THE WARMUP PEN – Graphite Pencil Drawing
14 x 11 inches

Giclée print on Fine Art paper
Limited edition of 300 S/N

14” x 11” signed and numbered
12" x 9" open edition





Creating horse head drawings takes a close look at the features and expression on a horse's face that you don’t get in a full-body portrait. (see detail) By the time I’m done making a drawing like this I feel like I know that horse personally and would recognize him, even though sometimes, especially on commissions, I never even see him.

One of my favorite horse show events is reining. The grace and strength of these highly trained animals is amazing. I have a good friend who raises and trains reining horses, so I have lots of opportunities to see them in action. This particular black stallion was in the warmup pen when I went to visit, his rider loosening him up for a bigger workout in the large arena.

I watched as he was put through his paces - lots of walking and trotting mixed with a few spins, side-stepping, backing up and flexing exercises. His neck was like a rubber band, bending easily in both directions at the slightest cue. He was a big horse, and full of energy. What caught my eye was how there was all this energy bundled up in complete concentration and focus. He was like a tightly wound spring, but under feather light control.

Capturing a likeness in horse head drawings

My goal in creating this drawing was to capture the grace and strength of this stallion as he anticipated his rider's next move, seemingly calm but with power simmering just beneath the surface. My drawing attempts to show that movement with the quiet strength and discipline he showed, keeping things under control. I thought it was interesting to watch him listen to his rider, his ears moving with every gesture the rider made.

The horse's coat was jet black. It shimmered and reflected the sun with brilliant highlights. It was very time consuming and challenging to correctly portray that look and it took many layers with  my 9B pencil to get it to look that dark!

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