Inspired by reading “The Midnight Horse” by Monica Edwards I decided that a Papier Mâché Horse would be more suitable in our hotter Australian climate than a Plasticine model would be.
For those who are unfamiliar with this technique it involves the use of torn up newspaper and glue. For best results a wire armature is useful especially in the case of a project like a horse.
For my first attempt my subject matter was my “Wish for a Pony” horse called Wildfire. This painting shows how my imagination dictated what markings Wildfire would have, a long blaze, three short socks and a partial stocking.
I created a wire frame work and added some honeycomb style bird mesh (chicken wire) for the barrel of the horse’s body. Next I added long strips of torn newspaper that had been soaked in glue made from flour and water. Layer after layer were added with the Embroidery Floss Mane, Forelock and Tail being added at the appropriate stage. They were covered in cling wrap so the process could continue without glue getting on them.
Instead of strips I continued with torn squares, rectangles and triangles as required. It was difficult to be patient and let the layers dry thoroughly before adding more and mould growing on the paper was a real problem. The addition of a little PVA Wood glue helped a little as did drying the project in the sun!
When I was happy with the shape a final layer of tissue paper was added to provide a smooth layer for painting on. Now it was time to wait again!!
I had to wait a long, long time to be sure that the entire horse was thoroughly dry!
My Mum let me use her Oil Paints to paint Wildfire. I very rarely use Oil Paints so learning to mix the colour I wanted was a challenge. My other problem was that somehow I managed to crack two of Wildfires legs so a repair had to be made! Thus the reason the legs are hidden by foliage.
Not too bad for a first attempt…
But as usual I was ambitious and already a 2nd horse had started to take shape. This time my subject was Flicka. BTW Flicka is the Mare and her Foal is called Jubilee.
I was so looking forward to painting her markings like I have done before in this Painting!
The Painting shows Flicka from both sides. The second smaller horse is Flicka’s nearside view.
You can read more about this on the Painting Page.
This time I planned to have the head turned slightly to one side. This made calculating the neck length a little difficult as I had to take into account the bend and the thickness of the paper layers when setting up the wire armature. I followed the proportions as shown in my Horse Drawing Books but I made a slight miscalculation and her neck is a little long. Other than that she turned out really well. I also made her a little slimmer thus restoring her youthful figure or pre-Broodmare shape!
If you would like to see her a little better the watch this short clip that I made & added to my Youtube Channel.