A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Maura and Orla fro the Irish Hospice Foundation. They wanted to commission a painting of their co-worker Bryan riding on his horse PJ. The portrait was to be a gift for Bryan.

acrylic painting of a horse and jockey
Equine Portrait of Bryan and PJ, 35 x 45 cm, acrylic on canvas

The photographs they provided me were wonderful, especially the one I mostly worked from. I used a couple of different photos for details of Bryan’s face and PJ’s head. The painting is 35 x 45 cm in size and painted with acrylics. As it happened, my usual art store was out of that size canvas, so I stretched and primed the canvas myself. This meant I could get the surface really fine by applying a number of coats of primer and sanding in between layers.

close up of equine painting
Painting in detail

The background worked wonderfully with both the horse and rider. I kept it quite pale to make sure to focus on the main characters. I wanted to capture the warm bright light behind. The pale greens and neutrals contrast well with the darks of the horse and rider. The clients were happy with the finished painting:

Hi Ivana, Many thanks for the painting – it is amazing…Everyone who has seen it is really impressed with the overall painting and your skill…We are delighted with the picture and I am sure Bryan will be too

Maura, Irish Hospice Foundation, Dublin
  • initial sketch
    Initial Sketch
  • colour blocking on a work in progress painting
    Colour Blocking
  • colour blocking on a work in progress
    Colour Blocking
  • reference photo for the painting
    Client Photo
  • horse and jockey painting on canvas
    Finished Painting
  • detail of the side of the finished painting
    Detail of the Painting Side