Using Light and Shadow to Create Form

“Horses touch the depths of my soul,” says Caitlin Leline Hatch. “I cannot imagine life without them. Capturing their grace and majestic essence will forever be my goal. The lights and shadows that define them create opportunities in watercolor to pay attention to detail while at the same time allowing the fluidity of the medium to show us their ethereal wonder.

“Waiting Patiently” (watercolor, 16 x 20 in.) by Caitlin Leline Hatch

“I work mainly with the wet-into-wet technique as it gives me the most freedom to express the emotional story I want to share. I saturate the paper completely so that the core of the paper will stay wet for a long time. This allows me the most time to manipulate the paint. If I find myself getting too tight in my work, I use a spray bottle to spritz certain areas with water to help free up the strained brushstrokes, as I did here in the body of the horse.

“The biggest challenge I faced with this piece was whether or not to add a background. I sometimes worry that if I don’t add a background the piece will look incomplete. However, I finally decided that the warmth from the paper created a soft glow around the horse, which supported the light I wanted to capture within the horse, and disrupting that would take away from my goals with this piece.”

“Waiting Patiently” was awarded Best Animals & Birds in the September 2022 PleinAir Salon competition.


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