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So here’s my latest effort.
This painting is yet unnamed (not even a working title yet) and is once again done on suede board.

I really like the look of suede, but I am torn about using it, since so far it has been a little moody to work with when it comes to profiling it for prints. (Mike, says the suede’s fine, that I’m the one who’s moody.)

Um . . . Anywho, my last couple of pieces didn’t profile as well as I would have liked. The prints look fine (perhaps a tad darker than the original) but it was a real effort to get there. Sometimes that’s just the way of things. But it may have to do with the suede being so dimensional. In real life the light gets captured in depths of the fibers that doesn’t reproduce in print.

In case it is the later, I am working on a lighter shade of suede to see if that helps. I am kinda counting on it actually because I just invested $80 in 3 sheets of the stuff. (and they’re not really colors I use in framing) My two other pieces in the works to go on suede are a giraffe painting and a portrait of Alborozo. (Though I imagine I can’t legally call it his portrait. It will just have to be “inspired” by Big Al.)

Cross Breeding
This painting kinda looks like the love child between my Natural Grace oil pastel painting and my portrait of Catch done in water color pencil. Which is all good because both are extremely popular sellers and you got to feed those that feed you. Meaning give the people what they want or shut it if you’re not selling.

Okay, okay . . . I’m getting off my soap box now. (I’m feeling feisty today)

At any rate Natural Grace was all about design, while Catch was all about. . . well . . . Catch. This one however is going to be all about the hair.

My inspiration for this was my recent trip out photographing the Percheron brood mares. With all their lovely, floaty manes blowing in the breeze. My actual reference photo however was from my horse safari trip to Noble Friesians last fall. This was one of their young stallions making tracks away from me when he discovered my camera was not a giant horsey treat.

Sundays are a day of rest.

Since it’s Sunday, I have the whole day to work on it. Which is good because even though it was a few short months ago since my last wc pencil on suede, I seem to have forgotten how to work it and needed a little time for a refresher.

I am wearing the same horse slobber stained sweatshirt as last Sunday (It happens to be my favorite) I did however put on makeup and jeans after last Sundays humiliation. I can’t put my DO NOT DISTURB sign out because Mike is working on the front of the gallery and thus takes away all power from the sign. We shall see what comes of it.

Note: I haven’t quite figured out where I’m going to crop. The board I’m working on is 21×32. The painting however will be much closer to 20 x 20

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Group Therapy
Last week a friend came by and swept me away from the gallery to have some quality horse time with a herd of Percheron brood mares. Since my Percheron raising neighbor moved away several years ago I have been going through withdrawals. (umm . . . just so you know, those are birds on the ground, not poo.)

My friend is an animal person and has rekindled her love of horses. She is new in town. (And by “new” I mean that she’s been here only 3 years. For small towns it’s kinda like dog years but in reverse. After you’ve been here seven years you are no longer considered “new.”)

At any rate she is struggling with this feeling like home. She is a single mother who works nights and being awake only a couple of hours in the middle of the afternoon (before she leaves again for work) makes it hard to socialize and have a little fun.

But she has found her bliss standing among the giants, scritching their itches and talking in soft horsey whispers. She is happiest (as am I) when covered in horse dust and slobber. As she’s rubbing a favorite young filly she declares “This is the best. This is better than men. This is better than sex.” Since I am married I don’t comment on that, but I so understand the feeling.

I don’t remember who said this but it seems appropriate. “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” In this case “man” is viewed in the broader sense.

If you squint they kinda look like Friesians
Not that they aren’t totally gorgeous in all their Percheron glory. I am pretty sure I’ve got a painting from the few new rolls I took. I love all the drapey hair and expressive eyes.

Just so you know I wasn’t deliberately trying to crop out their noses in my photos. They were just too close. (Happy Sigh)

One of my favorite horse quotes as well as a personal sentiment.
When I can’t ride anymore, I shall keep horses as long as I can hobble along with a bucket and a wheelbarrow.

When I can’t hobble, I shall roll my wheelchair out by the fence of the field where my horses graze and watch them. -Monica Dickens

Tomorrow’s Post: Ask The Budda

Updated: Carol Eilers (editor of Apples N’ Oats magazine) tipped me to the fact that it was Winston Churchill who said my unknown quote. I should have just asked her, since she is wise on all things horse. Or had I been a responsible blogger I could have googled it. Thanks Carol!

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The latest issue of Apples ‘n Oats is out in all it’s glossy horse magazine goodness. In this issue, I write about Chicory and the creation of the new Soul painting.

Oddly enough, a good part of my story came from blog posts. I’ve included an excerpt from my article. (pretty much the only part that hasn’t already been in a blog post.)

If you want to read the whole thing you’ll have to run out and pick up a copy or better still, visit the website and subscribe. (or wait and eventually it will get posted to my website.)

