Polo en Provence

Last summer Little One was travelling around France on vacation when she came across a Polo tournament in Provence. So impressed she was, watching the players play and so cute the ponies she found that she kindly asked the organizer if she could pose with one of the ponies during the break. “Of course you can”, the friendly organizer replied, “but please be careful!” And she was very careful indeed as she climbed onto one, wanting to show us the little flowery vest she had bought at the flea market earlier along with that cute pink beanie with the propeller. We love that furry yellow blanket and funky green stick too! The pony was also taken in with her as she was gentle and shows her love for animals. “One day I would like to learn to ride a horse properly and play polo” she mused “but I need to save lots of money!” And of course I had to paint about this!

Pencil Sketch

What makes this painting so special is that it all began during our summer vacation in late July early August. We started in France, firstly in St. Cannat a small village in Provence, France where my BF was photographing for a Polo tournament there. And we came up with a bright idea to buy an easel before our vacation and bring it along so I can also paint there! It was a wonderful opportunity for me to continue getting creative by starting this new painting which eventually found itself traveling with me around southern France then to the lakes and mountains in Italy and back to the Netherlands via a brief stop in Austria! And during the tournaments, I brought the canvas board and easel with me everyday, starting with a pencil sketch.

First Layer Painting

Although I brought a toolbox filled with art supplies, I had a limited amount of stuff I could bring along. I made do with what I had with me, figuring that I can complete the painting when I was back home. Still it was a great way to continue as a means of relaxation at my own time and get a preliminary idea as to color scheme. Here I used a combination of markers and acrylic inks.

Continuing at Home

Predictably, I got rather busy during our vacation touring and travelling around so had very little time to paint further. Not an issue as I knew I could always resume once I returned home. I decided I ought to enjoy the rest of the vacation and have fun! Once I got home, the painting underwent some more changes as I thought it could do with much more. How about some texture? The advantage of a sturdy substrate like canvas boards, as opposed to paper, is that you can afford to add as many layers and texture as you like without getting it all weighed down. I began with glueing bits of collage: blue aluminium candy wrappers for the sky, black mulberry paper and newspaper for the pony and flower-patterned wrapping paper for the ground. Looking good so far, let’s see what we can do further!

Fun with Texture and Colors

You see what happens when you paint over the collaged papers on the pony? Interesting patterns show through to give the subject more character. What a great opportunity this was to play around and experiment with different means of creating texture! In terms of acrylic mediums, I went for modelling paste of course for the hair and saddle and for the first time used Tar Gel to create some extra shine for the sun and the eyes (not very visible on the photos). The outfit was then modified by collaging together small bits of origami paper. I introduced another layer of a darker blue for the sky then went for a variety of 3D liners, glitter, sequins and pearlescent drops as finishing touches. Et voilà!

I really enjoyed creating this! A special painting indeed as I started it during my vacation in France at a polo tournament and got to continue it upon my return by which time I was enthusiastically experimenting with incorporating texture to it. And that was so much fun! Besides, this piece comes with a sweet happy story about Little One trying out this sport and enjoying it. Maybe one day she will become a player, who knows!

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