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.

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