Easy Galloping Horse Painting Watercolor Tutorial


Hi guys! For today’s watercolor painting
demonstration my goal was to capture dynamic movement. What better way to do that than with the image of a galloping horse?
Be sure to watch all the way to the end so you really see this horse come to
life! If you want to try this painting for yourself you can download my image
using the link in the description. In order to capture the same effects that
I’m going to demonstrate with this painting you’ll want to make sure you’re
using hot pressed cotton watercolor paper. Hot pressed paper is very smooth;
it makes it much easier to drag a brush across the surface without the brush
catching on the bumps and texture of say cold or rough pressed paper. I lightly
sketched on the horse before beginning my painting. I’m painting with my Winsor
Newton Cotman watercolor sketch box set and using the water brush that came with
the set. I also have a half inch flat stroke brush. I wet the paper inside of the horse just
by squeezing water from my water brush. I’m going to paint the horse in sections
so I don’t worry too much about wetting the whole thing. I start with burnt umber
then immediately lay down some ultramarine where the horse’s coat is
shiny. The belly area in my reference is a rich
reddish-brown so I want to capture that. I dive right in with a black shadow on the
rear leg. Using my flat brush I add my first motion effect by lightly pulling
the edge out with a very light brushstroke. I continue to add a deep black shadow to
the belly blending in some burnt sienna and yellow
ochre. I’m working wet and wet allowing my edges to bleed. When painting black
shadows be sure you’re keeping track of how wet your paper is. I like to paint
more directly wet on dry when painting with black just so it doesn’t bleed into
unwanted areas and get too washed out. On the hind legs I’m painting wet on dry
paper, a rich black. I use my flat brush again while the
paint is still wet to pull the paint outward creating that motion blur effect.
I have to paint the tail at the same time as the hind leg to ensure it all
looks like one shadow shape. I don’t want any defined edges here. My flat brush works great for the tail
you can actually use the thin edge of the flat brush to create that swooshing
tail texture. I start to paint the muscle definition
in the forelegs. In order to soften edges I just use a
clean damp brush or I lay down another color right up next to the edge so that
they can blend naturally. I add some alizarin crimson to make my brown a
little more reddish. As the paint is drying I notice areas that I need to
darken. I add some more light swirly
brushstrokes with my flat brush. Be free and loose with these but don’t go
overboard. The shape and muscle tension in the horse’s body already portray
powerful motion. These little brushy edges are just playing a small
supporting role in creating the illusion of movement. I decide to leave the
forward leg very lightly painted except in the shadow near the chest. The chest
and head are mostly in shadow. It’s important when painting a sunlit subject
not to see into the shadows too much. Allow the sections in the light to tell
most of the story and be the most detailed. I use my half inch brush again
for the mane sometimes using the narrow edge and sometimes allowing the
segmented bristles along the flat side to do the job. Through most of this
painting my water brush did a fantastic job. I slow down as I paint the muscle
details in the light. While my edge is wet I add another
motion stroke. The legs are very loosely painted with my flat brush. I should
probably mention I just love painting horses. I’ve been drawing and painting
them almost since I could pick up a pencil, probably as a way to compensate
for the fact that I’m deathly allergic to them! I paint in the rich black shadow
in the head avoiding the areas that are in sunlight. For the white markings on
horse such as the rear foot and the white strip on the head I don’t draw or
paint any edges. Our imaginations can actually see those edges without them
being visually articulated for us. Two little black dots, one for the nostril
and one for the eye, are all that’s needed to define the front edge of the
horse’s face. I add a couple more details to the legs, darken the eye and ear and
add a few more motion brushstrokes. I add one more dark layer to the
farthest hind leg and it’s finished! This was so much fun to paint and a great
experiment in balancing realism and artistic liberty. I hope you enjoyed
today’s video! If you did please be sure to hit the like button and subscribe if
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videos. I’ll be posting new videos every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Thank you
so much for watching!


8 Responses

  1. Kimberly Crick Art

    February 9, 2020 2:33 am

    This is such a well done tutorial, with clear dialogue and easy to understand choices. I've been really impressed with your videos! Bonus, you used affordable paints and showed a perfectly acceptable example of using black watercolor with success. There are quite a few channels that literally tell you never to use black (typically pushing you to mix a similar dark neutral) and even reviews that complain that any white or black in a pan set is useless. Your channel is a breath of fresh air! Thanks for sharing 😀

  2. askersaify

    February 9, 2020 3:30 am

    This is such a beautiful horse 🐎 you captured the motion oh so effortlessly. Could you also post a tutorial on seal point ragdoll cat? The coloring is so challenging to capture 😲 would love to see your interpretation ❤️

  3. Lenny Kilay

    February 9, 2020 5:21 am

    Excellent watercolor painting, beautiful horse and its realism one.I love your watercolor brush,I think I need that one🧐🤭Another good work from you, very inspiring 💙💙💙

  4. Deborah Taylor

    February 11, 2020 1:37 am

    This is so beautiful Emily! U make it look easy. Ive tried the water pen but it feels awkward to me. I guess I have to get used to it. I hope some day maybe u could do a real time video. I’d love to try this ! Your work is amazing

  5. Janina Cooper

    February 24, 2020 3:06 pm

    I love this so much! Horses are so beautiful and i have always been scared to paint them.
    But I have to start now. Great tutorial thank you.


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