I thought I would give you a glimpse into my process of how I create some of the art work that I do. I take a lot of images of draft horses and particularly in the spring during plowing season. I am documenting this because most of the men that get together every spring are in their 70's and 80's and every year one or two of them have either passed away or can no longer work with their horse due to medical or physical issues.
But I also like to take photographs that I could possibly use in my Fine Art Gallery. I am always looking for inspiration from other photographers and artists to get an idea of what I should look for in an art pieces. This particular image came from the inspiration I got from an art piece that is hanging over the fireplace in my home in Belgium. I bought this print in Montana and it is a drawing by Adeline Halvorson called At Ease who is an artist from Canada. I loved this print the moment I saw it. I strongly believe that if a piece of art speaks to you in some way you should purchase it and display it in your home or office because it represents something that is a deep part of you.
I also love taking prints to a framer so I can design the look and feel I want from a print. It was so much fun putting different mats and frames next to the art work to see how they will look. This is another way you can bring a bit of you into an art piece that you purchase. By changing the color of the mat or the wood of the frames the piece can take on another look or feel that makes it all your own.
So as I looked at this image for many years I decided I wanted to create a similar one here in Belgium displaying their unique harnesses. My plan is to hang each of the images in my hallway with the harnesses from the US and Belgium next to each of the framed images.
So now it was off to the plowing to see if there was a team of horses that looked similar to this piece. When I arrived most of the horses were in teams of three but after awhile I came upon this farmer with his pair of black Belgian Brabant mares. He was plowing up and down the field and stopping now and then for a rest. When I noticed them in this image I knew they would be the perfect pair for what I had visualized in my head.
In this next image you can see how getting excited to snap the photograph and not taking the time to compose it just doesn't work. Slowing down is the best advice I can give you as a photographer. Sometime you do not get the options if you are photographing horses but taking your time to get it right in the camera can really help.
I also wanted to show you what the images look like right out of my camera. I always shoot in raw format so I have the most information to work with when I upload the images. This image should have been deleted but sometimes I need reminders of what not to do.
After that image, I waited for the next round and a time when they were resting. I saw the two mares standing very close to each other and I knew this was what I was after. I moved in a bit closer to get this image. But it still included a bit more in the frame than what I was looking for.
I then moved in closer and metered my camera for the black mares, which in return blew out the sky. So this was the composition I was after, but because of the dark horses against a bright plan grey sky I knew I would have work to do on the image in post processing.
So I took the above image into Lightroom where I do most of my processing work. I cropped in a bit more and ran through the sliders to bring the most out of the image and this image was the result. But the background was not very appealing and it just did not feel earthy to me so I knew I would have to go into Photoshop and play with some textures.
I tried a variety of textures until I get the look I am after. This process of trial and error can take hours if not days. I keep working until I "feel" the image is as I visioned. I tried turing the background to white like the art piece over my fireplace but it just did not seem right with these two horses. I used this background because as you see in most of my work I love warm rich earthy colors. I felt this texture gave the image the look I was after.
I am now starting to play a bit with Black & White and trying to get a more pencil drawing look to my work. Doing something different than what I usually do is how I stretch as an artist. I am always growing in my skills and knowledge and pushing myself to see differently.
So there you have it, how I go from vision in my head to a piece of art work on the wall.
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