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Creating Horse Art – Reawakened Love!

"Brave", a watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

Here’s my newest watercolor painting called “Brave” (for sale in my art store!) I got an idea of using a horse to symbolize bravery that comes with finding your passion(s). Isn’t it a romantic thought to see the passion as a horse inside us, rising from the depth and blowing strength!

Past Passion for Horses

Recently, I have found a lot to be passionate about. Many of those things have been inspiring to me as a child. but I have let them go for tens of years. One of these things is horses. I used to play a lot with toy horses, and I was also addicted to taking care of my hobby-horse, an ugly plastic blue thing! Sadly, I rarely saw real horses and I haven’t ever had a horse as a companion.

Hobby horse love

Once my parents took me to a field where a small horse farm offered horse-riding for children. They lifted me on a big Finnish Horse that had no saddle. Someone walked the horse, and I tried to keep myself sitting straight even if the back of the horse was really slippery. I made it to the center of the field and then fell off. The field offered a soft ground, and the horse didn’t step on me. They offered me a horse with a saddle, and it was much more comfortable! That’s most of the practical experience I have about horses. But of course, my theoretical knowledge was much more vast. As a child, I had borrowed all the possible horse books from the library and stayed busy building stables or crocheting rugs for the toy horses.

Finding the Creative Play with Horses Again

It must be early teenage years when I got alienated from the subject. Since then, I had never had a desire to own a horse, to ride a horse, or to do anything with horses. Until I participated in Inktober, the monthly drawing challenge. While making this drawing, my love for horses was reawakened.

"Double", horse art by Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet

As adults, we easily ignore things that resonate with us but that don’t belong to our outer world. Even if we can draw and paint anything, we easily define ourselves with outer standards. If not having experience about real horses didn’t bother me as a child, it shouldn’t worry now either. I may not be a horsewoman in the outer world, but I can have a stable as big as I want in the inner world.

Creating Horse Art with Watercolors

I started the painting from the flowers and as usual, didn’t use any pencil sketch. It’s a bit risky way to create, but I love problem-solving and knowing exactly what to put and where is not always a practical solution for me. Here are some quick early stage pics! I used a reference loosely for the head of the horse.

I was painting happily but in the middle of the process, I was in trouble, not knowing how to finish the piece.  When working with watercolors, it’s especially tempting to just stop so that the painting doesn’t end up too dark.

Creating horse art - a watercolor painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

But here, I loved the idea and didn’t want to leave it looking unfinished and busy.

Planning in the Middle of the Project

I took a snapshot of the unfinished painting and made a plan in Photoshop. This is how I help my students all the time, and it’s a very handy skill to have!

Planning how to proceed with suggestions made in Photoshop. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

The first image above is the starting point, and the next images are made in Photoshop. They demonstrate what changes should be made next. This time, I also followed the plan. But sometimes it happens, that I end up with a totally different solution but which would have never crossed my mind without the Photoshop play.

Late Night in the Studio

I like to paint so that I watch tv shows or video podcasts on my iPad at the same time. It can happen that I paint a romantic and profound piece and then watch a tv reality show that I can barely stand! Sometimes it feels like the worst the show, the better the painting becomes!

Creating horse art while watching Idols. By Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! What did you love as a child but that doesn’t show in your current creative life?

Paivi Eerola from Peony and Parakeet and her surreal horse art piece called "Brave"

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19 thoughts on “Creating Horse Art – Reawakened Love!

  1. Just love this! It’s a nice feeling getting reconnected to something you once loved. I always loved a soft monkey. We used to go to the travelling fair when I was younger and I was always bought a new monkey each year. It wasn’t until I was much older I discovered the soft furry parts were all made from rabbits!! Yikes. I have no desire to paint either monkeys or rabbits …..

      1. Not sure what your meaning is here Paivi. The monkey was a cuddly toy which, as a young kid, I used to take to bed with me. Then I guess I got old enough to realise what had happened to the rabbits!!!! No such problem with a wooden horse …

  2. I love that you rediscover horses while doing Inktober. It is a fun month of drawing. I actually did use all the prompts this time and it was a challenge. This was my second year and so many fun prompts to stimulate the imagination. The horse is beautiful!

  3. My mother taught me to care deeply about my plush animals. They were always adored, clean , and right-side up, respected! I couldn’t stand for them to be neglected or abused, especially those at someone else’s house. Looking back on my collection as an adult, I see that mine were not expensive like some options today, some were stuffed with something firm like straw. They all had names. Selected animals protected me at night while I slept. It has been difficult to let go of my attraction to the cute stuff of childhood. And curiously, I was not interested in horses like many little girls are. I rode maybe three times and twice I was thrown off. I felt bad for horses in the movies and I didn’t like to see them fall down. I do appreciate their beauty though!

  4. That is a beautiful painting. I was fortunate and had horses growing up. I adore them and I would have one again if I could. I think you did an amazing job with this one! Thank you for sharing this lovely piece of art.

  5. I was a horse lover…totally. All I wanted. I was finally able to have a horse when a Junior in High School. While the reality didn’t quite match the dreams it was still a good experience for me and I owned another as an adult for a while. Then I got an “iron horse”…motorcycle! Anyhow, I identify with the childhood dream completely and I have recently photographed the few of my old horse drawings that were kept and stashed in an old box. Horses were all I ever wanted or read about…except that I when I figured I had grown too tall to be a jockey I would be an astronaut! Neither happened. Your painting is marvelous and makes me want to paint horses again!

  6. Paivi, thank you for sharing that childhood picture with us! You may have dropped some of your childhood fantasy life, but you still have the same eyes and same sweet smile! You’ve given me even more questions to ponder. . . It’s fun to search and discover the new and re-discover the old.

  7. I love seeing your progress on this painting! I am not an expert in PhotoShop, but it looks like a good way to play with ideas.

  8. Beautiful painting, Pavi, and I love the picture of you and your hobby horse. My love of horses runs long and deep. I, too, never got to own one as a girl, but I now own them and work with them and run an equine business. A dream come true!
    Your blog post reminds me of my love of ballet. I danced until I was 13 then gave it up when my body outgrew that of a Prima ballerina’s. I’m not sure how I might now incorporate that into my art, but I will surely give it some thought and play. Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Thanks, Francine, it must be wonderful to work with horses daily, even if it’s a hard job too. Yes, it seems like the world of ballet is worth rediscovering for you!

  9. I just adore that picture of you (a couple of years ago) LOL.
    The horse shows so much movement, energy and strength. I think it only needed flowers to show what a wonderful creature it is for young children, so magical and beautiful. I guess I’m still young at heart as this magnificent creature still seems that way to me at 73.

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