Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ready Luke?

I just finished another commission for a good friend's daughter. I titled it "Ready Luke" as it suggests the question that little Natalie is asking of Luke before they do their round at a show this summer.

This painting is for Natalie to remember Luke by as she won't be riding him anymore since he has moved locations. Based on how attached little girls get to their horse buddies, I know that this transition may not be easy. Each horse in our lives teaches us things, challenges us and exposes us to new situations.

My favorite story growing up was a book called "A Very Young Rider" by Jill Krementz. It tells a story of a young girl, not unlike Natalie, that showed her horse Penny for a season. At the end of the season, she had outgrown her and had to sell her to another young girl who was thrilled to get her. Her parents surprised her with a new pony for Christmas, a taller Bay and White paint.

I hope that the memories Natalie and Luke created live on in this painting and that she too transitions to a new friend to continue her journey in horsemanship.

Monday, December 13, 2010

In memory of Travel Mate

I just finished a commissioned piece for Linda and Tom Baxter in memory of their beloved Travel Mate (Tex). I met Linda during the Christmas tour and she indicated that she wished we'd have met last spring before they lost Tex. While it is easier to paint a horse when I meet them or take my own photos, it can be done with owner images. Linda wanted to surprise Tom for the holidays, so I encouraged her to come back and discuss her ideas.

Linda described Tex as a super athletic, no vices charmer with a pretty face, big expressive eyes and a large muzzle. She brought lots of images of him - many if him in action cutting cattle (a four time world champ - no pressure!). He indeed was a handsome lad - the kind of build any Quarter horse fan loves to see - and his beautiful nature came through his images.

She had measured her walls and said she had room for a 30 x 40 canvas - either way. I showed her some images that may work to capture his movement and we were set. Before leaving, she told me that Tom had said a few days earlier, when looking at the wall where she intended the painting to go, that they should really get paintings of their own horses on the walls! Strange timing for that comment!

I was fortunate to have time to get on the work right away, and as often happens, the horses nature just comes to or through me. I kept asking him - "Tex, I never met you but are these how your eyes were? No bigger? Okay..." When I called Linda to come and see him on Saturday, I was a bit nervous as it is risky to know if I have captured him or not. As soon as she entered the Gallery, she said "Oh, there is my boy" and I could tell she was pleased at all the elements that I struggled with - background colors, eyes, muzzle and ears. I told her to return the next day and that would give me time for clear coating and adding his brand to the painting.

After picking it up on Sunday, Linda called me to let me know that it looked great on their wall at home - and she handed the phone to Tom who said to me "Nicole, there are paintings and photos, but you really captured his spirit" - the words any artist lives to hear.

I wish them as many happy years with their painting as they had with their beloved Tex, and I was glad to meet him, even if it was via distance - I know I will recognize him on the other side.

Note - the painting was unframed, but I added this for the blog shot.