I like using
these three colors-I can get any range I want from adding more yellow or
blue to a basic mixture of red and blue. I'm pretending my horse is
standing where she's bathed in late evening light.

I like to begin a painting by toning the complete board. I choose any
old color, dip my brush in turpentine, and smear color all over the
board. I began to work on this painting late at night, and took this
photo in the house, so it's got a glare of reflection from the camera
flash, but you can see here, how I begin...

Once I've colored the board with paint, I like to draw my horse in the
paint. I use an old sock for drawing. I can get fine lines, or broad
lines, or texture by the way I hold the sock! You can see the sock in
the beginning drawing, I draped it over the top of the painting!

If I make a mistake, it's easy to wipe it out at this point and make a

You can see my progression here, I added the darker colors first, placed
the mane, then began to add midtones, and lights.

I'll throw in a little tip here along the way. If you think your eyes
are fooling you, think again! You're absolutely correct. That is a
hoof pick you see on the palette! I use it to get the dried and semi
dried paint off the palette, it works like a charm because it's stiff
enough to do the job.

Here's my finished painting. Isn't she pretty? In my mind, she and her
owner, a young, horse crazy girl, just returned from a day ride, and the
girl brushed the horse out to a great shine. The girl stepped back to
see her handiwork, and the horse is looking at the girl with love in her
eyes! I have a vivid imagination...

Hope you enjoyed this post, and Linda, I thank you for having me here!
Donna Ridgway


Kimberly Kelly Santini said...

Donna - great to see your work over here! Love the latest painting - she is calm and contemplative. Nice post!

Sue Steiner said...

Donna, I always love your work and especially enjoyed watching this one come to life. Your use of colors are fun and spontaneous! And I can see love in this horse's eyes! Great job!

Donna Ridgway said...

Thank you Kim!

LDWatkins said...

Aww!!!So nice. You make it look sooo easy, and I know better. Enjoyed it much. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Thank You, Donna. What a delight! Love Megan

Webmaster said...

It is great to see how you made the painting come to life! Good work.

pencilportraits said...

What a great 'tutorial', fantastic to see all the stages Donna.

Sheona Hamilton Grant said...

Hi Linda and Donna! This is the first time I have seen a Ridgeway "behind the scene"!
Fascinating. Love the result: vibrant, bold and so alive!