The Post Parade, A Lesson Painting, Part I ~~ Kimberly Kelly Santini

ABOVE IN PROCESS: "The Post Parade," 5" x 14", depicting the post parade at Saratoga Springs Racetrack on a sunny summer day, done in Golden Open Acrylics on an Ampersand panel, will be $379 (when finished tomorrow). Interested in adding "The Post Parade" to your collection?Then by all means, please email me and we'll make it happen!

This morning I felt like tackling a challenging painting, so I pulled a mess of reference photos, dug out a loooong panel, and got busy. Here's what I accomplished in a few hours' work:

I started with a bold underpainting, and roughly built my first layer to reflect the composition - Light Ultramarine Blue on top, with a mixture of Cadmium Red Light, Light Magenta, and Naples Yellow on the bottom.

Then I roughly sketched in my composition. I laid down the curve of the rail, began defining basic values in the tree shapes, greened up the infield, and lightened the track. There are pockets of the underpainting exposed all over the surface - this will add vibrance to the finished piece (see how the green "sings" alongside the exposed orange?). I also retained a strip of the underpainting to indicate where the horses' feet would hit the ground.

I continued adding loose details, working from the middle of the canvas outwards to retain proper spacing. I am concerned with the progression of shapes, making certain there are relationships (defined via body language) between the ponies and their charges. I'm also paying attention to scale, making the horses at the head of the parade proportionally smaller than those in the front right edge.

In the 4th step (illustrated at the top of the blog), I'm still working with the barest of details. I've pushed more sunlight in by lightening up the track in the foreground and graying out the background trees, doing this with several layers of glaze. Notice the horses still don't have legs, many of them are also missing their heads - once I am finished with the background (including the infield), I'll start in on those sorts of details.

Tomorrow you'll get to see the finished piece! Meanwhile, I'm headed back to the easel!

Thanks for sharing my artwork with your friends and family,
Detail from Step 4 of the painting in process.
Derby Details

Get all the info you need to make the most of Derby Day celebrations at any of these links:

The Bloodhorse - all things related to Thoroughbred racing
Churchill Downs - the official website for the track where the Kentucky Derby is run
Mint Julip - what's race day without a julip? Alton Brown'll show you how to fix one here.
Hats - every lady at the track will be sporting a fancy hat of some sort. Or a riding helmet.

And just for fun, take a peek at my friend Bob Clark's website - he's painted many a Derby winner for their connections, and I don't doubt for a second that he'll get commissioned to paint Saturday's winning horse, too.

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