“Three Passions: Horses, Flowers, Travel” opens tomorrow at the Blue Pig Gallery in Palisade, Colorado, running through September 30, 2016
“Three Passions” features new works inspired by my love of horses, flowers, and travel. All the horse and flower paintings are executed in watercolors, and explore the effects of light on living forms. While the horse paintings are narrative in nature, the flower compositions are pure design. They focus on movement, space, color, pattern, rhythm, and line. My travel pieces are framed 5″ x 7″ prints from my sketch journals. They represent a wide range of work including pencil, pen & ink, watercolor, watercolor & ink; Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Utah.
I have one more piece on my easel, a narrative equine painting which will be titled, “Ebony & Ivory.” This is the study for “Ebony & Ivory.” (Note difference in style between equine & floral compositions.)
“Cosmos” will be one of the featured works for my upcoming show at the Blue Pig Gallery running Sept 1-30, 2016. For more information about this show, visit the following link:
I have been working on some pencil studies of Conversano Mima, a friend’s 20 year old Lipizzan stallion at White Horse Vale Lipizzans in Goldendale, Washington. The studies are very different. The first is a dynamic expression of horse power, while the other is a formal portrait. Because the drawings are so different, the approach to these paintings suggests different techniques and strategies. The next step is to test out some of my ideas with watercolor.
The painting project I’ve recently begun was initiated by a commission for a daughter-in-law’s birthday. After meeting the recipient, and learning about her style and tastes, we reviewed my paintings, noting which ones appealed to her. Then we set out to meet her horse. Stella is a lovely warmblood mare with tons of personality. Arriving in the rain at the ranch where she is boarded, we slogged through wet grass and mud to her field. It was magnificent! The rain had lifted, and the rays of sun highlighted a mesa here, an aspen grove there, with layers of mountains peeking through a curtain of mist. All along the way, Ashley told me stories of her mare. And there she was, amid a large herd, in glorious surroundings with acres to roam. Listening to the stories, watching her, and photographing her antics, I began to know Stella.
Later I reviewed my photos and chose a group of 5 that I would develop into a painting. The photos included Stella running across her field, other horses in her herd, a shot of Mt. Sopris, the iconic peak of Carbondale, Colorado, and a grove of aspen trees spotlit against the stormy sky. The photos suggested a narrative with an interesting cast of characters in a beautiful setting. I began to see the painting as a movie! The star of the show is Stella, the lovely grey warmblood mare. Her supporting actors include the Bay, the Chestnut, and the Paint. The setting is Strang Ranch, in a pasture aglow with blooming rabbit brush. Mt Sopris looms in the background, jutting into a stormy sky.
The next step was to really get to know Stella, through a detailed pencil drawing. Drawing allows me to slowly study the whole horse, learning about my subject through close observation. Though I am drawing what I see on the outside, somehow her nature shines through, and I become acquainted with her personality also. Most of my paintings begin with detailed pencil drawings. When I drew Stella, I saw a strong Alpha mare. Suddenly I had a title for the painting, “Leader of the Pack.”
The United States Lipizzan Federation has begun a new program, “Loving our Lips.” Each day a USLF participating member can record the ways she has engaged with her horse through the myriad of options on the log sheet. This program is a wonderful way for non-showing horse owners to become very engaged with their horse community. I am enjoying recording my log sheets, as I count down the days to the USLF Symposium.
In preparation for my USLF Symposium Art Show, I have begun to do pencil studies that will become paintings.
I did this study as I thought about the Symposium and the new “Loving our Lips” program. I see in the eye of this horse a wisdom that transcends time. I also recognize this look as the one our horses give when they look back and tell us that they love us too.