Paintbrushes and Polo Wraps, Watercolors and W-T-C, Oil Paints and Neatsfoot Oil.
Someone asked me who I wrote this blog for – what collector or internet browser or customer was my “intended reader”. I write it for all of you, and I write it for myself. I write it because it’s a great visual aid to chart my progress, to compare notes, to observe and remember certain event, artistic milestones, and random thoughts. And I write it for the horse crazy barn rats I see every weekend – the little girls who (like me at that age) would rather clean a saddle than their room or study Centered Riding instead of math homework. I spent as much time as I could at the barn, getting up early on weekend mornings to hitch a ride in with my dad at “OMG, that’s early” o’clock. I spent hours grooming, tacking up, cleaning (always so much cleaning!), and riding. And when I wasn’t doing any of those things, I was watching. I watched every lesson I could, and learned early on that you could get almost as much out of a riding lesson while perched on the rail as perched in the saddle.
It wasn’t until much later that I realized all that watching and touching and doing was actually teaching me something more valuable than how to properly clean a bridle (woe to the person who doesn’t completely disassemble the thing), wrap a polo (thanks forever to Mel S for making me roll and wrap one perfectly 15 times before I was allowed to actually “wrap legs”), pick out feet, watch for colic signs, mix a bran mash, or do any of those thousand other small things that add up to good horsemanship. It was teaching me to SEE and pay attention to detail. It laid a foundation for what has contributed greatly to my career as an equine artist, and by far the most common comment I hear from people, that they buy my work because it is “correct” and still artistic. Having tacked up a horse thousands of times means I know where breastplate attachments attach, and which side the elastic girth sits on. It means that my bridles are properly adjusted, my reins are held properly, and my rider’s heels are down. My horse’s legs are clean, their muscles are in the right spots, and their pupils are the correct shape (not round!) These things are small on the face of it, but in a piece of artwork, they speak volumes of the artist’s understanding of the subject.
I write this blog for one more person. I write it for the little girl (or boy) out there somewhere who loves horses and loves to draw, and isn’t quite sure what those two things will lead to, but chances are it might be something great. I’ve got news for you. It IS great. Just keep on drawing. And watch those heels.
Here are the two most recent pieces to come out of my studio, both done on spec and both done for professionals. (Confession – the bottom piece isn’t QUITE done yet… but it got done enough for the deadline on Monday. It will be finished soon. For real.)