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Archive for November, 2014

chicorysnowyface

In fact I don’t even plan to share it to facebook. This is me getting the crazy grief out.

Yesterday I put my beautiful sweet boy down.

I am heartbroken.

He was 20 something years old and I had him for more than 18 of them. Though he was technically an old horse I fully expected to have another 5 or 10 years with him. He was very healthy and robust and very much the best horse I could have wished for. Even in the end, when he knew something really bad was about to happen, he didn’t bite or strike. He just rolled his eye to me asking “Why?”

He stopped wanting to walk around 3 weeks ago. The vets ruled out anything like navicular or founder. Arthritis was their best guess early on, HYPP was explored and there was talk of tumors. All of these things can’t be fixed, though pain management seemed possible. In the end it seems doubtful it was arthritis or Hypp. Both had vague symptom similarities but just didn’t quite fit. Tumor? maybe. Whatever it was it progressed rapidly.

He was on maximum Bute for longer than he should have been but at the end it didn’t touch the pain. His last day he got up twice to only lay back down in minutes. I brought him water and treats which he ate. Hay he ignored. He had a bit of a bloody nose though this could have been a side affect of the bute and just lay sprawled out in the snow groaning softly.

I called the vet and he couldn’t get out for a couple of hours, so I sat with him with his head in my lap and stroked his face, telling him how much I loved him and what a good horse he was while we waited.

Chicory has always been terrified by vets. One whiff of vet stink and he’d bolt. The only thing I can think was when he was a baby he ran into a barbed wire fence and totally tore up his shoulder. This was before me but I imagine it was traumatic enough for him to hang onto.

So when the vet touched him he popped up like a jack in the box. He struggled to stay up but did. In fact he never went down until the very end. He was given more than 5x the normal amount of the drug that was supposed to put him to sleep so the second injection could stop his heart peacefully.

It didn’t work. What should have been a 15 minute procedure took almost 2 hours and in the end we had to give him the heart stopper without him being asleep.

It was so horrible … I have no words.

You’d think that since I have been crying for weeks because I knew this was where we’d wind up that I’d be all done. But no. The pain washes over me randomly. My horse pen is close to the house so it shouldn’t surprise me how much I look out the window to see him. Yet … it does.

Chicory always whinnied loudly when he’d see me first thing in the morning, which alerted the barn cats they’d soon be fed and they’d explode out of the barn in a mad dash. Even on his last day he managed a weak nicker. This morning … no nicker. Oh how I miss it.

He is being cremated and they couldn’t come out until this morning. I tried to set it up so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. I left directions with them the night before and a check in the car.

But at 9am there was a knock at the door. I pondered not answering but what if he was having a problem, so me in my jammies, no bra, crazy hair and my eyes swollen from crying all night I answered. the door. He looked at me sweetly and just wanted to let me know they were taking him.

So there you have it. All my pain out for everyone to see. I’m not sure that I feel any better … at all. But I think it will help at some point.

The photo above is from many winters back and one of my favorites because you can see he was happy and just being goofy. He loved me as much as I him. Even when he got out of the pasture he always came galloping back when I called. Always whinnied and nuzzled and hugged.

I’m one of those touchy feely types who believes animals have souls, so I hope and pray he forgives me for that last betrayal … ending his life before he was ready … and that he is running pain free somewhere in heaven.

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(trumpets sound) Rhonda! Whose blog Painting for Joy is a colorful feast for the eyes and imagination, pretty much daily. I gotta admire that kind of dedication to creativity. In the end I went with “Wooly Bully” for the title because … it’s cute, and it seemed the most popular among those commenting. I also seriously pondered “All Ears” and “Little Red.” I just finished profiling the print today so if those of you who didn’t win want one, it is available on the Wild Faces Gallery website.

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So my horse has been ill and I have been trying to come to terms with the fact that he may not live forever. This has kept me quite distracted, depending on the day and his pain level, my mood goes up and down. He’s been my boy for almost 20 years and to make a long sad story shorter … I just haven’t given the whole title thing much of my attention.

SO … my plan is to do the drawing on Monday November 17th. I’d set a time but I’m just not that Type A personality of an artist.  Anyone who may still be interested please comment on my post stickied at the top of my Wild Faces Gallery facebook page. If you don’t do the facebook thing, just leave a comment title suggestion here and you’ll be added to the draw.

To see what the heck I’m talking about either scroll down or click this link for the yet to be named calf painting..

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RosieWIP1-800jpgRosieWIP2RosieWIP3RosieWIP4RosieWIP5-800

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CalfWip7-800

So it’s been awhile since I did one of these. A give away that is.

The calf is at a “live with it for a bit” stage. I’ll probably add some more wispy hair and perhaps deepen some shadows. It measures approximately 20×24 and is a mixed media of various water soluble materials on suede. I’ve not come up with a title yet and so that’s where the give-away comes in.

If interested you can go to my Wild Faces Gallery facebook page, Like the page and then leave a title suggestion comment on the post with this calf. If I chose a suggestion that person gets a print. If I don’t choose any of the suggestions I will draw a name at random to win the print.

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The Trouble With Black is …
Well the short answer is it’s usually very flat looking. It lacks dimension and richness. And anyone who has perused my blog can see I LOVE color. I infuse it in almost all the work I do. Even the pieces where I want a realistic looking animal (like the one I’m currently working on) I am constantly trying to reel myself in with color usage.

The one color (though I think technically not a color) I limit my use of is black. I hear often enough artists’ saying I don’t use black and even more so, I don’t use white. Which to be honest has always struck me as a bit college art course inspired. I firmly believe that both black and white should be made up of a veritable rainbow of colors but to not use them at all … well … you are limiting your range of contrast.

When I’ve been asked if I use either of these colors well you know by now that the answer is yes.

I do.

All of the time.

Perhaps this is because I’m self taught. Or perhaps it’s because I love intense pop of color and strong contrasts. Whatever the reason I use both black and white so much that I am always buying high quantities of both when getting open stock supplies.

Please note that “Nothing” is done on this little wooly bully. But I got to a point where in order to progress with the shadowing on the calf I needed to get the background in. In my reference photo it was solid black. High contrast yes, but as mentioned kinda flat looking. SO here’s a few photos showing my progression to a very dark background.
CalfWip4-800

The main two colors I used here are inktense (Derwent’s water soluble ink pencils) Dark Indigo and Chocolate. When combined they make a lovely purpley-bluey-brown wash.

CalfWip5-800

See what I mean. So after my board has dried I begin working in the browns, purples and yes black. This layer stays dry though I do hit it with a coating of fixative spray to keep it from dusting all over my whites.

CalfWip6-800

The background is close to being done, but now it’s time to go back and work on the calf some. Maybe another day or two. I need to work on gallery stuff but I’m having a hard time pulling myself away from my drafting table.

Too many cows yet to be painted I guess.

NOTE: I think those who work in oils can get away with expanses of black a little more easily due to the richness and quality of the pigment. Watercolor pencils though … not so much.

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