So about a hundred years ago, I used to ride horses. That’s me over there. I started out in 4-H like
everyone else where I grew up, then I was Rodeo Queen (seriously) and as an adult I spent all my money going to hunter/jumper shows.
Then I moved to an inhospitable part of the country (Montana: good for men and dogs, bad for women and horses) and left my equestrian years behind me.
I had a baby. I had another baby.
And I started to miss it.
That’s when I started up with my artwork again. Every summer, I go to as many horse shows as possible – at first with a baby bundled up in the front pack, then with a nervous and watchful eye over my squirmy toddler, and now with my reasonably well-behaved young children or sometimes even, by myself. I take my camera and snap photos like crazy, framing each one nearly as I will compose the future painting. I take enough reference photos to last through the winter.
Later, back in my studio, I experience every brush stroke as if I am actually giving my mare Robin a good curry. I can smell the barn (horse people will know what I’m talking about) my memories guide the brush through the shapes I know so well and can almost feel.
I’ve been painting a lot of dogs lately. I paint them because there is endless variety. I paint them because clients want them. But I’m going to start painting some more horses just for me.