The Old Gray Mare – Underpainting Value Study

There’s a song about “The Old Gray Mare”. You’ve probably heard it. While I know how it goes, I don’t know the actual words. All I know are the words the “silly boys” sang to the tune back in grade school:

The old gray mare

She went down to Delaware

Pulled down her underwear

To see what was under there

Yes, boys will be boys. Admit it, guys, you sang lots of songs like this.

As you know, lately I’ve been studying oil painting techniques, and my assignment yesterday was to take a photo reference and use it to complete an underpainting to show the values.

I guess underpainting morphed into underpants in my warped brain, and underpants became underwear, and the next thing you know, I was singing “The Old Gray Mare”. So, I decided to put the old gal to work on my easel and use her as the subject for my assignment.


When finished, she’ll be standing in a grassy field with a blue sky above the horizon. My gray mare, by the way, is a tiny thing. I’m doing all my practice assignments on 5 x 7 canvas panels. They’re fairly inexpensive, and I quickly discovered I don’t like using them for landscapes.

This old gray mare was fun to underpaint…now, if only that confounded song would get out of my head!


  1. We’ve always sung a song – the old gray mare – to my husband’s sister and aunt – as a joke – and we sing “The Old Gray Mare she ain’t what she used to be – ain’t what she used to be – ain’t what she used to be – the old gray mare she ain’t what she she used to be – many loooooog years ago! I didn’t know these lyrics, but they sure are FUN! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think your lyrics are closer to the real ones. The boys also used to sing the same tune with the words to “Green Greasy Gopher Guts”…but if you haven’t heard that one, I’ll spare you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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