First, a word about your reference photos. I'm not the best of photographers, but I don't find it to be a great problem when working loosely in painting. The odd blurred photo can make the best painting reference. Here, I'm using a photo that has very dark shadow and very little detail, and I could have painted (for instance) the bulk of the neck in solid black as is shown in the photo. If it's believable in the photo, it is believable in paint. If more detail is wanted, online searches for anatomy of your subject or reference photos for artists can be searched and studied, but again, your photo is going to be of great value and help to you. Spend time with it. Offer it more than a passing glance. I'll often live with a photo, even three or more copies of it in my house to look at in the living room, kitchen, studio, etc. for a few days before I ever pick up a pencil or a brush. I want that photo imprinted in my mind.
|My printed and gridded reference photo|
|The grid of squares on a grey painted canvas, and a carefully drawn basic image in white charcoal pencil.|
|Laying in lights and darks broadly|
|Refining lights darks and midtones and double checking shapes|
Laying in the background and glazing (using a very transparent layer of paint to cover the horse and unify it. The transparent layer (glaze) is made of very, very little black paint, and a lot of medium) Highlights were then added.
"Big Black Horse"
Acrylic on Canvas