Today's painting was something of a breakthrough for me: I managed to draw out the horse on to the board, in charcoal, free-hand without a grid and get it right first time. Admittedly, it did take a while.
The "secret trick" was in a little pdf pamphlet about the techniques of John Singer Sargeant, sent to me by my friend E.E. (if you are reading this, E. - thank you). Sargeant said to always use a plumb line, that you can make one easily enough with a bit of string and a hex nut. He said that everyone has a left or right hand bias and a plumb line is essential to have at all times.
Well, my tendency to get things on the wonk would indicate that I am ambidextrous on the bias front: could be wonky left, or could be wonky right. So I went up the shed and made a plumb line, which I used to draw this horse. Once I was clear about the angles - and there are a great number - he started to come alive on the board. When I was in doubt, I rummaged around in the cupboard until I found a protractor - a little mathematical tool I have not used since school days - and I measured the angle.
In case you are wondering the key angle of his body is 50º.
The palette was limited: burnt sienna, cerulean blue, transparent oxide brown.
I was very pleased with my little 'achievement'. Until I read yesterday that Sir Edwin Landseer could draw a stag's head with a pencil in his left hand and a horse's head with a pencil in his right hand, simultaneously, and both drawings would be correct. *Sigh*.