San Marco Horses: painting in progress update 2

This week I am happy to share my progress on the final San Marco Horses oil painting with you. In the completed underpainting you can see the window area’s circle pattern for the first time (this was a time consuming process that I chose to ignore for the preparatory drawing and color sketch stages).

stage 1 of painting

stage 1 of painting


To start, I toned a 20×16 inch wood panel with Mars Yellow and Burnt Umber oil paints to resemble a sun-baked wall in Venice. Then I transfered the drawing and designated the shadow areas with thinned Burnt Umber. Finally, I glazed the window panes with Ultramarine Blue.

Although I glazed the window panes with blue straight from the tube, it is less saturated because of the brown tone underneath. As I complete the painting, I will decide whether to desaturate the blue more.

In the next stage of the painting, I will start sculpting the forms with the approximate final colors. Throughout the process, I will refer to the previous color sketches and preparatory drawing (see below) to guide my decisions. You can already see that I chose to tone down the underpainting (which will show through on the left of the final painting), because I felt in the color sketches that the background was fighting too much with the featured horses.

I hope you will keep checking back to watch as the painting progresses.

San Marco Horses color sketch

color sketch


San Marco Horses drawing

graphite, heightened with white, on toned paper. 11.2 x 14 inches.

What do you think?

I appreciate your thoughts and constructive criticisms.

2 Responses to San Marco Horses: painting in progress update 2

  1. Daniel Brissenden says:

    Absolutely fantastic! I have seen these horses in Venice, and in the Circus in Contantinople where they once stood. Great work!

    • Swann says:

      Daniel, thank you for the feedback. I take it as a huge compliment coming from someone who has seen the horses in both Venice and Constantinople. I hope you have also viewed the completed painting.

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