Aristocrat's Lean (Horseshoe Painting #4) Oil on Linen by John Morfis

Aristocrat’s Lean (Horseshoe Painting # 4)

Aristocrat's Lean (Horseshoe Painting #4) Oil on Linen by John Morfis

How many times can you paint a horseshoe? Well this is my 4th attempt using the same set of horseshoes from the same horse. This horseshoe came from a big brown Morgan-bread horse.

It turns out there is not too many ways to position a single horseshoe from a nail. I’ve been playing with the light and the distance from the shoe to the wall; anything really to get something unique and different from the last pose.

Either way, I really like painting horseshoes. They have great wear and they don’t have any overly complicated parts to paint. It tends to be a relaxing session. (Actually I usually paint a horseshoe over the course of 3-4 painting sessions)

Since this has been my 4th horseshoe painting, I’ve very much got the colors down to a science. Here’s my palette of oil paint colors I use:

  • Ivory black
  • Portland gray dark
  • Portland gray medium
  • Portland gray light
  • Lead white replacement (titanium white)
  • Burnt sienna
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Raw umber
  • Cobalt Blue

I’m only using exactly what I need and nothing more.  If you look closely at my palette listed above I’m using mostly neutral hues! This makes complete sense because the horse shoe doesn’t have any saturated colors.

It took me many years to unlearn all the bad color advice preached to me by uninformed art teachers. This advice usually came in form of: “Don’t use black” or “Mix complements to gray your color”. What a load of nonsense.

Using black and a whole variety of neutral oil paints in my work has been one of the main differentiating factors that has propelled the quality of my work forward!


  1. elaine dobrowolski says:

    Was great seeing your horseshoe painting……*Liked it lots…(*_*)

    1. John Morfis says:

      Oh good Elaine, thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *