His full name was Surgalstown Danny Boy and he belonged to a return client from Kilkenny, Ireland. His portrait was commissioned as a birthday present for her daughter who rode Danny and was very successful with him. His stable name was Danny and he was since sold. The client wanted a special gift of his painting for keepsake for her daughter.

Surgalstown Danny Boy, 45 x 35 cm acrylic on canvas

I had two reference photos to work from, both taken inside the stables, so I had to be careful to match the pony’s colouring. I tilted his head slightly too as his nose was too close to the camera. I wanted to create a warm painting to reflect the pony’s kind temperament. His markings were very unique and beautiful especially the heart shaped one on his neck. I included a close up view of it below.

Heart shaped marking on Danny’s neck

The painting was worked at 45 x 35 cm in a portrait format. I used acrylics on stretched canvas first creating his likenes with a yellow ochre sketch. I then started blocking colours on the pony’s head and neck followed by the background. By the time I was finished, there were three to four layers of thin acrylic across the canvas. There were some lovely orange tones around the pony’s eyes and nose and brought them into the background to create some harmony in the portrait.

Detail of Danny’s eye showing the lovely orange tones

The client was very happy with the finished painting and emailed me when she received the scan and then the actual painting in post:

Hi Ivana, it’s absolutely gorgeous! You have really captured that cheeky glimpse in his eye, couldn’t be happier! …. I received the painting last week and I’m absolutely delighted! It’s gorgeous and my daughter Alice will love it! Thanks again!

Linda, Kilkenny, Ireland