Chrome Bit Oil Painting

Chrome Bit Painting

Chrome Bit Oil Painting

I never even knew what a horse bit was until I painted my first one last year.

I sure hope they don’t hurt the horse in anyway. I know I don’t like having metal shoved into my mouth… the dentist comes to mind here.

This is the second chrome horse bit I painted. The high reflective property of this piece of metal made it a challenge to paint for sure. With the slightest movement in my own head, the light source or the object itself caused dramatic shifts in the way the object looked.

So how did I paint it?

Very carefully. But I take notes about the positioning and the light source. My sketch book is filled with notes about this stuff. There are probably more notes and paint samples than actual sketches on many of the pages. These are all things I keep track of to help me paint still lifes continuously over time. The notes are especially helpful if I have to move the objects.

I try not to move objects but often I do work on several still lifes at once, so I need a way to get everything back to the same exact positioning with the same light source. Taking notes on all of these variables is way easier than guessing later on.

It’s hard enough to paint, none-the-less figure out how things used to look.

The overwhelming majority of this horse bit painting used the following oil paint colors:

  • Cobalt blue
  • Raw Umber
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Flake White Replacement (titanium white)
  • 5 Neutrals (Black – White)

As you would probably guess I didn’t use much yellow ochre or burnt sienna at all. These colors where mainly for warming up colors slightly.

I find that when you add lots of white to lighten the value of a paint things tend to get “cooler”. In other words they start to lose their yellow-orange hue. In this case I usually mix a small amount of yellow ochre and/or burnt sienna together with the white to increase its yellow-orange quality. This has to be done with care as not to over-do it. I actually don’t want anyone to notice the yellow-orange quality of the lightest, near white values.

Let’s just keep this between us. Wink wink !

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