Horseshoe painting by John Morfis • "Aristocrat's Near Luck" oil on linen

Aristocrat’s Near Luck Painting

Horseshoe painting by John Morfis • "Aristocrat's Near Luck" oil on linen

Along with her stirrups, my friend Carol loaned me a whole box of amazing horse-related items. I plan on painting much of the items in the box if I can get them to look good in my staging area I use for painting. Some of the horse tack items are bigger than I’m used to painting and might stretch my still life staging area to the limit. Time will tell. For those of you new to my blog have spent the last couple of years painting antique hand tools. Fortunately for my small studio space these tools are also quite small as well.

I figured I’d start with some smaller horse items. As soon as I saw Carol put several horseshoes in my to-go box I was all but certain I’d be painting them. Boy was I right!

This horseshoe belonged to Carol’s beautiful horse named Aristocrat. Aristocrat is a Morgan-Breed horse, which I had no idea what that meant before I talked to Carol. He just looked like a gigantic dark-brown horse from where I was standing! It’s amazing how something as simple as tools, or horse tack can connect you with people, places, and even great animals!

Besides having fun with the title of this oil painting I had an absolute blast painting this horseshoe. Because of the lack of color I used a predominantly neutral palette while painting. Of course I kept some cobalt blue and raw umber on my palette so that I could easily cool down or warm up my neutrals respectively.

I also reserved some subtle use of yellow ochre and burnt sienna to capture the rusty parts of the metal horseshoe. I definitely will be painting more horseshoes so please stay tuned for more…


What do you think of my new subject matter? Please leave a comment below.




  1. elaine dobrowolski says:

    I’ve enjoyed seeing all your oil paintings posted here….***I do have a question : How do you accomplish your precisely executed, printed signature ???? Very classy …..

    1. John Morfis says:

      Oh man, the signature is a pain. First I wait until the painting is completely dry because I usually wipe off my first several attempts! I use a really small pointed round brush, like a triple 0 or the tip of a liner brush. I usually thin out the paint just a tad too. I did study hand lettering a while back so I understand how to paint letter forms. I’m actually quite insecure about my signature and think it needs a lot of work personally, but I’m glad you like it 🙂

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