Join Karen McLain on an adventure to paint wild horses from life and own a piece of original art depicting America's amazing icon.
No matter where you live, you can follow the adventure as I camp out on the Range and paint wild horses and the landscape they live in from life. If you have never had the experience of seeing America's icon in person, here is your chance to travel with me and see the beauty, and freedom of wild horses. Painting from life is one of the most challenging and energizing ways to capture the color and life of a subject. I want to smell the desert sage, feel the wind, hear the thunder of hooves and put all of that in these paintings.
With over 45,000 wild horses in short and long term holding, I feel an urgency to get out on the range and see and paint as many as I can. The opportunity to watch family bands and competitor stallions interact is the story I want to record to build a body of work to fill hearts and homes with Wild Horse paintings.
My painting process involves painting field studies from life. These small color studies, along with photographs, are what I base my large studio paintings on.
I need your help to get out of the studio and onto the range. Rewards for your support come in the form of original art and the opportunity to share my adventure. I will purchase painting and photography supplies as well as gas for the trip. If you live along my route, sign-up for the opportunity to meet me along the way.
Please see the current issue of Horses in Art magazine for a feature story about me painting wild horses from life. Also, visit the Pearce Museum to see my wild horse paintings in the Western Artists of America exhibit.
Thank you for your support, and please tell a friend about this opportunity to own an original painting!
As painters, we can pose a human model and know they can hold that pose for 20 minutes before we take a break. With domestic horses we are able to tie them to the hitching post and although they will shift around, they won't leave. But when painting wild horses, all of those restrictions are gone. It is that freedom, energy and lack of restriction that really attracts me to painting them. I have very little time, to describe the essence of the horse. That energy I have with economy of detail tells the story of living in the present.
The second look I take, goes into finding the show and highlight areas. It is important for me to remember that as I lay in the mid-tones, because the horse might move on before I get there. While painting, I am connected to the intensity of the color, the range of values and the placement of the brushstroke within the shapes in my composition. I am also very connected to what is happening with the horse. I want to express that feel with my brushwork as well.
So in a very short amount to time, I want to tell a story. Most of the time that involves what is happening with in the band, a relaxed moment, or a restful one, or the intensity of alertness. That feel of the horse is combined with what is happening in the landscape, sunlight, shadow and mood to complete a very expressive painting done in the field.
Those field studies are combined with the photos I took to make larger studio paintings.
Horses live in the present. Wild horses have the additional energy and awareness that comes from living within nature. The need to be alert to predators or the possibility of another stallion wanting to steal mares is part of their way of life. The intensity of recording the freshness of light and color is part of outdoor/plein air painting. The urgency of capturing the feel of the horse is very immediate. The essence of the painting may happen in less than 3 minutes, it is that story that I want to tell with these paintings. It is a very liberating way to paint.