Knee Deep and Belly High
At the moment Chicory is a deeply contented horse. With the unusually high amount of rainfall we’ve had this spring and summer, his pasture is quite literally belly high. It was also freshly seeded last fall so the grasses are particularly tall and lush.

Chicory spends his days ambling about, nibbling the seed heads off the tops of the grasses, and thoroughly enjoying this new little delicacy.

I take great pleasure in watching him so deeply absorbed in his snacking. If he sees me watching he will pause, bob his head slightly and nicker. He then waits to see if I am planning on bringing him in for something. When he sees that I am not, he continues on. Nibble, chew, step. Nibble, chew, step.

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Seriously, Is This A Real Problem?

Apparently so, but everyone needs a venue . . . don’t they?
So I was going through this mornings email and came across a prospectus for an international horse art competition created by Art Horse Magazine. Because I am a curious sort, I clicked through to scan over the rules for entry. And as I am scrolling through the pages I read this and come to an abrupt halt.

Works produced by non-human artists are not eligible for this competition.”

Um . . . Whaaaaa? Has this been an actual issue in the past?

Sorry Flicka, your existential impressionistic oil on summer grasses is not allowed. Nor is Prince’s mixed media version of “Hoof Prints In The Sand.”

At any rate for anyone (anyone human that is) possibly interested check out the Art Horse Magazine website for rules of entry. Also you can view past winners which is always helpful to see what sort of art the judge’s lean toward. They have some seriously beautiful, high quality horse art folks.

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Soul

Watercolor Pencil on Suede Board
13 1/4 x 19 1/4

The above photo is a little more saturated than in real life. Somewhere between Photoshop and the blog it changes a little.

Okay I know that I had said that this painting was done before. But I was never completely happy with it so I kept picking away at it when i had a minute or got bored. But then my deadline for the Apples N’ Oats article is just around the corner and since this was my latest horse painting I figured I had better actually finish it if I were to be writing about it.

And so here it is. A rather dramatic difference from my last final completed shot. Way more hair in the forelock and much different color. I am fairly at peace with it at this point. It is always hard for me to say “Okay. . . NOW it’s done.” The tweaking stage can go on for an eternity. Well until it gets committed to print. That’s when I am truly done.

The article is also just at the tweaking stage. I cheated a little and used a blog post for part of it. So I’ll wrap both the article and the painting up and then move on finishing the Red Buffalo.

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Current Foal WIP On Suede

Here is the latest on my foal. The suede photographed more golden than it is in reality but the foal is pretty true to color.

My reference photo is many years old (like around 10) and was taken at the Black Hills WiId Horse Sanctuary. I’ve had it in my to-do pile pretty much ever since.

Sometimes it takes just the right combination of medium and substrate to make me say, Hey, that’s just the right photo for this application.” And apparently suede matboard was just such a trigger.

I am working on a 17×21″ piece of Tru Grit (that’s the name of the color) suede matboard made by Bainbridge. The image itself will be somewhere around a 14×18.”

I chose this particular mat for two reasons.

    Number 1. It is a neutral that I can work both light and dark on, with relative ease.

    Number 2. It was the first chunk of neutral colored suede that I ran into from my stock pile that was about the size I was looking for. Had I chosen a color, I would have looked for something slightly more golden

    .

I decided I wanted to make the foal a little more cute (like baby horses aren’t cute enough.) So I made her a blood bay in color, lengthened her stripe and ended it with a bit of a pink nose. I’ll also have a least one white sock.

So that’s what I got so far. Next post will be a step by step from the neck area covering colors used and layers.

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A Tail Of A Thousand Cockleburrs

. . . and mane . . . and forelock. . . .

Okay so it’s hard to see in this photo, but trust me they’re there. I usually pull a few burrs everyday because he gets large round bales of oat stubble for nibbling on, kicking around and taking long naps in the sun on. And since we’re organic most bales have a few burrs in them.

But this last bale was packed with both burrs and worst still burdock. I nearly had a fit when I came out and seen his mane sticking out in every direction like it had been teased into some punk fashion. (Burrs tend to make a rats nest of his mane) Photo below after some major de-burring.

The best horse ever
Fortunately my horse is eternally patient while I pull his hair out a few strands at a time with each burr. And while I’m perpetrating these minor acts of torture, he stands at liberty and nuzzles my back, legs or shoes. I spent well over an hour with him last night and felt so calm and content that only the darkness and cold of night made me stop.

I am a firm believer that animals (much like people) come into our lives for a reason. They may not be the animal that you wanted but they are the animal that you needed.

Chicory is exactly the horse I wanted and needed. I am almost always relaxed and centered after spending time with my big boy.

BTW I brought the camera along so I could take some photos. It has been many (many) years since I’ve done Chicory’s portrait and that is my plan for the piece on suede. Nope, still haven’t started it yet. Hopefully will get it begun by Sunday

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